|“we project onto technology what in earlier eras we would have projected onto the supernatural” – Jung|
The Star in Man by Dolores Brien. Alchemy, gnosticism, Jung and technology. Towards a Jungian Psychology of Technology
According to Jung, we project onto technology what in earlier eras we would have projected onto the supernatural. For many, indeed, technology is experienced as numinous. Under the influence of science along with technology, we are less willing to attribute events to divine intervention. But unconsciously, we still cling to the hope of a revelation of that archetype of “order, deliverance, salvation and wholeness.” We express this hope, however, in symbols derived from technology rather than from traditional religious beliefs or from mythology.
It is characteristic of our time that the archetype, in contrast to its previous manifestations, should now take the form of an object, a technological construction, in order to avoid the odiousness of mythological personification. Anything that looks technological goes down without difficulty with modern man. The possibility of space travel has made the unpopular idea of metaphysical intervention much more acceptable. (CW,10, para. 623. )
Update, 7 August 2002: I have completed reading this essay and I find it good, and pertinent to my current project. There are plenty of themes here that I am contemplating at this time.
One idea that is important in probing cyberspace is the question of perception and or creation? Do we discover it or create it. Here is Brien quoting Jung:
… the self is more than passive receptor mirroring, or imaging what it has received. …The self it seems is not only a receptor, but an agent as well, or in alchemical terms, the artifex. It is the “self” who achieves the transformation of the energy into gold.
But later on in the essay Jung is quoted again:
Science and technology have indeed conquered the world, but whether the psyche has gained anything is another matter.(CW 13, para 163).
So has the psyche gained anything? This made me think that it had gained these “made not born” things to allow the self to transform. There is a loop here that adds “gold” at each iteration, because we make, create and then we also make it anew in our perception.
Another quote, Brien quoting Jung:
The alchemists made a distinction between God who became Man in Christ, the light of the world and the filius philosophorum, “the light of nature,”who was “extracted from matter by human art and, by means of the opus, made into a new light-bringer.”( CW 13, para. 163.) In the case of the former man’s situation is “I under God.” With the other, it is “God under me.” Jung excuses the alchemists as being naive and not aware of what they were doing. Nevertheless the splitting off of divine from human power had been irrevocably accomplished. From now on, human beings will think and act if they were God. Nature is subordinated too, becoming primarily a tool to fulfill our needs and desires.
This is interesting when juxtaposed to This from Stuart Brand: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Which by only one degree leads to the conversation about all this with Steve Talbott and Kevin Kelly.