"Erik Davis has written one of the best media studies books ever published."
--Bruce Sterling, author of The Hacker Crackdown and co-founder of the Dead Media Project
In the early 1990s, I became totally fascinated with the fantastic ideas that coursed through much of the budding cyberculture, from virtual reality shamans to Extropian transcendentalists to ravers and technopagans and cyberspace mythologists. The more I looked into the cultural history of media technology, however, the more I discovered strange pockets of mystical technoculture, and my book explores those largely unacknowledged stories and influences.
Ranging from the printing press to the telegraph, from radio to the Internet, TechGnosis peels away the utilitarian shell of technology to reveal the mystical and millennialist expectations that permeate the history of technology, and especially information technology. The book shows how the religious imagination, far from disappearing in our supposedly secular age, continues to feed the utopian dreams, apocalyptic visions, digital phantasms, and alien obsessions that populate today's "technological unconscious." In turn, TechGnosis also shows how the language and ideas of the information society have shaped and even transformed many aspects of contemporary spirituality. In the end, the book gestures towards a vision of "the network path": a global, pluralistic perspective capable of grappling with some of the forces that are currently tearing us apart: spirit and science, modernity and nihilism, technology and the human.
TechGnosis was tough to write, but I think it's a blast to read.
Figments & Inklings: