53. IBP: Daniel Ingram on the Practicing Life


After the creative wonders of the Critical Turn #1, we have the magical appearance of Daniel Ingram in two conversations covering a great deal of ground. Our first conversation covers a wide range of topics from practice to waking up, from generation-X to cynicism. The second covers a series of posts from the Speculative non-Buddhism site called Trash Theory. We discuss the SNB briefly and then tackle some weird and wonderful postulates those boys have been playing with of late. That second episode will be released within the next 24 hours.

Both episodes feature the same introduction and will be released in the same week. This is because folks will likely get more out of one episode than the other; though I shall post them in the order we recorded them.

The second episode is also incomplete and Daniel and I will be recording its follow up this coming Thursday (20th June, 2019), which means you have the opportunity to chip in with your own comments, complaints or curiosities, though you’ll obviously have to be quick.

It’s possible that we will also tackle some of Ken Wilber’s work in that episode and Daniel’s take on it, so if you have any insights into why Wilber was full of it, or specific points that underline problems with Ken’s work more generally, let me have them, as I have only a superficial reading of his work and never felt motivated to read beyond a general introduction to his ideas, which seem pretty simplistic, though potentially useful.

Music is supplied by Kali Phoenix & Hundred Strong: https://hundredstrong.bandcamp.com/album/voices

O’Connell Coaching: https://oconnellcoaching.com
Post-Traditional Buddhism: https://posttraditionalbuddhism.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/imperfectbuddha
Twitter: twitter.com/Imperfectbuddha


  1. Interesting conversation, thanks. Daniel seems to be describing a simplification of post-structuralism when associating this with relativism (and nihilism). It is as if he has written off contemporary philosophy.

    I wonder if Daniel might accept that another practitioner who has as much ability in buddhist practises as he does and also has a deeper understanding of contemporary philosophy, may have insights that are out of reach for him right now.

    Obviously there are examples of intellectuals who are out of balance (it sounds like Daniel went there) and practitioners who are out of balance (it sounds like Daniel might be there). And “balance” is not necessarily preferable.

    Daniel is finding all sorts of new territory in phenomenology. But he believes he has exhausted the potential of philosophy. Perhaps Daniel would agree that civilisation has created new problems (e.g. climate change, neoliberalism, nuclear weapons, alternative facts…) If he does agree, then maybe he could imagine that civilisation is not just constructing problems but also navigating new territory.

    A major criticism of Wilber is his lack of a response to post-structuralism (I hesitate to use post-modernism because that typically leads to strawman debates over relativism). A philosophy like that of Deleuze does not “fit” easily in Wilber’s “system”. But I think you will struggle to go there with Daniel unless Daniel can get over nihilism as the end point of philosophy (which is a bit like proclaiming the “dark night” to be the limit of phenomenology).

    I would like to understand if Daniel explores social processes through his practises and do those practises provide insights into political processes. Given that he is looking to find a “happier” place to live it appears not.

    Daniel seems to reflect an ideology that associates phenomenology with agency. He has dissociated subjectivity from experience, but I think he needs to do some philosophy if he wants to see a path to dissociating agency from experience. That might upset the happiness goal 🙂

    Daniel is obviously doing a lot of good. But I think phenomenology pushed to that degree needs an equal dose of philosophy. Given where Daniel is at with his practise, it would be great if he could understand social constructionism to a similar degree (it is pragmatic, it does speak to embodiment). If it helps, Derrida (who promoted deconstruction) was a phenomenologist and politically engaged.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Mark.

        The discussion with Daniel has already been recorded and will be posted in January. We don’t get into Derrida, which shouldn’t surprise you, as it doesn’t surprise me that Wilber would misread the man to fit him into his vision of the world or suit his own intellectual purposes. I’ll look forward to your comments on the discussion when it’s up.

        As for the podcast list, at present the best solution I’ve found is the playlist you can find under the podcast link on this site. I shall investigate further and see what can be done by a non-techno savvy fellow like myself.


  2. This was enjoyably dense.

    Though, I have the feeling Daniel doth protest too much against the Devil’s Advocate cultural-contextual view of experience (both naive and contemplative) that you asked him to respond to. I really appreciated the way you mapped the mutual caricatures that can take the place of good faith discussion across such divides.

    In fact, it made me think of some times you seem to fall into such caricatures when you speak/write of “the Left” that you feel increasing alienated from. This popped into my mind as while I lap up your podcasts, I find the direction your politics has shifted in the last while has not inspired/impressed or agreed with me. I’ve not yet found a way to crystallise in my own mind where we diverge enough so as to offer it to you, so I’ve kept stumm. But I expect all will be revealed when you do your politics Critical Turn.

    To be honest, I am not looking forward to that one, but I’ll give it a whirl nonetheless, because you’ve done and continue to put out so much good stuff that few others can match.

    On the plus side, I am looking forward to part two of your chats with Daniel. I shall do so presently.


    • Thank you for listening and commenting, in spite of any suspicions you might have. I may disappoint you ultimately, but perhaps in an unexpected manner. My politics have never been revealed in any explicit manner; elements of it have leaked out perhaps. The capacity to interpret remains strong amongst listeners nonetheless and I tend to believe that this says more about them than me, especially as the concern is always formulated as a statement of concern, rather than a question.

      I will be practising a non- position towards politics and identity and practice when I finally find time to record the Political Turn, then you can make up your mind all you like, although I will only say that my interest in political affiliation is one of disinterest in the manner of the non-Buddhist heuristic. I participate democratically wholeheartedly over here in Italy and Europe and am always looking to avoid getting sucked into the allure of partisanship and parochial concerns.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the reply. This non- position ‘strategy’ you practise sounds very subtle and I imagine, is difficult to do. I will have to see if I can tune into more signs of that.

        Of course, I don’t deny much of what I’m claiming to hear in your political shift is on my side, but I doubt I’m projecting all of it. We shall see.

        All the best.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s