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An article by The Guardian from 2019 states that the mindfulness movement has become "the new capitalist spirituality" - "magical thought on steroids", that instead of subverting "the neoliberal order", today "only reinvigorates its destructive logics."

by Carlo Carnevale
An article from The Guardian in 2019 states that the mindfulness movement has become the "new capitalist spirituality" – "magical thinking on steroids" that, instead of subverting the "neoliberal order," now "only serves to invigorate its destructive logic."

This McMindfulness as Ronald Purser calls it, has been "stripped of the moral teachings on ethics that accompanied it, as well as the liberative aim of dissolving attachment to a false sense of self while enacting compassion for all living beings." Thus, rather than "discussing how attention is monetized and manipulated by major corporations like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple," McMindfulness suggests that we "locate the crisis in our minds." As a result, any " potential, transformative, social, or political" impact is neutralized by meditators who simply refine their ability to cope with "the toxic conditions that make them stressed," leaving these conditions intact, if not strengthened.

This argument is not new – it has been presented multiple times by scholars of religion, including Buddhists (such as Purser himself), as well as prominent social critics like Slavoj Zizek in his essay Less Than Nothing.

However, first-person experience is gradually gaining an increasingly critical role in our understanding of natural and social phenomena, and if this is true, then understanding what it means to experience – to notice, react to, and then contemplate the results of our reactions – must be central to developing mindful activity towards the present momento.
And indeed many studies seem to indicate that meditators are anything but pacified in inaction; for example, they exhibit significant and proactive tendencies towards compassionate action and appear to be less prone to discrimination.

Sources & Further Readings:
R. Purser, 2019, The Mindfulness Conspiracy, The Guardian
R. Purser, 2014, “The Myth of the Present Moment”, Springer
A. Lee, 2019, A Review of McMindfulness, Mindful.

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