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Exposing the Corporate "Mindfulness" Racket (w/ Ronald Purser)

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Manage episode 381407049 series 2497290
Content provided by Current Affairs. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by Current Affairs or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

"When the individualized self bears sole responsibility for its happiness and emotional wellbeing, failure is synonymous with failure of the self, not external conditions.” — Ron Purser

Ronald Purser is a Professor of Management at San Francisco State University and the author of McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. Prof. Purser’s book exposes how corporations have pushed pseudo-Buddhist “mindfulness” training to shift the burden of dealing with stress to employees without having to address the toxic work conditions that create that stress in the first place.

Today, Prof. Purser joins to discuss how mindfulness became a “therapeutic solvent” meant to help individuals cope with their problems but how it ultimately ends up obscuring the systemic causes of those problems and shifting responsibility for dealing with them. Prof. Purser is not an opponent of mindfulness practice, which he believes offers some benefits, but he is highly critical of the way mindfulness is presented as revolutionary, when it can in fact be profoundly de-politicizing. He shows how a multi-billion dollar industry has sprung up that uses appropriated, watered-down Buddhist spiritual practices and pseudo-science to convince people that the causes of their discomfort are internal rather than external.

Prof. Purser mentions the book The Happiness Industry by William Davies, as well as the work of Erich Fromm and Paulo Freire. A useful Truthout article on the corporate use of mindfulness, including “Ama-Zen,” can be found here. Prof. Purser mentions Lauren Berlant’s idea of “cruel optimism” and Kevin Healey’s concept of “civic mindfulness.” More on the Nazis’ interest in Yoga is here.

“The fundamental message of the mindfulness movement is that the underlying cause of dissatisfaction and distress is in our heads.” — Ron Purser

“Corporations have become really attracted to these mindfulness programs—because it lets management off the hook.” — Ron Purser

  continue reading

505 episodes

Artwork
iconShare
 
Manage episode 381407049 series 2497290
Content provided by Current Affairs. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by Current Affairs or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

"When the individualized self bears sole responsibility for its happiness and emotional wellbeing, failure is synonymous with failure of the self, not external conditions.” — Ron Purser

Ronald Purser is a Professor of Management at San Francisco State University and the author of McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. Prof. Purser’s book exposes how corporations have pushed pseudo-Buddhist “mindfulness” training to shift the burden of dealing with stress to employees without having to address the toxic work conditions that create that stress in the first place.

Today, Prof. Purser joins to discuss how mindfulness became a “therapeutic solvent” meant to help individuals cope with their problems but how it ultimately ends up obscuring the systemic causes of those problems and shifting responsibility for dealing with them. Prof. Purser is not an opponent of mindfulness practice, which he believes offers some benefits, but he is highly critical of the way mindfulness is presented as revolutionary, when it can in fact be profoundly de-politicizing. He shows how a multi-billion dollar industry has sprung up that uses appropriated, watered-down Buddhist spiritual practices and pseudo-science to convince people that the causes of their discomfort are internal rather than external.

Prof. Purser mentions the book The Happiness Industry by William Davies, as well as the work of Erich Fromm and Paulo Freire. A useful Truthout article on the corporate use of mindfulness, including “Ama-Zen,” can be found here. Prof. Purser mentions Lauren Berlant’s idea of “cruel optimism” and Kevin Healey’s concept of “civic mindfulness.” More on the Nazis’ interest in Yoga is here.

“The fundamental message of the mindfulness movement is that the underlying cause of dissatisfaction and distress is in our heads.” — Ron Purser

“Corporations have become really attracted to these mindfulness programs—because it lets management off the hook.” — Ron Purser

  continue reading

505 episodes

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