Information & Contemplation

In 2005, I was awarded an academic fellowship by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society to create a course exploring how contemplative practices might serve as a lens to observe and critique current information practices, and to investigate problems such as information overload, the fragmentation of attention, and the busyness and acceleration of everyday life. I first taught this course in Spring 2006; the most recent offering took place in Winter 2013. Open to undergraduates, masters and doctoral students, the course has three pedagogical thrusts:

  • A reading seminar-style exploration of contemporary information practices and the challenges associated with them, such as information overload and distraction.
  • First-person explorations of a variety of contemplative practices, including seated mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, and a body scan;
  • A set of exercises meant to help students mindfully observe, reflect on, and improve their information technology practices, such as email, Facebook, and multitasking.

See two articles about the course: