Mindfulness has gone mainstream. From education to healthcare, the corporate world to criminal justice, parliament to the military, this ancient Buddhist tradition has been reignited in the Western conscience as the old cure for modern ills. The practice encourages, mostly through meditation, the observation of present thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations in a non-judgemental way. By being more mindful, advocates argue we can develop life-changing skills to temper the stresses of the modern world and begin the journey to enlightened, healthy and happy existence.
But critics argue the evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness is not strong. In a recent academic article, a number of psychologists and cognitive scientists warn that despite the hype, ‘misinformation and poor methodology associated with past studies of mindfulness may lead the public to be harmed, misled, and disappointed.’
There are no doubt certain benefits to meditation and being aware of one’s emotional state. But the mindfulness industry has co-opted these tools and over-promised their utility to sell us more stuff, from ‘mindful eating’ to wellness apps.
Far from making us happier, modern mindfulness is actually inhibiting us from tackling the real issues causing stress in our lives by trying to sell us internal solutions to external problems. If we are overworked and underpaid the problem isn’t our internal wrangling but the external conditions of our unfulfilling work life. Mindfulness tells us our problems are all in our head. But no amount of meditating can conceal the fact we may just need a new job.
Sources & further reading:
The Problem With Mindfulness:
The Mindfulness Conspiracy:
It’s often promulgated that satire is the great weapon of the powerless against the powerful. Nothing can send the unhinged megalomaniac or deranged despot faster into a toddler tantrum than simply being laughed at.
Yet there is growing criticism that today’s mainstream political satire serves to promote rather than undermine the establishment and extremist politicians. By providing the likes of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg a platform to sit on comedy panel shows and project a “down to earth” persona, willing to “have a laugh” often at their own expense, the viewer (voter) is more likely to associate that politician with the entertaining likable character from TV as opposed to the extremist politician who wants to take away their healthcare or reproductive rights.
Author and scriptwriter James O’Farrell argues that politicians are actually desperate to be satirized as they know it elevates their profile and popularity. He is scathing of the smug, condescending, supposed “satire” of Donald Trump on shows such as SNL, arguing that there is rarely any meaningful or constructive purpose to sketches but that they merely exemplify the arrogant, dismissive attitude of America’s elite toward a serious threat to the future of democracy and global power dynamics.
“At times where there ought to be outrage, comedy substitutes it with ironic acceptance”
The countless number of comedians who masquerade as political commentators see Trump as a goldmine, an endless supply of gags. But is this laughter helpful? Or is it emblematic of the same ignorance The New York Times editor Dean Baquet acknowledged when saying “we missed it” in relation to the paper’s failure to chronicle the rise and genuine appeal of Donald Trump in a grossly divided, unequal society before it was too late.
Satire can be a brilliant means of entertainment but is it the politicians who are getting the last laugh?
In this interesting piece, Simon Cade analyses the artistic process and asks what are the things that make a content creator happy.
How do you filter out critics? How do you begin to trust your intuition and progress as an artist? Cade argues the key to being a happy creator is interpretation.
It is how you interpret self doubt, discontent with your work, or criticism from others that defines your growth as a creator. And that the most successful and happy artists are not those who never fail but those who never quit.
In this extraordinary clip Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine reveals how social media is actually physically rewiring our brains.
The addictive nature of social media has become starkly apparent as anyone who takes public transport will be aware. Yet its capacity to manipulate and reshape our brains is something not often discussed and something parents should be particularly aware of in relation to exposing their children to smartphones.
Mel Robbins in this interview for Impact Theory explains why she believes motivation to be a debilitating concept which holds people back. She argues that people get fixated with the idea that “one day” they will do the things they really want to do and all that is missing is courage and motivation.
In reality however, it will always be difficult to do things which create risk in our lives and this belief in motivation contradicts the way in which are brains are designed.
Gay Talese analyses whether journalism has become a failed profession. And whether journalists going from outsiders looking in to events, to partisan insiders of particular causes has destroyed the functions of a public media
what at do you think?
Vlogging (video-blogging) and vloggers have taken the internet by storm and garnered massive followings across social media. However this video questions whether they are both corrosive for the creator and the audience.
Vlogs, while presented as organic diary entries of a person’s life are always artificial. They are edited and tailored to an audience and not an accurate presentation of one’s actual life.
The danger, especially for younger people, is expecting their own lives to be as exciting of that as the vlogger and feeling depressed and inadequate in comparison. Vlogs can be really valuable, inspiring and entertaining but it is fundamental that we realise that they are performances and give an exaggerated example of someones actual life.
This is an emerging topic and something definitely worth thinking about.