The Deceiving Virtues of Technology

An essay by Steve Talbott it is available in NetFuture #125 I have since read it more fully and find I have two points to make (for now): One, it is about technology not cyberspace, which is fine of course, but the latter is so much more probing, and later in the debate this lack of an experiential perspecive becomes more important. He is machine not experience focused. Secondly, it is about the journey of the Self. It might sound esoteric, but Self even with a capital, is not the soul, the focus on Self places us in a different realm. Cliff Bostock, puts it this way in the Decoding Hillman essay.

For Hillman it is enough to continually deepen one’s sense of life’s beauty. This is soulmaking. We should not confuse the soul with the Self. The soul seeks and expresses difference. It delights in multiplicity. It confers meaning by processing images and, most important, it is not “inside” us. It is an “other.” It is with us. It is connected to the soul of the world, but it is most definitely not “us.” In Hillman’s world, we live as poets, not as Christs-in-training.

I mentioned this article in an earlier post, and there was mention of a conversation with Kevin Kelly on this topic. I am curious and have found these links:

The next issue of netfuture #126 where the discussion begins.
http://www.netfuture.org/2001/Dec1801_126.html#2b

The debate goes on later… around a different topic but similar theme.
http://www.netfuture.org/2002/Apr0202_130.html

And again here:
http://www.netfuture.org/2002/Jun2502_133.html

Update, Sunday, 4 August 2002:

I have read all the above conversation and I recommend it. It is a discussion, in the end about machines having, or not having life. All the way through was struck by the absence of either ST or KK using the word soul, which is the essence of life, with its roots in the word breath. It is also linked in by Jung at least, with the word Anima, that which animates us. Let me deal with one point here before I stop updating this item:

There is always such a rock-bottom lifelessness in the machine, which betrays itself, not merely at the bottom, but at any level of description you choose. The organism, on the other hand, is enlivened from within, which means, among other things: all the way down.

I take this as meaning that KK is wrong because in the end, no matter how complex the machine it is just a whole bunch of little things like a hammer. I am with KK here, even a hammer is more than the sum of its parts, and while it is “made not born” it has soul. “All the way down” we have stuff with soul. It takes a knack to see it. Now that puts my response to them both in danger of being dismissed as “mystical”. OK, maybe, but it is experience that imbibes something with soul and experience is the basis of empirical science. Experience is in the realm of consciousness. Let’s role-reverse with a hammer and speak for it. I like the way ST suggests we do that with rats we use in experiments (though he uses different words.)

I will find a link for role reversal here before I stop updating this item.

I want to link to Moreno. He had a lot to say on all this in the 30s. Zoomatrons, God is dead but God enters the world on the psychodrama stage, in other words through the psyche, through this sphere that is neither matter or abstraction but medial to use a word I have heard from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who attributes it to Toni Wolff. The medial is between the matter and spirit. (Page 289 Women Who Run With The Wolves) I also recall a word: metaxy, which points to the same idea.

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