This page contains recordings (enhanced with pictures) from day 2 of the Middle Way Study Retreat held in August 2013. A talk about desire and integration was followed by discussion (with some bits of discussion spliced into the relevant sections of the talk). The talk begins with a challenge to the traditional Buddhist account of desire, and then offers an alternative view of desire and the ego in which desire itself is not bad – only conflict between desires. Integration is explained as a model of progress, and related to the evidence on brain hemispheres offered by Iain McGilchrist.
1. Problems of desire in Buddhism
Explains why the division between desire for enlightenment and ordinary desire in Buddhism is problematic, and offers an alternative model compatible with integration of desires.
1. Problems with desire in Buddhism as audio only:
Download audio: 2_1 Problems with desire in Buddhism
2. The self and the ego
Explains the argument (in Buddhism and Hume) that the self is a metaphysical belief beyond experience, but suggests the ego (the wish to be a self) as a much more helpful concept that we can relate to experience. The ego is a set of projections and identifications that are not necessarily limited to one individual.
2. The self and the ego as audio only:
Download audio: 2_2_The self and the ego
3. Introducing integration
We are dependent on the ego, and cannot escape it, but we can gradually integrate conflicting egoistic desires.
3. Introducing integration as audio only:
Download audio: 2_3 Introducing integration
4. The brain hemispheres
This understanding of the role of the ego can be supported by the work of Iain McGilchrist on the specialisations of the two brain hemispheres.
4. The brain hemispheres as audio only:
Download audio: 2_4_The_brain_hemispheres
5. Individual and social integration
Integration may be thought of psychologically, but it applies just as much at the social and political level.
5. Individual and social integration as audio only:
Download audio: 2_5_Individual and social integration
6. Discussion on addiction and repression
6. Discussion in addiction and repression as audio only:
Download audio: 2_6 Discussion of addiction and repression
7. Discussion on the application of the integration model
7. Discussion on the application of the integration model as audio only:
Download audio: 2.7 Discussion on applying integration model