Notes politics

Chapter 21: Meditation (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)

Harari acknowledges that while he has dismantled almost everything from politics to religion to business as some form of myth, he is required to provide something in its place. His answer is meditation.

If you want to understand death, you need to understand life. For years, to understand what life was about, Harari read books on philosophy, politics, religion, romance and economics, but he realized that all of these were merely elaborate stories. They were human constructions that had no basis in the real world. But Harari then discovered Vipassana meditation and he finally understood what his education failed to, particularly when it comes to understanding people.

For years I lived under the impression that I was the master of my life, and the CEO of my own personal brand. But a few hours of meditation were enough to show me that I hardly had any control of myself. I was not the CEO – I was barely the gatekeeper.

By understanding how little control he had over his thoughts and feelings, he realized how powerless he was in the face of the endless number of distractions that exist in the real world. He decided to meditate for two hours every day and goes on a meditation retreat once a year.

Biologists assume that the brain produces the mind, but we have no idea how the mind – the subjective experience of emotions – emerges from the brain.

We may understand the neural patterns, but this is only half the story. While brain science is necessary and important, it is vital to combine to this knowledge, a direct study of the mind to get the full picture.

The analogy Harari uses is to dig the tunnel from both sides, if the brain is equivalent to the mind, then both sides should meet, and if not, then it is necessary to study the mind. The way to understand the mind is to meditate, to become aware of how it works. To Harari, meditation is not an escape from reality but is the only thing that is real.

The ‘real’ world that is filled with emails, social media, and advertisements is the escape.

Read 21 Lessons For The 21st Century

"A gilded No is more satisfactory than a dry yes" - Gracian

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