Saturday, December 3, 2016

Actually, let's not be in the moment

Good article contesting all the hype about mindfulness and being in the moment. Our brains evolved to handle past, present and future for very functional reasons, and to do all that simultaneously. Just focusing on the present can be beneficial when we get too hung up dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future, but it can also be an escape. E.g., just focusing on the present when one is being abused by a corrupt economic system might calm us down, but it might also induce us to accept such conditions. Healthy versions of memory and imagination are necessary to not only contextualize our past situation, or envision how to improve it, but also motivate us into doing something toward that goal.

Plus there is the holier-than-thou judgmental tone of the 'be here now' gurus, as if you don't just soley focus on doing the dishes then you are somehow falling into a spiritual malaise that needs fixing. It's very akin to the positive thinking movement, where if a meteor falls on you it was self-created by thinking bad thoughts. Same with it you're not rich in a corrupt economic system that sabotages your chances. There's something inherently cruel in both of those so-called spiritual systems. And if by a whole host of circumstances besides one's self effort one does achieve success in whatever form then they are deserving of it. Trump is a fine example of that sort of thinking. "This is a kind of neo-liberalism of the emotions."

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