Mindfulness and Its Discontents: Education, Self, and Social Transformation

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    David Forbes

    Publisher: Fernwood

    Year: 2019

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 254 pages

    ISBN: 9781773631165

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Mindfulness, a way to alleviate suffering by realizing the impermanence of the self and our interdependence with others, has been severed from its Buddhist roots. In the late-stage-capitalist, neoliberal, solipsistic West, it becomes McMindfulness, a practice that instead shores up the privatized self, and is corporatized and repackaged as a strategy to cope with our stressful society through an emphasis on self-responsibility and self-promotion. Rather than a way to promote human development and social justice, McMindfulness covertly reinforces neoliberalism and capitalism, the very self-promoting systems that worsen our suffering. In Mindfulness and Its Discontents, David Forbes provides an integral framework for a critical, social, moral mindfulness that both challenges unmindful practices and ideas and provides a way forward. He analyzes how education curricula across North America employ mindfulness: to help students learn to succeed in a neoliberal society by enhancing the ego through emphasizing individualistic skills and the self-regulation of anger and stress. Forbes argues that mindfulness educators instead should uncover and resist the sources of stress and distress that stem from an inequitable, racist, individualistic, market-based (neoliberal) society and shows how school mindfulness programs can help bring about one that is more transformative, compassionate and just.

About the Author

David Forbes is the co-editor of Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context, and Social Engagement and author of Boyz 2 Buddhas.

What People Are Saying

Forbes’s trenchant analysis of mindfulness in American culture will appeal to readers interested in the intersection of market forces and spirituality. - Publishers Weekly; Extending and deepening the McMindfulness critique, David Forbes takes a fearless stance by peeling away the self-centered, hedonic façade and rhetorical muddle of the Minefulness Industrial Complex. - Ron E. Purser, author of Handbook of Mindfulness and McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality.; David Forbes develops a much-needed focus on a range of misuses of mindfulness in Western culture that distort education and personal development and consequently inhibit social and cultural change. - Deborah Orr, York University; Forbes then makes the case that our current political, ecological and economic realities require kids and teachers who’re able to critically engage at a civic level. He lays out a mindfulness curriculum that includes a strong, socially engaged practice teachers can introduce. - The London Free Press

Table of Contents

Introduction: Non/Song of My Non/Self
A Fateful Deal
McMindfulness and Neoliberalism: A Prophetic Critique
The Mindfulness Industrial Complex: The Happy Self
Seeing Things “As They Are”: Relative and Absolute
Mind, Self, and Transformation
Smile, Anger, Judgement
What Water? Moral Passion and Truth in David Foster Wallace
Interiority: The Persistence of Inner Life
Interiority: Self and Moral Development
Culture as Context: Malignant Normalcy
Society as Context: Neoliberal Education
Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness
Neuroscience: The Search for the Golden Egg
New Visions for a Counter Program

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