A Meditation on Algorithms

A guided exercise to overcome algorithmitis

B. Lorraine Smith
8 min readSep 20, 2022


“Algorithmitis Overcome” (A chalk drawing by me)

With great calm comes great power

I can get pretty up in arms when I think about how much influence algorithms have over my life — these insidious bits of code designed by people whose intentions I don’t share or even know about.

I call this algorithmitis, i.e. the sense of being invaded and controlled by hidden forces as I simply go about my day. Ads being served up in my google search based on private emails I’ve sent. Sponsored tweets based on recent online purchases. Some people’s messages being amplified, others suppressed. That kind of thing.

It’s not a nice condition, this algorithmitis. But then I was like:

Wait a minute. Why am I getting up in arms? Why not settle down and notice what’s happening? Why not apply the same principles of non-judgmental mindfulness to algorithms as to any other rough patch in life?

This approach has proven very helpful. Being up in arms is not a good feeling. My body feels tight, uncreative — destructive even. And although in some ways it’s an “active” feeling, it’s pretty disempowering. Whereas when I am calm and not so quick to judge, my body stays open, which allows my mind to process and react in more powerful ways.

It stands to reason that the bigger the challenge, the more beneficial — the more powerful — calm would be, no?

“Acceptance” does not mean “everything is okay”

People talk about “acceptance” in various mindfulness journeys. I used to think that meant realizing “everything is okay”. Now I see it more like “noticing what is true”. I am sure there are 1000 other ways to name it but the key for me here is that accepting is not about giving up or pretending everything is fine. It’s about being in a position to take the most meaningful steps forward.

So, the following is a guided meditation I created for myself to deal…



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B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at https://blorrainesmith.substack.com/