As I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams I found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic insect. Like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, I had mutated into an enormous and abominable cockroach with no prior warning. It just happened. As I woke up, I could feel how my new legs and antennae moved with sinuous speed.

Daniel Sarmiento | El País

Two sides

This is all devastating news for democracy. It is obvious that democracy requires us to sustain the idea that our political opponents may yet be reasonable and sincere. In order to take seriously our role as democratic citizens, we need to be able to regard those with whom we disagree as nonetheless our political equals, entitled to an equal share of political power. Forces that erode our aptitude for reasoned disagreement by dissolving our ability to see the possibility of rational opposition to our own views are fundamentally at odds with our democratic ideals. If we lose the capacity to engage in reasoned debate over fundamental matters, we lose the capacity for self-government, and perhaps the entitlement to it, too.

Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse |

Scientific approach

Among the biggest problems facing the field is that mindfulness is poorly and inconsistently defined both in popular media and the scientific literature. According to the authors, there “is neither one universally accepted technical definition of ‘mindfulness’ nor any broad agreement about detailed aspects of the underlying concept to which it refers.” As a result, research papers have varied widely in what they actually examine, and often, their focus can be hard to discern.

Van Dam & David E. Meyer |