According to the biblical creation narrative:

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. — Genesis 1:26-27

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. — Genesis 2:7

Whence is derived the following exegesis: mankind is inherently symbolic, mankind is God’s own image of himself, mankind is a product – a prototype of the commodity – processed from the raw materials of the earth itself and copyrighted as the creator’s intellectual property. Mankind is, therefore, a technological extension of God*, just as the camera lens is a technological extension of the human eye.

* Although I refer to ‘God’ I am not at all religious. Throughout this post I use the term in the loosest possible sense and for the sake of convenience alone.

The body as a technology reveals itself through its mediating role: we cannot approach reality directly, only through the body. In a similar fashion we cannot approach Pluto directly but through the New Horizons probe which mediates the ‘reality’ of Pluto on our behalf. There is a double mediation: sensory inputs into the body must be transmitted to and converted by the brain, that is to say, by consciousness. And yet a triple mediation: consciousness itself is mediated by another medium, that of language. Add technology to the equation and we are faced with a scenario of multi-mediation: technology mediating a reality mediated by the body mediated by consciousness mediated by language.

An important element is missing though – that of the unconscious and the symbolic order. This adds an additional layer of mediation, from the unconscious to the conscious through the interface of the dream or vision. Mythology and theology reveals the dream (rather than the dusty old church) as God’s chosen medium of communication. That said, the dream always presents itself as paradox: it is both compelling and mysterious yet banal and prosaic. The message may be upside down and ‘through the looking glass’ but the imagery and symbolism is that of  the everyday, the humdrum, and the commonplace. It may or may not be extraordinarily meaningful – but how to tell?

inception_paris

The same can be said for the Global Digital Unconscious: it too can be characterised as compelling yet banal.  The original vision of the internet as “Information Superhighway” has been revealed as an impossible utopia. Today, it is a goldmine of irrelevance and irreverence. In this respect, it shares key characteristics with the individual unconscious and the dream. We even interact with it as we do with dreams: pages, images and videos come and go in a flash, we find ourselves redirected from one site to another just as we jump from one dream scenario to another, yet always within the same dream, the same browser session. In this world of digital symbols the purely textual is either skipped through or skipped entirely. Only the caption is important – the remaining text could easily be replaced by the “Lorem ipsum” pseudo-Latin beloved by web developers.

Like the dream, it  is difficult to determine whether the Global Digital Unconscious has any meaning whatsoever.  But who can say? The dream is for the dreamer and has significance for the dreamer alone.  As Jung observed, the dream cannot be explained in a guide book – we can only seek to identify recurring rhythms and patterns of imagery and symbolism and attempt to tease meaning from them.

inception_totem

The technology behind the Global Digital Unconscious remakes us in its own image, as do all technologies. The technology of print recreated man as visually oriented and preoccupied with sequence, segmentation, process and rationality.  Its legacy – the legacy of the Industrial Revolution – remains with us today but is subject to the re-creative influences of our new digital technologies. These technologies are eroding print’s visual stress and imploding the visual continuum of space-time.  The contiguous, linear and rigid world of the machine (producing the same generic product over and over again) is being replaced by the fluid, re-configurable and infinitely malleable world of the device. Mankind is obliged to follow suit. The buzzword is flexibility. We must lose our rigidity and learn to bend.

The Global Digital Unconscious as a technological extension of ourselves reproduces the unconscious mind in collective form. It is a communal reproduction of the medium through which (according to mythology and theology) God communicates with his creation. Taken at face value, we might say that just as humankind is a reflection of God’s image, so too is the Global Digital Unconscious.  Given the above, is it possible to gaze into this mirror and seek an image – even a distorted one interpreted through the multiple mediating layers of the body and technology – of the face of God?

Most people dismiss their dreams – we are, generally speaking, too far removed from a direct relationship with the unconscious to ponder their meaning or regard them as significant. Be that as it may, how can the purely individual dream compare or compete with the collective dream we are so busy dreaming through digital technology? Would God – if s/he or it exists – still seek to communicate with us on an individual basis? What use is the individual dream when our increasingly limited attention span is diverted by the digital dreams offered by YouTube, Facebook, and sundry other content providers?

Question: could a seemingly random and ostensibly meaningless and banal YouTube video or news story contain a message from God? Not in the crude sense that God somehow willed that video or story into being, but in the sense that it already contains the essence of a message God wishes to communicate to us? Could a sequence or string of these uncovered seemingly at random (or by friends, family or acquaintances sending links, random ‘spam’ email, and so on) actually have deep significance? Does God work in ways even more mysterious than those we traditionally imagine?

The purpose of Hugo’s Probe is to look for nascent signs of ‘artificial’ consciousness in the Global Digital Consciousness. But what if God is already in the machine? How could we distinguish the one from the other?

Madness? Perhaps. But we have been remade in technology’s image and conditioned to accept only the rational and logical. We tend to dismiss phenomena that cannot be pigeonholed in this way. Maybe it’s not madness at all but just a question of flexibility.

Learning to bend.

the-matrix4

For a better understanding of some of the “recurring rhythms and patterns of imagery and symbolism” which prompted this post please check out the below posts (and comments) on Merovee:

https://merovee.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/conspiracy-theorist

https://merovee.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/cecil-the-lions-gate-and-driller-killer/

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3 thoughts on “The Image of the Divine

  1. Hugo, my first thought is, in order to become fully conscious of our spirit selves, we have to escape time. And when we do that, we are immortal.
    Money is a substitute for love, and we are always “paying”. Time and money are so 3D.
    10:08 is the time in every watch ad. 108 is the number of the moon, which is the feminine, and the “controllers” are always on a “watch” for the apple

    Like

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