Wisdom 2.0 has grown very fast in only four years. From its first panel discussion in May 2010, between Google VP Bradley Horowitz and zen teacher Joan Halifax, the conference has stayed focused on its signature blend of technology and spirituality. In February 2013 Wisdom 2.0 filled the Concourse Exhibition Centre in San Francisco with some 1500 attendees, attracted by speakers including Ford CEO Bill Ford, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington and members of US congressTulsi Gabbard and Tim Ryan. A remarkable cross section of technology, business and politics for a conference that whose main focus is on the work of spiritual teachers like Jack Kornfield and Eckhart Tolle.
For many people the question, “what can technology learn from spirituality?” will meet with the flat out answer, “nothing”. Our secular society has learned to question spiritual teaching with the same skepticism we might bring to discussions of the supernatural and mysticism. But the success of Wisdom 2.0 suggests that its mission — to explore how we live with greater presence, meaning, and mindfulness in the technology age — is relevant to a growing audience. Technology confronts all of us with many challenges to our well being, from dealing with the “always on” work patterns facilitated by mobile technology, to managing the fragmented global communities of social media. As Wisdom 2.0 conference organiser Soren Gordhammer wrote in his 2009 book of the same title; technology is not the answer, but neither is it the problem. What matters instead is awareness, engagement and wisdom.
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