Most of us have heard about the recent Google engineer’s diatribe on why women are less qualified to be engineers than men. Beyond being insensitive and ill-conceived (not to mention being an imprudent career move), it reveals a kind of willful ignorance that is anchored in attitude. I say “willful” because we are free to critically consider and change our attitudes.
Indeed, such attitudinal change could be a quite practical and adaptive application of the mindfulness practices Google has been promoting over the past several years. But rather than merely producing a calmer version of the masculine, technically-oriented cognitive openness to ideas, mindfulness might also be used to discover the humanity and capacities of their female colleagues.
Not to pick on Google, this avenue of development is equally relevant to the other technically oriented firms in Silicon Valley. Whether such stone-age mindsets are clothed in the Mountain View chic of clever T-shirt slogans and primary colors, or in the conventional attire of male engineers who predominate in DOD contractor firms, they’re neither cool nor encouraging, neither kind nor respectful.
Mindfulness is not just about intellectual mind; it’s also about an attitude of compassion that opens us to understanding and respecting our fellow human beings, indeed, all living things and the life spaces we share whether constructed or natural. So, why not use our greatest sources of wisdom for being more fully human and more intelligently responsible. It's a win-win at work, at home, in the world.