The Ideological Turn; new podcast episode challenges Buddhists

Ideology word cloud

This is…The Ideological Turn

On your marks, get Set, Go! Yes, yes, a new turn has been churned out of the creative imagination of yours truly in accordance with the tradition of The Great Feast. Three diners sit around this turn’s table and it’s a rather European affair.

Two Frenchmen and an Italian hold centre stage providing us with an intimate exploration of ideology and its central role in identity, practice and subjectivity. As an often ignored plain of human practice, it is required learning for the more mature practitioner, and the more intelligent newcomer to the practising life.

A creative moment or two emerge once again in this turn and as it’s an extended monologue, so I think that it is entirely appropriate, but feel free to disagree, to insert some playfulness and musical mayhem. To help you along your way, I shall also provide an overview of the content covered. Each thinker’s thought is brought back to Buddhism and the practising life, so if it sometimes feels overtly pedagogical, be patient, meaningful and relevant links are made but the background really is essential for the bigger picture to become clearer: Don’t be tempted to slip back into anti-intellectualism now!


The basic narrative arc starts with an introduction to the themes that ideology confronts us with, meets a key Italian figure in the development of our understanding of ideology, which he developed whilst unjustly imprisoned by the Fascists of his time, goes back in time to France to meet the word’s maker, comes forward in time to bump into a rather paranoid Frenchman, who takes everything further, and then finishes off with practice tips and a remake of the Bodhisattva vow.

Practise tips are actually present throughout, however, and the more discerning listener will see just how much gold dust and nuggets can be sifted from this enduring topic.

If it’s all too much, you might want to listen in more than one sitting and ponder the goods served up by these great thinkers and my own humble attempt to make their ideas as relevant and contemporary as possible to practitioners like you and why not wash it all down with a nice cup of Ted Meissner tea.

Menu of the Day: Great Feast Specials

  1. Overview of the themes that ideology forces us to confront.
  2. Antonio Gramsci; ideas that capture populations and Buddhist groups, cultural hegemony…interdependence of the underappreciated kind.
  3. Antoine Destutt de Tracy: coining ideology, the science of ideas, the sensual nature of ideas, ideaophobes…feelings are wrapped in ideology (who would’ve thought it).
  4. Louis Althusser: identification, capture, the naturalness of it all…how ideology is in your subjective experience and on your meditation cushion.
  5. Practise tips: entering the Great Feast, the bodhisattva vow…committing to the world beyond our dreams and fantasies.

Background music is provided by some wonderful local musicians from Trieste; Riccardo Morpurgo Trio, a jazz ensemble, and Amorth, a music producer and electronic music artist. Along with these two dynamos, we have a fantastic Trip Hop artist still going strong from the UK, Funki Porcini.

This episode’s brief introduction was crafted by my wonderful 12 year old son.

As always, feedback is gently recommended. Exchange is the price we pay. Donations are welcomed at the Imperfect Buddha site, however small. Give something back for a change and screw neo-liberalism and its excesses.


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