Meditation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter teaches you the philosophy and the techniques to adapt the ancient principles of meditation to the world of today. In practice, this means you can leverage the power of meditation to engage with the increasing volume of messages in today’s world but still acquire a sense of flow and intuition.
Why should you buy this book? – Key ideas
In essence, the book explores ways to take meditation to the next level of evolution using neural techniques to improve social and visual (image based) meditation methods. If you are already familiar with meditation, the book is the next stage of your journey. If you are new to meditation, the book is a path to explore in the world of today. While we discuss meditation from ‘shamanism to transhumanism’ we take a secular perspective.
The book is unique since it about the ‘evolution of meditation’ (As an early reader said: A ‘platypus’ of a meditation book in reference to the Duck billed Platypus – an evolutionary missing link)
It explores meditation beyond the traditional ‘relaxation’ to a world of today where we have to manage a constant and often conflicting sets of inputs and make split-second decisions based on these inputs. This is similar to the situation faced by an airline pilot, for example – the landing of an airliner in the Hudson river. 
The book draws on lessons from the ancient to the modern: from Shamanism to Transhumanism
The book talks of the ‘Fourth age of meditation’ – following the Shamanic , religious and ‘guru led’ ages of meditation. The fourth age of meditation is characterised as network led/social/transhumanist
The book also talks of a ‘Living in a post tipping point world’ (transhumanism, Quantum mind, Resonance, impact on society etc)
We also explore the idea of social meditation using neural technologies
As the Zen proverb says: The Journey is the destination – i.e. the book is a ‘platform’ and the ideas will evolve
What it means for you? Why are these ideas relevant now?
About 70,000 years ago, the Toba super-volcano eruption led to an intense interconnection between human beings causing an explosion in innovation and creativity. Today, 70,000 years on for the first time, we are seeing another global interconnection through the Internet.
The creativity that will be unleashed by these connections will take us to a new age. We may call it ‘transhumanist’ but in any case, it will unify humanity as a whole by challenging us to use our minds in new ways. Ajit argues that meditation will have an important role to play in this transformation by learning from the ancient past (Shamanism) to navigate the future (transhumanism)
The evolution of meditation
Meditation is the ancient act of directing attention to achieve a state of mindfulness. Meditation is an antidote to the emotional attachment of messages that we live with today and will increasingly do so in future. It is a mind–body exercise from a secular and a spiritual perspective. Meditation leads to a feeling of integration, such as in the experience of the Buddha who saw that joy and grief were two facets of the same entity.
Meditation also leads to a sense of connection and hence to a feeling of empathy. It leads to greater intuition by reducing the stream of thoughts. When applied to today’s world, faced with an increased rate of stimulus, the challenge of meditation is to be in this world yet to be detached from it. The future of meditation could include not just ancient principles but also a deeper understanding of our brains and technology.
How would you teach Elvis Presley to meditate?
How would you teach Elvis Presley to meditate? On the one hand, for Elvis Presley, no amount of ‘going to a retreat’ or contemplation would help unless his lifestyle itself changed. On the other hand, the act of meditation, however brief, would lead Elvis to look inward. The contemplation would be an uncomfortable process because it would not be compatible with his outward lifestyle. In a meditative state, Elvis would not like what he saw, and at that point either his lifestyle would have to change or he would stop meditating because meditation would become too uncomfortable
Were monks ever meant to be on Facebook and Twitter?
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, the Japanese author and teacher of Buddhism, describes the traditional lifestyle of a monk eloquently in his book, The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk (New York: Cosimo, 2007), when he emphasizes the importance of begging. The lifestyle of a monk(which includes begging) is an integral part of meditation. That’s why so many attempts to meditate fail because we have to accept a completely different lifestyle and hence explore different techniques
The Buddha said – ‘He who loves fifty people has fifty woes; he who loves no one has no woes.’ In an age of social networks, many of us have more than 50 friends. Despite our friends, we also suffer from a sense of disconnectedness – which the Hopi Indians call ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ or a life in turmoil
Why study shamanism with transhumanism together?
The word shaman originates from the Tungus people of Siberia and means many things, from ‘medicine man’ to ‘healer.’
Shamanic traditions are typically 20,000 to 30,000 years old and Shamanism is practiced from Siberia to Africa. Meditation, Altered States, and chants form the basis of Shamanic spiritual practices.
Thus, Shamanic Meditation is one of the earliest forms of Meditation and Shamanism is the earliest spiritual practice known to man and unifies humanity before divisions arose between people
Living in a post tipping point/transhumanist world
For the first time in the last 70,000 years – all of humanity is increasingly interconnected. Ultimately, we could expect that we would be living in a hyper connected/transhumanist world.
The core belief of transhumanism is that human beings can be biologically and physically improved through radical technologies. So, transhumanism can be seen as a ‘radical’ personal development tool. We are more interested in a corollary i.e.: “In the world of ‘super intelligence’, if human abilities are so radically enhanced, how would we meditate? And is there a ‘catalyst effect’ between the two?”
Could we meditate better if we used the brain itself in meditation by understanding the physiology of the brain
Brain computer interface (BCI) is a system that translates the electrophysiological activity or metabolic rate of an organic organism’s nervous system into signals that can be interpreted by a mechanical device. BCI products used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and are now down to just $100. When such neural devices are interconnected, what impact would we see?
- If we take social networking to the neural level (the facebook of the connected mind), we could potentially – Record brain waves and see them, create a visual representation of your mind at a point in time (a thoughtform), Be able to share that thought form with others, Be able to do so cheaply and globally
- If we treat the brain itself as an oscillator, we could ask: Does the brain resonate?, Can such brains synchronize or harmonize?, Is such synchronization spontaneous?, Can such synchronization be enhanced if we develop the brain?, Can meditation (as we define it here) help in that process?, Can emergent phenomenon arise from resonating minds?, Can synchronization and evolution of the brain be augmented by technology? And how does the brain itself evolve as we meditate?
This journey is just beginning and it is interesting to see a historical timeline of how we have evolved as a species
- The universe is about 15 billion years old.
- The earth is around five billion years old.
- Dinosaurs existed 65 million years ago.
- The human race, as we know it, has existed for about 100,000 years.
- Toba was 70,000 years ago
- The last ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, leading to greater travel and interaction between people.
- The oldest traces of civilization in India , Middle East and China date back 9,000 years.
- The Bible talks of a period about 4,000 years ago.
- The Renaissance is only about 600 years old.
- Steam locomotives were first launched in 1804.
- The 747 (jumbo jet) was conceived in the 1960s and launched in 1970 as ‘a great weapon for peace, competing with intercontinental missiles for mankind’s destiny.’
- The ARPANET, and its commercial manifestation (the Internet), has only been around since 1988.
- The World Wide Web has only been around since the mid-1990s.
And .. in the near future
- Craig Venter and his team discovered artificial life
- Gliese 581 could be a ‘Goldilocks’ planet – not too hot and not too cold – hence capable of supporting life
- The woolly mammoth could be resurrected from its DNA – la Jurassic park
So, perhaps these ideas of using the mind and the brain along with other transhumanist ideas may not be far away
To buy this book
Contact ajit.jaokar @ futuretext.com – Official release date Jan 30 2012
Meditation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter combines technology and meditation. Ajit’s thinking has often explored new areas where concepts of networks could be applied, including the technical and the social domains. Early reviewers sent the comments below .
Reviews and comments
“In Meditation in the Age of Facebook Ajit takes on the difficult but important challenge of describing how we might learn to manage the ever increasing flow of information using meditation and more importantly how by using technology we could evolve meditation to a connected, communal and fundamentally richer experience. The brain is the next frontier and Ajit’s exciting vision of the future is a template which can help drive our thinking and development forward.”
“Nic Brisbourne, Partner DFJ Esprit and author of influential VC blog www.theequitykicker”
“Ajit Jaokar brings a refreshing optimism to the discussion of our technologically-developing world. Eloquently, he addresses the paradox of our existence in relation to social media and networking – a balance between mindful detachment (meditation) and the demand for increased connectivity. Jaokar’s exploration of the growing strength of networks over hierarchies reminds us of the vitality of our relational world which he argues can be fortified through technology and lead to a transhumanist meditative spirituality and an “exponential growth in human intelligence”. An uplifting view of the potential of our future!”
Dr. Meghan Craig, Counselling Psychologist www.meghancraig.co.uk
“Ajit Jaokar shows us in his latest book the dynamic interplay between technology and consciousness, both on the individual, group and planetary level. We make technology and technology makes us is a well known fact. Question remains however how we all can effectively use new technologies to increase our humanity instead of diminishing it. Meditation, focus and presence seem to be core enablers in this respect. An important book for those who are fascinated by the convergence of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, physics, sociology and Singularity. If you loved reading bestsellers like Flow, Connect, Power of Now and Theory U, you will find this book a fascinating next step.”
Yuri van Geest (TEDx Amsterdam, Mobile Monday Amsterdam, Singularity University, Quantified Self Europe)
“Meditation is an important neural tool that enriches millions of lives today and has done from ancient times. However, Ajit Jaokar’s book examines how technology and connectedness may play an increasing role in meditation and that we may be poised on the edge of a golden age for the practice.”
Russell Buckley – mobhappy
“This is a timeless book. As he sets out to understand how we might augment the ancient technology of meditation with modern social and neural networks, Ajit Jaokar takes us on a challenging ride to the edges of the future. A fascinating read from 60es counter-culture to the networked world of today!”
Ossi Urchs – Munich Germany – German Internet-Guru. www.urchs.de
“I have known Ajit since about 2003, long before his work was well known. At that time, I said in one social networking site that Ajit was the Leonardo of our age , for his ability to see connections between different elements and create new ideas, many of which have come to be true. In his 2011 book, Ajit proposes the idea of
“Meditation in the age of Facebook and Twitter” He talks about a “new form of spirituality”, 21st Century Transhumanist Meditation. “In an age of reason we are relinquishing the dogma of structured religion and gurus, but at the same time embracing a timeless spirituality that unites us rather than divides humanity.” A MUST read for those of us trying to find spiritual connection in a technological word.”
Maggie Baldry Newton Aycliffe UK
“This book takes the implications of the hyper-connectedness of social networking to a whole new level. Prepare to be amazed as Ajit Jaokar takes a scientific look at how technology will change the way we think.”
Tonia Ries – New York
“Mr Jaokar provides a provocative thesis on how exponential changes in technology melded with mediation may afford humans the possibility to achieve a new level of connected consciousness. The ideas in this book should be discussed and debated for years to come as we all look to leverage technology to change the very essence of our humanity.”
Sunil Gunderia – www.gunderia.com
“Remember the Past, Live the Present, Trust the Future”
Can you live the Present forgetting the Past? Can you project yourself in the Future not knowing your Past? Ajit Jaokar is taking us for a ride into the Future, demonstrating the value of our Past and the glory of our Present. Never forget your roots to understand and go forward. A must read
Muriel Devillers – Founder – Managing Director – LUMU Invest Sàrl Luxembourg
“This is a brilliant and timely book for the modern age. In a time when there is so much noise and clutter, this is the kind of insight people really need. Ajit has captured the social zeitgeist into this compelling document that I would say is vital reading for people in all walks of life.”
Jonathan MacDonald Entrepreneur
“It is already possible to control characters in computer games from signals in your brain via a $100 headset. In his fascinating new book Ajit Jaokar foresees a new era in which we have even more control over our brains and in which meditation could expand to hook up with social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. It is quite literally mind-boggling.”
Victor Keegan author and creative developer” “former assistant editor of the Guardian
“Ajit Jaokar is a great thinker of our time. ‘Meditation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter’ makes sense of our modern conundrum to detach and connect. Many will relate to the conflict of meditation with lifestyle that Ajit explains can act as a catalyst for a deeper change within you. In this book, you will learn about the ‘Fourth Stage of Meditation’, the way to balance spirituality, technology and humanity. It will appeal to creative thinkers interested in what is possible with our own mind.”
Angela Dunn, Blogbrevity, Social Business and Innovation Consultant
“In his new book, Ajit brings together a lot of different elements on mediation and technology in an interesting way. He also provokes thoughts and questions about a possible future and about how one can influence the future and be influenced by it. This book is a great starting point to better understand the elements and innovations that will influence us and how we can become better humans in a hyper-connected world.”
Rudy De Waele, Speaker, Entrepreneur, dotopen, AppCircus, Singularity University. Barcelona
“In his journey, Ajit encounters two eternal beasts – the human mind, that infinite source of energy and the powerful beast known as the Internet, the one that made the human evolve into the social creature of today. He masterfully reconciles these primal and emerging forces to offer the reader a glimpse of things to come. A journey worth taking, on a path clearly delineated, in a book that is skilfully written to be pleasant and overwhelming.”
Tariq El-Haj Omar, Strategy Consultant Dubai
“With this new book, Ajit once again pushes the limits of our understanding and provokes our thinking by proposing a new relationship between technology and spirituality. Exploring the importance of the ‘meditative state of mind’ and, daringly, a new ‘connectivity aspect’ of meditation, Ajit succinctly addresses the possibilities of trans-humanism, brainwave technologies and the possible fusion of social networks, technology and traditional meditation. If you are ready to dive into a mind-boggling new ‘Gedankenexperiment’(thought-experiment) that will supply serious
food for thought, get this book and dive in!”
Gerd Leonhard, Futurist, Author and CEO of The Futures Agency Zurich
To buy this book
Contact ajit.jaokar @ futuretext.com – Official release date Jan 30 2012