* Book: Techgnosis. Myth, magic and mysticism in the age of information. By Erik Davis.
From the publisher:
"How does our fascination with technology intersect with the religious imagination? In TechGnosis—a cult classic now updated and reissued with a new afterword and a foreword by Eugene Thacker—Erik Davis argues that while the realms of the digital and the spiritual may seem worlds apart, esoteric and religious impulses have in fact always permeated (and sometimes inspired) technological communication. Davis uncovers startling connections between such seemingly disparate topics as electricity and alchemy; online roleplaying games and religious and occult practices; virtual reality and gnostic mythology; programming languages and Kabbalah. The final chapters address the apocalyptic dreams that haunt technology, providing vital historical context as well as new ways to think about a future defined by the mutant intermingling of mind and machine, nightmare and fantasy."
Extensive summary, from the booknotes of Michel Bauwens, written in 2003:
"This book lay in my library already some years and was used in preparation of the TechnoCalyps documentary, which was directed by Frank Theys, with intense collaboration on my part. This book is a good companion to David Noble's "Religion and Technology", though this one is more concerned with recent technology and more open to the spiritual and informed by a more 'postmodern' sensibility. The third chapter deals with the legacy of gnosticism. It discusses the reductionist effects on culture of Shannon's information theory, the emergence of cybernetics and DNA being reduced to its information content. But by reducing matter, life, and the self to information processes and 'patterns', tthey also throughly demateriaize reality, echoing the gnostic worldview.
Stopped reading at the end of chapter 4, "since I found it too much echoing my own insights, but Erik Davis is a great writer for those not yet familiar with the topic."
- Interview of Erik Davis, author of the book “Techgnosis.” By David Levine for Hearsay Culture. Podcast via http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/podcasts/20061122_Levine_Davis.mp3
- Bio at http://www.techgnosis.com/