Judith Warner, who recently wrote about mindfulness in her weekly New York Times column (around the same time we spoke with Thanissaro Bhikkhu about what he sees as a nascent “mindfulness industry”), commented in today’s paper on “cosmetic neurology”—the abuse of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall as an aid to working hard and playing harder. Notwithstanding a juicy confession of firsthand experience, the article goes over well-trod ground—until this bit of spot-on skepticism:

In the public mind, the “legal-drugging” of kids, as Arianna Huffington once put it, and the dangerous mind-doping of young adults, are merely points on the same continuum: symbols of the vicissitudes of life in our performance-driven times. It is so easy, so intellectually satisfying, to class all stimulant-using kids and young adults together and turn them into so productive a metaphor. And it’s so wrong.

Psychologizing a society, in other words, is not an exact science.

Temple
Dharma to your inbox

Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

Liberate this article!

You’ve read all three of your free articles for the month. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus films, video dharma talks, e-books, and more.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.