The soul of cyberspace

think of technology itself as an animistic dynamic that filters through the individual machines, being an over spirit to them — an animistic spirit that’s way beyond what humans are comprehending on their own level.

So says Britt Welin, quoted here from an excellent paper by Douglas Groothuis titled “TECHNOSHAMANISM: Digital Deities in Cyberspace”

…when one is on psychedelic drugs “and you tune into a cyberspace environment, you lose your parameters and you find yourself entirely within the electronic environment.” Welin’s husband, Ken, also strives for union with cyberspace. He says, “Our video-computer system’s set up to ease us into a level of intimacy where we can use it in a transparent sense” and “enter into a trance relationship with it.” It then “ends up having a spiritlike existence.”

According to Erik Davis, the labyrinthine recesses of cyberspace, with its unfathomable complexities and strange potencies, “may soon appear to be as strangely sentient as the caves, lakes, and forests in whic h the first magicians glimpsed the gods.” To the sacred and mysterious natural spaces of unwired ancient animists we may now add the sacred and mysterious cyberspaces of the wired modern animists. Leary and a cowriter saw computers as fulfilling the goal of “magick” as defined by archoccultist Aleister Crowley: “The art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with our will.”

(emphasis mine)

I am inclined to agree with Leary. Cyberspace is made up of almost pure thought-stuff. That is at the same time both its blessing and curse. Operating as a disembodied mind, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are gods, or at the least god-like in our ability to shape our [digital] world. Like the builders of the tower of Babel, our God-given ability to create can be misused to the point where it becomes spiritually damaging.

Although cyberspace technologies in themselves need not be demonic, they easily become conduits of deception and distortion when appropriated by the pagan practitioner, since their simulations are so seductive and their magnetism is so compelling. Because such technologies facilitate the construction of artificial environments, they can be a particularly powerful tool in the hands of cybermagicians who long to “create their own reality” one way or another.

We need to be very careful when it comes to the cyberspaces we create and choose to live in.

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