#487. How (And Why) To Lose Yourself | Jay Garfield
Today’s episode looks at one of the hardest Buddhist principles to grasp— the notion that the self is an illusion. Many people get stuck on the misunderstanding that they don’t exist. They look in the mirror and say, “Of course I exist. I’m right there.” And that’s true, you do exist, but just not in the way you think you do.
Today’s guest, Jay Garfield explores this notion by arguing that you are indeed a person just not a self— a principle that can simultaneously feel both imponderable and liberating.
Jay Garfield is the Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Buddhist Studies at Smith College and a visiting professor of Buddhist philosophy at Harvard Divinity School. He is the Author of multiple books, including his latest, which is called, Losing Ourselves: Learning to Live without a Self.
In this episode we talk about:
- The difference between a person and a self
- The problems with being taken by the illusion of selfhood
- Why he believes the illusion of self is not an evolutionary design flaw
- The many benefits of “losing ourselves”
- How to actually lose ourselves
- The concept of Interconnection
- His definition of real happiness
- The difference between pain and suffering and how to have the former without the latter
Where to find Jay Garfield online:
- Losing Ourselves: Learning to Live without a Self
- Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration
- Engaging Buddhism: Why It Matters to Philosophy
Other Resources Mentioned:
- The Müller-Lyer Illusion
- The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme
- Bhadantácariya Buddhaghosa
- Jessica Nordel’s Past Ten Percent Happier Episode
- Thupten Jinpa
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