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.
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