Technology and Religion


(Leonard Ulian, Technolgocal Mandala 02)

Am reading about technology, technology and literature, technology and religion. Right now, it’s Jeremy Stolow’s Deus in Machina, about which I’ll write more when I finish the book.

The link between technology and religion-spirituality-spiritualism has a lot to do with the way technologies make things appear, and how they do so in certain ways. Like religion and art, technology provides a second sense to things, opens up things in ways that our senses are unable to do unassisted. It’s a second sense. You see or hear something wonderful and astonishing you’ve never seen or heard before and could not have imagined. “Mystical.”

But here’s the trick. Then you see it again and again because scientific effects, to be genuinely scientific, are reproducible and testable. And the wonder begins to wane, namely the first wonder at the second sense is no longer so astonishing the second, third, and fourth time around.

If that’s not the end of the story, it is because there is always the attempt to recoup or to re-enchant the wonders that mark our technological lives, the technological wonders that come bumping up close to religion or spirituality. Often, this happens discursively, as we begin to reflect back upon our experience with technology.

This should sound like Peirce on firstness, secondness, and thirdness.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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