Slumming with Buddha


Meditation and mindfulness are all the rage in Silicon Valley. Which is a good thing, I guess. Wired‘s Noah Shactman reports on how the tech elite are, during breaks in the work day, unfolding their yoga pads and, in emulation of Steve Jobs, pursuing the Eastern path to nirvana, often with instruction from Buddhist monks. It’s an odd sort of enlightenment they’re after, though. Explains Google mindfulness coach Chade-Meng Tan, who helps the techies gain “emotional intelligence” through meditation, “Everybody knows this EI thing is good for their career. And every company knows that if their people have EI, they’re gonna make a shitload of money.”

That’s so Zen.

Photo by Edward Dalmulder.

4 thoughts on “Slumming with Buddha

  1. Paul Yarbles

    If the Buddha came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.

  2. Margaret Thornton

    Now you’re really scaring me… These people and the companies they work for already believe that they are part of some great utopian vision for humanity. Clearly though, this excellent, subtle article shows them to be nothing more than members of a cult – characterised by openness to manipulation, setting an individual on a pedastal of “enlightenment”, and promoting insidious support for the idea that participants indeed are, or can be, among the few chosen for said “enlightenment”.
    This is dangerous territory anywhere, but when spread by ubiquitous internet companies and their marketing departments it is downright alarming.
    They already have a large band of followers convinced that every one of the gimmicks they market as “innovations” leads ecstatically towards human fulfillment. Bad luck about the rest of the planet and the millions who can’t find clean water let alone step across the “digital divide”. Can we now imagine an “enlightened algorithm” designed not to part people from their money?
    Noah Shactman’s article really highlights the shallowness of these companies and their staff. One loveley sentence among many: “Steve Jobs spent lots of time in lotus position; he still paid slave wages to his contract laborers, berated subordinates, and parked his car in handicapped stalls.” And probably evaded tax, engaged in anti-competivie bahaviours, and filled up landfills with toxic discarded toys and etc.etc.
    More power to the female participant: “it doesn’t seem all that genuine, she says.” And then “Duane tells her it’s OK to feel that way. The practice will help you later, he says, even if it comes across as empty at the time. “There’s definitely a fake-it-till-you-make-it aspect to it,” he says.”
    Sure is.
    Many thanks Nick. We need more like you.

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