The Limitations of Empathy: A Response to Matthew Remski

Over the last year I’ve written several articles and a book chapter trying to demonstrate the moral ambiguity of spiritual practices like yoga and meditation. In other words, I’ve argued that these practices won’t lead one to be aware of or challenge the injustices in their surrounding culture. They are ethically and politically neutral. Furthermore, the increased presence, clarity and focus gained from these practices can and has been used to support war, killing and racial hierarchies.


In response to my recent article “Why the Dalai Lama is Wrong to Think Meditation Will Eliminate Violence,” my writing colleague Matthew Remski (see the new book 21st Century Yoga) challenged my assertions. One of his central arguments is that there are some practices like “mindfulness meditation” that can and do create states of empathy and lead to progressive politics.


by: Be Scofield