The MWS Podcast: Episode 7, Stephen Batchelor

In this episode, the secular Buddhist author Stephen Batchelor talks about his interest in photography and collage, how he sees art as an integrative practice and how he feels it relates to the Middle Way.

The Youtube version of the talk is illustrated with pictures from Stephen’s ‘Imperfect Mirrors’ series.


MWS Podcast 7: Stephen Batchelor as audio only:
Download audio: MWS_Podcast_7_Stephen Batchelor

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About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

2 thoughts on “The MWS Podcast: Episode 7, Stephen Batchelor

  1. Hearing Steven describe his collage reminds me of the cut-up techniques employed by William Burroughs and Brian Gysin, also in Stevens writing I feel you can discern a similar patterning at play.

  2. I enjoyed listening to Stephen Bachelor’s talk very much. I liked particularly the parallel he pointed to re his photographs of reflective surfaces: the camera ‘sees’ and manifests two images, one of which the human brain usually ‘ignores” in favour of the image that fulfils our ‘desires’. So we fail to see the refelected image of the street, of ourself, and of passers-by and traffic etc. in favour of the image of shoes or other attractive commodities in a shop window. Batchelor points to this as a help to our understanding of the ’emptiness of intrinsic identity’ of objects/phenomena, and I think it helped mine.

    I also found appealing his affinity with weathered and distressed objects (e.g. bits of paper he collects for his collages). As a nurse, I’ve always had a similar affinity with weathered, distressed and diseased bodies and body parts. Unnatural as this may seem to others (and distasteful too for some) I find a strange beauty in such things as skin-cancers, tumours, ulcers and wounds. I cannot ever find such things ugly or repellant, on the contrary they speak to me in a way that evokes tenderness and respect. I’ve known other nurses who say the same, but many of course don’t.

    Somewhere ‘on the edge of my awareness’ is/has been the feeling that – by encountering the beauty and dignity of such manifestations – the lesion, tumour or bedsore recognises me, and in that mutual recognition arises the capacity for some kind of healing opportunity.

    I’m grateful to Barry, Stephen, (and Norma, Richard and Julian for their facilitative questions) for this opportunity to make this comment, and partake in the integrative energy of the podcast.

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