On Saturday, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he’d celebrated his birthday by observing 10 days of silent Vipassana meditation in Myanmar:
Over an 18-tweet thread, Dorsey wrote about his experiences during the ten days of silence, covering everything from a Silicon-vallified description of Buddhism (“hack the deepest layer of the mind and reprogram it”) to the 117 mosquito bites he got while silently meditating in a cave, which he apparently silently counted, silently photographed, and silently compared to the heartrate data silently recorded by his Apple Watch, which he wore in meditation-friendly airplane mode. (Despite all the important heart rate and mosquito bite information he found room for, there’s no information in the thread about his decision to spend his tourist dollar in a country where rival social media company Facebook just powered an ongoing genocide.) It’s not the first time Dorsey has opted for silence; he did the same thing about a year ago:
When he’s not silently meditating, Jack Dorsey runs Twitter, a social media company that produces an awful lot of noise. For example, here are all the messages from President Donald Trump that Dorsey’s company published during those ten days of silent meditation. (Dorsey says his silence began on the night of his birthday, Nov. 19, and lasted ten days; let’s assume that was 8:00 P.M. Myanmar time, which was 8:30 A.M. on the morning of the 19th in Washington D.C.). Here’s what Trump hollered into the megaphone Dorsey built him:
That is a whole lot of not-silence the rest of us had to put up with, and none of it was any good for anyone’s mental health. Meditation, like anything that can help humans survive the hellscape Dorsey helped build, can be a powerful tool, and in times like these, it’s natural for people to get evangelical about any relief they find. And it’s got to be complicated to discover that you built a tool that a world leader is now using to spread hatred and bigotry and lies and paranoia all over the world. But if you’re encouraging people to take a 10-day silent meditation trip to Myanmar while you get rich amplifying the voice of Donald Trump, maybe spend some time meditating on the idea of just shutting the hell up instead.