Mindfulness had been a keyword fluttering around this week, however what does it mean? Mindfulness to me means being aware of our surroundings and having the understanding of how our own actions affect our environment. However mindfulness can also be a meditative state in terms of being present in the moment and accepting one’s bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts. For example, in class we tried out mindful meditation in which one was directed by a woman’s soothing voice and breathing exercises, the other was simply focusing on a single object, these two felt very different. When completing the guided meditation by Tara Brach my mind continuously wandered about rather than focusing on her guidance. When completing the object mediation I found that it was easier to keep my focus on a particular object and become one with the branch. After discussing with my classmates they also felt the object meditation was easier to follow due to our thoughts being directed towards a single tangible object. Mindfulness also plays a component in sustainability as meditation can improve your overall surrounding. This is done by trying to be at peace with oneself instead of actively pursuing an activity does not do any harm to anyone rather than potentially creating something wasteful. The role of empathy and compassion play a role in the mindset of living a sustainable life. If one can relate or empathize within other issues than oneself then they are more likely to be mindful of others and the environment. The concept of self narrative and paradigms explains as our future conscious can create a better understanding for situations, especially if they impact us directly. Such as if I were to personally see the masses of textiles in landfills that might encourage me to take more action than before because I will personally know where it all goes and how much destruction it causes. However how can we get people to be more understanding of these types of situations without direct harm? This also ties back with Marc Cohen’s TED Talk on wellness, he described that there are many stages to being happy before you can eventually reach genuine happiness. He believes that wellness, mindfulness and sustainability are major factors to achieving this. Being mindful within yourself and having peace will then prompt you to be more kind and aware.
The wicked problem that I plan on researching for my investigative report is the use of sweatshops around the world. Sweatshops are unethical because they offer poor working conditions to their workers and are paid close to nothing for their mass labor. The major problems with sweatshops is that they are primarily owned by large corporations that could afford to pay these workers at least minimum wage but refuse to. These workers often make apparel that is worth more than double of what they get paid. This could be a wicked problem because there are so many sweatshops around the world, some possibly working illegally, that would be nearly impossible to stop production everywhere. These sweatshops are typically owned by companies who produce for fast fashion, meaning they are constantly creating new garments to keep up with the latest trends are in need of fast and mass amounts of supply. Our argumentative reading over Western values related closely with this topic because waste and materialism is a major issue within our society. Western society has a sickening obsession with materialism, whether that be clothing or technology. The obsession generates large amounts of waste and usable products get thrown out simply for newer ones. Could we say that Western society is the one at fault for creating such a materialistic world? Potentially. Many people do not typically recycle things like clothing or technology due to lack of knowledge of how or laziness. Thus being a wicked problem is it incredibly hard to come up with ways to either stop the obsession with the latest items or mass production of waste. Something I learned from the Wildest Thing activity is in order to get a head start in creating a solution you might have to come up with incredibly unethical solutions, then start from there. Dreaming big and trying to make an impossible possible might just be the solution to a wicked problem.