How Mindfulness Meditation Can Save America

Robert Wright: Mindfulness meditation isn’t warm and fuzzy. In a certain sense it’s cool and clinical. It involves, among other things, examining your feelings and deciding whether to buy into them, whether to let them carry you away. Obviously, America could stand for people to be a little less susceptible to getting carried away by their feelings. But the contribution mindfulness can make to bridging the great tribal divide is more powerful than that simple formulation suggests. To appreciate this potential, you have to understand how subtle the psychology of tribalism is. Tribal psychology involves, at one level, some obvious ingredients: rage, vengeance, loathing — the kinds of raw emotions you might imagine when you imagine tribes literally at war. But the psychology of tribalism also involves — in fact, I’d say, it mainly involves — cognitive biases that warp our perception of the world.

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