The Awareness Trap: Self-Absorption Instead of Social Change

The Awareness Trap: Self-Absorption Instead of Social Change

The Awareness Trap: Self-Absorption Instead of Social Change

The Awareness Trap: Self-Absorption Instead of Social Change

Excerpt

Self-awareness is the new panacea. Across the country, Americans are frantically trying to "get in touch" with themselves, to learn how to "relate" better, and to stave off outer turmoil by achieving inner peace. The sites of this activity are many: Colorado mountain tops, Kansas penitentiaries, religious retreats in Massachusetts, "growth" centers in New York and California; and ordinary homes and working places throughout the nation. Methods and resources for this selfexploration are similarly various: Feelings-oriented "rap sessions" modeled on the encounter groups of the 1950s and 1960s. Ideas and practices drawn from ancient religious traditions of the East -- such as meditation and yoga-type body disciplines. Relaxation and body-monitoring schemes (including biofeedback -- the machine monitoring of brainwaves, in hopes of gaining conscious control of emotions). To a limited extent, the expansion of perception through consciousness-

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