The Z Files: Reflection on the Practical Implications of Views about Personal Identity
Zoe Alexander, a 27-year old artist, believes she is the subject of a case study in chapter 7 of Going to Pieces without Falling Apart (Broadway, 1998), a book written by Buddhist psychiatrist Mark Epstein. Zoe feels that her friend Epstein fumbled the analysis badly. Sure, like "Joe" (the case study), when "entering a new relationship [s]he already sees the seeds of his [her] discontent'' -- but more generally Epstein gets her totally wrong. Among the first of THE Z-FILES, then, is Zoe's e-mail to Epstein in which she sets him straight about herself. Along the way she takes the opportunity to criticize a number of his ideas about meditation, renunciation, solitude, identity, and relationships. Needing money, Zoe unfortunately was tempted to sell this very letter as fiction to a popular new magazine, Tricycle: Buddhist Review. Things might have worked out ok but for the appearance of Epstein's client, Joe Carson, who believes Zoe is trying to steal his thunder. --His thunder? Joe has been placing Personal ads citing Epstein's case study reference as his own. (Fox Mulder believes Joe Carson may be an extraterrestrial alien, which apparently is why the Z-files exist).
Belzer, Marvin, "The Z Files: Reflection on the Practical Implications of Views about Personal Identity" (2000). ICS Fellow Lectures. 3.