Catholics and Cyberspace

19 Mar 1995 20:24

Teilhard and McLuhan were both Catholics. Connection to their notions, and the cults surrounding them, especially their net.cults? Well, a hive-mind (call it the noosphere, call it extensions of man, call it the live twitching real-time nervous system of the planet) is a very un-Protestant thing, is it not? ``Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil,'' ``Here I stand, I can do no other,'' etc. Whereas a hive-mind is truly one and universal. (Compare with Joachim of Fiore's visions of the Age of the Holy Ghost.) A similar idea can be picked out from Joseph Campbell, though with him the resemblence to the Church is even more obvious. A universal mind, a universal church, a universal myth, a universal brain --- pick any two.

The ``context of discovery vs. context of justification'' objection asserts itself: that may explain why such ideas appealled to Campbell, McLuhan and Teilhard, but what about all their millions of followers (many of whom are not now nor have they ever been Papists?).

Post-script. There are few things more annoying than coming up with what seems like an original notion, only to find that you stole it and forgot the source --- in this case, Miller's (good) book on McLuhan, which I read a few weeks ago.

What is the official Vatican line on the Net?