The Use Of Meditation In Modern Technological Society

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The Corona virus has caused all of us to focus perhaps as never before on the concept of vaccination. The notion of vaccination has been used to convey a very important process that has been crucial to protecting us against a very insidious enemy. The idea of using the genetic material of a microbe to impart immunity to a human being is the foundational idea behind the development of an injectable substance that has ultimately saved many many lives from a horrible disease.

But right now I would like to deal with a related term: inoculation. Inoculation is used fairly interchangeably with vaccination, except that I think it can be used by metaphorical extension to apply more easily to non-vaccine connected circumstances. For instance, let’s take the notion of meditation. Meditation seems to have two opposite meanings. On the one hand, meditation can refer to a steady focused form of thinking, a kind of concentrated thinking used to solve problems. But meditation can also be used to describe a thought process that allows people to descend from a conscious thinking to a controlled unconscious thinking, a state of mind where a person numbs himself and makes himself temporarily disappear. This is certainly another way of dealing with a stressful problem situation that is distinct from a focused problem-solving meditation. With this second use of meditation, rather than fortifying his sense of self in order to solve a problem, a person numbs his sense of self and makes it temporarily disappear so that he can temporarily escape the stress that is created by the problem.

In particular, this kind of meditation can be used as a kind of inoculation to protect against the enveloping numbing effects of an experiential vacuum. One internalizes a certain amount of the external experiential vacuum found in modern technological society as a kind of psychological inoculation to create a kind of immunity against the enveloping numbing effects generated by the experiential vacuum. The key to the internalized vacuum experience – namely, the meditation – is that it is an experience over which one can feel a sense of control. The control extends to the intensity or depth of the meditation, when it is actually done, and for the length of time during which it occurs. By having control in these areas of the experience, it allows a person to create the optimum circumstances for absorbing the inoculation of this small piece of vacuum. It allows a person to get vacuumized as it were in such a way that he learns how to deal with vacuum experiences in general, so that he feels that he can ward off more effectively the entropic effects of the larger enveloping experiential vacuum that has been created by modern technological society.

The only problem is that it is hard to calibrate the effects of something as nebulous as the experience of meditation. If experienced too intensely or for too long of a period of time, it can have the same dangerous numbing effects of the larger enveloping experiential vacuum. The wrong amount of meditation can result in an inoculation that doesn’t protect a person at all. It can put a person in a living death. Like certain drugs, it can make a person chronically depressed or even psychotic. And, of course, unlike drugs, it isn’t regulated by some government agency. It is one more experience that can contribute to a chronic state of human passivity. A numbing of the will that I have called conative anesthesia in previous articles.

Now someone is going to say that they do meditation or they know other people who do meditation, and they all seem perfectly normal. To which I would reply that numbness is a subtle situation that isn’t going to manifest itself in a glaringly obvious way. People normally don’t proclaim their numbness or even their awareness of their numbness. The numbness from an experiential vacuum and by extension from the inoculation of the experiential vacuum is far more insidious than that. It can make people subtly more passive and, to the extent that it is carried out very intensely and for long durations of time, it can contribute to the glazed-eyes zombie posture found among people who are members of certain cults. Again, the effects of the vacuum inoculation cannot always be effectively calibrated in such a way as to avoid hurting the person or persons doing the meditation.

To the extent that, unlike a person receiving a vaccination, a person getting a psychological inoculation through meditation has to continually inoculate himself in order to avoid the living death of the experiential vacuum numbness, meditation becomes if not an addiction a habituation for those people who continually do it. Yes, there are positive health effects that can occur as a result of engaging in meditation in moderation. But these effects have to be weighed against the more passive psychological postures that ensue among some adherents and even the philosophical fatalism that can present itself as a result of an ongoing participation in meditation. To the extent that passivity and fatalism present themselves, they are the enemies of the general proactive posture and the belief in free will that have been the bases on which Western culture has been built.

Acerca de Laurence Mesirow

Durante mi estadía en la Ciudad de México en los años setenta, me di cuenta que esta enorme ciudad contenía en sus colonias distintos "medio ambientes vivenciales", que iban desde muy antiguas a muy recientes; desde muy primitivas a muy modernas.Observé que había diferencias sutiles en la conducta de la gente y en sus interacciones en las diferentes colonias. Esta observación fue fundamental en la fundación de mis teorías con respecto a los efectos de la tecnología moderna sobre los medio ambientes vivenciales y sobre la conducta humana.En México, publiqué mi libro "Paisaje Sin Terreno" (Editorial Pax-México), y luego di conferencias para la U.N.A.M. y la Universidad Anahuac. También, presenté un ensayo para un Congreso de Psicología.Ahora que mis hijas son adultas, tengo el tiempo de explorar mis ideas de vuelta. Le agradezco mucho a y en especial al Sr. Daniel Ajzen por la oportunidad de presentar mis ideas.

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