While a good number of my colleagues and friends will likely disagree with Ronald Purser (especially the ones profiting from the “Mindfulness Revolution”), he certainly makes a strong case for employing some critical thinking before indulging in a series of mindfulness classes, a wellness retreat or any number of offerings from the self-help world.  It’s high time to be (politically) mindful of mindfulness.

Charles Eisenstein on Sacred Economics

Charles Eisenstein‘s seminal work, Sacred Economics, played a pivotal role in inspiring my latest book, The Mass Psychology of Fittism. In the following video by Ian McKenzie, Charles talks about the role that a debt-based money economy has played in fundamentally promoting political oppression, poverty, inequality, war, environmental destruction, anomie, and the severing of deep social ties.

Changing perspective with the imaginative use of constraints

Changing perspectives through an imaginative use of constraints is what leads to learning and breakthroughs–whether in the world of dance, martial arts, sports, mathematics, philosophy, cabinet making, or indeed any field you can imagine.  Architect and professor, Hajime Narukawa has created the world’s most remarkable map–one which allows you to change perspective and thereby alter your concept of up, down, right, left, center, East, West, North, and South.  This is exactly the map–or perhaps more accurately stated, these are precisely the mapping possibilities, that I have been searching for for almost 20 years.

“a self that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence”

“I could say that when I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets, and I knew their work well and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when I read—even in translation—the works of Lorca, that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice—I would not dare—but he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice, that is, to locate a self—a self that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence. And as I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.”

-Leonard Cohen

What do Bill Evans, Miles Davis and Floyd Mayweather have in common?

“It’s better to do something simple, which is real… something you can build on because you know what you’re doing…. Over a long period of time you have to be aware of what is really accurate and what is not.”

                                                                                                          -Bill Evans

Legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans, revolutionary trumpeter Miles Davis and boxing great Floyd Mayweather are all known to be masters of improvisation. Many think of improvisation as being an easy, stream-of-consciousness type of outpouring that requires little in the way of preparation. Yet, just as with producing superior works of art, dance, architecture, literature, science, engineering, or social science, producing a good improvisational piece requires thousands of hours of painstaking attention to the bare fundamentals–fundamentals that once better understood or even mastered, allow the artist/athlete to move in unexpected directions. Perhaps it’s no accident that boxing is called, “the sweet science.”

What are constraints? (And why are they essential for learning?)

“So many witnesses observed the utter freedom of his flights of thought, yet when Feynman talked about his own methods he emphasized not freedom but constraints.”

              -James Gleick (in reference to Richard Feynman’s use of constraints in physics)

Watch this video to see a highly imaginative use of constraints applied to the game of basketball (Apparently the Belgians are not only innovators in the world of soccer!)

A nice look into some of the biomechanics, physiology and emotions in the 100m dash

Look for the metatarsal-tibia-femur connection as well as the metacarpal-ulna-humerus connection in the super slow motion sequences (5:50-6:00 and 11:50 to 12:24). Both connections work in spirals. Also listen to the role of emotions, trying too hard and the resultant “co-contractions” (or what Feldenkrais would call, “parasitic contractions”) in Asafa Powell’s defeat to Tyson Gay  (35:26 to 26:15)