Monday, 9 November 2015

Technology of the self

Not the first time this has been pointed out, but a good summary of the unspoken ideology behind everybody's favourite self-management tool:
In short, mindfulness is a technology of the self. What becomes of the goal of stress reduction when neoliberal culture sees stress as a personal failure of the individual to successfully adapt to the demands of productivity or of being a team player? Mindfulness proponents train individual students and teachers to be present-focused, self-regulate difficult emotions such as anger, improve concentration, get along with others, and decrease stress. This masks the actual conditions of schooling, including adverse ones that give rise to stress, and any critical analysis of the cultural, social, and moral factors that contribute to one’s well-being or lack of it. Children learn to see stressful experiences and how they respond to them as their responsibility—there is something inside of me I alone must change instead of looking at how my problems arise within unjust societal relationships and systems.
A degree of self-control is good for everybody, IMO. But this looks less like self-control than other-control. Article by David Forbes.