Wisdom 2.0 Conference Takeaways – Day 2

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Here is the continuation of takeaways from the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on Saturday, February 24th.  

Conference discussions by speakers included exploring and becoming mindful of our suffering, working together to create a more humane world, becoming aware of the persuasive qualities of technology and how we can reduce some of its addictive characteristics and discussion on shifting our mindset from one of scarcity to abundance.

Talk Contents:

  1. Who Are You Without Your Story?  Byron Katie interviewed by Soren Gordhamer
  2. What Might Truly Wisdom-Based Leadership Look Like in a Dystopian Universe?  Jon Kabat-Zinn in conversation with Karen May
  3. Time Well Spent: Taking Back Our Lives & Attention  Tristan Harris interviewed by Laurie Segall
  4. Mindfulness, Capitalism, and the Emerging Consciousness  A talk by Search Inside Yourself CEO, Rich Fernandez

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1. Who Are You Without Your Story? — Byron Katie

“…Some of us feel like if we’re in a state of compassion, connection, we’re not going to be as influential and effective. Look again, where do you do your best work?” — Byron Katie

“When I believe my thoughts, I suffer. When I question them, I don’t suffer and I’ve come to see this is true for everybody…” — Byron Katie

Byron Katie takes Wisdom 2.0 founder and host, Soren Gordhamer, through her step-by-step process of “Do the Work” to help him identify (without judgement) and question thoughts that cause suffering.

She asked him the four questions:

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?


For a more detailed Facilitation Guide, you can “Do the Work” here.

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2. What Might Truly Wisdom-Based Leadership Look Like in a Dystopian Universe?— Jon Kabat-Zinn

“We actually need to be in open-hearted conversation and relations with people who…think exactly the opposite of us and then work with our own horizon…” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a scientist, writer and meditation teacher who is also a professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School

Zinn talked about wisdom based leadership saying that he doesn’t believe in leadership. He believes in sensing what is called for now and not a follow me and my example type leadership. He believes in working collectively and mindfully to solve the problems of the world.

“We are all in this together. We are breathing the same air, we are drinking the same water and we have to have enough resources of all kinds to be able to support our families, to support creativity,…so that to me is true leadership.”

“…We do not want to be talking in the bubble of people who already agree with us, that’s part of the problem in this world. We actually need to be in open-hearted conversation and relations with people who…think exactly the opposite of us and then work with our own horizon…and find ways to do this…it is moment by moment by moment, there’s no there, it’s always here and can we actually navigate this territory in a way that has integrity and is about non-harming…”

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3. Time Well Spent: Taking Back Our Lives & Attention—Tristan Harris

“I am concerned about this (technology and its ability to persuade) and the reason I’ve lost sleep…and it makes it personal is that having this understanding and a belief that we’re not as in control as we think we are…” — Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris, Co-Founder of Center for Humane Technology talks about how he studied at a lab in Stanford called the Persuasive Technology Lab that taught young engineering students, including his friends who were the founders of Instagram (in the same class) to identify persuasion in technology citing that there’s training on teaching and learning persuasion.

“I am concerned about this and the reason I’ve lost sleep…and it makes it personal is that having this understanding and a belief that we’re not as in control as we think we are, which is a hard thing to accept. It’s kind of…you’re kind of meeting the limits of your own perceptions…”

“As persuasion goes up, what is going down? The sovereignty and authority of agency, the freedom of the mind…” — Tristan Harris

“…The thing that makes it personal for me is I really see the ways that people are invisibly persuaded and I see that unless we change course, which we have to do, it doesn’t look good and this is why we have to change course.”

“…We’re all on team humanity together to put the pressure on companies to do that (create thoughtful solutions to change how technology hijacks our brains)…”  — Tristan Harris

In response to being asked, what’s a quick action item we can do to not get caught up in technology, Harris responded,

“A couple quick things you can do…this literally takes five minutes…you can make some super simple changes to your phone and in five minutes you can have a much better experience…Turn off all of your notifications,…do it and your life will be a lot different. Only keep on notifications for human beings who want your attention as opposed to when machines want your attention, that’s the first thing. One thing people find helpful is turn your phone to grayscale. Why do you do that? Because whenever you look at your phone and see color icons, it’s like you are activating banana like things for your brain. Even when you don’t have a notification or a red dot, just the color by itself. Look at yourself, watch the way color activates attention. These are all on our website by the way, humanetech.com on there’s a page called Take Control and we have a bunch of different tips and there’s a lot more you can do…it can make a huge huge difference for you and your family and the people around you.”

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4. Mindfulness, Capitalism, and the Emerging Consciousness—Rich Fernandez

“Transitioning from a mindset of scarcity, fear and separateness to one of abundance, and compassion, and kindness and connectedness. There’s enough resources out there for us to do that…” — Rich Fernandez

Rich Fernandez is the CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization developed at Google that now offers mindfulness and emotional intelligence programs to communities and organizations around the world. 

“It’s hard to really discern what’s urgent from what’s important and the danger is of course is that we fall into this busyness trap and we get too busy at times…but what are we busy about?”

“Each of us is part of this larger eco-system so what we mean to notice the water as we’re swimming along in this busy world of ours…with this reflection, with this intentionality…notice the water, notice the experience of the systems and structures, the macro-environment in which we live and bringing this quality of mindfulness…the system in which we operate. We talk a lot about technology, we’ve talked a lot about practice, how about the broader eco-system which we inhabit?…Capitalism, what effect does that have on the emergence of consciousness…?”

“What would it mean for us to build bridges?…Perhaps it’s a mindset shift…A mindset shift that goes from one of scarcity to one of abundance, right. From a dog eats dog world to a dog plays with dog world. Transitioning from a mindset of scarcity, fear and separateness to one of abundance, and compassion, and kindness and connectedness. There’s enough resources out there for us to do that and we have the know how to be in a dog plays with dog world.”

“What’s the present you’re constructing?…What best supports the emergence of consciousness?…consider that for yourself.”  — Rich Fernandez

Update: Videos of guests now posted to Wisdom 2.0 website.
Read Wisdom 2.0 Conference Takeaways – Day 1 Here

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