The 79th Organ Creating Collective Consciousness

Gopi Kallayil, Product Marketing Manager at Google, called the smart phone the 79th organ of the body.  At the Wisdom 2.0 Conference he depicted the smart phone as humanesque, with ears, eyes, voice, and brain, and claimed it is being used as a tool for collective consciousness.  Gopi gave examples of people all over the world connecting and sharing and ‘leveling the playing field’ through technology.  Lee Rainie, Director Pew Research Center’s American Life Project, said that on our planet of 7 billion people there are 6 billion mobile phones, more than half of them smart phones.  Imagine, Gopi commented, “We are each only 15 digits away from 6 billion people.”

As technology infiltrates our society and culture at a phenomenal pace, our ability to keep the human connection and each stay grounded becomes paramount. Thupten Jinpa, a Buddhist scholar and translator for the Dalai Lama, pointed out that technology development is in the hands of a few, but effects the entire world, making it critical that those few be conscious of their own humanity and the global implications as they create.  Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay and a philanthropist, added that now that we have completed the connectivity revolution, technology must help with the next revolution of encouraging humans to be consciously connected.  Dustin Moskovitz, Co-Founder of Facebook and recent start-up Asana, labeled this ‘conscious cocreation’ and believes the world’s problems can be solved as technology brings us all together.  That requires a cultural shift from the focus on me to the focus on we, which arises from the practice of mindfulness.

Throughout the conference I heard example after example of how people are merging the worlds of mindfulness and technology and creating wisdom.

Learning and development leaders from Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Zynga are helping their employees be more productive and happy through a wide variety of courses and programs designed to help people sprint and pause, sprint and pause.  It is the ability to pause that is a new skill for many in the technology industry.  As Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco, stated, it is her daily meditation practice that allows her to be calm and listen well in the job of overseeing 22,000 engineers.  She acknowledges that everyone has a different way to pause to tap his or her creativity.  What is critical is that everyone is actually taping that creative source.  Over and over I heard the acknowledgement that in order to be creative and move at the technology industry pace, the ability to pause and reflect is essential.

The data is there to support that claim.  Daniel Siegel, Mindsight Institute, shared how brain research is showing the effects of a mindful practice.  It is not just that people feel calmer, but the chemicals and the structures of the brain actually shift when people pause on a regular basis.  The hard data may be what sways Google engineers from to take Meng Tan’s “Search Inside Yourself” course at Google University’s School of Personal Growth.  Stuart Crabb, Head of Learning at Facebook, stated that engineers want to understand how the mind works and appreciate the neuroscience and FMRI data that support the concepts of mindfulness.

Congressman Tim Ryan has written, A Mindful Nation that imagines the future of society where mindfulness has infiltrated education, healthcare, and the military.  Speaking at the conference he said, “If we want to fundamentally shift the country, this is the way to do it.”

As Eckhart Tolle, Author of A New Earth and The Power of Now, shared at the conference, when we take the time to pause and turn inward, we see the space inside that makes up the majority of us humans.  This spaciousness allows for the human connection.  Add the technology to physically connect billions of people and you have the ingredients for collective consciousness.  The key is the combination of the two.

Thanks to the myriad of leaders who took the time to share their perspective and for Soren Gordhamer for seeing the need for this combination and facilitating the conversation through the Wisdom 2.0 Conference.