Facial recognition and religion

As facial recognition becomes increasingly common, religious groups seek to utilize it as well. This can be seen as an example of the power of technology to shape seemingly unrelated cultural domains. In a sense, religious actors adopt the logic of surveillance capitalism originally introduced by for-profit companies that nowadays perpetuate various human interactions. At the same time, the rate of adoption of this technology dramatically outpaces ethical, legal, and theological reflections that could protect from its potential harms.

2024-03-29 · Read ›

Esotericism and political ideologies

The belief in superhuman powers of political leaders has ancient origins and persisted well into modernity. In the twentieth century, we saw a plethora of high-profile politicians interested in esoteric subjects as well as persecutions against independent esoteric communities. Both rest on the same intuition of connection between magical and political power. Political leaders seek to control this power, to restrict its unauthorized use, and to utilize this power to enchant people.

2023-08-01 · Read ›

Programming with Bahá'ís

The post begins with a particular Linux program that has an unexpected connection to Bahá'í Faith and explores Bahá'í attitudes towards science and new technologies specifically focusing on the conversation about the transformative power and possible perils of the Internet.

2022-12-13 · Read ›

A Computer is a Plato's Cave

From the early days of personal computers, they were used as a metaphor for esoteric reality that resembles Renaissance visions of Hermetic universe. This metaphor emerged, at least in part, because computers themselves were a product of esoteric imagination. However, do they still retain this emancipatory esoteric power?

2022-12-05 · Read ›

Bibliography of Ioan Couliano

This post includes a selected and annotated bibliography of books by Ioan Petru Couliano (Culianu) (1950 – 1991). I focus primarily on books attempting to provide a better sense of continuity within Coulianos corpus by highlighting connections between different texts.

2021-05-29 · Read ›

Castaneda and the Soviet Union

For some, popularity of Carlos Castaneda in Soviet and post-Soviet esoteric milieu comes as a surprise. In this post, I will try to briefly discuss reasons for popularity of Castaneda in Russia and a way in which his works were adopted in post-Soviet context.

2020-07-31 · Read ›

Interview with Glenn Alexander Magee

A year ago I interviewed Glenn Magee, the author of Hegel and the Hemetic Tradition and the editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism, for the Russian journal “Research in Religious Studies.” Here I am publishing the original version of this interview.

2016-12-28 · Read ›

On van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism

Constructive empiricism is a theory proposed by Bas van Fraassen (born 1941) in the book The Scientific Image, published in 1980. It is based on the idea that to hold a theory it is enough to agree that the theory is empirically adequate and it is not necessary believe that it describes the world as it actually is.

2016-10-15 · Read ›