Brown Bag with Colas Zibaut

Meditation apps

Wednesday, April 19, 2023
12-1pm, 7415 Dwinelle Conference room

Colas Zibaut
Enlightenment or mental fitness?
How did the digital industry shape meditation to fit the needs of capitalism

Over the last fifteen years, meditation and mindfulness have embraced digital interfaces, rapidly colonizing smartphone applications. Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer among many others have played an important role in the democratization of this technique consisting in training the mind. Far from being neutral, this mutation is changing the very way meditation is taught. Being part of the economic space of the mobile application market (the App Store and Play Store), meditation has become more of a mental fitness tool than an authentic support for a demanding spiritual practice. To this end, it has been adapted to the needs of a cognitive and digital capitalism, precisely the one responsible for generating stress and inability to find rest for beings constantly plunged into an attention warfare. In this perspective, meditation has become a biopolitical object, where the usual techniques of the digital industry are being used : gamification, tracking, and use of scientific discourse for legitimization purposes have become the norm.