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The Australian psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and two collaborators surveyed over a thousand visitors to online climate blogs all relatively positive toward science , and asked them questions about free-market ideology and their views on climate science.

Some subjects were eliminated because they appear to have lied about their age it is doubtful that anyone under five completed the survey, for instance , and as a precaution, to prevent ballot-box stuffing, the experimenters also eliminated answers where more than one response came a single I. One could be a conspiracy theorist about Coca-Cola without having any particular views about climate change, or vice versa. And indeed, some subjects really did believe in climate change even as they doubted the intentions of the sugar-water company from Atlanta, and vice versa.

But, over all, the trends were clear. I love Coke and am a loyal customer.

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But I believe there is something more to the story that may involve fraud. There are numerous definitions of fraud. The following are a few questions that I have been asking myself:. This could be a grand conspiracy theory that explains how Coca-Cola pulled off a very sophisticated plan to save money by lowering costs, or it could just be the biggest mistake Coca-Cola ever made. Topics: Fraud. Written by Jeffrey N. Aucoin December 02, Once the pain goes away, it is business as usual.

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Even if individuals become nicer people, the corporate agenda of maximising profits does not change. If mindfulness just helps people cope with the toxic conditions that make them stressed in the first place, then perhaps we could aim a bit higher. This is the core of the problem.

The internalisation of focus for mindfulness practice also leads to other things being internalised, from corporate requirements to structures of dominance in society. Perhaps worst of all, this submissive position is framed as freedom. Of course, reductions in stress and increases in personal happiness and wellbeing are much easier to sell than serious questions about injustice, inequity and environmental devastation.

“The Moon landings were filmed in a TV studio.”

Not only has mindfulness been repackaged as a novel technique of psychotherapy, but its utility is commercially marketed as self-help. And once privatised, these practices are easily co-opted for social, economic and political control. Rather than being used as a means to awaken individuals and organisations to the unwholesome roots of greed, ill will and delusion, mindfulness is more often refashioned into a banal, therapeutic, self-help technique that can actually reinforce those roots.

There is also The Mindfulness Colouring Book, part of a bestselling subgenre in itself.

Besides books, there are workshops, online courses, glossy magazines, documentary films, smartphone apps, bells, cushions, bracelets, beauty products and other paraphernalia, as well as a lucrative and burgeoning conference circuit. Mindfulness programmes have made their way into schools, Wall Street and Silicon Valley corporations, law firms, and government agencies, including the US military.

The presentation of mindfulness as a market-friendly palliative explains its warm reception in popular culture.

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It slots so neatly into the mindset of the workplace that its only real threat to the status quo is to offer people ways to become more skilful at the rat race. Over the past few decades, neoliberalism has outgrown its conservative roots. It has hijacked public discourse to the extent that even self-professed progressives, such as Kabat-Zinn, think in neoliberal terms.

Market values have invaded every corner of human life, defining how most of us are forced to interpret and live in the world. And in order to fully actualise personal freedom and potential, we need to maximise our own welfare, freedom, and happiness by deftly managing internal resources.

Since competition is so central, neoliberal ideology holds that all decisions about how society is run should be left to the workings of the marketplace, the most efficient mechanism for allowing competitors to maximise their own good.

What a Conspiracy Theorist Believes

Other social actors — including the state, voluntary associations, and the like — are just obstacles to the smooth operation of market logic. For an actor in neoliberal society, mindfulness is a skill to be cultivated, or a resource to be put to use. Mindfulness helps you to maximise your personal wellbeing. All of this may help you to sleep better at night.

But the consequences for society are potentially dire. By deflecting attention from the social structures and material conditions in a capitalist culture, mindfulness is easily co-opted. Celebrity role models bless and endorse it, while Californian companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Zynga have embraced it as an adjunct to their brand.

Mindfulness cheerleaders are particularly fond of this trope, saying we can train our brains to be happy, like exercising muscles. Happiness, freedom and wellbeing become the products of individual effort. Underneath its therapeutic discourse, mindfulness subtly reframes problems as the outcomes of choices.

Conspiracy or good education? | The BMJ

Personal troubles are never attributed to political or socioeconomic conditions, but are always psychological in nature and diagnosed as pathologies. Society therefore needs therapy, not radical change. This is perhaps why mindfulness initiatives have become so attractive to government policymakers. Societal problems rooted in inequality, racism, poverty, addiction and deteriorating mental health can be reframed in terms of individual psychology, requiring therapeutic help.

Vulnerable subjects can even be told to provide this themselves. N eoliberalism divides the world into winners and losers. It accomplishes this task through its ideological linchpin: the individualisation of all social phenomena. Since the autonomous and free individual is the primary focal point for society, social change is achieved not through political protest, organising and collective action, but via the free market and atomised actions of individuals.

Any effort to change this through collective structures is generally troublesome to the neoliberal order. It is therefore discouraged. An illustrative example is the practice of recycling.

Kendall Jenner's orange dress conspiracy theory, explained

The real problem is the mass production of plastics by corporations, and their overuse in retail. However, consumers are led to believe that being personally wasteful is the underlying issue, which can be fixed if they change their habits. This is far from new. Two decades later, a famous TV ad featured a Native American man weeping at the sight of a motorist dumping garbage. The essay in Scientific American, by Matt Wilkins, sees through such charades.