December 16, 2008

Brooks has Buddhism on the Brain

Maybe I can interview him for Tricycle. Discussing Malcolm Gladwell's new book, he David Brooks writes:

Most successful people also have a phenomenal ability to consciously focus their attention. We know from experiments with subjects as diverse as obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers and Buddhist monks that people who can self-consciously focus attention have the power to rewire their brains.

Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons. This individual power leads to others. It leads to self-control, the ability to formulate strategies in order to resist impulses. If forced to choose, we would all rather our children be poor with self-control than rich without it.

You may remember his previous Neural Buddhists. He also mentions my old college roommate, the estimable Jason Zengerle. I have to remember to borrow some money from him. . .

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