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Madness and Mindfulness

Willmott, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-1321-7041 (2018). Madness and Mindfulness. In: Stanley, S., Purser, P. E. & Singh, N. N. (Eds.), Handbook of Ethical Foundations of Mindfulness. (pp. 259-281). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-76538-9_14


The chapter examines the institutionalization of unreason and the potential role of meditation in disclosing its roots. It is argued that meditative awareness can enable critical reflection on, and transformation of, practices that diminish our rational awareness. Mindfulness may contribute to this awareness, but its lack of an ethical frame renders it vulnerable to narcissistic appropriation and corporate commercialization. Accordingly, mindfulness is limited in disclosure, and counteracting, of the needless perpetuation of suffering associated with ego-building and defensive emotions, as manifest in contemporary expressions of sectarianism and fanaticism. The examination of antidotes to unreason and freedom is accomplished through a series of critical reflections upon the insights generated by Wright Mills’ The Sociological Imagination, Carol Hanisch’s “The Personal is Political,” and Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. These texts provide complementary commentaries on the development of progressive, emancipatory consciousness and praxis to which, I conjecture, meditation, as distinct from the mindfulness movement, contributes.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an chapter published in the 'Handbook of Ethical Foundations of Mindfulness'. The final authenticated version is available online at:
Publisher Keywords: Mindfulness, Meditation, Hanisch, Sectarianism, Praxis ,The Other, The Sociological Imagination, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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