by Michel Bauwens
The previous issue of CMC Magazine brought a first crop of meditations on the interplay between technology and spirituality. This issue furthers this theme, and states that technology can actually be interpreted as a metaphysical project that can have far-reaching positive (the Electric Gaia hypothesis of an emerging planetary consciousness) or negative (the Deus Ex Machina hypothesis of an evil machine-God) consequences.
We invite you to start this issue with my introduction of these struggles around the meaning of humankind's technological quest.
Continuing the theme of techno-spiritual convergence is Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) co-inventor Mark Pesce, who shows that cyberspace is a magical medium based on powerful archetypal mythologies. Both the myth of mastery of matter and on the unification with spirit are converging on the Internet, to a black hole in the future, a TechnoCalypse. This notion was coined by Michael Grosso who in this issue, examines technology as a psychick phenomenon, while HotWired editor Jon Lebowsky goes deeper into native cyber-spiritualities such as techno-paganism, and how this new sensibility was predicted by the early cyberpunk authors. Ian Clark describes how the Internet and virtual reality may give a practitioner an audience with teachers who would be otherwise unreachable. However, he doubts if ceremonies of raising or transferring consciousness will ever be possible on the Net.
In this discussion, spiritualists echo the eternal division between those who place their hopes and Utopia in the future (as Socialism, Christianity and the Extropians are doing), and those who place their longing and their Utopia in the past (as Conservatives, and deep ecologists are doing).
Michel Bauwens (email@example.com) is former information manager at BP Nutrition where he developed one of the first working virtual information centers (1990-1993), for which he was elected European Information Professional of the Year. After creating the first European newstand magazine about the digital revolution (the dutch-language Wave), he now assists companies and organizations in their migration to electronic environments as a professional Internet consultant and cyber-marketeer.
Copyright © 1997 by Michel Bauwens. All Rights Reserved.