Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Copy of Our Course Description

How do we find purpose in our lives and cope with suffering? The Golden Triangle came to prominence in the world’s imagination as a lawless region encompassing northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma). Throughout the 20th century, but particularly during the Cold War, soldiers, criminals and addicts found purpose through drug trafficking and coped with suffering through heroin use. The legacy of that period provides a rich backdrop for exploring the psychology of desire and craving. The excesses of the pursuit of worldly wealth and power shaped the social and physical architecture of the region. Furthermore, the region still struggles with the immediate gratification and long term consequences that come from drugs and addiction – though now methamphetamines have largely replaced heroin. Finally, The Buddhist tradition of the region is steeped in techniques for understanding and overcoming desire. This global studies course will build on insights from many disciplines including psychology, sociology, biology, history and religion to address questions about purpose, suffering, and happiness. How can we build a coherent account of addiction, power and Buddhism as it plays out in the Golden Triangle?

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