In today’s episode, I sit down with author and cultural observer Erik Davis. Nearly twenty years ago, Erik published his cult classic Techgnosis, which explores the intersection of technology and religious imagination. From Amazon’s description of Techgnosis:
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.
In this interview, I pick his brain on some of the major themes of Techgnosis, which in many ways are even more relevant in today’s world than when originally published. We also discuss the startling impact emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) will have on the individual and collective level.
What You’ll Learn:
- Erik’s journey finding himself in the intersection point between spirituality and technology
- Why Techgnosis uses Hermes, the Greek Messenger God as a foundational idea to help lay the groundwork for Techgnosis’ content.
- How interconnected humans and technology have been throughout history, and how tools are an extension of man.
- Why technology can extend our powers, while simultaneously amputating something from us.
- The fascinating connection between Gnosticism and the spirit of the digital age.
- The startling positive and negative impact VR and AR will have on our lives in the near future
- How VR and AR will be able to stimulate peak experiences found in meditation, psychedelics, and other consciousness-expanding practices (and the implications of this technology)
- Why the practice of meditation is more important than ever in a world filled with constant technological advancement
Mentioned In Episode:
- Expanding Mind Podcast
- Philip K Dick
- Timothy Leary
- Terence McKenna
- Jaron Lanier
- Marshall McLuhan
- The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K Dick
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Robert Anton Wilson
- The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy by Mircea Eliade
- The Art of Memory by Frances Yates
- Splinternet: How Geopolitics and Commerce Are Fragmenting the World Wide Web by Scott Malcomson
Cover Photo by Seam Less