TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information

A Guide To Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Information Age

A Guide To Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the  Age of Information

 

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A Brief Qualifier

I want to qualify the fact that we do not advocate for many of the positions this books’ analyses entail. What we are advocating for is a clearer and more informed understanding of what Technology as a whole, is, and what some of these specific technologies imply, as well as what is relevant for the vision that is engendered, and is engendering, the specific: hopes, aspirations and vision that some advocates for these technologies thrive on. We hope this will enable us to arrive at a more through and scripturally based understanding of what our responsibilities are as Christians living in the contemporary world, as we move into our near and not so distant future. Although I have not personally spoken with Mars Hill Audio or Ken Myers about this I know, or at least I am absolutely confident that this is the position they take with respect to these kinds of materials as well.

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Ken Myers

Ken Myers

For those of you would like to hear a Ken Myers’ interview with Erik Davis about this book, the way the book came about along with other interesting aspects of information technology, click on this link ==> Techgnosis and then click the far left button on the audio bar.

Erik Davis

Erik Davis

      

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To amend a quote by Malcolm Muggeridge while referring to C.S. Lewis, I would say that Ken Myers when it comes to the contest between “knowledge,” or scientism and Faith, is manifestly on the side of faith. And this is true, evermore so, since he is willing to share this kind of material with us after he has placed it under the discernment of Christian convictions (to get a perspective on this you might want to listen to Modern Culture and the Death of Human Nature by following the hotlink where you will also see additional links on that page for a partial transcript to the audio presentation which may help.). This allows us to do the same. Much like Muggeridge wrote in his foreword to Michael Aeschliman’s Scientism and the Restitution of Man  , “Lewis is manifestly on the side of faith, so was [William] Blake who scribbled on the side of his copy of Bacon’s essay:  ‘Good Advice for [and about] Satan’s Kingdom’.”

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(A Mars Hill Audio blurb) Erik Davis, the author of TechGnosis, recognizes a Gnostic tendency in the contemporary understanding that information is an entity independent of a religious component. The emphasis on the acquisition of information leads modern society to embrace a disregard of matter and a hope for a utopian, technology-based community where there exists a “high velocity conversation between mind and matter.” However, this utopia is an exclusive community, where only those who can afford the high cost of technology benefit while the less fortunate live with the consequences of the environmental destruction caused by rapid technological development.  Click here to go to get to the Mars Hill Audio Homepage.

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The gap between the technological mentality and the mystical outlook may not be as great as it seems. Erik Davis looks at modern information technology–and much previous technology–to reveal how much of it has roots in spiritual attitudes. Furthermore, he explores how those who embrace each new technological advance often do so with designs and expectations stemming from religious sensibilities. In doing so, Davis both compares and contrasts the scientific attitude that we can know reality technologically and the Gnostic idea of developing ultimate understanding. Although organized into reasonable chapters, there’s a strong stream-of-consciousness component to Davis’s writing. His expositions may run, for example, from information theory to the nebulous nature of Gnosticism to the philosophical problem of evil-­all in just a few pages. It’s as if there are so many connections to make that Davis’s prose has to run back and forth across time and space drawing the lines. But the result, rather than being chaotic, is a lively interplay of wide-ranging ideas. His style is equally lively and generally engaging–if sometimes straying into the hip. In the end, he succeeds in showing the spiritual side of what some may see as cold, technological thought. –Elizabeth Lewis  (an Amazon Review)

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An Amazon Link to Book ==> TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of  Information

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From Publishers Weekly:

In the new millennium, will we drop our messy bodies and upload our minds and souls into tidy android containers? Why not, argues Davis, a Wired contributor whose hip, erudite first book argues for the survival of a kind of gnostic mysticism in the age of information technology, carried over from the specifically Christian movement of late antiquity. Davis marshals an impressive, even exhausting, amount of evidence from Eastern and Western literature, history, philosophy, scripture and popular culture to support his sometimes opaque position on the matter of technology’s impact on human spirituality and vice versa.
In wave after wave of hybrid vocabulary (“mythinformation,” “netaphysician,” “cyberdelia,” etc.), he offers a dizzying implosion of simulated hypertext, leaping from an authentic Gnostic poem to a ’60s rock concert to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook to the latest cultic catastrophe. This deluge of information and theory manages to be quite entertaining (“Already in Homer, Hermes is a multitasking character”), but, ultimately, readers may be unsure whether to applaud Davis’s conclusion that the phallic vector of technological development has been supplanted by a womblike matrix. But it’s not always the destination that matters, and readers who hang on will find that surfing Davis’s datastream makes for an exhilarating ride.
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As an ancillary study for TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information you may wan to consider picking up a copy of Charles Hampden-Turner’s Maps of the Mind. Not to advocate for these kinds of theories, it stands as a prime example of how far off track so many of the theorists who had become ensconced in various fields of the academy, and many of whom are included in Davis’ treatment of those who have significantly contributed to theory within many fields of technological innovation, actually were. Copies of this book can be obtained for a minimal fee, for $0.49 + S&H fees of $5.49 of this posting.
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To see more on these matters click here, it will take you to ==> Gnosticism and the Technologies of Our World page. For those of you would find this kind of study of interest, you may want to look at a book titled, ==> The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Minds. which is a very interesting book that won a Pulitzer Prize Nicolas Carr its author. It explores many of the same themes and lines of historical development of technological and communications as does as does Davis’s book. You can either follow the previous hotlink or find it listed on our Bookshelf to find out more about this interesting publication.
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