Meditation: Self and Society

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Inner peace. Stress reduction. Calmness. Clarity. These are terms commonly associated with meditation (and mindfulness) today. And it is difficult to deny that silent and attentive sitting does yield such affirmative results—for the individual. This success, however, may bear the seeds of a serious shortcoming. Meditation/mindfulness provides the individual with a method for uncoupling from tensions associated with living in our hyper-accelerated techno-consumerist capitalist society. This respite is only temporary. Tomorrow, it all starts over. In this way—in creating an individual who can retain inner peace within our social maelstrom—meditation inadvertently functions as society’s “perfect ideological supplement.” Must it be this way? This seminar is an investigation into the possibility that contemplative practice might impact the social formations that institutionalize the very anxieties we wish to escape.