The Role of the Shaman in the Digital (R)evolution


The role of the Shaman in the digital (r)evolution
This paper aims to examine the principles of shamanism, to broadly investigate this ancient technique and to reveal whether it can play a part in preserving human consciousness or if it remains a tool for transforming the human race into cyborgs to evade the crisis we face in todays society.
Our Society is already in an epochal change. This contains a tragedy and a challenge. Humans suffer from a lack of belief, but learn according to influential philosophers and scientists to become through this the first species of a new race.
Philosopher Flusser famously identified, in his 1978 essay, entitled “Glaubensverlust” [The loss of faith] a crisis in popular culture whereby the digital evolution distracts us from a linear understanding of life.
Further, that our species are in a very real danger of becoming overwhelmed and that our code is not programmed to survive this.
Eventually western civilization instrumentalizes the environment through technology in order to quantize the mind and body….perhaps, even…. the soul ?
This investigation will help us to discern whether the digital (r)evolution is able to incorporate our ancient shamanic conciousness and, further, intends to examine how artists can then go on to use this in a creative and healing way.
Section one investigates the principles of shamanism and its’ healing and cleansing properties. We then look at the work of psychologist Dr. Carlo Zumstein and Eliade Mirceas including his “Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy”…. the standard work in the study of this phenomenon.
Section two discusses the use of shamanism in its’ cultural context through the work of physicists for instance, Prof. Fred A. Wolf and his explorations with “Dream Time”.
To create an awareness for a better understanding regarding the link between shamanism and contemporary art, culture and, especially science we will learn, through investigations by the psycologist Jung and his client physicist Pauli.
Section three will explain the work of Kandinsky and the influence of Theosophy.
Is there something distinct about contemporary practice, compared to the approach of a spiritual artist in the late 19th century vis-a-vis their tendency toward shamanism?
In Section Four we study its´ historical context through post-war German artists such as Beuys and his student Anselm Kiefer. Both of them re-engage the (German) Romantic tradition of the artist as seer and savior.
Further we will question the sentimentalized desire towards primitivism throughout western civilization.
In Section five we intend to assess the processes of contemporary artists, in relation to their use of shamanistic principles. What makes it shamanistic and are the principles of shamanism evident? Finally, we explore the impact and influence of artists practicing shamanism from the late 20th century up to the present day.
Section six investigates the link between shamanism and digital technologies in times of transhumanism in order to find solutions towards elitism in cyberspace.
New media theorists, performance artists, media culture commentators, and politicians have celebrated life in cyber-space as shamanic, mysterious and transformative.
Is it naïve, still possible or appropriate,( after the disappointing failing of Californian ideology ) to continue believing that ancient spiritual technologies like Shamanism could help to balance the world?
We will create awareness and critically assess our human condition with the help of the essay “Glaubensverlust” [The loss of faith] of the media philosopher Villem Flusser and other contemporary theorists, philosophers, scientists and artists like Bernard Stiegler, Byung-Chul Han, Robert M. Geraci, Adam Curtis, Marianna Torgovnick, Mina Cheon, Michio Kaku, William Gibson, and more.
Eventually we will discuss the concept of Erik Davis called TECHGNOSIS and others, to decide if the principles of shamanism can help overcome the contemporary crisis in popular culture and human society.
Understanding the principles of Shamanism, through the lens of our future and “reading between the lines” might well lead us to a discourse in order to understand why this crisis could be a challenge for the human race.

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