Self and Subjectivity: A Middle Way Approach
In a Glass Hour is a lecture series devoted to exploring the topic of time from the diverse perspectives of media theorists, scientists, artists, historians, journalists and others. Taking a broadly interdisciplinary approach to this singular subject, the series will point to the elasticity of this pervasive topic.
We are not, Buddhist tradition holds, our forms, feelings, perceptions, experiences or consciousness. All these, over time, shift, fade, distort, realign, morph. They do not — cannot — comprise selfhood. In this talk, Dreyfus explores the Buddhist concept of no-self, and the ways this view — challenging as it is for many Westerners — is in sync with recent scientific ideas about subjectivity and identity evolving over time.
Prof. Georges Dreyfus lived for over a decade as a Tibetan monk in the exile community in India and was the first Westerner to obtain the title of Geshe Lharampa, the highest degree conferred within the traditional Tibetan monastic system. He is presently Professor of Religion at Williams College. An expert in Tibetan Buddhist scholastic traditions and Mahayana philosophies, he has taught academic, Buddhist community, and general audiences. In addition, his research interests include post-colonial and cross-cultural studies and the study of religious intellectual practices, traditions, and identity. He is the author of a number of books, including Recognizing Reality: Dharmakirti's Philosophy and its Tibetan Interpretations and The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk. He received his Baccalaureate at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and his PhD in the History of Religions from the University of Virginia.