31st March 2021: Techgnosis

On Wednesday 31st March we will discuss sections from TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information by Erik Davis. Download the chapters via the link below. As ever, it’s great if people are able to read more of the book than the focus text. Rupert Howe, a regular attendee who recommended the book, will introduce it for us and place the chapters we will discuss in context.

Download the focus chapters – the introduction and chapter 10 “Third Mind from the Sun” via the link below, or access the full book in pdf format.

This is an online event, which will be held from 7.30-9.30pm via Zoom. For Zoom details, which we keep private to group members, please contact us. Stroud Radical Reading Group events are free to attend. Please contact us about any accessibility requirements. We aim to make the sessions a welcoming space for anyone interested in the topic, you do not need to have a university education or have ever been to a reading group before, and we even welcome people who have not read the text but would like to listen! Please contact us if you have any questions.

You can buy second-hand copies from WorldOfBooks and Stroud Bookshop or the Yellow Lighted Bookshop will hopefully be able to order new copies in for you.

This event is the start of a series on digital technology. On the 28th April we will discuss Surveillance Capitalism (and How to Destroy It), and on the 26th May, Roisin Kiberd’s The Disconnect: A Personal Journey Through the Internet.

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.

– From Erik Davis’ website

If you prefer to engage through audio, the author has a podcast, Expanding Mind, and though no episode is directly on TechGnosis or the focus chapters, there are several episodes that should be relevant:

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