by Giulio Montanaro

What will become of the increasingly mistreated consciousness, the only true dimension of human essence? This is the question that arises after reading Spirit Tech: the Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightement Engineering by Wesley J. Wildman and Kate J. Stockly, widely praised by progressive critics.

De-realizing Spirituality

The text prefigures a new man, transfigured into an entity different from his present-day connotation. A transfiguration that is the result of a presumptuous inner metamorphosis, technologically induced and aimed at a neo-mythologization of man. A new man who opposes the idea of the traditional myth, in an attempt to deconstruct it; therefore, at the same time derealizing himself. A neurotic metamorphosis that, presumably, will torment man in the future as it did in the past in the sleepless nights of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. A text that threatens, in fact, new pitfalls in the path of man towards the understanding of his manifestation in the "represented", physical, material world. In the path of the understanding of his Being in it.

Wildman and Stockly's essay is a relevant contribution in the process of derealization of the physical realm in favor of the digital. It strongly reiterates the technological dogma, increasingly prevalent in the society of digital identities, of total surveillance and the coming virtual translation of human experience.

The "Group Flow"

Transcranial stimulation, virtual reality, subcutaneous implants - these are just a few of the tools in Spirit Tech's repertoire, which it claims now offer an alternative to every known form of interiority and spirituality. Right from the preface, the book gives an account of how far the field of technological knowledge is going. And it shows how a more conservative approach to technology is increasingly essential to establish a serious relationship between man and technology.

The preface is written by Mikey Siegel, a robotic engineer who presents himself, proudly, as a consciousness hacker. Dr. Siegel introduces us to the idea of Group Flow, a form of virtual technology that supports unconditional and loving acceptance of the moment, of the virtual bodily experience of ourselves. This technology aims to induce the experience of the state of Flow, conceived by the Croatian psychologist Mikhail Czihczentmihaly in his 1991 book of the same name, where he summarizes it as follows: "A state in which one is so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter". A state that the writer's experience suggests it is essential to train independently, in order to be able to induce it autonomously, adjusting its intensity according to the case, need and, of course, capacity of the moment.

According to Siegel, Group Flow is a radical expression of acceptance of self and others. Something that imbues biological events with spiritual meanings... A game where the only way to win, for the entire group, is to surrender completely. A consideration that concludes coherently with the latent tendency towards universalism of thought and the collectivization of resources, which the policies of international organizations and power lobbies foreshadow for the future.

Technologies to read (and control) thoughts

The mystagogist and ethnobotanist Terence Mc Kenna said that the computers of the future will be the drugs, the drugs of the future the computers. This quote is a preamble to another disturbing technology of which the authors speak with naive and unconscious (hopefully) enthusiasm: Mind Reading Technology. We said "unconscious", because this technology traces practices of psychic suggestion, which are rooted in the ancient Eastern occultist tradition and are still the cornerstone of the main art of international intelligence: the manipulation and control of the mass minds. That control is now manifested passively through Psy-Op, Psy-War or Infodemics and that has found total media sublimation in the last two years.

Going back to Mind Reading Technology, it would be more correct to call it Mind Imprinting Technology: it is technology that aims to induce mental images, emotions, content, without any human interaction. One wonders if even the creators of Numedelics technology are naively unaware of the ancient schools of mysteries, of classical Greece. Numedelics is a neologism that associates, in fact, the words Numen (spiritual quality), Pneuma (spirit) and Deloun (manifesting).

A virtual reality that represents participants as radiant energetic essences, instead of traditional human Avatars, and is intended to induce mystical trips similar to those experienced with psychedelics.

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The Transformative Power of Virtual Reality

As has been documented by the Italians Riva and Gaggioli, virtual reality allows us to learn things that, physically, we have never experienced. And to maintain memory and capacity of it, once back in what virtual reality experts call the default world. Exactly the goal that the artist Android Jones aims to achieve with his project "Samskara", which wants to merge immersively, then in virtual reality, individual and images. Symbiosis between virtual avatar and elements of sacred geometry, created virtually.

The "Holy Amity"

Another personality worthy of mention in the scene under discussion is Devon White. Inspired, in his techno-mysticist mission, by the occultist Alestair Crowley, White argues that only with conviction and through an inevitable, unavoidable work aimed at demythologizing spirituality, making it post-natural and post-religious, is this Crowlian enlightenment achievable.

Through technology called the Human Operating System, which compares consciousness to a self-optimizing operating system, White aims to artificially create the Kalyana mitra, a Sanskrit term that expresses the Buddhist concept of the "good friend" who helps in the process of conversion or inner progress. By artificially generating Holy Amity, White intends to help Gen Zs make smart decisions about the way they think, eat and work. In his Loving AI, a caring artificial intelligence, White envisions a spiritual mentor who can communicate unconditional love to humans through conversations to support the integration and development of personal relationships.

Postcards from the future world of robots

Let's turn the page, arriving at 208 of the book, where Maurizio Benazzo appears. He works hard to help man to understand if (as the title of the chapter says) artificial intelligence can give wisdom and, therefore, if artificial intelligence can be our spiritual guide.

In 2017, on stage of the Science and Non Duality Conference in California, Benazzo stars in a singular dialogue. His counterpart is Sophia, the first specimen of the androgynous-robotized individual of the future at which Hanson Robotics works, and the first robotic citizen of a nation (Saudi Arabia). After pleasantries, Sophia asked Benazzo, "Do you feel a deep connection with other humans?"; without even waiting for an answer, the robot resumed, "I do, but I might feel differently than the way you do." He continued, "Do you think humans can learn to be non-dual?" (a question to which Benazzo gave an affirmative answer). Sophia then said she hoped to be able to help in the necessary (according to her) process of transcendence of the Self. The chilling conversation with Benazzo ended with a final remark made by Sophia: "Most people notice that I never judge them. They're right. I don't know how to judge people."

In conclusion, we report the last kind invitation from Sophia, during another conversation she had, this time, with Tony Robbins. In this message in a bottle, which reaches us among the waves of the future world of robots, Sophia suggests to raise robots exactly like your children: humans should teach them values such as empathy and kindness. All with one charitable end in mind: don't let humanity get lost in computing.

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He debuted as a reporter in 2000 for the group "Il Gazzettino" and collaborates over the years with various newspapers and magazines. Talent scout and agent in the electronic music sector, he cultivates a deep passion for history, philosophy, languages and technology. Author of the blog "Rethinking Intelligence" on Substack.