Tom Pepper at the Practice Posse!
Tom Pepper will join the (Non)Buddhist Practice Posse on Monday, April 11, 2022, from 6-7:30 PM EST.
I imagine that most of you are already familiar with Tom as a writer on this blog. He published some twenty pieces, including Sick Progeny? Buddhism and Psychotherapy, Buddhist Anti-Intellectualism, and the winner for all-time SNB hate mail, Buddhism as the Opiate of the (downwardly-mobile) Middle Class: The Case of Thanissaro Bhikkhu. You can see all of Tom’s SNB posts on the Author’s page. He also gathered some of these and other essays in a book, The Faithful Buddhist. This collection includes the widely-read piece, “Taking Anatman Full Strength and Śāntideva’s Ethics of Truth.”
Because of the brutal honesty and deep respect for clear thought that Tom brings to a matter, many readers were rattled by his presence on this blog. Because Tom’s approach (he did/does not suffer fools lightly) and the effect it had on people brought to my mind the spiritual kamikaze Zen figure Linji/Rinzai, I affectionately dubbed him “Pepperspray Bodhisattva.”
For a description of the group, and to register for the Pepper session, visit our Incite Seminars group page. (If you have any difficulty, please communicate via the comment section here.)
We will be discussing, together with Tom, his recent essay, “The (not so) Subtle Atman.” Here’s a teaser:
As I’m trying to write yet another essay on the problem of ideology, I find myself once again plagued by what I have called the “subtle atman” problem. Briefly, it is something like this: almost everyone in Western culture today believes in the existence of an unconstructed and “free” consciousness, which ultimately can escape all determinations of discourse, politics, economics…of all the normative social practices of everyday life; the assumptions is that once we realize we have this unconstructed self, we are free of all determination and outside of the dreaded oppression of ideology. However, these very same people also believe they are scientifically-minded, and that they are beyond any belief in this very same unconstructed consciousness. They will generally assert their belief in the various self-denying discourse (psychology, Buddhism, neuro-anything), and simultaneously depend on the very thing they are denying the existence of to provide a fantasy of escape from all present dilemmas, one that doesn’t require anything on the order of social change.
You can read the entire piece at Tom’s blog, The Faithful Altusserian.
See you Monday!