Mindfulness and Its Discontents

Education, Self, and Social Transformation

By David Forbes  

Paperback $25.00

This book will ship by March 4th, 2019.

Mindfulness, a way to alleviate suffering by realizing the impermanence of the self and our interdependence with others, has been severed from its Buddhist roots. In the late-stage-capitalist, neoliberal, solipsistic West, it becomes McMindfulness, a practice that instead shores up the privatized self, and is corporatized and repackaged as a strategy to cope with our stressful society through an emphasis on self-responsibility and self-promotion. Rather than a way to promote human development and social justice, McMindfulness covertly reinforces neoliberalism and capitalism, the very self-promoting systems that worsen our suffering.

In Mindfulness and Its Discontents, David Forbes provides an integral framework for a critical, social, moral mindfulness that both challenges unmindful practices and ideas and provides a way forward. He analyzes how education curricula across North America employ mindfulness: to help students learn to succeed in a neoliberal society by enhancing the ego through emphasizing individualistic skills and the self-regulation of anger and stress. Forbes argues that mindfulness educators instead should uncover and resist the sources of stress and distress that stem from an inequitable, racist, individualistic, market-based (neoliberal) society and shows how school mindfulness programs can help bring about one that is more transformative, compassionate and just.

Extending and deepening the McMindfulness critique, David Forbes takes a fearless stance by peeling away the self-centered, hedonic façade and rhetorical muddle of the Minefulness Industrial Complex.

— Ron E. Purser, author of Handbook of Mindfulness and McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality.

David Forbes develops a much-needed focus on a range of misuses of mindfulness in Western culture that distort education and personal development and consequently inhibit social and cultural change.

— Deborah Orr, York University

  • Media & Culture
  • ISBN: 9781773631165
  • Forthcoming May 2019
  • 184 Pages
  • For sale worldwide

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  • Introduction: Non/Song of My Non/Self
  • A Fateful Deal: A Story
  • McMindfulness: A Prophetic Critique
  • The Mindfulness Industrial Complex: The Happy Self
  • Seeing Things “As They Are”: Relative and Absolute
  • Mind, Self, and Transformation
  • Anatomy of a Smile
  • Prophetic Anger
  • What Water? Moral Passion and Truth in David Foster Wallace
  • The Death of Bin Laden
  • In Defense of Interiority (Self) and Context (Culture and Society)
  • Interiority: The Persistence of Inner Life
  • Interiority: Self and Moral Development
  • Culture as Context: Malignant Normalcy
  • Society as Context: Neoliberal Education
  • Social Emotional Learning: Self-Management for Neoliberal Success
  • Neuroscience: The Search for the Golden Egg
  • New Visions for a Counter Program
  • References
  • Index


  • David Forbes

    David Forbes is the co-editor of Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context, and Social Engagement and author of Boyz 2 Buddhas.

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