Lifehacks as Mindfulness

Rachel Sugar over at Vox argues that lifehacks represent the sinister push toward greater efficiency. While I agree that often they can be symptomatic of the Western push toward doing more in less time, lifehacks are not inherently so. The lens by which we approach our actions matters. Lifehacks can also be a form of mindfulness, wherein we are present in our actions, paying close attention to the here and now.

Putting together a short annotated bibliography on metaphors about technology and finding that the articles range from “the metaphors we use shape our conceptions of inventing and implementing technology” to “sometimes we think computers are like people and get irritated that they are so withholding” to “existing in the global cognisphere means that we have given up our agency as individual entities”. There seems to be some healthy disagreement on this topic.

The metaphors we use to talk about things are powerful. For example,¬†when talking about the internet lately the “flow of information” is seen as a given. It’s like drinking from a firehose. We’re engulfed. We’re drowning in it.

What if instead information online were a river, continuously available to carry us where we need to go, there to quench our thirst for knowledge, and distract us with cool waters for as long as we want to dip in our toes?

Don’t you feel calmer already?