Mindlessness : The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism
Joiner, Thomas, Ph.D.
Oxford Univ Pr 2017/08
214 p. 24 cm
Chronicles the promising rise of mindfulness, then its troubling perversion in many sectors of society.
A contemplative practice with Buddhist roots, mindfulness is "the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present-moment, non-judgmentally." Practicing mindfulness can be an effective adjunct in treating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. But have we gone too far with mindfulness? Recent books on the topic reveal a troubling corruption of mindfulness practice for commercial gain, with self-help celebrities hawking mindfulness as the next "miracle drug." Furthermore, common misunderstanding of what mindfulness really is seems to be fueled by a widespread cultural trend toward narcissism, egocentricity, and self-absorption. Thomas Joiner's Mindlessness chronicles the promising rise of mindfulness and its perhaps inevitable degradation. Giving mindfulness its full due, both as a useful philosophical vantage point and as a means to address various life challenges, Joiner mercilessly charts how narcissism has intertwined with and co-opted the practice to create a Frankenstein's monster of cultural solipsism and self-importance. He examines the dispiriting consequences for many sectors of society (e.g., mental health, education, politics) and ponders ways to mitigate, if not undo, them. Mining a rich body of research, Joiner also makes use of material from popular culture, literature, social media, and personal experience in order to expose the misuse of mindfulness and to consider how we as a society can back away from the brink, salvaging a potentially valuable technique for improving mental and physical wellbeing.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview: Favor the Penguin and Fear the "Selfie" Chapter 2: Sane Mindfulness Chapter 3: Our Culture of Self-Regard: The Stare of Narcissus Chapter 4: Mindless Mindfulness: The Adam of Your Labors Chapter 5: Every Citizen a Self-Argus: Societal Consequences of Mindless Mindfulness, I Chapter 6: All Must Have Prizes: Societal Consequences of Mindless Mindfulness, II Chapter 7: Carthage Must Be Destroyed: Combating Mindless Mindfulness Chapter 8: Conclusion: Goliath Perished (In Praise of a Mindless Future)