In the Post-Employment Future, We’ll Explore Our Inner Selves

The pursuit of transcendent experiences will become a connoisseur art when we’re all unemployed.

Will the second machine age turn us into a nation of lotus-eaters? Will opiates, psychotropic drugs, intoxicants, and entheogens rise to dominance in an unstructured future? If you are regularly too high to visit your mother, read a book, or put your pants on, then you are definitely doing it wrong. If, on the other hand, consciousness exploration is a disciplined part of a well-rounded, social, intellectual, and creative life, then only puritans can still be horrified by it. The pursuit of transcendent experiences will become a connoisseur art when we’re all unemployed.

[S]piritual technologies [will] bring our minds into the present moment and help us overcome the cravings of consumer culture.

In traditional Hindu and Buddhist culture, parents fulfilled their roles as breadwinners, protectors, and teachers of their children, but when the nest was finally empty, they were released from their householder duties and (if they wished) wandered the world to explore the mysteries of consciousness, and metaphysics. So, a mendicant culture was supported, and “holy men” (and women, to a lesser degree) were free to explore inner space.

In the West now, we are realizing the restorative and therapeutic aspects of mindfulness (sati), and many schools, businesses, prisons, and social groups are adopting secular forms of this Buddhist meditation to help with epidemic levels of American stress, and the juvenile demands of the ego. When we’re all unemployed, it will be our opportunity to work with these spiritual technologies that bring our minds into the present moment and help us overcome the cravings of consumer culture.

Sam Harris discusses the virtues of psychedelics such as LSD and MDMA acknowledging their profound consciousness-altering properties.


Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he is also Senior Fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture. He is the author of ten books, including The Evolution of Mind and Against Fairness and writes regularly for The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Skeptic magazine. Asma is also a blues/jazz musician who has played onstage with many musical artists, including Bo Diddley and Buddy Guy. His website is

Image courtesy of iStock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less