Episode 15 - Discussing David Foster Wallace with Krzys Piekarski


In this episode, we talk with Krzys Piekarski, PhD. Krzys is a DFW scholar who has written extensively on DFW and Buddhism. He also runs a wisdom program in Austin called Character by Design: https://characterbydesign.org/

We cover a variety of topics in this show, from parables to stress and boredom to the basics of Buddhism and how it manifests in Wallace’s writing. 

The book Krzys mentions is at the end of the show is called Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and we talk about the books of Steven Batchelor - Buddhism without Beliefs.

His podcast, with author Sunni Brown is called Sunni & Wise. http://sunniandwise.com / @sunniandwise

There are some weird booming sounds in this episode. Sorry about that!


Show Notes

01:46 - Introduction Krzys & his teaching background

03:00 - Teaching in prison

04:24 - Krzys’s dissertation on Buddhism, Philosophy, and David Foster Wallace

06:48 - Can Wallace be considered a Buddhist thinker?

08:30 - Krzys’s path to Buddhism

11:00 - DFW’s undergrad years at Amherst & Wittgenstein

12:08 - Wittgensteinian zen parable

14:14 - The limits of language

14:25 - Buddhism 101

15:15 - Suffering

18:59 - How we can gain freedom

21:50 - George Saunders calls Wallace a great Buddhist writer

23:57 - Wallace and meditation

25:38 - The boredom thing

29:11 - Flow state

35:49 - What is the purpose of life?

36:00 - David Foster Wallace and the Velveteen Rabbit

38:30 - Escape from the self

43:10 - Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

44:20 - Mario Incandenza

47:00 - Disgust and addicts

52:00 - Trying to express inexpressible truths

53:20 - Double binds

57:20 - Stepping in to a monastery

1:00:30 - Sincere curiosity 

1:02:15 - There is nothing missing in you

1:07:00 - Show wrap-up, thanks, and links






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