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McMindfulness
McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality | Ronald Purser
5 posts | 1 read | 14 to read
A lively and razor-sharp critique of mindfulness as it has been enthusiastically co-opted by corporations, public schools, and the US military. Mindfulness is now all the rage. From celebrity endorsements to monks, neuroscientists and meditation coaches rubbing shoulders with CEOs at the World Economic Forum in Davos, it is clear that mindfulness has gone mainstream. Some have even called it a revolution. But what if, instead of changing the world, mindfulness has become a banal form of capitalist spirituality that mindlessly avoids social and political transformation, reinforcing the neoliberal status quo? InMcMindfulness, Ronald Purser debunks the so-called "mindfulness revolution," exposinghow corporations, schools, governments and the military have coopted it as technique for social control and self-pacification. A lively and razor-sharp critique, Purser busts the myths its salesmen rely on, challenging the narrative that stress is self-imposed and mindfulness is the cure-all. If we are to harness the truly revolutionary potential of mindfulness, wehave to cast off its neoliberal shackles, liberating mindfulness for a collective awakening.
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Emilymdxn
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A fascinating look at how mindfulness gets corrupted when it gets parcelled up with corporate capitalism. I loved all the background and interviews with Buddhist thinkers talking about mindfulness today departing from the original Buddhist ideas that underpinned it. Also really interesting to see how it gets used in organisations like google and the army who now do mindful killing (that‘s literally true 😕). I recommend!

KathyWheeler This looks fascinating. 3mo
SharonAlger This sounds like a thought provoking read. 3mo
Weaponxgirl I downloaded this and really need to get to it. It‘s looks like it could help me explain why I‘ve often been iffy about how mindfulness and motivational stuff is presented to me 3mo
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Emilymdxn @weaponxgirl I loved it so much. I think it‘s helped me get more into mindfulness and be clearer in my head about what I want mindfulness to be and what I want to learn from it, and avoid being sold random crap. I love that it‘s not anti mindfulness it‘s anti mindfulness being used for capitalism and the presentation of it 3mo
Weaponxgirl That sounds like exactly what I‘m looking for. I feel like the self care movement has also been co opted recently too. Capitalism really can get its teeth into anything can‘t it. 3mo
Emilymdxn @weaponxgirl yeah it concerns me so much. I find self care and spirituality really important for my wellbeing, they‘re a big factor in my mental health doing well atm, but it‘s so hard to avoid getting marketed a million expensive ‘mindful colouring books‘ and ‘mindful candles‘ and made to feel like im ‘bad at self care‘ according to others cause I‘m not spending a fortune, just trying to take time to be mentally physically and spiritually healthy 3mo
Weaponxgirl @Emilymdxn yes, I feel the same. Some areas have turned it into just a big old treat yourself mentality and the things they recommend you need are never cheap really. My self care will be completely different from someone else‘s. I‘m also like you getting concerned with how spirituality is becoming so consumerist. I‘ve been making a concerted effort to not getting drawn in thinking I need for example a certain crystal or type of incense 3mo
Weaponxgirl Especially since there are now lots of ethical issues around some so called essentials that are pushed for being a more spiritual person. It sucks as its something that used to be calming for my wellbeing but now it‘s as fraught as other areas in my life. Sorry for the essay btw 3mo
Emilymdxn @weaponxgirl no I love the essays! I feel exactly the same and it‘s so refreshing to hear you feel the same. Spirituality is very important to me and self care matters hugely to me, but it‘s not something I really want to spend money on. Walking, yoga with a free YouTube video (tho admittedly I paid for the workout clothes and mat), cooking etc. are all free and I don‘t want spirituality - religious or otherwise - to become... 3mo
Emilymdxn @weaponxgirl ...another bit of capitalism that makes people stressed and guilty. It‘s easy to feel like I‘m not ‘good enough‘ at self care or being spiritual which is such a bizarre concept but I have felt that sometimes. 3mo
Weaponxgirl @Emilymdxn whenever we have one of these conversations I always think I‘d love to go to the pub with you! But I have felt those exact same feelings, I don‘t even have a bath in my flat and so many things are like do this in the bath and a shower really isn‘t the same at all 😆 3mo
Weaponxgirl I‘ve been reading articles on cultural appropriation in the self care and spirituality communities and at how to decolonise my own practices. This has helped me a lot in not getting drawn into must haves ect. I‘ve also been looking at environmental impacts of certain things, stupidly such as candles and how lots are made from petrochemicals. I‘m looking at making my own with soy wax and some essential oils as I enjoy making things anyway 3mo
Emilymdxn @Weaponxgirl absolutely! I‘d love a pub trip. So many suggestions don‘t take into account how difficult it can be to do with little money. I went to a very positive vibes salad place for lunch the other day but it‘s hard to feel zen when you‘re panicking over how much money you‘ve spent when a salad is £ 3mo
Emilymdxn @Weaponxgirl I got some lovely natural candles from the amnesty international shop once but it‘s hard to find everyday cheap accessible candles that are ethical and okay for the planet. 3mo
Weaponxgirl @Emilymdxn yes! Money is a huge issue for me too and some stuff comes off as way too privileged. I like colouring books but the setup for nice pencils ect doesn‘t come cheap and some people just don‘t acknowledge this. I also steer clear of the mindfulness ones, they don‘t do it for me. I have a Disney villains one I got cheap that I‘m in love with instead 3mo
Weaponxgirl So if I remember correctly you live in London and I may be coming down to London in January to see a show. If you were up for it and about I‘d love to do a mini Litsy meetup? 3mo
Emilymdxn @weaponxgirl yes I‘m in London! Would be delighted to meet up any time you‘re around! It can be quite disability exclusionary too - I have to be so specific pointing out I really really can‘t do colouring with chronic pain in my hands, or knitting or anything like that, it‘s just never going to be spiritual or relaxing for me and some people just won‘t get it. And the expensive notebooks and planners and apps and food is just so much, it makes... 3mo
Emilymdxn @weaponxgirl ...you feel less good at it if you don‘t have money and that guilt is just the opposite of what I want self care to be. I agree that cultural appropriation is such an issue too particularly with yoga and other spiritual practices from other cultures 3mo
Weaponxgirl @Emilymdxn that‘s such a good point, I‘m lucky in many ways but I have a friend who has chronic pain and an invisible illness and she has to do so much planning to do the things she wants to do and hope she has a good day even with all her planning in place and a lot of things just aren‘t feasible for her. Things like taking a walk, if she isn‘t careful she will set off her symptoms and be out of action for the next day. 3mo
Weaponxgirl https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/commercialization-of-self-care-wellness I think you‘ll find this article interesting. It‘s one of my fave places on the internet for making me think more thoughtfully and coming at angles that aren‘t my own 3mo
Emilymdxn @Weaponxgirl thank you so much I‘ll read them after work! Love being able to share and discuss stuff like this with you on Litsy 3mo
Weaponxgirl I look forward to hearing what you think! 3mo
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Emilymdxn
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Train home from Edinburgh! Catching up with Litsy as I haven‘t read or been online much this week. The festival was crazy, I saw some amazing shows, some godawful shows, went on in an improv show to fill in for a friend with 10 hours notice, ate gorgeous food and had a lot of pints. Two days to recover before Ukraine now I‘m definitely doing a lot this month! Full #bfcr3 update this eve as I don‘t have my notebook of what I‘ve read with me 💖

bromeliad Please take pictures of Ukraine! I have always wanted to go! 3mo
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Emilymdxn
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Edinburgh Fringe has somehow been even more wild than I expected! This is my first time sitting down with a book for over three days, I think that‘s some kind of record for not-reading for me. Seen some amazing shows and spent a lot of time with my bf‘s family (his dad lives here and al his cousins etc. have come up too). Got about an hour with coffee, a book and the new Taylor Swift album now

Cathythoughts All sounds good there 👍🏻👍🏻 3mo
Reading_in_the_meadow How exciting!! I performed in the Fringe Festival in the early 00s. Such an amazing experience. Enjoy your time! 3mo
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Izai.Amorim
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'Mindfulness practitioners may have a very different political agenda to that of liberalism, but the risk is that they retreat into their own private worlds and particular identities - which is exactly where the neoliberal power structures want them."

Aimeesue Just read a New Statesman article on the same subject. "Purser argues that mindfulness has become the perfect coping mechanism for neoliberal capitalism: it privatises stress and encourages people to locate the root of mental ailments in their own work ethic." 4mo
batsy Pretty accurate! Reminds me of an article I've bookmarked and should get around to reading https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/14/the-mindfulness-conspiracy-... 4mo
Izai.Amorim @batsy I read it and it inspired me to buy the book. Good to see a fellow Guardian reader here. 4mo
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Izai.Amorim @Aimeesue @batsy I'm all for mindfulness but I see it as a tool not as an end in itself. Our feelings about a problem are sometimes much worse than the problem itself and paralyses us. So we must get them under control in order to SOLVE the problem. You can't meditate illness, unemployment, homelessness, abuse, bullying, etc out of existence! 4mo
Suet624 You‘re exactly right. 4mo
Izai.Amorim @Suet624 Thank you! 4mo
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Izai.Amorim
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On stress: "...neoliberal mindfulness presents stress as a maladaptive psyco-psycological reaction. ...no need to inquire into its systemic, institutional and structural causes. But how we explain and respond to suffering - individually and socially - is both ethical and political." Nailed!

Suet624 Yes! I‘m so glad someone is writing about this. 4mo
Izai.Amorim @Suet624 If we had only one word to describe ourselves and our societies in 2019 it would be "fragmented." Nothing is whole anymore. Social media increases this fragmentation. To preach meditation as a solution is almost cynical, isn't it? We need more interaction with people, not less. 4mo
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