The Buddha Was Right

Whether you accept or reject Buddhism’s concept of the interconnectedness of all things, such a world is swiftly approaching. Already, we have more networked devices than there are people on the planet and by 2020, the number is expected to reach 50 billion. Couple that thought with the paradox of our current “attention economy” and that 40% of our decisions are made unconsciously… Culturally (and economically) we need to find an elegant path forward. Interestingly, people are looking to a mode of thinking from 2,575 years ago to rationalize it. If so, can we not fast track some enlightenment along the way?

Vincent Horn of Buddhist Geeks (named 1 of 50 people who will change the world by Wired UK) likened the Buddha to a proto-scientist who was mind hacking long before it became a buzz word. You don’t have to subscribe to the whole notion of “life itself is suffering” to appreciate that designing for an integrated world means that you should run parallel to fundamental life rhythms vs. trying to challenge them.

To quote the Buddha, “everything rests on the tip of intention”. Matt Rolandson of Ammunition Group spoke of the critical role of “intent” and the fundamental nature of power (ex: does this initiative give or limit the power of an individual) in designing systems. This isn’t an esoteric battle between altruism vs. capitalism, either. It’s simply questioning whether there’s a better way to do something that the conventional stock/trade of the media landscape (urgency, fear/inadequacy, social to personal comparisons, etc.) Ultimately, if we acknowledge anything we can think of can exist, shouldn’t we pause a moment to consider what *should* exist?

With 40+ billion networked devices conservatively projected to come online within a decade, we’ll be able to start charting pervasive causality in ourselves and in our personal/professional decisions (provided someone releases the APIs). This is a gifted mirror of unbiased insight that would normally take years of meditation to understand. It also begs the questions of what you’d want to see in that mirror and how you could shape what others see in themselves.

First published in the Canadian Marketing Association, Photo: morgueFile