Archive | June 2016

Richard Stivers: Technology as Magic: The Triumph of the Irrational

I’ve been reading in Richard Stivers’ book Technology as Magic: The Triumph of the Irrational as part of my inquiries into the meaning of “marketing 3.0” (also called “holistic branding” or “spiritual marketing”), and while I’m only in the early pages of the book I thought I would share some of his insights as they pertain to this issue of “technocratic shamanism” diagnosed by Algis Mickunas in his aforementioned Gebser-influenced essay, “Magic and Technological Culture”. Stivers’ approach to the issue is sociological rather than what we might call “cultural”, and he was not, apparently, familiar with Jean Gebser and Gebser’s cultural philosophy of civilisations as consciousness structures.

That is both an advantage and a disadvantage: a disadvantage in that the book could have been immeasurably enriched by knowledge of Gebser’s psychohistory, but an advantage inasmuch as Stivers has independently corroborated, from a sociological perspective, many of the essential concepts we find in Gebser and complements them. Some of these correspondences as corroborations I will note here.

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The View From the Mountain

After reading Todd Stein’s “Zen Sells: How Advertising has Co-opted Spirituality” in the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar , I looked up the Ford Ranger ad he discussed in the article as an example of the co-optation of the spiritual. It was a fortuitous discovery because I am working through some of the archetypal themes of “the sacred mountain” in my investigations into marketing 3.0 or “spiritual marketing” (or “holistic branding”). Although crude by some standards of “spiritual marketing”, the Ford ad is a near perfect example of the very issues that concern me about this move to “holistic branding” or capitalism 3.0.

Here it is….

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For the sake of the numerous new subscribers to The Chrysalis, I want tell the backstory for the blog — the reason why I launched the blog, (as well as the late and now retired Dark Age Blog), and why I pursue the issues that I do in The Chrysalis. Older readers of The Chrysalis, (and indeed some who have been around since The Dark Age Blog) will remember it as my “Dream of the Fish”. It bears repeating on occasion, if only to remind myself why I’m doing the things I do. Besides, with the retelling of the story I always seem to discover new and intriguing aspects to it.

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