The Prosthetic God


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@Linebaugh Thanks for the info. Still digesting it, but I think I get it enough to respond. Is it that technology (as the process of developing techne/technics?) gradually diminsihes the need for human creation, or does it merely "push" this demand into increasingly non-physical/metaphysical spaces? Or do those amount to the same thing?

That is, if the more concrete problems are accounted for with increasing ease and automation, are we under less tension, or is the tension just less concrete and more abstract? Or, again, do those amount to the same thing?
Regarding the Sacred and Profane, I don't know if theres an argument present for that. I think if there is a 'point' to be taken from the book here, its that as the world has become more profane/secular, its not soley Enlightenment/reason/science revealing what was once only explainable by God, but also technology taking us further from the inherently spiritual cycles of life/death, creation/destruction. You can see how pre idustrial man, responsible for creating his whole livelihood- building shelter, hunting/growing food - functioned more like a god than post industrial man. So just as Christianity would disappear if everyone stopped reading the bible, going to church, praying and etc., the religious impulse weakens as the 'rites' of spirituality are phased out by technology. If you want to eat, you no longer enter yourself into the process of creation/destruction through hunting/gathering/farming, what you do is you go into a factory, turn some knobs, get paid, go to the store, buy food. Not exactly a spiritual expereince.
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But to tie back to your original point about the difference between spiritual and technological externalization of God, theres a view that says they are two sides of the same coin. Spiritual externalization is supported by a technological externalization and vice versa.

And I mean 'technology' as knowledge applied to things to serve an end. A stick becomes a technology when you know how it can be applied to shelter building. So knowledge externalized onto the world creates order, and order is a sign of God.
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So god would be 'unnecessary' when technology removes the necessity of man to order the disordered world. Man would return to the 'pure, naive grace of a puppet' as his survival would no longer depend on organizing the world to suit his ends. Time would also cease in this view re: "the last chapter in the history of the world." Whether it be the original religious view of time as the cyclic travel from sacred time (creation/order) into profane time (degradation/return to disorder), or the modern Christian view of history as the lived experience of god, as soon as we remove ourselves from the process of creation, i.e. doing shit in the world, time is useless. Time, technology, God all in cahoots
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But to tie back to your original point about the difference between spiritual and technological externalization of God, theres a view that says they are two sides of the same coin.

And there's a view that there isn't. This is a point of contention/doubt in the nascent theology of AI. Is AI God, a god, the Antichrist, a demon?
Quite an important distinction, assuming you don't want to end up burning in hellfire.

There's a bit of talk about this on the dematerialisation thread.
Ah this has reminded me of something I was meaning to mention

There is this book by Erik Davis called Techgnosis where he looks into the history of technology and how it's been spiritualized or had religious impulses projected onto it, intertwined with it

So around the same time as the telegraph and Morse Code was developed, the spiritualist movement was also kicking off - and they called their magazine, or one of them anyway, The Spiritual Telegraph.

But another angle on this is how people who are mentally ill are drawn to metaphors based around current technology - whatever has recently been introduced, it becomes part of their delusion

So a schizophrenic in Alexander Graham Bell's era might think that somebody was controlling them through the telephone system

Then, by the mid-20th Century, it's voices speaking to them through the television.

And a little later, it's a satellite that's beaming thought-control into their heads.

And so on...

No doubt there have been delusions based around fax machines, pagers, etc a

I have had a couple of friends who went completely - horribly - crazy. An early sign was the belief that someone (rivals at work usually) was hacking into their email. In the first case - an ex-girlfriend - when she started going on about how university colleagues of hers were doing this, I thought nothing of it - a/ because she always seemed like the most psychologically rock-solid person I knew pretty much, so it never occurred to me she was imagining this, but also b/ I thought 'how typical of academia', it being a rivalrous sort of field - seemed very likely they would be capable of malice and deviousness. (Talking about technology, this is late 90s, pre-broadband, world wide web - she got very enthusiastic about building a giant hypertext project that would connect everything - another characteristic schizo trait, in its manic euphoria stage: projects of system-building)

The next time it happened - a friend who worked at a fashion magazine, convinced her mail was being broken into etc - I knew better.

So your friend with the imaginary relationships via Twitter with the famous is I fear quite ill - but also on the cutting edge of insanity, in a sense.

But then the thought extending from that to the topic of the thread - what is the relationship between dematerialisation tendencies and mental illness?

(Spiritual and religious beliefs that involve body-transcendence are not so far from delusions and psychiatric disorders)

(Before technology as we understand it, schizo disorders would take the form of encounters with demons, sprites, succubi, visitations from angels or God etc)

Clearly Man is a sick animal to start off with, that is basic Freud et al ... already alienated from the body...

Tendencies that tend to further extricate consciousness from its flesh-cage - and forge these mediated distance-abolishing connections with remote networks or entities - would seem likely to foster even worse forms of anguish and psychological malaise.

There is a famous case study of Freud's - the case of Schreber, a judge in Austria who went psychotic, this is late 19th Century - much referenced by your critical theory French types, Deleuze & Guattari etc

I forget the precise nature of the madness (one part of it involved transgendering fantasies of being the wife of the Austrian prime minister or something) or what exactly the latter theorists read into the case, but from Wiki, this bit:

"The fundamental unit of Schreber's cosmology were "nerves", which composed both the human soul and the nature of God in relation to humanity. Each human soul was composed of nerves which derived from God who with "His" own nerves was the ultimate source of human existence. God's nerves and those of humanity existed parallel to one another except when the "Order of the World" was violated which constituted the fundamental premise of Schreber's memoirs- in which the two universes experienced dangerous "nerve-contact" with each other."

reminded me a little of the McLuhan line about the extensions of man and the nervous system becoming expanded through technological interface

And this bit:

"The peculiar universe of Schreber's was mediated by the activity of rays, which could assume a "pure" and "impure" relation; these rays could be controlled by Flechsig or emanated strictly from God, who sought to influence Schreber and his reality by "divine miracles"."

is sort of proto-technology, almost anticipating radio

With all these delusions, there is porousness - the borders of the self / body are violated, invasively interfaced with systems beyond it.

Now that sensation is ecstatic, when chosen voluntarily through drugs or other practices... or a certain use of technology

But when it happens without volition, as an out of order distortion of perceptions, it's terrifying.