a reply to: MoonBlossom
Mindfulness is being studied in about 250 different universities worldwide, right now.
Mindfulness in schools initiatives - of which I am a part of in the province of Ontario - are proliferating, in states, provinces, cities and
Clearly, if there are obvious problems - climate change - and so few people able to understand the need for a response, the problem is obviously the
mind; which is to say, the entire system which helps 'bring into being' the minds which can't mount an effective response to the problem. Let alone
even acknowledge the existence of one. From a scientific perspective - people in the know are witnessing a catastrophic disjunction between what
science has learned about mental processes, from cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, traumatology, relational psychoanalysis, social and
affective neuroscience and psychoanalytical systems theory - and contemporary society.
To say this another way, the "objectivist" evil of Ayn Rands philosophy - and the overt proponents of it in the "tea party movement", are
delusionally dissociated from actual empirical reality. It is by no means a coincidence that the Koch brothers fund it; just as they fund the
menacingly titled "human paleoclimate change" exhibit at the smithsonian museum in Washington D.C.
To put this more directly: evolution needs to be taught in schools, so kids will understand the complementarity between environment and organism in
shaping development; with this emphasis comes practices that develop socio-emotional functioning like mindfulness; as well as teaching methods based
in humanities "environment of evolutionary adaptedness" - that is, a classroom that functions like a tribe, with the teacher as the "wise elder";
and also small classrooms, as human beings aren't designed for social relatedness in groups larger than 15 (this has been shown in study after
All of this - if we care at all about our planet, our mental and emotional health and the general well-being of our societies - implies the need for
greater public investments in education - because the private sphere will never be led to do anything that doesn't hold the promise for $$$$.
In a sense, today's generation is lost. Someone narcissistically identified with his beliefs - unaware of it and unable to find a perch from which to
witness his own narcissistic entrapment - it is essentially impossible to convince him that he is wrong. As said, his self - his very ability to
"feel" himself, is socially invested in his views on things. From childhood upwards, his neurobiology not only supports a particular affective
direction (a way of relating) but with that direction is a group of people who confirm and support his views - that is, provides constant
"recognition" of his self.
Recognition is what underlies self experience. In children who are neglected or severely abused - they never develop a self because an important
"other" - a mother or some significant other, never helped draw her consciousness inward to observe and eventually learn to "know" and "love"
(recognize) her own subjective experience.
The converse of this situation underlies the narcissistic ignorance that prevents cognitive development: if you're personal self experience is
'bound up' with your views - and these views are shared and mutually held by others - the recognition inherent in this dynamic, which you and the
others all depend upon for self-confirmation, prevent growth.
Because of this, any attempt to convince naysayers of the need for social-reform from an industrial model to an ecological model - and the
implications therein, in terms of the enhanced role of government, greater regulation of markets, etc will inexorably result in dissociation: an
unconscious "negation" of what you just said, and concomitantly a renewed focus on "what makes sense to you" - because in the cognitive dissonance
of hearing contrary and unsettling views, the unconscious is already preempting integration by focusing consciousness on that self-narrative which
upholds cognitive stability.
Thus, education. Raise the next generation to think more clearly and lucidly so that a larger number will be able to address these challenges in ways
that our present generation seems structurally unable to do. Sad, but this is just how it is. Evolution is a powerful tool though; it explains the
coupling between environment and organism; evolution, contrary to the insipid and myopic "social darwinian" angle, is all about ecological
relationships; between organism and environment; and with human beings, with individual minds and the social-cultural 'environments' they are
brought up within.
To gain knowledge of this is to gain SANITY. And to gain sanity is to finally be able to guide ourselves - all of us together - to a future where we
can live peaceably with one another; and, I think, focus ourselves on spiritual and scientific pursuits.