Now that’s just fugazi. One of the common recurrent themes in self-help guru books is that somehow meditation palpably alleviates all pain and worries of the human race. A multitude of books even go on to argue that through the act of sitting in a chair and breathing, one can efficaciously reduce global warming by having a mindset shift; all it takes is instead of consumerism ie) desiring that new iPhone or handbag to focusing on “spiritual enlightenment”. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if escapism is your ideal mote to achievement and success, and I’m sure the occasional CH4 released from these spiritual seminars in convalescence with incense is supposedly very great for the environment.
The issue with these self-help guru books as with most other training programs, modules, etc. are there are no palpably delineated steps that can actually affect change. Instead, they focus on culture, culture, culture, belabored the point of brainwashing humdrum without delivering real results. They essentially are grandiose claims based on a very implausible cultural shift instead of viewing it as a positive baby step towards self awareness.
Let’s say climate change does go away in our imaginative space of meditation, just for an ephemeral moment in which we close our eyes. Some gurus emphasize that by making the internal environment of the soul, the terra firma solidly sound, one can outwardly project happiness and brightness into the world. It’s almost as if one is now in the world but not a citoyen du monde of it which effectively renders them useless to society. Effecting the mind and disengaging from reality may be great for some people: hermits, but for the rest of us, happiness derives from the connectivity to others and our world.
The sensuality in what on sees, touches, feels, provide the proprioception and barometer for social awareness. In order to inspire people, it’s not only through the projection of the inner self that generates motivation and inspiration for others, but through our social status, our dreams and aspirations and our abilities to not only cultivate ourselves but our relationships with others. People look up to those that have personal qualities or material means in which they aspire to attain.
These structures of happiness- the new car, the new handbag, the new whatever it is in the ends of consumerism that ultimately contribute to global warming may be a static cultural issue that will never change. Instead of teaching people not to indulge, we should teach them to indulge within their means, to ensure that their good works exceed their vices, not to advocate for an ascetic life.
This is not to say that the fashion and luxury market or consumerism is a positive movement within society. In as much as fashion is a means of expression, it like other means of capitalism comes at the expense of cheap labor. The upward trajectory of the industry relies on the beautiful helpless narrative of the starving artist as it staffs underpaid, overworked interns who do not view themselves as products of exploitation due the honor they were given to work in such a space.. Like other forms of business and capitalism, it thrives on sales and employment of resources: the peer pressure of keeping up with the Johnsons and exploitation of Earth’s animals and resources to provide a commodity.
The endless four-loop of capitalism does indeed lead to a black hole of endless consumerism. However, instead of the dire culture shift that negates the viral nature of humanity in itself, let us inspire balance, and curate tangible action plans to reach our goals. Perhaps we may not need 100 Louis Vuitton shoes or handbags, but budgeting for a few and treasuring its life in as much as we value ours and others is key to genuine happiness.
If we were to perceive society not in the means of wealth as upper, middle, and lower class but indulgence mindset we find that there is a mirror in the effete hedonists, the work-hard play hard, and the enslaved worker who views work itself as an indulgence. The ends to all three of these indulgences is uselessness as one burns out, either to find instant gratification’s root is meaningless or work to be of futility.
Instead of viewing meditation as an escape or umbrella treatment for societal pains, it rather should be viewed as one of simply self-discovery with no ends. Sometimes the active act of desultory wandering of the mind and stillness of body, leads one to purpose and meaning where other places of stimulus inundation cannot.