I’ll say this for the Guardian website – it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I did a double-take when I read an articlei there today, with the heading “EU officials being trained to meditate to help fight climate crisis”. Briefly I found myself wondering if it was 1st April, since both the headline and the article itself read like a spoof. Then I remembered that it’s May, even though the temperatures outside feel more like early April.

From start to finish, it’s one long catalogue of pointlessness in the brave new world where mindfulness apparently trumps reality. Straight away, we learn:

Brussels officials are being trained to meditate to help them tackle the climate crisis as part of a new wave of “applied mindfulness” that seeks to take the Buddhism-inspired practice “off the cushion” and into hard politics.

EU officials working on the 27-country bloc’s green deal climate policy are attending “inner green deal” courses intended to foster a deeper connection among decision-makers and negotiators tasked with tackling the crisis. The courses incorporate woodland walks near Brussels and meditation sessions, including one that invites participants to feel empathy for trees and animals to boost “environmental compassion”.

How lovely. How could anyone object? Shockingly, some managers are reported as showing impatience at being asked to meditate, because instead they want to get down to business, presumably regarding meditation as being a waste of time. I’m not sure what’s worse. Thinking that meditation can solve the world’s “climate crisis”, or thinking that getting down to business can solve the world’s “climate crisis”.

If anyone ever feels the need to kowtow to the overwhelming wisdom of those who write IPCC reports, perhaps they should meditate on the fact that:

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the need for “inner transitions” and the potential of meditation to encourage lower-carbon lifestyles.

As if that isn’t bad enough, we then learn that all this isn’t confined to the hallowed halls of Brussels and the report-writing nerve centre of the IPCC. Not at all. It turns out that the mindfulness epidemic has reached Westminster too:

Some UK MPs are backing a policy report launched this week that argues examining the human heart and mind is the “missing dimension” in the global response to the climate crisis.

The report, overseen by the Mindfulness Initiative, which supports the UK parliament’s all-party group on mindfulness, says tackling climate breakdown has too long been framed as a problem of technology rather than compassion and empathy, and this is holding back humanity’s ability to move faster.

Technology? Pah! If only we all showed compassion and empathy, the “climate crisis” would be over tomorrow. Seriously, I don’t know why somebody didn’t think of this earlier.

As well as Caroline Lucas, it turns out that Christina Figueres is a fan. So much so that we are told that she believes that “her practice of “deep listening”, which is related to mindfulness and emerges from Buddhist teaching, was “the key” to the successful [Paris] agreement.” It must be good stuff, this mindfulness. Apparently it can turn the reality of failure into a belief in success.

But back to the EU. It seems that officials are to learn mindfulness practices before being presented with the “raw” facts “about the climate emergency. They then explore how they personally relate to problems that can seem overwhelming.”

So much for science. It looks more and more like a cult with every passing day. I don’t know about you, but while the EU, the IPCC and sundry MPs might think this is useful, I’m left with the overwhelming feeling that if these people are in charge, then we’re all doomed.

Endnote

i https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/04/eu-bureaucrats-being-trained-meditate-help-fight-climate-crisis

6 Comments

  1. Reminds me about this fun series I remember – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-SUoHmpRdM

    “Monkey – ‘In the worlds before Monkey, primal chaos reigned…’ The return of the Buddhist priest Tripitaka and his three disciples Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy, as they travel from India to China to find the Buddhist scriptures.”

    all about the mental states we all have to live/battle with (my understanding).

    so, wonder if EU officials, Caroline Lucas & Christina Figueres can work that “Monkey Magic”

    Like

  2. Complete with “oven-ready” clichés, such as ““off the cushion”.

    “Love that idea Boris. Can we take it off the cushion, and put it through its paces, and see if we can de-risk it? Perhaps we can envision the journey as it takes its first baby-steps as it breaks through the clutter in order to disruptively innovate.
    In truth this is thought leadership that means you’re not herding cats as you bayonet the dead. Let’s not try to build the ocean here, let’s have a V2V and I can explain the high order thinking that is really me just doing my job”

    Boris: “Cripes Govey, you’re doing my head in. Right you guys, you do all that, while I just go for a drink and a lie down …”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So, no “Climate Crisis”, no need to meditate – thank goodness for that.

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  4. If Earth was our organization, Nature our CEO and Humanity our team

    bleeurgh…

    I saw a mention of Ayhuasca as a a “mindfulness accelerant” wrt to this tale (it’s certainly touted by Brussels mindfulness consultants) – and it triggered a chuckle at the memory of a gaggle of earnest Channel 4 “key talent” heading off to South America to try it.

    The painfully trendy youngsters were rolling around the floor puking and whimpering about dying while “24 Hour Party Person” Tony Wilson was parked in a deckchair, half frame specs halfway down his nose, sipping a drink and doing a newspaper crossword – I cannot recall if he said “lightweights!” – but I’d like to think he did.

    But in all – I’d quite like to see Figueres and Lucas dosed before any public appearances – harsh but fair I feel.

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  5. I saw this:

    “inner transitions”

    And thought of Innervisions, the Stevie Wonder album from 1973. As well as railing against drug abuse and racism, it also has a bit of transcendental meditation (in Jesus Children of America). The heart of the album though has to be Living for the City, live version from a year later in the vid:

    O’ course, aficionados will know that the dramatic mini play in the middle where the hapless country boy arrives in New York and is immediately jailed is missing from the live version for obvious reasons. Of the song itself, Wiki says this about the credits of the album version:

    Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, background vocals, Fender Rhodes electric piano, drums, Moog bass, T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer, handclaps

    Smart guy, Wonder.

    Two other items of trivia – a point if you get either, and three for the pair: (i) three days after Innervisions came out, Wonder was hit by a log that fell off the back of a truck and spent four days in a coma.

    … We brought one of his instruments—I think it was the clavinet—to the hospital. For a while, Stevie just looked at it, or didn’t do anything with it. You could see he was afraid to touch it, because he didn’t know if he still had it in him—he didn’t know if he could still play. And then, when he finally did touch it … man, you could just see the happiness spreading all over him. I’ll never forget that.
    — Ira Tucker

    (ii) the riff that seems like a guitar slightly damped in Superstition is in fact not played by a guitarist but by Wonder himself on the clavinet. What’s one of them? An electro-mechanical keyboard – it has affinities to a guitar since it has something banging a string and a pickup.

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