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How Mindfulness Morphed from Ancient Spiritual Practice to Big Business
08-12-2019, 08:04 AM
Post: #1
How Mindfulness Morphed from Ancient Spiritual Practice to Big Business
The roots of mindfulness as a spiritual practice go back thousands of years. But today, corporations like Facebook and Google are using it as a technique to extract more productivity and more profits from workers.

reathe!” The contemporary white-collar worker is constantly exhorted. Capitalism drives us crazy and makes us sick. But whatever the malady — anxiety, hypertension, or trouble focusing at work — “mindfulness” is touted as the cure.

On November 21, at McNally Jackson’s bookstore in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, Jacobin’s Liza Featherstone talked with Ron Purser, a practicing Buddhist and a professor of management at San Francisco State University, about his new book McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality, on the present-day neoliberal uses of this ancient practice.

Stress is such a ubiquitous complaint now. But I learned from reading your book that as a feeling, phenomenon, and word, it’s fairly new. Can you historicize stress for us?

The term “stressed out” didn’t enter the common parlance until the early 1980s.

There was this bizarre diagnosis, in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, called neurasthenia. Also often referred to as nerve disorder or a problem of nervous exhaustion, it afflicted primarily the upper class, the elites.

Especially intellectuals!
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