Imagine telling Martin Luther King: It will be fine brother let’s empty our dreams and meditate.
I was walking with a friend through the aisles of a busy bookshop. I couldn’t stop to notice a sign that said self-help books with slogans of finding yourself today, be happy and the secret to success. There was the solution, perhaps, for all my problems, packed, fast and ready to go. The solution for my narcissistic issues was there this entire time in a bookshelf from mindfulness to comparing us with rats looking for cheese. However, I hadn’t realised until then that all I needed was to be happy and help myself from myself. I could do it for myself.
Then, I was skimming through a book on mindfulness that said to be with the universe as oneself and that one must be mind-empty. I won’t deny the possible benefits of mindfulness to some mental distress but mindfulness is been sold as a tool that will help us to bear the essential crisis of late-capitalism of western societies. The key point is to make us thoughtless, numb and powerless. Martin Luther King would not have a dream emptying his mind. Imagine telling Martin Luther King: It will be fine brother let’s empty our dreams and meditate.
We need to be critical thinkers or fake news will dominate actions even more. History is too important to be written without a social scrutiny. We live in a time where social segregation is back dividing us, in a time where atomic war is a possibility, in a time where world leaders are openly racists, in a time division and walls, in a time of alternative truth, in a time of automation and in a time of refugees children are left to drown. The market forces of late capitalism are driven by self-indulgent needs, designing human collective experiences such as dialogue, union and solidarity as illegal resulting in an ongoing emptiness and on the illusion of instagram endless enjoyment. It is not all wonderful now because a Google executive found the secret to happiness.
How is applicable positive psychology transforming social inequalities such homelessness hate crimes? Such seems to act as another systematic mechanism of governmentality i.e. control. There seems to be a perversity telling the oppressed: be happy! People who are being oppressed need to be engaged in a social dialogue aiming at shifting social policy. In the UK, there is an estimated 4,134 people were forced to sleep outside in 2016, up 16% on the previous year. Hate crimes rose 57 percent toward immigrants has been unleashed in the wake of the so-called Brexit vote.
Our personal crisis is directly or indirectly a consequence of a social crisis. Positive psychology and mindfulness are examples of a manipulation to passiveness of the self-repair mode instead we need the collective to be engaged in peaceful protest, civic disobedience and in politics.