DY 002 – “The Cosmic Joke” – with guest Kenneth Folk

In by Michael W. Taft8 Comments

In this second session, we look at suffering machines, ways to suspend the necessary conditions for suffering, The Terminator, state chasing, and getting the cosmic joke.

Kenneth Folk is an instructor of meditation who has received worldwide acknowledgement for his innovative approach to secular Buddhist meditation. Learn more about him and his work at Kenneth Folk Dharma.

Books by Thomas Metzinger: Being No One and The Ego Tunnel

The actual paper we discuss can be found at: Suffering.

Theme music entitled Crossing the Abyss by Peter Baumann from his LP Machines of Desire.


  1. This is just brilliant – thanks for this chat. Have come to the same place after lots of meditation and it is quite a funny thing to see: impermanence and the twin illusions of self and free will. Life becomes infinitely more enjoyable rather than striving so hard.

  2. Loved this also, thank you so much! After listening, I keep thinking about the ‘living in the world’ part with this understanding of the cosmic joke…as well as other ideas of self as described by Metzinger. When hanging out with friends who are not mindful in the traditional sense, I often observe their cognitive mistakes/misunderstandings or their misunderstanding of my own thoughts that can be described as being based in a mindful/cosmic joke way. Would love to hear an episode or part of an episode regarding the praxis of “living in the world” with others (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) who are not on the same path.

    1. Thanks, Jessica. Do you have any recommendation for who you’d like to hear me interview about that?

  3. Thank you for your interest in the subject! Gee, not sure. Not familiar with prominent practitioners. I only stumbled upon you via the “You are not so smart” podcast and I’m thankful for that because you are turning me on to so many other thinkers/practitioners via your podcast. When I wrote ‘living in the world’ it reminded me of Heidegger’s ‘being in the world’…perhaps someone who is a philosopher as well as a practitioner but down to earth and engaged? Is that a tall order? 🙂 Though I’m sure Kenneth Folk (or Shinzen Young) would be great. Thanks again.

  4. Love your podcasts because there’s so much info. My browser tabs increase exponentially every time.
    Just relistened to this one. Funny, first time I listened I was like, oh yeah, I totally get the cosmic joke, and when I listened the second time, I was like, yeah, not today. ?

    1. Thanks, Jessica, I’m glad you like the podcast. Feel free to rate it on iTunes if you haven’t already. That would really help.

      RE: The Cosmic Joke — that’s hilarious! Yes, some days we’re just more tuned in than others.

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