While the digital revolution can be understood as driven by economic and social forces combined with rapid technological advances, these alone are not sufficient to explain the extraordinary degree to which it has penetrated both our outer and inner life. The readiness with which modern consciousness has embraced computer technology also needs to be understood from a mythological and archetypal perspective. Both the myth of the Binarius, formulated in the late sixteenth century by the alchemist Gerhard Dorn, and the archetype of the Machine Man, which erupted into European cultural life in the mid-eighteenth century, are acutely relevant and help to illumine our current situation today.
JEREMY NAYDLER holds a PhD in Theology and Religious Studies, and has written several books on religious life in antiquity and on the history of consciousness. His most recent book is In the Shadow of the Machine: The Prehistory of the Computer and the Evolution of Consciousness (Temple Lodge, 2018).