Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dutch Edition!

The Dutch edition of Digital Dharma has just been released! Here is a link to the announcement.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The LOVER IN THE INFOSPHERE

In this essay I will look at the protector archetype of the Lover, the part of the self that hungers to establish clean connections with "the other," the part that holds our magical inner child – and its creativity and its wounds. The Lover energy is held in both the second and fourth chakras: the first in the interpersonal realms of creative expression, relationship and sexuality; and the second in the transpersonal qualities of the heart center – compassion for the pain and joy in the joy of the other. The first extended into the Infosphere by the telephone; the second through the medium of television.

Relationship is the core communications issue associated with the second chakra: the transponder of attraction and the center of one’s creativity. From here, one radiates the primordial drive for union embedded in our very protons and electrons, seeking on the physical plane to “reach out and touch someone,” to heal the wound of incompleteness. When protected by the Warrior and guided by the wisdom of the Magician, the Lover can dance the analog rise and fall of reciprocity. But when damaged, this connection-craving center calls out to anyone. Obsessive talking and poor relationship boundaries are signs of unbalanced second chakra energy. At its most extreme, this transmitter’s shadow side engenders seduction, entanglement and shame.

Both sides of second chakra communications can be seen out in the Infosphere: over the phone and across the net. Shared talk is an intimate act, and the telephone brings one to a state of intimate proximity with whoever is at the other end of the line. The drive for authentic connection underlies most telephone talk. Lovers everywhere talk the night away; conference call "phone bridges" provide group therapy on the most intimate topics. Support groups for those facing grief, addictions and life-threatening diseases, quietly thrive on phone conferencing systems provided by universities, hospitals and social service agencies. The anonymous intimacy of phones allows for deep connection, even among strangers. No wonder this technology has also had its sexual side. From the earliest days “dirty talk” over the telephone troubled its inventors. This was a tool that allowed Victorian Age young women to find their voice, to connect with their friends and their lovers outside of the control of parents and chaperones.

Not much has changed today. From phone sex lines to cellphone-connected lovers revealing their most intimate secrets to everyone nearby, the second chakra power of telephone is everywhere. Even in Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the most conservative (and repressive) gender-segregated social system, the mobile phone has emerged as the tool of courtship – or at least flirting. According to the New York Times, all a young woman has to do is turn on her phone's Bluetooth feature and within seconds “it is bombarded with love poems and photos of flowers” sent by nearby young men. Some men are even buying high-powered radio belts to extend their wooing range.

The Lover also resides in the heart center. At this level, the work of connection is not about finding one’s soulmate or friend, but about seeing our connection to all things. The mature heart is open to seeing all beings as reflections of the self, and all these reflections as part of a larger divine pattern (understanding these patterns is the Magician’s gift). The heart’s challenge is to remain open and fully compassionate to whatever comes its way; and its shadow is rooted in its attempts to sidestep the grief of seeing all the pain in the world of limitation and attachment. As I wrote in my essay on television and the heart, “seeing the other” is the transpersonal challenge of the Lover, and its transpersonal shadow is mistaking codependency for compassion, sympathy for others “stories” with true appreciation and reciprocity.

Telling compassionate stories is what drives the best television programming. Previously disenfranchised people -- the poor and homeless, even endangered species like whales and dolphins -- have all found a place in TV's all-embracing portrait of the global family. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's, Sesame Street and the early versions of Star Trek embodied television's heart-softening magic, connecting us with other families, neighborhoods, cultures and even distant galaxies. This medium not only brings the ugliness of war "home;" it tends to humanize the "enemy." In the 70's, television coverage of the Vietnam War helped turn the tide of public opinion against this otherwise remote conflict. This subversion of military victories by TV's coverage of its consequences on "regular citizens" continues today. The horrific images of American soldiers humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraid Prison shown on television in the summer of 2004 did more to turn the world against the Iraq war than dozens of street protests.

The Shadow Lover wants connection but can’t stand the pain that comes along with it. Shadow media provokes our hearts then offers the perfect anesthetic – addictive consumption without end, gratification of false wants, desires and attachments, without the mess of embodiment. Clear television viewing demands that we look deeply into all of the pain we hold in our own energy field and in all of mass consciousness. It asks the heart to break open in compassion. But for most of us, this is too much to ask. Without a strong grounding in the lower chakras and without the connections to the divine self held by the higher centers, the ego-mind turns away from all the painful data global video links bring from the outside world, and quite naturally searches for some kind of "jamming signal."

Commercial television's shadow side destroys our peace and tranquility because the Shadow Lover demands it! We empower this industry to use all of its artistic power to cover the possibility of confronting global grief with attention grabbing, but essentially empty, mini-dramas. Commercial television's world is a place where nothing interferes with desire: a perfect consumer society, united by a shared love for consumer products. Many web videos traffic in porn and cynicism, deflecting the hunger for connection, or mocking it with teenage aloofness that disguises a fear of intimacy. We self-medicate, but of course, the cure is worse than the disease.

Calling in the Protector Lover from the heart and from the sexual centers brings us back to the joy of connection, and of gratitude for having a chance to experience compassion. Shared rituals of co-creation and appreciation, dance and prayer [from Burning Man to the Dances of Universal Peace], bring these Lover qualities to the fore. On in the Infosphere, we can radiate these qualities to all we link up with. Safe behind the Warrior’s shield, we can show our playfulness and our grief. We can inspect our “cellular” connections and disconnect all the cords of inappropriate attachment. We can find ourselves in the face of the Other in every image and video clip.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Evolving Global Brain

Last year, the Institute of Noetic Sciences published a short article of mine that looked at some of the impacts of new media on the brain. That article is now available online as a PDF file. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

KBOO (Portland) Radio Interview

Back in October 2007 I visited with Paul O'Brien, host of the Pathways program on community radio station KBOO-FM. Paul made his millions by creating (in 1988) an online Tarot reading site and then "retired" to create the Divination Foundation to "promote pathways of personal and cultural transformation."

One of his activities in the Pathways Program on KBOO.

Here is a podcast of that 30-min interview.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Warrior Archetype in the Infosphere

As I wrote in Digital Dharma, the Internet and all of our hyper-connected communications networks can be seen as physical representations in glass, silicon, photons and magnetism, of different ways our consciousness is reaching out as it evolves into a global field of awareness. The coupling of electricity with our nervous system, as Marshal McLuhan wrote fifty years ago, has "outered" our neurons, projecting the light and shadow of our collective psyche into the tools of telecommunications.

In this essay, also posted on REALITY SANDWICH, my focus will be less structural, and more metaphoric. Specifically, I want to look at the impact of having our global nervous system so rapidly extended that we are now at the cusp of a true transformation into "second tier thinking," where in Ken Wilber's words, one's thinking moves from relativism to holism, from pluralism to integralism. Here, one lives in multiple overlapping and integrative networks; here the other is found everywhere; here one is a part of a commons much larger than one's family, nation or culture.

The challenge of second-tier consciousness is to stay fully present in the lower chakras -- maintaining power and compassion, centeredness and truth, while also remaining fully open to the waves of information that now bombard us all. In this newly expanded and networked sensory space, openhearted attunement without appropriate self-protection is dangerous to self and others. Without proper tools and spiritual preparation, hyper-connectivity can be an endless hall of mirrors, trapping us in the morass of our electronically magnified addictions and fears. Pushed into the Infosphere -- all of our secrets revealed, our every thought accessible, connected to the planet's very intelligence -- we are challenged to define our boundaries. Who am I and who do I pretend to be? Where am I, and where do I end and you begin? Who do I let into my space, and how can I trust that you say who you are?

Television prods us to open our hearts to the world. The Internet reflects the challenge of dealing with the consequences of such openness. "Always-on" network connections have thrown us head-first into a sea of memes, idea fragments that flow from brain to brain reproducing like viruses, the net's constant chatter perfectly reflecting the chatter and distraction of our planetary "monkey mind." We are discovering that living with such an information glut without adequate "boundary protection" can be dangerous. In critic John Lahr's words, "we know too much and too little; the world is at once too close and too far away." [i]

Surfing the Internet puts us in direct contact with many of the unpleasant truths of humankind. Because it cannot effectively be censored, it forces us to ask the hard question of "what is the truth when everyone can speak?" It drags us into hard places, exposes us to situations where we must make our own values clear and public, forcing us to examine and defend our own core beliefs. Our inability to know if the person in the chat room is really who they say they are, our fears of fraud and identity theft whenever we enter personal data online, and our being deluged with false spammed messages all reflect our trickster self run amok.

Way beyond anything on "tabloid TV," on the Internet nothing is protected from our eyes and ears: from the stupid and silly "ex-girlfriend revenge" photos, to the painful facts of spousal cheating, to the horrific exposé of prisoner abuse in Iraq. Our Internet-connected computers have opened every "closet," short-circuited old modes of denial - for wayward spouses or for Presidents challenging the definition of "sexual relations." Once-hidden religious doctrines, secret practices, and mystical texts are now available to all. Even online "bookies" are finding that their clients now know more about the odds than they do. As Cluetrain Manifesto contributor David Weinberger, observes, "hyper-linked organizations never met a wall they liked." [ii]

Traversing this new world we can draw upon the deep wisdom of the protector archetypes: the Warrior, whose work it is to set and protect boundaries from a deeply grounded place; the Lover, who can establish clean connections with "the other;" the Magician, who is able to discern shadow from light, and recognize the larger patterns; and the Elder/Crone/King, who through the act of blessing, can not only see, but change the codes of reality, healing the web of creation.

There are many web behaviors that reflect the Shadow Warrior (who is really the Savage): angry words and flames, scattershot spam, trolls intent on destroying not only the false shield of persona, but the entire being behind it, violent games, hate speech and hateful religion. The true Warrior metaphor however, is now manifesting in the return of groundedness to the web. We can see this in the explosion of RFID devices, giving more and more objects their own IP voice; the extension of ecological sensors across the ocean floor, in bridges and farm fields, across the electrical grid, in our everyday environment; and the mashing-up of this data with GPS-powered geo-spatial information.

Much texting content is about place: where I am, what am I doing here, and where am I going. A GPS phone can point one to Mecca or search the web for a nearby mosque, or on a more mundane plane, find a particular type of restaurant and tell you how to walk there. One can call or Twit a friend and get block-by-block directions to their house; better yet, the phone can alert you if the friend is sitting at a coffee shop nearby. On a much larger scale, the Warrior can now listen to the earth's voice via ambient devices that integrate and display complex data patterns about global warming, population growth, or world hunger in formats that we can all understand.

The Warrior's shield can be painted with many designs, projecting different identities out into the networked world. Safe behind our aliases and proxies, we now have the freedom to reclaim the power of our voice -- whether by text, video or podcast. One can download personal ringtones that announce to the world your "tribe of the moment." One can practice playing with the shields of persona, trying on different identities, exploring in Sherri Turkel's words, one's "inner diversity."

On the other hand, sometimes throwing down the shield is the biggest high: requesting in the act of blogging exposure, a validation of one's existence, telling the world, in Emily Gould's words, "all my secrets [so that] you won't have any ammo against me that I haven't given you." A healthier (more Warrior-like) stance is not to throw down the shield in the Lover mode, but to invite our trusted ones to gather behind it in safety. While one may have hundreds of Facebook, Twitter or MySpace "friends," the truth is that our intimates fit in a much smaller circle. Just as in the physical world of "recovery circles" (and our original tribal groupings), the net has made it possible to build small networks based on trust and earned respect. And within these networks, the old cartoon of "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" has been flipped. As sociologist Zeynep Tufekc, told Clive Thompson, "If you don't want people to know you're a dog, you'd better stay away from a keyboard."

With the Warrior providing grounding, protection, and a safe place for circles of intimacy, we can call upon our Lover and Magician qualities - the subject on my next essay.

FOOTNOTES:

[i] John Lahr, "Cultural Gas," The New Yorker, October 6, 2003. 136.

[ii] The Church of Scientology has been trying for years to block Internet sites revealing their practices. See: http://www.answers.com/topic/scientology-vs-the-internet. The Internet made earning real money on bookmaking possible by sharply increasing the volume of gamblers a bookie could handle, but it also made the average gambler, 'the square,' somewhat smarter too... Valuable information now appears instantaneously on the Internet, and it takes only a tiny bit of it to start a bookmaker on his downward spiral. They just can't keep up with it." William Berlind, "Bookies in Exile," The New York Times Magazine, August 17, 2003. Frederick Levine, Christopher Locke, David Searles, The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual, (Cambridge MA: Perseus, 2003), p. 155

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is the Shift to 5th Level Consciousness Changing the Brain?

In Digital Dharma, I argue that we have moved from the dominant television metaphor of the Heart Chakra -- with its challenge of compassion versus emotional (and sometimes physical,) addiction, to the Fifth Chakra challenge of telling truth from lies as we are all hyper-connected by our electronic networks.

In brain studies conducted at UCLA, and summarized in a new book, iBRAIN (reviewed in October 14th's Newsweek), neuroscientist Gary Small reports that regular users of the Internet had more brain activity in centers devoted to decision-making and complex reasoning than those who were light Internet users.

"Digital natives" — as Small calls them, appear to have developed more neural connections to handle the flow of near-constant sources of sensory data. "Digital immigrants" on the other hand, according the the Newsweek review, appear to have more connections in the areas associated with reading facial expression."

I would say that "immigrants" were trained by the close-up facial medium of television, while the new generation has been trained to learn how to process and filter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Twitter, Ambient Awareness, and Mindfulness

Clive Thompson, writing in the New York Times Magazine, describes the growth of “ambient awareness” as groups of friends forming Twitter circles to keep each other constantly updated as to their experiences, moods, and occasionally, the state of their inner life.

I believe that what we are seeing in this phenomena is a continuation of the externalization of the nervous system into the Infosphere, and along with it, the development of what I call teleconsciousness. Just as radio externalized third-level issues of power and group identity, and television reflected the light and shadow of the heart center – compassion and community versus codependence, consumption and “boomeritis,” the internet and social networking technologies offer us a window on the work of experiencing self as part of the larger web of creation. The internet exposed us to the dangers of connectivity without boundaries – exposure, infection, and false identities, and also the freedom to speak our truth, see beyond the masks of the ego-self, corporate and government posturing, and build our own “peer networks.”

The Twitter networks described by Thompson bring into left-brain awareness what right-brain mystical practice has known for millennia: that we are all-connected, and that from a place of trusted intimacy, with the appropriate filters in place, we can open to receiving the messages of all creation. “Filtering” social network sites to one’s trusted friends is no different from what we do in recovery circles and other support groups: revealing all of one’s “shadow and gold” in a place of non-judgment.

The spiritual opportunity reflected in the technologies of social networking is to move from personal “story sharing,” to the transpersonal work of being present to, without being hooked by, all the incoming data of life. In Buddhism this is called mindfulness. As I wrote in Digital Dharma about the metaphor of deep seeing present in all digital representations of “reality":

Sixth-level digital dharma asks us to recognize that we are always processing codes of consensual reality, and pay attention to where we put our attention. Doing practices that open one to this stage of awareness is a form of “esoteric signal decompression,” allowing one to look beneath surface identities to decode richer and subtler dimensions. Without preloaded (habitual) coding schemes, the fully aware brain takes in each new signal with fresh wonder as a sacred surprise; each sensory stimulus is decoded in the immediacy of the Now, without reference to old memory patterns. At its best, unclouded sixth-level vision brings one closer to experiencing the unity of creation, seeing the underlying continuity and hearing the hidden harmonies behind humanity’s often painful apparent differences.

Sixth level teleconsciousness requires one to widen their reception channels, to take in more frequencies, to consider other “truths” than those one is most attached to. This is the practice of “turning” from the limited data of the ego-self to something much bigger. Seeing the world through what Indian sage Sri Aurobindo(1) called “the eye of complete union.” Seeing the point of view of each separate thing while at the same time "remembering itself totally." Twitter “awareness circles” could offer such an opportunity. Imagine receiving a “Twit” to “stop and center,” to take a deep breath and reflect on one’s inner state. Better yet, to take a moment and join in a group intention of healing the planet, of sending happiness to all beings.

Ambient awareness can also extend beyond taking note of your friends’ cyber-presence; it can include taking a few moments each day to consider the “twits” of one’s heart, of one’s cells, of the water and the rocks, of the sun and stars? Networked grids of sensors will soon cover the Earth, extending our collective electronic nervous system to new realms. What if we insisted that we use this new awareness to reveal the planet’s physical health: to electronically track and share the conditions of the planet’s crust, the condition of its forests, lakes and streams, the encroachment of the deserts, the thinning of the Ozone Layer, the decline of the ocean’s diversity? What if society used these signaling technologies to monitor and display in real-time not just our personal wealth, but also our energy consumption or the number of malnourished children in the world? The technology is available. The choice is ours.


(1) Satprem, Sri Aurobindo, or The Adventure of Consciousness, New York: Institute for Evolutionary Research (1984), p.168, 66.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Breakfast at the Inside Edge

I spoke at the INSIDE EDGE at the University Club at UC-Irvine on October 15th.

I received the following kind letter of appreciation from Dr. Adrian Windsor, Ph.D., program director:

...the implications of your message are so profound in this push-me, pull-me, technological whirlwind world. It is extremely useful to have it broken down with the chakra demonstration... It has never been more true that the "medium is the message," and it leaves us vulnerable. Your workshop was a special gift for those of us who were presented with your work at a deeper level... Thank you for sharing your wisdom as the work of a mystic demystifying the infosphere...

Returning HOME to Salem Oregon in October


I led a workshop on the "energetics of the Infosphere" at the HOME CENTER in Salem Oregon on Saturday, October 11th. I also spoke at services at the Center on Sunday, and conducted an evening Men's Spirituality Retreat.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Future Forum Video

My talk at the Silicon Valley Future Salon (hosted by SAP) has now been posted. This was a long evening (almost 2-hours) with great questions from the audience. It was streamed live at the time, but not well publicized outside of the Future Forum community. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What is Enlightment Audio Interview

Carter Phipps, editor of What is Enlightment Magazine, interviewed me this week on how Digital Dharma relates to the evolution of consciousness. WIE is produced by Enlightenment Next, the organization created by spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen.

To listen to the interview you can visit WIE Unbound and sign up for their free 15-day trial. WIE Unbound is the gateway to the behind-the-scenes audios and videos including interviews, lectures and dialogues with the leading spiritual teachers, philosophers, scientists, and activists featured in every issue of What Is Enlightenment? magazine. All audios and videos are available to download or stream online.

This is how they describe the podcast on their website.

In this Unbound audio, WIE’s Carter Phipps speaks to Vedro about why he thinks that the spirituality of the future will be one that finds a way to embrace the rapid technological change that is increasingly shaping our lives as we move deeper into the twenty-first century. Drawing upon the ideas of a rich array of thinkers, including Ken Wilber, Don Beck, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Vedro describes how technologies native to each stage in human history, from the printing press to television to the world wide web, have simultaneously molded—and been molded by—developments within society, culture, and consciousness.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Television and the Broken Heart: Compassion, Codependence, and Consumption -- From Chapter Four

This is an audio clip (with video animation) of a presentation I made two years ago at the Institute of Noetic Sciences conference on "Consciousness and the Media." I will post all of these clips, even though they are a bit outdated.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Petyabyte Data Patterns

Chris Anderson's new article in Wired talks about stepping back from our attempts to see our theories reflected in "models of reality" and just learning to observe the patterns made possible by plotting "petabytes" of date points. This seems to me another "bleed through" of the 6th-chakra awareness of the importance of "watching the codes" of creation -- the patterns reveal themselves!

Good 5th Chakra Summary Article

New Connexion Magazine: The Pacific Northwest's Journal of Conscious Living, published a full- page summary of my book chapter (#5) on "Living in Truth on the World Wide Web."

I will be back in Portland and Salem in mid-October.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The media of the Infosphere and their connection to the Chakras

This is another part of the interview with Bill Wade. Here I summarize the metaphoric relationship between each media form and its corresponding chakra of the energy body.




You can read more about each media form in this blog, or my book, Digital Dharma.

An interview about "The Broken Heart of Television"

Last year I was interviewed by Bill Wade for an upcoming documentary on "Terrorism, Television, and the Heart." Bill has been kind enough to give me the interview video for my own use. I have just posted a 10-minute excerpt about why television connect to the light and shadow of the Heart Chakra on You-Tube .

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Difference Between 6th and 7th level Awareness

I have been reading In the Vision of God, the autobiography of the travels of "Papa" Ram Dass, the Indian saint who inspired many of the later spiritual teachers of my generation (including Richard Alpert, who was given the same name). He was a great influence on Samuel Lewis, the founder of the Ruhaniat Sufi Order, my spiritual path. In his book, Ran Dass explains the difference between those that see the world as maya, all illusion (the 6th level), and those who come to understand that this "illusion" is something we co-create with the divine.

He tells the story of wise pandits who respond to Sri Shankaracharya, "who looked upon the world as illusion," with the observation that, "the world does exist; it is the expression of divine Shakti, the supreme cause of creation, protection and destruction of all the visible forms that comprise the universe... Shakti is sporting in the vast phenomena of life, change and movement in the universe." [From, In the Vision of God, Vol. II, p. 85-86.]

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The "relationship power" of the cellphone in Saudi Arabia

Today's New York Times has a front-page story about young people in Saudi Arabia. In this most conservative (and repressive) gender-segregated social system, the one tool for connecting young men and women is the cellphone. All a young woman has to to is turn on her phone's Bluetooth feature and within seconds it is bombarded with "love poems and photos of flowers" sent by nearby young men. Some men are even buying high-powered Bluetooth belts to extend their wooing range!

Recognizing the difference between (1st-chakra) texting and (2nd-chakra) voice communications, one girl told the Times reporter that online messaging was a somewhat safer tactic, in that "online he only sees your writing."

For more discussion of the 2nd-Chakra power of the telephone, see my related blog article (and comments) below. You can also read a chapter excerpt on the emotional power of the telephone from my book, Digital Dharma, at my website.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Codes of Reality Essay on "Reality Sandwich"

The popular blog about consciousness, Reality Sandwich, has just published my essay on our current fascination with the "Codes of Reality." It is based on Chapter Six of Digital Dharma.

Check out this fascinating blog, whose contributors include ST Frequency, Lisa Webster, Adam Elenbaas, Tristan Gulliford, Richard Smoley, Erik Davis, Sharon Gannon, Douglas Rushkoff, and others. They describe themselves as follows:

Reality Sandwich is a web magazine for this time of intense transformation. Our subjects run the gamut from sustainability to shamanism, alternate realities to alternative energy, remixing media to re-imagining community, holistic healing techniques to the promise and perils of new technologies. We hope to spark debate and engagement by offering a forum for voices ranging from the ecologically pragmatic to the wildly visionary (which, to our delight, sometimes turn out to be the one and the same). Counteracting the doom-and-gloom of the daily news, Reality Sandwich is a platform for voices conveying a different vision of the transformations we face. Our goal is to inspire psychic evolution and a kind of earth alchemy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Digital Dharma on New Dimensions Radio


Back in January my wife and I had the real pleasure of visiting with Michael and Justine Toms (who took this great photo to the left) at their studio in Ukiah CA. Michael has just released our New Dimensions Cafe podcast (mp3).


Our full 60-minute interview will be released during the week of May 28 - June 6th, and can be heard in over 400 communities on radio stations around the U.S., and many more around the world including Canada and Australia. (To see if there is a station near you where you can hear the program go to the New Dimensions website.) You can also listen to it online for two weeks of free listening beginning Wednesday, May 28th. Just go to their website and scroll down the homepage to "Programs of the Week."

You can also order an mp3 download for $1.99.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It was an honor to be invited to Field's in San Francisco (right), the Bodhi Tree in Los Angeles, and East-West Books in NYC and Seattle. But the sad truth was that my turnout was actually pretty low.

I had better responses at bookstores in smaller cities (such as Bellingham WA, San Raphael and Encinitas CA, and Corvallis WA), or when sponsored by Noetic Sciences, Theosophical, or Integral Studies groups.
Highlights were speaking at Krotona TS Lodge in Ojai CA and the Rio Rancho NM TS Study Group, the Center for Conscious Creativity in Hollywood; at the Ken Wilber-Integral Studies "Meet-Ups" in Denver, Philly and NYC; at Unitarian Fellowships in La Crosse WI and Bellingham WA; at the HOME Church in Salem OR, at Tucson IONS and the Open Center in NYC, and the Bay Area Future Forum at SAP in Palo Alto (DJ Cline photo on left).

I think the best experience was meeting so many great people who put me up for the night, showed me their towns, shared their inner spiritual light, and encouraged me despite sometimes low turnouts. In point of fact, the book has acheived SECOND PRINTING, and foreign language rights have been sold in Brazil, Slovenia and the Netherlands!

In Truth or Consequences, NM (2-17-08)


The next to last stop on my booktour was in Truth or Consequences, NM. This town has a very interesting connection to the power of the electronic media, as its name was changed in a competition back in the 1950's to be the first to host the popular radio show of that name.
Here I am with Jonathan Phillips (founder NYC Gnostics and editor of souldish.com) at the Black Cat Bookstore, photo by Mikey Sklar.
Soon after the talk, it was time for a long hot soak!

With the Philly Integral Meet-up in November


Had a great time with Integral Philly Meet-Up.
Some comments:

Richard Neff "I believe this was a watershed event. Meeting Steven Vedro clicked me back in place."

Rob Scott "Steven Vedro gave a great talk about personal development, spiritual development and how our communication technologies mirror our own stages and challenges. Very, very interesting and fun. I highly recommend checking out Steven's work!"

Skip Shuda "Steve Vedro's presentation of his book Digital Dharma was eye opening and thought provoking! A brave new world!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Completed Talks and Workshops

2007

August 10 La Quinta CA: Panelist on Media and Consciousness at the Institute for Noetic Sciences Conference. Hear the audio (mp3)
September 17 Madison WI: Interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio's statewide program Here on Earth with Jean Feraca. Hear the audio (mp3)
Oct. 12 Denver CO: Talk at the Metaphysical Bookstore
Oct 13 Denver CO: Workshop at the Metaphysical Research Society
Oct 20 Vancouver BC: Ayurveda Center (sponsored by Banyen Books)
Oct 21 Bellingham WA: Village Books 5PM; Morning remarks at Unitarian Fellowship
Oct 22 Kirkland WA: Stonehouse Books
Oct 24 Seattle WA: East-West Books
Oct 25 Seattle WA: Ravenna Third Place Books
Oct 26-27 Portland OR: Talk and Workshop at New Renassiance Books
Oct 28 Salem OR: H.O.M.E. Center
Oct 28 Eugene OR: "An Evening with New Thinkers" with Amit Goswami (University of Oregon Knight Library Browsing Room)
Oct 29 Covallis OR: Grassroots Books
Oct 30 Ashland OR: Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library
Nov 4 Madison WI: Mimosa Books and Gifts
Nov 6 Naperville IL: Barnes and Noble Books
Nov 6 Wheaton IL: Borders Books
Nov 7 Chicago IL: Transitions Bookstore
Nov 8 Wheaton IL: Theosophical Society National Headquarters
Nov 11 Wayne PA: Integral Philly Meet-Up
Nov 12 NYC NY: Ken Wilber/IS Meet-up
Nov 13 NYC NY: Friends of IONS
Nov 14 NYC NY: NY Theosophical Society
Nov 15 NYC NY: East-West Living
Nov 16 NYC NY: The NY Open Center
Nov 17 Princeton NJ: Borders Books
Nov 18 Madison WI: Madison Integrals Group
Dec 2 La Crosse, WI: Unitarian Fellowship followed by booksigning at Pearl Street Books
Dec 8 Madison WI: Discussion with the Madison Friends of IONS (Friends Meeting House)
Dec 15 Phoenix AZ: Booksigning, Borders-Paradise Valley
Dec 16 Tempe AZ: Booksigning, Borders
Dec 16 Phoenix AZ: Talk at the Valley Consciousness Group
Dec 17 Mesa AZ: Booksigning, Borders
Dec 18 Mesa AZ: Phoenix Area Noetic Sciences Group
Dec 20 Albuquerque NM: The Rio Rancho Study Center of the Theosophical Society in America

2008
Jan 14 Santa Rosa CA: Copperfield's Books
Jan 17 Palo Alto CA: Nokia Research Center
Jan 17 San Francisco CA: Field's Books introduced by Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis
Jan 18 Palo Alto CA: Future Salon (video of entire 2-hr talk now online)
Jan 19 Petaluma CA: North Bay IONS Community Group
Jan 19 Corte Madera CA: Book Passage -- introduced by the late Leonard Shlain, author of The Alphabet versus the Goddess and other works.
Jan 20 Berkeley CA: Sylvia Paull's CyberSalon
Feb 5 Ojai CA: Krontona Institute of Theosophy
Feb 6 West Hollywood CA: Bodhi Tree Bookstore
Feb 8 Pasadena CA: Alexandria-II Bookstore
Feb 9-10 Hollywood CA: Center for Conscious Creativity
Feb 12 Encinitas CA: Ducky Waddle's Art Emporium and Rare Books
Feb 15-16 Tucson AZ: IONS Tucson Community
Feb 17 Truth or Consequences NM: Black Cat Books
Feb 18 Silver City NM: Silver City Sufi Circle

Ordering the Book

You can order Digital Dharma direct from the publisher at: QUEST BOOKS

For a limited time you can receive a 30% discount by entering code: DDPC30 at checkout!

If you want a signed copy, send me $19.00 and your mailing address, to: 2134 Keyes Ave, Madison WI 53711.

Or you can send me a PayPal payment.

You can order the book from all online bookstores, but better yet, ask your local independent bookstore to carry it -- and invite me for a book signing! To see the entire Quest Books catalog, click here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reviews

Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis, one of the key influences behind Digital Dharma, just wrote (on 1/22) a fine review on his blog. Here is an excerpt:

Most generally, you can read Digital Dharma as a creative and insightful study into the metaphoric connection between technological regimes and consciousness, in its social, perceptual and “higher” aspects. With his technical detail, Vedro only deepens the fundamental point: that the technical properties of these technologies hold lessons for us, regardless of how we use them on a social level, because they emerge from and reflect our consciousness in the first place. He also acknowledges the dark side of these regimes, and is admirably sober about some of the deep difficulties—psychological as well as social—that lie ahead as we wrap ourselves in a cocoon of interconnectivity. In intensifying the feedback loops that fringe and compose consciousness, media technologies have let loose a process that, in cultural and spiritual terms, can perhaps only be called apocalyptic. Vedro does not shy away from the hypermediated Omega Point glimmering from around the bend, though he does not spend as much time with it as I would like. I only wish I could share Vedro’s fundamental optimism, which is, nonetheless, refreshing.
  • Another interesting response to my talk at the Silicon Valley "Future Forum" was posted by D.J. Cline.

Prepublication Reviews

  • Steven Vedro has broken new ground in his astute analysis of our technological development as a psycho-spiritual process. He is the first to put it in such fascinating and elegant terms that gives new meaning to our awakening as a species. —Anodea Judith, Ph.D., author, Eastern Body, Western Mind; Waking the Global Heart
  • Your work and insights are too important to go unnoticed, especially in these times when most trends in mass media are away from humanistic and spiritual values. We need visionaries like you to draw our attention to the difference between information and wisdom, and to the relationship between the digital and the divine. Bravo! —Christian de Quincey, Ph.D., co-founder, The Visionary Edge; Professor of Philosophy and Conscious Studies, John F. Kennedy University; author, Radical Nature and Radical Knowing
  • Exciting and engaging; a book waiting to happen. Steven Vedro uses the language of information technology to describe the soul's journey or evolution (and vice versa). A very rich way to tell the ongoing human story, wherever it may be leading! —Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D., author, The Genesis Meditations; The Hidden Gospel; and The Sufi Book of Life
  • Whether you read it as metaphor or metaphysics, Digital Dharma is an ingenious and illuminating exploration of the hidden links between communications technology and the human psyches they mirror, enfold, and amplify. Steven Vedro knows his stuff, about media and about the mysteries, but he writes as a peer, not a guru. Tune in and turn on. —Erik Davis, author, TechGnosis and The Visionary State
  • Steven Vedro has written a fascinating book that intertwines the ancient wisdom of India with his consummate knowledge of the modern technology of information transfer. Comparing the various Chakras with the history of human communication, he presents the reader with startling fresh insights into the connection between the world of technological advances and a more fundamental ground of being. A compelling read. —Leonard Shlain, author, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess; Leonardo's Brain; Art and Physics
  • I'd compare this book with Capra's Tao of Physics. Capra showed that there are parallels between the metaphors of modern science and those of spiritual traditions. Vedro shows parallels between the metaphors of communication technology and those of spirituality. I am impressed. Yes, it is possible to get an intro into spiritual thinking using the Internet and Infosphere, especially, if you have the help of Digital Dharma. —Dr. Amit Goswami, author, The Visionary Window and The Self-Aware Universe
  • In his first book, Vedro, a telecommunications consultant, explores the intersection of Eastern philosophy and the digital age. "I am not a guru or enlightened master," he writes. "While this book is richly footnoted... it is not an intellectual treatise but rather a statement of personal wonderment at the connectedness of the inner and outer worlds." In succeeding chapters, Vedro follows the seven chakras of energy yoga, linking each to landmarks in the development of communications technology. For example, he connects the throat chakra to the Internet and in doing so advances interesting theories about both, including the idea that the Internet challenges us to "tell the truth-and confront lies-compassionately." In each chapter he details the effects technology has had on human development, from both a personal and global perspective, all while providing fascinating insight into its technical workings. He accompanies his narrative with an impressive array of quotations from media gurus like Marshall McLuhan and spiritual teachers such as Ken Wilber. Vedro is optimistic about the fast-expanding world of digital technology, some may say simplistically so. Yet his optimism is based on a healthy understanding of technology's pitfalls, and his absorbing book sheds much light on two normally disparate subjects. -- Publishers Weekly: (7/23/2007) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
  • Rejecting Luddite anguish about the negative effects of the digital age, Digital Dharma is not just another guidebook for turning off the Internet or tossing the television out the window. Vedro has written an intellectually rigorous instructional guide to help readers realize and expand the possibilities for spiritual and technological understanding… The author's writing is accessible as well as cleverly amusing… Readers generally interested in spirituality, meditation and yoga will find Vedro's work original, but it is the technologically-minded who will be the most challenged to scrutinize their inner lives. Digital Dharma's fresh take on the digital age tests mundane ways of thinking and being in the information age. -- Chris Arvidson, Nov/Dec. 2007 issue of ForeWord Magazine [read entire review]