Technology has long been criticized as a disturber of the peace. From blaming shootings and violence on Video Games, to the antics of Social Media, surely technology cannot be used in a beneficial way for relaxation, and to clear the mind rather than fill it, right?
What slips through the minds of many, however, is that technology is simply a tool. Video games, social media and the Internet are by-products of such a tool. Therefore it becomes our responsibility to use these tools in ways that we see fit. Using the Internet and Social Media, for example, can be detrimental if one becomes too attached and uses it for long periods of time. We actually vlogged about that here, and wrote an article here which goes deeper into this concept. Because of this widespread dichotomy, I researched how similarities/differences, and also how technology could be/is used in conjunction with Zen rather than in opposition
In order to compare Zen and technology, lets first delve into what Zen actually is. Zen can be summed up into a few bullet points. Here goes:
- An attitude, not a belief
- A peace coming from being a part of a larger entity, rather than just oneself
- Becoming "one with the world"
- living in the moment, and therefore experiencing reality fully
- freeing oneself of material distractions
So we can see that Zen really is about freeing yourself for a time and just being at peace with yourself and the world.
Next to point out some technology pro's
Can Be Relaxing
Yet Technology can be used to relax too. In a Crowd Sourced interview, Lukasz Zelezny stated:
No doubts they can have a relaxing time. Do you know that game release a couple of years ago called LIMBO? You can install this on your iPhone and Mac. I feel super relaxed. Its black and white, with incredible atmosphere. I had the same [experience] with MMORPG Lineage 2 - I could really relax walking through this virtual world. Then you have YouTube which is a better version of TV (I stopped using TV around 10 years ago). You can definitely find relaxing channels with ambient music, [or other such materials].
The media loves hounding Video Games for their potentially detrimental side effects on the young brain, (which I do not agree with), yet statistics show that this is not true. Video Games can most definitely be relaxing. Lukasz gives Limbo up as an example, but there are numerous video games which can be just as relaxing.
Social Media can definitely be detrimental, but it has its strengths. The most obvious being connecting others. It is not uncommon to see international meditation sessions held over Facebook or Twitter. These sessions would simply not be possible had technology not existed, yet it provides the means for hundreds if not thousands of people to connect and meditate.
Offers A Means for Research
What If someone is a mildly depressed individual, has a hectic life, or simply wants to try something new? The internet is a great tool for researching and gaining information on how to meditate, or anything else that may help, in a very easy and convenient way.
To end this section off, here are two applications that can help with meditation:
Smiling Mind- Mindfulness meditation for young people
Critter.Co- Tips and Tricks for thinking better throughout the day
Zen and Technology, are they really opposites?
Well let's take a look at it from a different point of view, in a logical manner
First, let's make clear what separates technology from Zen: technology is a tool, while Zen is an attitude. technology was created from scientific innovation, while Zen was a result of spiritual practice.
Therefore, we can conclude that technology is the magic of science, whilst Zen is the technology of the spirit.
What do I mean by this?
Well, technology is the implementation of our rational scientific knowledge and reason. Pure science deals with models and abstract formula; technology translates these into practical and useful devices.
Think of it as a recipe, or way of going about things. A technology-minded individual may conclude that,
"If you want to reach the moon, you can build a spaceship and here is how to do it"
"If you feel a headache, take this pill, which was created through years of scientific research and work, and therefore it should help you because Science says so."
Zen, on the other hand, deals with one's spirit. When I say that "Zen is the technology of the spirit", I mean that Zen sums up how the Zen attitude translates it's meditation into practicality. For example, if you were to create Zen "recipe's" of the same things as for technology, then they would look something like this:
"If you want to reach the moon, take a deep breath and concentrate. With time and practice, and as your meditation skill increases, your mind will be able to reach the moon". Metaphorically, of course.
"if you have a headache, meditate and "access" the roots causing the headache, meditate upon it, remember that you are part of a larger entity, be one with the world, and maybe your headache will be made easier to handle"
Through this logic, we may conclude that technology and Zen are not necessarily opposites, nor are they the same. Rather, they can be considered two different ways of getting a similar action done. Zen, however, is not conducive to many of the things technology is. Zen does not facilitate angry trolling, for instance. Yet, technology can be used in a way that facilitates relaxation and mindfulness and in many instances can be used in conjunction with meditation.
Is Zen Tech's Twin? What do you think?
This Article Would Not Be Possible Without:
Tat Apostalova (MumInSearch) : Gave me some useful information on Technology, and two stellar meditation applications.
Lukasz Zelezny: Interviewee, who pointed out that some Video Games/internet services can and are relaxing/meditative
Thanks to all who helped!
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