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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.
‘Dun dun dun duuun!’ Why Beethoven’s Fifth sticks in the head and stirs the heart
Ageing and death
Demystifying death – a palliative care specialist’s practical guide to life’s end
Stories and literature
A French Creole folktale nearly lost to time is given new, gorgeously animated life
Computing and artificial intelligence
Struggling to learn how to do a backflip, Nikita takes on an unusual training regimen
Why cleaning up crime scenes requires a rare mix of grit and empathy
Mood and emotion
An Oceanic lullaby, ‘Gimme Shelter’ and more elucidate how music taps into our emotions
Against her father’s warnings, Debra resolves to learn about his time in Auschwitz
Mood and emotion
Moments of poetry pierce through the mundane at a small-town grocery
Why one man spent 15 years in ‘self-imposed’ island exile