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The Digitally Divided Self: Relinquishing our Awareness to the Internet

The Digitally Divided SelfThe Digitally Divided Self: Relinquishing our Awareness to the Internet is on Amazon.

ISBN 9788897233008
274 Pages – Format: 6″ x 9″ – $17.90

It is nearly half a century since Marshall McLuhan pointed out that the medium is the message. In the interim, digital technologies have found an irresistible hook on our minds. With the soul’s quest for the infinite usurped by the ego’s desire for unlimited power, the Internet and social media have stepped in to fill our deepest needs for communication, knowledge and creativity – even intimacy and sexuality. Without being grounded in those human qualities which are established through experience and inner exploration, we are vulnerable to being seduced into outsourcing our minds and our fragile identities.

Intersecting media studies, psychology and spirituality, The Digitally Divided Self exposes the nature of the malleable mind and explores the religious and philosophical influences which leave it obsessed with the incessant flow of information.

I am deeply touched and extremely grateful to the people who took the time to read, support and endorse The Digitally Divided Self. Being my first English book, and basically self-published, I didn’t expect to receive many reviews, much less from such leading thinkers and writers – nor such positive responses.

It was also a surprise to find common interests around eastern spirituality with so many people into technology and media. This makes me hopeful for an evolution of the information society – from chasing external stimulation to inner explorations and silence.

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Praise for Digitally Divided Self

 “Quartiroli’s The Digitally Divided Self is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the ever-increasing hegemony of the digital world in the individual psyche. Drawing on diverse fields and traditions, the author analyzes numerous mechanisms by which IT separates us from ourselves. Readers stand to benefit from such an understanding that is a prerequisite for mounting a defense of one’s individuality.” —Len Bracken, author of several novels and the biography Guy Debord—Revolutionary

 ­“With great insight, Ivo Quartiroli captures the subtle as well as the gross impact that media use has on our individual and collective psyches. The challenge before all of us is how to adapt to the new technology in a healthy way that allows us to retain our essential humanity. He offers us a solution born of his experience and confirmed by neuroscience. This is a must read.” —Hilarie Cash, PhD, co-founder of reSTART: Internet Addiction Recovery Program

 “It is difficult to offer a spiritually based critique of today’s network culture without sounding like a nostalgic Luddite crank. Immersed in the tech, but also in various meditative traditions, Ivo Quartiroli is the perfect person to offer integral wisdom-tech with clarity and bite.” —Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis and Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica.

  “Aware of the profound and rapid psychological and social metamorphosis we are going through as we ‘go digital’ without paying attention, Ivo Quartiroli is telling us very precisely what we are gaining and what we are losing of the qualities and privileges that, glued as we are to one screen or another, we take for granted in our emotional, cognitive and spiritual life. This book is a wake-up call. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates should read it.” —Derrick de Kerckhove, Professor, Facoltà di sociologia, Università Federico II, Naples, former Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.

 “The Digitally Divided Self alerts us about the insidious dangers of our growing dependence on Information Technology. Ivo Quartiroli warns us that Internet can easily develop into an addiction that undercuts our connections with nature, with other people, and with our deeper inner reality. The spiritual nourishment coming from genuine relationships is then replaced by the empty calories of fake relationships, with the resulting deterioration of our personal and social lives. Using an incisive style, Ivo Quartiroli can be provocative, iconoclastic, at times exaggerated, but never boring. Behind each observation there are pearls of wisdom that are guaranteed to make you think.” Federico Faggin, designer of the microprocessor.

 “Global culture is not only the latest step in the human evolutionary journey. It is also, as Ivo Quartiroli shows in The Digitally Divided Self, a critical opportunity to apply non-Western techniques of awareness to ensure healthy survival in the 21st century.” —Michael Heim, author of The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Virtual Realism, and Electric Language.

 “Question the merits of technology in the past and you’d be called a Luddite. But now technologists are leading the way toward a new, more balanced view of our gadget-driven lives. Drawing from his fascinating expertise in computer science and spirituality, Ivo Quartiroli presents a compelling critique of the corrosive impact of the Net on our humanity. It’s a warning we must heed.” —Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.

“A profoundly premonitory vision of the future of the 21st century, The Digitally Divided Self unlocks the great codes of technological society, namely that the very same digital forces that effectively control the shape and direction of the human destiny are also the founding powers of a new revolution of the human spirit.” —Arthur Kroker, author of The Will to Technology and Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture and Theory.

 “People today, especially young people, live more on the Internet than in the real world. This has subtle and not-so-subtle effects on their thinking and personality. It is high time to review these effects, to see whether they are a smooth highway to a bright interconnected future, or possibly a deviation that could endanger health and wellbeing for the individual as well as for society. Ivo Quartiroli undertakes to produce this review and does so with deep understanding and dedicated humanism. His book should be read by everyone, whether he or she is addicted to the Internet or has second thoughts about it.” —Ervin Laszlo, President, the Club of Budapest, and Chancellor, the Giordano Bruno Globalshift University.

 “The Mind-Body Split is a pervasive condition/affliction in the developed world, wholly un-recognized; yet fundamental to the great worldwide problems of health, environment, and economic inequity. Ivo Quartiroli’s Digitally Divided Self masterfully examines the effects of the insulated digital experience on the mind and the body self: exacerbating illusions and the Mind-Body Split; and contrasts it to the processes of self-discovery, growth, and healing: true inter-connectedness with nature, each other, and our selves. If the digital age is to solve our real problems, rather than create them, it will be with the knowledge contained in The Digitally Divided Self. Well done!” —Frederic Lowen, son of Alexander Lowen, Executive Director, The Alexander Lowen Foundation

 “Ivo Quartiroli here addresses one of the most pressing questions forced upon us by our latest technologies. In disturbing the deepest relations between the user’s faculties and the surrounding world, our electric media, all of them without exception, create profound disorientation and subsequent discord, personal and cultural. Few subjects today demand greater scrutiny.” — Dr. Eric McLuhan, Author and Lecturer

 “The internet is an extension of our central nervous system. When you operate a computer, you are extending yourself, through its interface, potentially all over the world, instantaneously. Extending yourself in such a disembodied, discarnate fashion only further entrenches your separateness, your ego self. In contrast, the introspective freeing from the physical through meditation also has the effect of creating a discarnate, disembodied state. That state is one that is progressively less identified with the ego self. This is the dichotomy that Ivo Quartiroli explores in The Digitally Divided Self. This book is well worth investigating.” —Michael McLuhan

 “We should all be asking the questions Ivo Quartiroli asks in this bold and provocative book. Whatever you think right now about technology, The Digitally Divided Self will challenge you to think again.” —William Powers, author of the New York Times bestseller Hamlet’s BlackBerry

 “It isn’t easy to find an informed and critical look at the impact of digital media practices on human lives and minds. Ivo Quartiroli offers an informed critique based in both an understanding of technology and of human consciousness.” —Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs.

 “Ivo Quartiroli is mining the rich liminal territory between humans and their networks. With the integrity of a scientist and the passion of artist, he forces us to reconsider where we end and technology begins. Or when.” —Douglas Rushkoff, Media Theorist and author of Cyberia, Media Virus, Life, Inc. and Program or Be Programmed.

 “You might find what he writes to be challenging, irritating, even blasphemous and sacrilegious. If so, he has proven his point. The Internet, Ivo suggests, might just be the new opium of the masses. Agree with him or not, no other book to date brings together the multitude of issues related to how the seductions of technology impinge upon and affect the development of the self and soul.” —Michael Wesch, Associate Professor of Digital Ethnography, Kansas State University

 The Digitally Divided Self is a refreshing look at technology that goes beyond the standard, well-worn critiques. Ivo Quartiroli charts new territory with a series of profound reflections on the intersections of computer science, psychology and spirituality.” —Micah White, Senior Editor at Adbusters magazine.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: From Awareness of technology to technologies of Awareness .. 1
The Limits of Technology.. 3
What’s Not Computable Isn’t Real .. 4
The Promises of the Early Internet .. 5
From Information Processing to Consciousness Processing.. 6
All in the Digital Mincer .. 7
Technology Can’t be Challenged.. 8
Technology Uses Us .. 10
Feeding the Soul with Bytes .. 11
The Immortal Mind .. 12
Inner Prostheses and Amputations through Technology .. 13
Beyond the Mind.. 14
The Fragility of Beliefs and Information Technology.. 15

Chapter 2:“It’s only a tool” .. 17
Technology is not Questionable .. 18
Knowing through the Body .. 18
Technology “Does” Us .. 19
Technology is a Matter of Life and Death.. 21
Binary and Inner Duality.. 21
Knowing through the Heart.. 22
Our Identity With Tools – from Chimps to Chips .. 25
Reconnecting with the Inner Flow.. 26
From Spectator to Witness .. 28
Inner Holes and Techno-Fills .. 28
Pure Thinking Without the Body.. 30
Tools for Inner Growth.. 31
The Mind Itself is a Medium.. 34
IT Weakens Our Presence .. 36
Constrained to Produce .. 39

Chapter 3: The Roots of It .. 39
Constrained to Produce .. 39
IT was Started by the Bible .. 40
Technology as Returning to the Lost Perfection .. 41
Contradictory Messages Short Circuit the Psyche .. 43
Children of a Lesser God .. 44
Psychological Defenses .. 44
Technology as the Ultimate Savior .. 45
The Nature of the Mind.. 46
Conceptual Debris and Technology as a Holding Agent for the Psyche 47
The Quest for Immortality .. 48
Copying, Improving and Creating Minds.. 50

Chapter 4: The Digitization of Reality .. 53
Data is King .. 55
The Digitization of Territory .. 56
Augmenting Reality .. 57
The Mind as the First Virtual Reality Tool .. 58
The Digitization of Biology .. 59
Analogical Models of Reality .. 64
Our Digital Nervous Systems .. 66
Programming .. 67
Thinking like Software .. 69
Digitizing All Life Events .. 71

Chapter 5: Intimacy and Sexuality.. 73
Eros and the Sexualization of Society .. 74
Cybersex.. 75
The Transformation of Seduction and of Relationship .. 77
Masturbation and Sex Toys.. 78
Orgasm 2.0.. 80
Cybervirgins .. 82
Gender Issues and the Vanishing Male.. 84
Earlier Exposure to Porn.. 85
Desires .. 87
Cybersex as a Tantric Path .. 87

Chapter 6: Commoditizing and Monetizing.. 89
Replacing the Real .. 90
Playing with Feelings .. 90
iMarket .. 92
Brave New World.. 94
Deconstructing Sense and Ethics.. 94
Toward the Denial of Truth .. 95

Chapter 7: Politics, Participation and Control .. 97
The Rulers of Our Psyches .. 98
Governments.. 99
Advertising and Our Attention.. 100
Google .. 101
Wikileaks .. 104
Into Our Digital Persona .. 104
You Can Tell What Somebody is Like by the Company They Keep.. 105
Is the Internet Empowering Us? .. 106
Illusory Participation.. 107
Slacktivism .. 110
The Yogic Geek.. 112
Renouncing the World .. 115

Chapter 8: Come together: the Rise of Social networks.. 115
Renoucing the World .. 115
The Inner Need of Connection and Facebook.. 116
Experiencing for Others to See .. 118
Empathy.. 119
Illusory Contact.. 121
Body/Mind Development in Childhood .. 125

Chapter 9: Digital Kids ..125
Body/Mind Development in Childhood .. 125
Denied Childhood .. 126
Computers in Education .. 127
Lack of Mentors .. 128
Technology as an Answer to Social Fear .. 129
Wired Children.. 130
Sleepless Children .. 132

Chapter 10: Literacy and the Analytical Mind.. 133
Analytical and Critical Skills .. 136
A New Literacy Through eBooks? .. 138
The Reading “Technology” .. 139
Digital Writing .. 140
Communication and the Transformation of Consciousness.. 141
Attend to This! .. 143

Chapter 11: Lost in the Current .. 143
Attend to This! .. 143
Attend to it Now and Forever! .. 145
New is Cool .. 145
Instant Gratification.. 145
Neurological Changes Related to Instant Gratification .. 146
Accepting Emptiness and the Eureka Effect.. 147
Faster and Faster, but just Apparently .. 149
Into the Loop .. 151
Technological Updates and the Right to Silence .. 152
Cogitus Interruptus through Multitasking .. 153
No History, No Narrative, No Past .. 156
Digital and Human Memory.. 157
Addiction.. 158
Awareness of Feelings and Addiction.. 162
Attention .. 165

Chapter 12: The Digitally Divided Self.. 165
Attention .. 165
The Construction of the Self .. 166
Technological Development as a Metaphor of the Psychological One .. 170
Millions of MP3s and the Missing “My Personality” .. 173
Attachment to the Machine .. 173
The Need for Mirroring .. 174
Maternal Feeding and Paternal Limit Setting .. 175
The Sand Castle Crumbles: Toward a Schizoid State.. 176
The Other as Image .. 178
Detaching from the Body .. 179
The Schizoid State is an Ontological Condition .. 181
The Eye, the Ear, and a Global Tribalism.. 181
The Mind as a Medium.. 183
No Identity.. 185
The Reign of Objectivity .. 189

Chapter 13: The Process of Knowledge .. 189
The Reign of Objectivity .. 189
Joining Inner and Outer Knowledge .. 192
Not Knowing.. 195
Words are Second-Best After Silence.. 198
Do We Know with our Brains? .. 200
Externalizing Thinking .. 202

Chapter 14: Upgrading to Heaven .. 205
Creating Consciousness.. 206
Technology as an Ego Maintainer .. 209
IT Beyond Me: Unlinking Ourselves through Technology .. 211
Here and Now.. 213
Devotionally Disappearing into Technology.. 214
The Immortal Mind.. 215
Spiritual Powers through Technology .. 217
Are we Machines? .. 218
The Will to Create Mental Worlds .. 220

Chapter 15: Biting the Snake.. 223
Out of the Loop.. 224
Screen Media vs. Meditation .. 225
Meditation .. 228
IT is basically Counter-Meditative.. 230
Another Maya Layer through Technology .. 231
Charles Babbage.. 233

Appendix: The People of Contemporary It and what Drives them.. 233
Charles Babbage.. 233
Ada Lovelace .. 234
John von Neumann.. 234
Norbert Wiener .. 235
Alan Turing .. 235
Al Gore.. 236
Steward Brand .. 237
Kevin Kelly .. 238
Bill Gates.. 239
Steve Jobs .. 239
Withdrawing into the Mind .. 240
Bibliography .. 241
Index .. 249

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