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The Zen Tech Movement

We are both using technology right now, I am typing this on my laptop, and you are reading this on a screen (that's a pretty deep insight I know).

The question I have for you is this -- how can this information be portrayed in a way that reflects nature?

Whoever can answer that question will be very rich one day.

The core of Zen is understanding the "true nature" of things and using that daily insight for the benefit of others.

Zen Technology then is having our technology reflect the essence of true nature. Imagine solar panels that work like plants or the distribution of our energy grids flowing like streams of water.

Currently our technology does not reflect nature. Instead, it is meant to distract us and take us out of the present moment. Netflix is designed to have you binge watch for hours, Instagram will trap you in the infinite scroll, YouTube will send you down rabbit holes that will have you asking two hours later, "How did I get here?"

How can we change our technology from being a way to detach ourselves instead as a way to enhance this moment?

Let's look at some examples of the difference.

Here is the typical YouTube landing page.

Do you notice all of the different things trying to grab your attention? There is nothing natural about the design and the result is for me is distortion not clarity.

Now here is YouTube with what I consider a Zen Tech approach.

What we see here is a browser extension called Distraction Free YouTube. When enabled, it makes it possible to go to YouTube and decide what we want before being bombarded by the war of the attention economy. I can sit here, take a deep breathe, then decide what I am looking for. That's Zen.

If you are a designer, how can you implement Zen Tech into your work?

How can you redesign your website?

Redefine your product?

Fuel an organic movement?

By removing things, we create space. By creating something that resembles nature, we are no longer fighting against the universe. Use nature as your template, and millions of years of evolution will guide your design.

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. Albert Einstein

The best life is one where we are in present in the moment with our creativity and spontaneity but also respect the necessary discipline it takes to make the most of it. That is at the core of Zen thought, and now the core of how you design not only projects, but also your life.

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