Reductionism meets Buddhism


Mindfulness techniques are what you get when you do science to Buddhism. Mindfulness strips away the moral and spiritual content of a religious practice, in the process neatly cutting a series of concepts in two. Not only is the functioning of the mind made clearer, the non-scientific remainder can also be assessed with greater clarity.

All religions seems to have some sort of meditative component, so this knife can be applied rather more widely than just to Buddhism.

ConceptAmoral componentMoral/spiritual component
Meditation Mindfulness. Metacognition. Prayer addressed to gods. Connection to higher level of reality. Development of qualities such as compassion.
Non-attachment Non-reacting awareness of sensations. Rendering the tendency for one thought to follow from another a conscious choice, ability to drop into a mental debug-mode. The rejection of worldly needs and love. Destruction of the self. Forgiveness, turning the other cheek.
Peace Management of the stress response. A quiet mind. Submission to God or Nature, blaming victims (possibly oneself) for misfortune.

So: You get the amoral column without having to take the moral column with it. You can find peace without rejecting justice. You can sharpen your mind with meditation while still being able to hate and kill. You can control the flow of your mind while still being able to love.

What wouldn't someone do to keep their hard found peace of mind, not knowing that it doesn't need to come with baggage attached, and doesn't that explain a lot?