The Problem of Mindfulness

  1. Mindfulness can be measured; but the measurement is a measures of an activityi; as opposed to the measurement of an increased level of performance. A quick abstract review shows “The available evidence does not support a strong endorsement of this approach at present.” ii “Mindfulness-based stress reduction …. may help a broad range of individuals to cope with their clinical and nonclinical problems.”iii Lots of things may help.
  2. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism. ivHaving spent much time in China, more than a dozen trips, I learned firsthand that many Chinese look at Buddhism the way many in the West look at fundamentalist christian beliefs. They look good from afar but are far from good.
  3. A former employer had a mindfulness workshop to help with workplace stress. Afterwards there were 2 camps, those who felt special that they cared and those who thought our problems could also be solved with better wages, an on-site daycare and a retirement plan.
  1. An acquaintance came to my farm to plant garlic and stay overnight with his 12 year old son. Between puffs on his marijuana he explained to me the importance of mindfulness. He went on to say all problems could be solved by mindfulness and meditation. “be in the moment man!” The conversation was annoying and I politely informed him I thought he was an idiot, not polite enough as he left not staying overnight, but he did help plant the garlic.
  1. I would not be surprised if mindful meditation was better than watching TV, but I expect exercise, teaching critical thinking, volunteering to help others, would be 10x more effective and lead to more personal change for the better.
  1. I first became annoyed by the mindful as the policy coordinator of the Ontario Green Party1990-1995. The ecology movement was devolving into an anti science, self-compassion workshop. Mindfulness was the gateway drug; a camp of the mindful was always meditating for a consensus. Results, no so much, Its the self that mattered. If you want to sabotage a group introduce mindfulness. Nothing will happen.
  1. I am easily annoyed by “lifestyle” solutions. Many think that widespread social change will happen because of individual change when the exact opposite is true. Read: Hannah Arendt: Change the world, not yourself: How the German political philosopher called out Henry David Thoreau on civil disobedience.

  1. The need is to walk away from the noise, put the phone in a box for a few days. You want a mindful relationship; spend time, not a course, workshop or technique.
  1. Mindfulness is a distraction that prevents people from critically thinking about the challenges we face as a society, it impedes action. It is the opposite to reason and thoughtful action. It takes you towards the ego, narcissism, its all the things you should set out to not be, a smug, self indulgent narcissistic.


i The measure is how you perform on mindfulness tests which is easy to measure, correlating to improving performance in areas of executive thinking, interpersonal ability is harder and less conclusive. The challenge is establishing a causative relationship.

ii Journal of psychosomatic medicine

iii Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Author Grossman, Ludger, Niemann, Schmidt, Walach

iv Mindfulness Buddhist roots,

This was a very painful article to read and copy into this letter. I have been triggered.

Weird Sly Kip January 2022 After a brisk walk in the garden and out of breath from the biting wind and the moist air of an impending snow storm.