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Over the past several decades, studies examining the potential for meditation to curb mental anguish and increase wellbeing have yielded promising, if complicated, results. For patients, complications can arise when meditation is marketed as a ‘happy pill, with no side effects’. This commodification and oversimplification is at the root of a conundrum for Jay Sanguinetti and Shinzen Young, the co-directors of SEMA Lab (Sonication Enhanced Mindful Awareness) at the University of Arizona. In the early stages of developing a technology that they believe could lead to meditative states without the need to meditate – a Silicon Valley-ready concept if there ever was one – the duo now must navigate the intricate ethics of introducing such a powerful product to the world. This short film from The Guardian follows Sanguinetti and Shinzen in their quest to ‘democratise enlightenment’ via ultrasound technology, while also attempting to ensure that, when the time comes, it will be properly implemented as a therapeutic tool.
Philosophy of mind
Embodied cognition seems intuitive, but philosophy can push it to some strange places
Workplace diversity isn’t just about equality – it’s a competitive advantage
Gender and identity
LGBTQ+ retirees celebrate their hard-earned self-acceptance at a belated prom night
When crushes become crushing – how to know if you’re in a ‘limerent episode’
A unique theatre performance explores what touch means in an age of lockdown
Human rights and justice
When the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence canonised Derek Jarman
Ageing and death
How an end-of-life doula found her vocation as a companion for the dying
Artists can flourish after brain damage. What does this say about neurology and aesthetics?
‘Why does life have to be so complicated?’ A school trip to the world of work