Mindfulness, resilience, spirituality and wisdom. Words that have flooded the web and corporate presentations, in technology especially.
The more or less official definition of mindfulness revolves around the idea of considering the present moment, with intention and no judgment, so to accept ourselves and our experiences, feelings, emotions, actions and relationships. The aim is to reduce stress and inner suffering.
It is a concept open to interpretation and various declinations, in the US especially: when multitasking becomes a distraction, self awareness emerges as a mainstream and urgently contemporary theme.
On the one hand zen culture and spirituality were considered digital detox methods to get rid of device related addictions. Nowadays, mindfulness seminars in corporate settings are now both a networking means and a tool to professionally grow in highly competitive environments.
Better oneself to boost productivity, so to speak.
This is the core of a Nextatlas trend called “Convenient Mindfulness“: disconnection and meditation, think of the many brands – in between of tech and leisure – with an OnLife perspective, like ClassPass, the innovative gym subscription, or fitness centers or the diffusion of Fitbit products.
On the other hand the awareness theme is in direct connection with slow lifestyles, with the pleasure of small things, country life vs. city life and with a precise aesthetic that goes so far as the danish “hygge”, included in many Nextatlas trends (starting in the 2013 with “New domesticity“). Keeping this in mind, consider the words related to “The art of mindful living” trend:
The subtitle of the growingly successful Wisdom 2.0 is all about living with awareness, wisdom, and compassion in the digital era. The conference brings together spirituality and social networks, mindfulness and tech development, zen and profit, wisdom and collective wellbeing.
Such things were at the basis of the digital culture from the beginning in the 80s in Silicon Valley. Stewart Brand (of “The Whole Earth Catalogue” and “Stay hungry, stay foolish” fame) along with Kevin Kelly (Wired founder) founded their digital credo along spiritual guidelines. Steve Jobs himself had been influenced by Zen buddhism at the beginning of his career. In the Nineties, then, business prevailed and this became jus a folkloristic backdrop.
During the last decade we witnessed the reemergence of such themes and a new balance, demonstrated by Wisdom 2.0 appeared. John Naisbitt’s 1999 essay “High Tech – High Touch” preluded to the shift we are experiencing. The idea was that a human response or push should match every new technology that reaches society, such balance, the high touch, is fundamental for a technology to be accepted. For him, technology’s accelerated growth has produced an unprecedented pursuit of meaning, a desire for spirituality and community. A frantic quest to understanding.
The complexity of the theme shows that while a portion of it might have gone dry and lost its grip it is as a whole still very much alive and evolving. Keeping an eye on it now allow for a better understanding of the future.