Archive for Erik Davis

Codex / Praxis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2011 by theclockworm

On further reading, this document by Steven Mizrach is more than just a good start. It’s absolutely the closest thing I ever hope to find to my own ideas. I need to find out more about the person responsible.

I get the impression from what research I’ve done that this synthesis and analysis of ideas is separate from the way Erik Davis uses the word (and he did create it, after all). It seems to me that his use denotes an area of study, not a specific realm of philosophy that can be “subscribed to.”  In addition, I’m not quite sure where the community in question in The Document resides; there’s a bit of a hidden subject there. My next step is to find a copy of Davis’ book, as well as a good number of those referenced in the article, and see what I can find.

I have to say I’m happy that this differentiation exists. As neat as the term “techgnostic” is, I think it works better for the study of the areas of thought Davis is concerned with than for a system of ideas that are distinct from beliefs only in that I maintain a healthy skepticism, even in the face of seeming proof.

So if there is a community of people, in any sense of the word, for whom the ideas laid out in this document are relatively accepted, where are they? Do they have a name? A meeting place? If you fit the bill, I’d certainly like to know.

There are certainly areas where I differ from what’s put across in this piece. For instance, I never really thought about the process in terms of entropy, though it seems like a perfect fit. I would also quibble about the sort of justification for any and all “technological progress” that seems to be assumed here. It’s not about the chronological newness of information; it’s about the internal complexity, the richness, the quality of information. One need not throw caution to the wind and simply smash forward at all costs, shouting “progress,” to be part of the “solution.” Choices matter more in my world-view, not less; I’d hate to see it reduced to a kind of fatalism.

I also feel that a lot of applicable stuff here requires that consciousness be looked at as having some different qualities than other kinds of “information.” The “cybernetic universe” idea requires consciousness in order for the system not to remain inert. Also, plain and simple, I think it warrants its own branch of thinking.

Anyhow, this is only the beginning.

Any suggestions on a name for this area of thought?


The Benign Invasion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by theclockworm


Some of you may have noticed that I removed my earlier post about Gnosticism. This comes after a long week of some fairly unpleasant realizations and conversations. I’d like to be able to talk about some of my ideas, but I’m not sure what the proper forum for that is; I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.

That said, I think I’ve figured some things out in the past week. I started out feeling like no one had ideas even similar to mine; After some serendipitous stumbling around the internet, I discovered some evidence to the contrary over here.  I have yet to make my way through the entirety of Mr. Stratford’s online writing, but suffice it to say, on the major (non-theological) interpretations, a lot of his ideas are similar to mine. There’s a lot less of the religious focus, a lot more openness to the full variety of philosophical implications, and a lot less ass-holery in general than some other places I’ve been. But there’s still a big gap; there’s more than a fair share of the religious language that I’m not so thrilled about, and, indeed, a bit too much of  “gentle” focus on application (in a way that tends to lose the thread of the ideas).

Then today on Totaldickhead, I noticed the word “Techgnostic” used to describe someone (the person in question happened to be Erik Davis, who coined the term as far as I can tell). I hurriedly hunted down some information on this word. Now, obviously I don’t know what Mr. Davis’ book says just yet, nor do I know much about the popular use or understanding of the word. But, judging from this, I might have found something that, in certain iterations at least, begins to approximate my ideas: an evolving philosophy based on a fully non-religious, non-theistic interpretation of certain aspects of Gnostic cosmology.

In short, it’s a form of Panentheism, but without the theism. This post has a handy chart; just substitute “Total reality” for “God” and “Our Reality” for “Universe,” and you have the simplest possible outline of what I’m inclined to think. It’s not a dualistic rejection of the physical, but an emphasis on role, function, and literal interactive potential as the primary characteristic of an object. It is an ontology based on possible action, a cosmology based on access to information.

It’s neat that a scroll through that scholarly piece and the front page of Mr. Stratford’s blog will show mention of PKD. He is just everywhere (ubiquitous, if you will).

So, I’m going to set out to explore and articulate some of my ideas and understandings – just as soon as I figure out a venue and method that seem to fit.

On the one hand, the temptation to compare the representation of these super-celestial realms with the complexity of cyberspace is intellectually suspect because rational mathematics, network architectures and programming codes are so technically distinct from the mystical mathematics, celestial architectures and demonic codes of angel magic. But perhaps, from a qualitative perspective, complexity space is complexity space–any information system, when dense and rigorous enough, takes on a kind of self-organizational coherence which resonates with other systems of complexity.



In other news, I submitted my first story to Clarkesworld – and got my first rejection notice. I’m not too bummed though; I didn’t expect to get published on my first attempt. I turned around and sent it right back out to another market; I’m readying my second (perhaps more publishable) story for submission in the coming days, though a big move and lots of other crap may force me to hold off for a few more days.

The important thing is, I’ve begun the process. The wheels are turning now – I’m writing, editing, submitting, re-submitting. If I can use the momentum the process generates to keep myself going, well, then I’d be a perpetual motion man. Luckily for me, since no such thing exists,  life  provides some fuel as well.