How ‚Secular‘ and ‚Modern‘ are our Technological Practices and Culture?

Subtitle:Techno- Religious Forms of Life and Hierophanies in the Information Age
Authors/others:Coeckelbergh, Mark (De Montfort University)
Abstract:Usually contemporary technology is understood to belong to secular modernity. But how ‚secular‘ and ‚modern‘ are our technological practices and culture? In this essay I argue that if we want to better understand technology, thinking in terms of a rupture between modernity and pre-modernity is inadequate. I show that Judeo-Christian forms of thinking still pervade modern technological visions and could help us think about what I call the ‚delegated spirituality‘ of the artefact, but that our encounters with particular technological artefacts make possible other kinds of spiritual experiences which we can make sense of by referring to non-modern religion such as animism. I also argue that ‚transfigurations‘ are only possible if we assume the radical instability of meaning. I conclude that all cultures, including ours, can be described as ‚techno-religious‘ forms of life which have a spiritual-material history. The rather exceptional idea of secularization is itself part of such a particular history, and does not exclude breakthroughs of the sacred into technological worlds.
Number of pages:17
Date of publication:2015
Publication Type:Chapter
Host publication's title:‘Transdisziplinär’ ‘Interkulturell’
Host publication's editors:Funk, Michael