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Mindful : October 2017
In a freewheeling essay filled with lengthy rants about modern cultural sins (such as the selfie) that have little direct connection to the mindfulness movement, Joiner does manage to pin- point one of the main traps of meditation practice (and any effor t to increase awareness of one’s habits): self-involvement. A society, culture, and media that pro- mote and exploit high degrees of self-regard will inevita- bly yield people who twist mindfulness around to be “all about me.” But does that justify blanket statements such as “Authentic mindful- ness has been perver ted into solipsism”? Perhaps it just means that more authentic mindfulness is needed. MINDLESSNESS The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism Thomas Joiner • Oxford The message at the heart of this book is simultane- ously humbling and inspiring: We don’t know ver y much individually, but what we know collectively is astounding. Slo- man and Fernbach are cogni- tive scientists who mar vel at the power of the human mind but also count it as “pathetic.” Yes, we’ve accomplished great things, but each of us can often be irrational, error-prone, and ignorant. It’s the collective that saves us. As a group, we share knowledge developed by others and we can correct each other’s mistakes. “Intel- ligence,” they write, “resides in the community and not in any individual.” Their ultimate pre- scription: Let’s work together. THE KNOWLEDGE ILLUSION Why We Never Think Alone Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach • Riverhead “Unlike beehives, which have operated pretty much the same way for millions of years, our shared pursuits are always growing more complex and our shared intelligence more powerful.” October 2017 mindful 79