Are there things we should not know? There are many responses to the impulse toward experience, therefore, we pass through the essential stage of experience on the way to wisdom. But it remains a stage, not an end in itself. Religion generally answers yes to the question, while philosophy answers no. But before philosophy and the dogma and dictates of religion, before forbidden knowledge and forbidden fruit, there was shamanism.
Shamanism was the primordial spirituality of humankind. Evidence of our spiritual evolution is at least 50,000 years old, and is implied by the earliest ritual burials. Shamanism is still practiced throughout the world, particularly in third-world countries, which might more properly be referred to as first-world countries. The drive to experience the inner realm of being is universal and reflected in the myriad ways the majority of human cultures find to incubate alternative phases of consciousness. Technoshamanism is the integration of futuristic technology with ancient pathways of the past. It implies access to full-immersion experiences, virtual realities which have consequences in the real world.
The world of the shaman is the world of the spirits, uncanny powers, psychic phenomena, initiation, altered states, dreams, death, rebirth, and healing. It is the realm of body, faith, trust, disruption, dissolution, intuition, mysticism, transcendence, psychedelia, cosmic consciousness, sex and madness vs. intellect, morality, dogma. Under the influence of a shaman, an initiate may attain direct transpersonal experience that vivifies multiple realities. Shamanism means mastery of the sensorium, the symbolic world. To the extent that the shaman has great power, he penetrates deeply into the basic roots of the structuralizing process, and brings that information back.
Shamanic personalities work at the edge of chaos where it is often difficult to distinguish spiritual emergence from spiritual emergency, bloom or doom. Technoshamanism is connecting contemporary society with the mythic roots of humanity. Shamanism is beyond time; it's a primal spirit. Anything that is created is linked into that spirit. Technology is the interface between what exists now and what is coming into existence.
We are all capable of transcendent awareness, of becoming shamans. The shaman is a shaman because he has been empowered by treading the road others wish to follow. The shaman is a symbol to others of their projection of a degree of personal insight and growth. The shamanic principle is ubiquitous to religion, healing, and transpersonal activities simply because its activity is essential to neurocognitive and physiological development. The inner shaman is a percept which penetrates to our neurocognitive intentionalities: exploration of self and multiple worlds, transformation, and social flow.
Shamanism has enjoyed a resurgence in the West from a variety of sources including raves, yoga, fen shui, martial arts, Tibetan Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Amazonian shamanism, Sufism to Voodoo, and more. All these technologies, (a primary hallmark of modern humans), involve ritualistic forms for altering states of consciousness, with and without psychotropic "drug-plants"; (Entheogens) Like traditional magick and ritual, they rely heavily on accessing multisensory cues, emotions, dreams and imagination. They range from temporary rites of passage to stabilized lifestyles.
Art and music have played a big role in emergence of this technoshamanic spirit, especially explicitly shamanic artists, such as performance artist and musician Genesis P-Orridge whose outlandish role in magick, psychedelics, sexual freedom, and organizing raves led to his being the first person exiled from his homeland England in 250 years. The electronic occulture is dancing through the doors of perception into a hyperspatial reality. It is a pilgrimage into the mind out of time, the body out of space, and the universal spirit that beckons beyond. This story is told through ceremony and ritual, music and dance, sight and source, science and religion. Written with living light, it fosters a reunion with the sacred, the Divine, the Other.
Technoshamanism is the process of altering consciousness through technology. It implies using the healing and mind altering techniques of ancient shamanism combined with modern technologies for altering consciousness, and the holistic mindbody. An archetypal example of a highly developed technology is the Asklepian Dream Temples of ancient Greece, where the afflicted went for cures through healing dream incubation when medical treatments had failed. The cures came not from the priests or any interpretations, but from direct contact with the divine in the dream.
It hardly matters whether these technologies emerge from disciplines such as shamanism (inner journeys), hypnotherapy (neuralfeedback, frequency-following response), psychology (process work), psychiatry (neuropsychology), neurology (TMS; Persinger's 'Relaxit,'; Murphy's 'Shakti', shock-ti), or anthropology (biogenetic structuralism). The ends are often the same whether the aim is explicitly mystical, spiritual or psychotherapeutic.
Not all technologies necessarily involve hardware, wet ware or ars electronica, though in the future technoshamanism will undoubtedly evolve to include cybernetic enhancements. A variety of research (Charles Tart's altered states; John Lilly's sensory deprivation tanks; Mantak Chia's 'Darkroom' technique), and the administration of psychedelics in laboratory situations (Grof; Strassman) can be included.
Postmodern process oriented experiential psychotherapies also fall under this rubric. Among the notables are Marshall McLuhan (Media; "The medium is the message"), Buckminster Fuller (whole systems; Spaceship Earth; Synergetics), Stanislov Grof (LSD therapy; Holotropic Breathwork), techno-shaman Terrence McKenna (Alien Dreamtime), stand-up philosopher Timothy Leary (Chaos & Cyber Culture), Jungian analyst Arnold Mindell (process-oriented psychotherapy), shaman/therapist Graywolf Swinney (Consciousness Restructuring Process), Ernest Rossi (Ideodynamic Healing), neurologist Antonio Damasio (Proto-Self Model), and RET (Rapid Eye Treatment, formerly EMDR) Therapies.
All begin to alter consciousness with a variety of traditional shamanic techniques, and proceed through an experiential journey, again in the shamanic tradition. The commonality among the therapies is facilitation and exploitation of natural process in the stream of consciousness, the 'waking dream,' or REM state. Waking dreams can be induced through techniques which function to drive the state, such as ritual, hypnosis, intense breathing, drumming, dancing, chanting, imagery, meditation, etc. In neurological terms, they facilitate neural plasticity and exercise or reprogramming of neural circuits.