ABOUT TECHNOLOGY ZEN
Technology permeates our lives at almost every level today. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced our dependence on many of them, especially social-media, video conferencing/chat and remote access tools and services. Although there is little doubt we have realized many incredible benefits as a result of technology, the past 20 years has seen an explosive growth of social-media and smartphone technologies which have also revealed many potential mental health risks including addiction, depression, loneliness and anxiety, especially for children/youth. Although there is a growing body of psychological science which has shown potential mental health risks for vulnerable groups and particular technology usage-patterns, there is also a growing body of evidence demonstrating that these same technologies can not only be used in a manner which reduces the mental health risks, but can also be used to improve HAPPINESS and even WELL-BEING.
Technology Zen is about combining the psychological science of happiness and well-being, with the world of technology. Technology Zen represents a growing movement towards DESIGNING, CHOOSING and USING technology in a manner which reduces their potential harm, while maximizing their potential benefits, including fostering happiness and well-being. This marriage between the science and psychology of happiness and well-being, with technology, is also called “Positive Technology“.
“Interest in positive technology – technology designed to improve the quality of our lives – has boomed over the last few years.” (Psychology Today)
Technology Zen also represents the personal intersection and merging of 30+ years working/consulting across a broad range of technology fields, with 30+ years studying or conducting research in neuropsychology, transpersonal psychology, consciousness studies and wellness science, with 45+ years of self-study and practice into Eastern and indigenous spiritual practices. For nearly 15 years I also worked with and developed treatment programs for at-risk youth. Therefore I am particularly concerned about the significant increase in the percentage of teens and young adults reporting mental distress, depression and suicidal thoughts over the past decade. Many researchers and psychologists believe that the increase in teen depression and mental distress is linked to the increase in smartphone and social-media use over the same period.
GOALS FOR THE SITE
For most of my life I have been immersed in technology, psychology and spirituality. All the while asking myself three questions: 1. “who am I?“, 2. “what is it all about?” and 3. “what can I do to make a difference?“. I can’t really say with any confidence that I have a good answer for either of the first two questions – although I am still looking – but this site and it’s goals reflect one part of my answer to the third question. I sincerely hope that what I offer on this site towards the healthy and positive use of technology, makes a difference in the lives of people struggling with or challenged by, technology.
My interest in spiritual matters and the psychology of consciousness and self, began around 1975 (I was 15) when I was introduced to the writings of Carlos Castaneda by a Boy Scout Leader, while on a bus headed to Camp Byng on the Sunshine Coast of BC (Canada). At the time I was also living with the trauma of an abusive home environment and so was quickly drawn into the mystical, shamanic and self-exploration aspects of Castaneda’s writing (and Don Juan’s teachings). I am convinced that the introspective, meditative, mystical, psychedelic and shamanic states I read about and later began to explore in the forests of Grouse Mountain and Lynn Valley BC, played a significant role in my psychologically surviving (relatively) unscathed from those early traumatic experiences. But most of all, that early introduction to shamanic, spiritual and mystical practices as well as explorations of altered states of consciousness, planted seeds of curiosity which set in motion a life-long pursuit along the path’s of psychology, consciousness and spirituality.
“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.”
~Don Juan Matus – mentor, teacher, ‘Nagual’ of Carlos Castaneda
After spending more than 30+ years in a broad range of technology fields, and pursuing an education in neuropsychology, developmental psychology, applied statistics, consciousness studies and transpersonal/spiritual psychology, these diverse interests and passions have now converged into a question. How can we use the technologies which are so pervasive in our lives today, as a means to foster community, happiness or even well-being? Therefore, my goal for Technology Zen is to find ways to combine this technological, psychological and spiritual background/education towards supporting individuals and the community in the pursuit of happiness, well-being and flourishing, through the positive and healthy use of technology. If I can help to make a positive difference in the use of technology for even just one person, I will have accomplished my goal.