The term “human being” means a lot more in this age of instant access to information, little computers in our pockets, social media, and a post-industrial revolution that places a premium on knowledge work over blue collar or service work. Silicon Valley and the tech industry have influenced the way we think about ourselves in relation to work. You can see it in the sayings of the tech giants: Fail Fast, Work Hard and Make History, Do More Faster, Be Productive. And the list goes on and on. The sayings appear common-sensical and no one would disagree with them. But underneath those sayings in the context of a competitive tech industry and a society that expects people to work hard and do more as a measure of someone’s worth (this brainwashing mindset is especially true in the United States) is this: You are a Human Doing.

A Human Doing is different than a Human Being. A Human Doing is someone who has been programmed to not have self-awareness and to believe that their worth is in doing more–faster and better than the competition. A Human Doing cannot sit still and enjoy the present moment. A Human Doing typically lives in the urban areas, frequently checks social media, does not typically have a hobby in the arts, and works a lot without ever questioning why they should work so much to begin with. Most importantly, a Human Doing lacks self-awareness: the ability to slow down, to question one’s life, values, and choices, and to be honest with one’s relationship to their family, their friends, their society. A Human Doing is typically a corporate drone with golden handcuffs who simply can’t leave a job that they hate. But a Human Doing can be working in any industry large or small. They are not free, either economically or spiritually.

A Human Being is different. They are critical thinkers and are self-aware of the brainwashing by a tech-influenced, cowboy-capitalist, materialistic society. They still participate in such a society. But with the knowledge that it’s all bullshit. They resent being constantly distracted. They dislike the excesses of social media, the open-air office, and the tacit acceptance by society of being reachable after working hours. They dislike the excesses of email and chat rooms ala Slack and Outlook. A Human Being actually likes nature. You will typically see them hiking, skiing, or traveling off the beaten path. And most importantly, a Human Being prefers focusing on one thing at a time and doing it well-not because it’s profitable-but doing something well for the sake of doing it well.