Meditation and Evolution, Buddha and Darwin – Can They Compliment Each Other?

Meditation and Evolution, Buddha and Darwin – Can They Compliment Each Other?

If you are interested in meditation, especially Buddhist mediation, you may enjoy “The Medication Cure: A basic practice of Buddhism turns out to be one of the best ways to deal with the anxieties and appetites bequeathed to us by our evolutionary history” published by the Wall Street Journal on 7-28-17 (MHConcierge generally ignores the WLS’s politics, but finds their science, health and technology reporting to be excellent).  This article briefly reviews the basic concepts of Buddhist meditation, and goes on to integrate them with evolutionary theory, which helps explain why people are prone to worry and skepticism about the world; vigilance had evolutionary advantages when people were living in a dangerous world.

We are genetically wired to attend to our environment, fret about it and respond to signs of potential danger with anxiety.  The article describes many advantages, from the prospective of evolution, of our genetically wired “paranoia” – it increases our chances of surviving –  but also reports on the many stresses and problems that it causes for us. The author goes on to describe how meditation, particularly the Buddhist version, has been developed to counter these anxieties, reduce our chronic state of distress and cravings, and adapt to the modern world.  The full article is available online (for free, unless you view several articles each month on the site).

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