Digital Poesis: or the Importance of the Imagination in the Digital Era

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Tonight’s lecture went so well! A huge turnout, including William Irwin Thompson himself (a major influence in my work)!

Following the lecture, Bill offered his own thoughts on the relationship between technology and mysticism. Do listen in for a fascinating set of perspectives.

For those of who are just joining my blog: I did a graduate study – trans-disciplinary – combining cultural studies, depth psychology, and media studies. Mostly. Being a highly individualized MA program, I had the freedom to go spelunking about through philosophy and literature. This YouTube presentation focused solely on what is called “depth psychology” and its relevance to new media studies. Digital media, I argue, are re-constellating self-and-society in ways both old and new.

Here it is in 140 characters or less. Electronic media is re-constituting the ancient polytheistic and animistic psyche. Not consciously, but un-consciously.

Through the work of the archetypal psychologist, James Hillman, I began to find a connection between the new kinds of online identities made possible by the internet and other new media, and the polytheistic psyche of depth psychology.

For Hillman, the complex of our ego is only one of many complexes in the human mind. We are, in other words, made up of “little people.” Semi-autonomous, decentralized. Coming to terms with this “psychological reality” is, Hillman suggests, a revolutionary act. The dangers are plentiful. Coinciding with such an up-turn of the mind is often breakdown, before any breakthrough is possible. And yet, Hillman tells us: “If I let myself be defined as well by the little people of dreams, I am free of self-tyranny.”

With online identities multiplying, by all appearances we look to be dismembered. Our self broken into many selves, floating unanchored through the astral waters we call cyberspace. But yet, I suggest, this new self-as-constellation is implicating us in revolutionary upheaval. “Self-division, dismemberment, and a flowing multiplicity belong to a mythic pattern,” Hillman writes. Indeed, online, we always appear to be dismembering ourselves. Scattering our identities to the four winds, co-present and non-local. In a word, self-and-society undergo a radical decentralization.

There is much more discussed, but I’ll save that for the recording. If you’ve got an hour or two, I invite you to check it out and leave your commentary on this blog. Depth psychologists and media studies enthusiasts, or scholars, are especially encouraged to take a look. But it’s really open for everyone.

For a PDF of the Keynote, download it here.

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