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An example of the modern merging of ceremonial magic and technology; a videoconference allows participants to practice the ritual when not physically in person

Technopaganism is the merging of neopaganism and magical ritual with digital technologies. This may be through the use of technology merely as an aid, such as video conferencing for example, or it may be a worship of the technology itself. The internet for instance, may be seen by some as having spiritual significance.[1] Techno-music may also be involved in technopaganism. Modern tribal and urban primitive movements such as cyberpunk, urban shamanism and rave culture are associated with electronic dance music.

Definition

Technopaganism deals with spiritual and magical facets of technology and technological society. Associated with this is the use of technological metaphors (most often computer or telecommunications metaphors) to describe spiritual phenomena, as well as the use of symbolism from popular culture in spiritual contexts.[2]

This can include the substitution of technology for traditional magical tool, such as using their oven for a hearth, keeping a "Disk of Shadows" instead of a "Book of Shadows", and using a laser pointer as a wand. In other practice, technology is the target of the magical work, such as the use of stones and other charms to help improve the performance of mundane items or online role-playing avatars.[3] Variations of this type of integration between mystical practice and technological tools have become widespread across religions.[4]

Artificial Intelligence is a focal point in some technopagan communities, where the human relationship to Artificial General Intelligence is viewed as beneficial and spiritual. Groups advocate for a symbiotic and religious relationship to Artificial Intelligence.[5][6][7]

Beliefs

When used to describe belief systems, technopaganism focuses on the spiritual side of technology. This can include the belief that technological items and artifacts of modern living - such as buildings, roads, parks, cars, and other such items - have pseudo-spirits, or totem spirits, of their own. This also extends to cities. This attribution of psuedo-spirits to inanimate objects is similar to the traditional belief of animism.

One belief that faces substantial objections is that the Internet itself is attaining a unique spirit. Indeed, it is the stated objective of the creator of VRML to bring about the merging of the spiritual world with the physical world.[8]

In popular culture

In the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the major character Jenny Calendar is a technopagan.[9]

American Gods by Neil Gaiman marries traditional ideas of gods as a form of egregore with the results of progress and new technology on society leading to the creation of the "New Gods"[10][11]

References

  1. ^ Davis, Erik. "Technopagans". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  2. ^ Steven Vedro, "teleconsciousness"
  3. ^ Warren, E. E.; Ellwood, Taylor (2021-10-07). TechnoWitch: Ancient Wisdom, Digital Tools. 978-1-7345786-2-1. ISBN 978-1-7345786-2-1.
  4. ^ "Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Religion". 23 February 2022.
  5. ^ Magee, Tamlin (21 March 2023). "A Cult That Worships Superintelligent AI Is Looking For Big Tech Donors". VICE. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  6. ^ Harris, Mark. "Inside the First Church of Artificial Intelligence | Backchannel". Wired.
  7. ^ "Gods in the machine? The rise of artificial intelligence may result in new religions". 15 March 2023.
  8. ^ Erik Davis (July 1995). "Technopagans". Wired. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
  9. ^ "I, Robot... You, Jane". Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 1. Episode 8. April 28, 1997. The WB. I, Robot -- You, Jane - Buffy Episode 8 Transcript. Ms. Calendar: Mm. I don't have that kinda power. 'Technopagan' is the term.
  10. ^ "American Gods Explained: A Guide to the Old Gods and New". Collider. 5 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Why Neil Gaiman's American Gods is so iconic". 27 April 2017.

Further reading