Paramedia: The Evolution of Social Media
© 2013 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

The human condition is in the first discrete phase of what scholar’s term the “Information Technology Revolution.”  This fundamental paradigm shift will be the biggest cultural revolution in the human condition since the invention of the Greek alphabet circa B.C.E. 700.  At present, with the onset of information technology, the Internet, digital media and communications, all foreshadow a rise of artificial intelligence.  This initial phase of the Information Technology Revolution affects all cultures, economies and religions of the contemporary global order.  Regardless of the antagonistic relationship between technology and religion {take into consideration the current intelligent design debate}, the technological impetus of post-modern society, especially in the “Western societies,” has become a means of religiosity.

Scholars like Lewis Mumford, and Conrad Ostwalt posit that popular religion in our information-based secular society has demystified the intimacy of religiosity.  Resurgences in popular religion are embedded in a secular society of relativism, empiricism, and individual religiosity.  Popular religion in essence reconciles individual objective truth with the element of imagination and faith in human nature.  It is the privatization of religious experience that invokes popular religiosity.

Popular religion is prevalent in cultural forms of media and technology (newspapers, internet, religious-oriented television programming) that raise theological issues to ecclesia and congregations.  Popular religion can be studied in its manifestations of imagery and symbology on film, television, the Internet, stage & theatre, and print.  Information technology, such as the Internet, media, radio, and television reconciles the elements of culture and spirituality, addressing the boundaries between the culture and religiosity. A synthesis between popular religion now embedded in the media and information technology best illustrated by the intelligent design debate.  Technology at various intervals of history has been associated with utopian ideals of social and spiritual enlightenment.

Akin to the printing press, the Internet redefines popular religion via methods of selection and portrayal; vast compendiums of religious scripture, wide ranges of antinomian perspectives toward orthodoxy and doctrine, and Christian Apocrypha are now available for both laity and ecclesia.  Purveyors of any religious doctrine can now enhance their audience in a wider information community, expansive even to our present global order.  Many participants in the cybercosm of popular religion use the Internet to fortify doctrinal arguments, such as intelligent design, and deconstruct orthodox convictions.

One of the most liberating features of the media and the Internet is that reality and doctrine is engineered and faith is uncensorable; diverse perspectives transmit into an intersecting global order that connects the sacerdotal offices of the Dalai Lama and emeritus Pope Benedict XVI to the World Wide Web.  Moreover, digital media and the Internet are indices of religious and social reformations, beset with the instantaneous production, distribution, and reception of information.  Hence, religious institutions that arbitrarily remain outside of the information media revolution will become ghettos of theology, conscripted to obsoleteness like the Puritanism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The changes to global religiosity invoked by information technology are irreversible.  The chasm of reaction to the synthesis of information technology and religion is as passionate as the theological stress between orthodoxy and heterodoxy.  “Advocates promote the Internet’s ability to make the world a better place, often describing it as a communicative nirvana, a place where access to information equals freedom.” ¹ The lack of personal intimacy with religion in the reality-engineered cybercosm affects “social and and communicative relationships, it also reflects on how its use shapes the soul and cultural values.” ² Individuals who continue to invest in the Information Technology Revolution often find the Internet as a collective congregation, a new sort of cyberchurch.

Researcher John December defines “computer-mediated communication” as “a process of human communication via computers, involving people, situated in particular contexts, engaging in processes to shape media for a variety of purposes.³  The Information Technology Revolution has spawned a depersonalized secular culture where religious scripture and metanarratives are being replaced in the Information Age by a culture of heterogeneity and what the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI referred to as a “tyranny of relativity.” Postmodernism in an Internet dominated global order signals the end of doctrinal authority and objective truth.  The ability to discern myth and ritual in the cybercosm entails society to redefine religious communications {i.e. watching a broadcast of the 700 club on the Christian Broadcasting Network or video archives of the Vatican available on CTV}.

It is the privatization of religious experience that invokes popular religiosity.  Popular religion is prevalent in cultural forms of media and technology (newspapers, internet, religious-oriented television programming) that raise theological issues to ecclesia and congregations.  The Information Age can be studied in its manifestations of imagery and symbology on film, television, the Internet, stage & theatre, and print.  In a secular postmodern society, Americans value popular religion as a source of personal meaning and spirituality.  A synthesis of popular religion and the Internet reconciles the elements of culture and spirituality, addressing the boundaries between the culture and religiosity.

Religion and the Information Age coexist where science and art mingle, and where imagination and curiosity mystifies religious imagery in afore-mentioned cultural forms such as the World Wide Web, theatre, and film.  In a society of conservative political architecture, predatory economies, and cultural diffusion, popular religion thrusts our culture collectively and individually toward both a privatization, and communalization of religiosity.  Popular religion and secularism in post-modernity does not challenge the institutions of ordered religion; rather it reconciles a method of science or theistic science, with the aims of religion.

Prior to the development of the World Wide Web, programs such as Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell 4, and the 700 Club on the Christian Broadcasting Network reached millions of listeners in a cybercosm of radio and television waves where society could enter the time and space of ritual and spirituality.  Simply by listening to the radio and watching the television, the faithful and skeptic alike were able to experience a sense of intimacy and ‘being there.’  With the advent of the Information Age and its synthesis with popular religion, millions of individuals connect ‘online’ to a spaceless, transcendent reality, setting up personalized temporal and spatial communities.  Unlike radio and television broadcast, the individual contains the sole engine of entry into the “Information Highway” where popular religion and passionate ideologies have taken a front seat with a dictatorship of relativity and apathy.

Blaise Pascal described the human condition as lying between the Infinite, the Holy, and the Nothing.  It is in this fragile balance between relativity and certainty of faith that one must peruse the Internet, as a means to an end in the search for enlightenment.  There must be a transformation of theological reflection in order for the Information Technology Revolution to thread together the global community rather than isolate entire societies from one another in the cybercosm of time and space.  Religious ecclesia should heed the progress of academia in the art of communication and reality-engineering in the Information Age.

The interplay between culture and popular religion can be executed on a variety of methods.  One progressive framework posited by scholars at the 1993 academic conference in Uppsala, Sweden entitled “Media, Religion, and Culture”5  “suggests macro-level analyses of society as a whole, meso-level analyses of institutions, and micro-analyses of individual perception and empirical meaning.” {paraphrase, Hoover & Lundby 1997; pg. 6}.  Religion is not limited to occurrences in a sacred realm, as modern scholarship contests whether the “sacred” is marginalized and secularization moves society into insular camps or that culture and religion are inseparable.  Religion subsists in theories of socio-cultural development, in relation to the realms of myth and ritual.  Nonetheless, the thought and practice of religiosity in the human condition is innate.

With the Internet as common ground for dialogues of the sacred and secular, investigators of religious and cultural studies approach information technology with a threefold strategy: a search for schema of ritual and mythic meaning in patterns of life, communalism, and authentic personal identity.  Contextually, the nature of the Internet permits audiences to exit proto-orthodox constraints and enter into engineered reality apart from the ordinary world.  The premise here is that the Information Technology Revolution is not just ideological and theological manipulation, but a cultural phenomena best studied under anthropology and theistic sciences.  The shift from the Internet and information technology as a product of culture to a web of culture parallels the adaptation of religious doctrine to print during the Medieval Reformation.  Privileges of information, authority, and religious practice are redefined.  Thus, the impact of the Internet upon popular religion and scripture mimics the profound changes that are occurring in the realms of media.

The electronic church is located at the confluence of media and revivalist movements.  In a telescopic society of information technology, televangelism has experienced an upsurge in advocacy, and popularity.  Televangelism is attractive widely to a large conservative Christian audience, and as a ritual performance, is telecast to a broad specter of culture.  Religious oriented programming has captivated a diverse audience of television viewers since the onset of television.  The pattern of religious broadcasting was established in radio, where sectarian organizations petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for sustained airtime and productions intended to elucidate consensual facts and objective truths of religion.  The National Council of Churches, the United States Catholic Conference, the New York Board of Rabbis, and the Southern Baptist Convention produced some of these early programs.

In a society of conservative political architecture, predatory economies, and cultural diffusion, evangelist notorieties such as the Christian Broadcasting Network thrust our culture collectively and individually toward both a privatization, and communalization of religiosity.  Evangelist websites on the Internet cater to the information technology paradigm by disaffecting populist concerns as socially dysfunctional.  Internet teleministries use information technology and digital media to identify and coalesce disparate groups in society disaffected with conventional places of worship.  Whereas evangelical-fundamentalist channels use the Internet to preserve populist top-down ecclesiastic authority, heterodox movements such as the “New Age” and the resurgence of scholarship on ‘Gnostic’ Christianity sensationalized by  “The Da Vinci Code” use the Internet to conjure bottom-up relationships.

Resurgences in popular religion are, embedded in a secular society of relativism, empiricism, and individual religiosity.  Popular religion in essence reconciles individual objective truth with the element of imagination and faith in human nature.  It is the privatization of religious experience that invokes popular religiosity.  Popular religion is prevalent in cultural forms of media and technology (newspapers, internet, religious-oriented television programming) that raise theological issues to ecclesia and congregations.  Popular religion can be studied in its manifestations of imagery and symbology on film, television, the Internet, stage & theatre, and print.

Information technology, such as the Internet, media, radio, and television reconciles the elements of culture and spirituality, addressing the boundaries between the culture and religiosity.  Christian evangelical media stems from a hybrid religiosity derived from revivalist movements that mirrored secular society through a sacred (fundamentalist) lens.6 (Ostwalt 2003) Christian evangelism appeals to personal religious experience.  There is an upsurge in our society of such a phenomenon that appeals to personal emotion, and the zeal of religious conviction.

Evangelism is a zealous invitation to enlist spiritually in the Christian community and experience an epiphany of a new religious life, to be ‘born again’ in the spirit of the Christ.  The term evangelist occurs no less than three times in the New Testament books of Acts, II Timothy, and Ephesians, used in substantive form.  The early apostles such as Saint Paul, and Barnabas, were set apart from the emergent Christian community as itinerant, preaching missionaries.  To the unaffiliated, or unfamiliar, evangelists are endowed with a type of appeal to preach to congregations new to the Gospels, paving the way for later missionary work.

In a telescopic society of information technology, televangelism has experienced an upsurge in advocacy, and popularity.  Televangelism is attractive widely to a large conservative Christian audience, and as a ritual performance, is telecast to a broad specter of culture.  Religious oriented programming has captivated a diverse audience of television viewers since the onset of television.  The pattern of religious broadcasting was established in radio, where sectarian organizations petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for sustained airtime and productions intended to elucidate consensual facts and objective truths of religion.  The National Council of Churches, the United States Catholic Conference, the New York Board of Rabbis, and the Southern Baptist Convention produced some of these early programs.

The onset of televangelism in American politics has recently been a controversial issue since the 1970s.  Fundamentalist minister Jerry Falwell used a program called Old Time Gospel Hour as a platform for political influence among staunch conservatives, through the founding of “The Moral Majority,” a conservative think-tank, and “The Liberty Lobby,” another political organization funded by donations from Farwell’s broadcasts.  Falwell withdrew from politics amidst sexual and financial scandals that plagued the arena of Televangelism in the 1980s.7 Evangelical minister Pat Robertson used his position as host of The 700 Club, a central program of the Christian Broadcasting Network, to inaugurate his own political career, culminating in a run for the presidency in 1988, and the subsequent founding of his own political organization, “The Christian Coalition.”  Televangelist ministries also founded and developed their own universities, such as Farwell’s “Liberty University,” “Oral Roberts University,” and Pat Robertson’s CBN University, renamed “Regent University in 1990.”

The case of Pat Robertson typifies the evolution of modern televangelism from grassroots “Bible Belt” fundamentalist radio broadcasts toward an altogether conventional television presentation to a broad scope of audience.  While other televangelists continued to hold to more traditional “worship and preaching” production, The 700 Club rapidly became a popularized central program of the Christian Broadcasting Network.  The “700 Club” broadcasted a sophisticated “Christian talk show” format.  As the “700 Club” grew popularized with audiences, its parent Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) evolved into “The Family Channel,” a widely carried cable service featuring “family-oriented” re-runs of television programming and motion pictures.

A notable lasting legacy of televangelism is the impact on sustaining-time broadcasting or public service religion.  Conventional churches and church organizations saw their airtime gradually erode as paid time televangelism rose to prominence.  By the mid-1990s virtually no national or network-based sustaining-time broadcasting persisted.  A number of organizations supplanted by televangelism participated in the founding of their own cable network, The Faith and Values Channel (originally the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network), in 1988.  The Christian Broadcasting Network evolved from the vision of Pat Robertson.

The Christian Broadcasting Network aired its first telethon to raise funds in the fall of 1963.  This telethon was named “The 700 Club”² because Pat Robertson asked seven hundred people to pledge $10 a month to maintain the new station and keep C.B.N. on the air.  Three innovations adopted by CBN helped the fledgling network grow rapidly to into formidable religious broadcasting networks with access to the world.  The first innovation was the use of the telephone to provide ongoing contact with the audience.  The 700 Club provides a telephone number on screen so viewers can call to ask for prayer and counseling during and after each program.  A second innovation was to follow the lead of a cable network called Home Box Office (H.B.O.) and Cable News Network (C.N.N.) to build its own satellite earth station as early as 1977.  A third innovation of CBN provided 24 hour religious programming to the nation’s growing network of evangelist cable stations.

Program content on the 700 Club stresses a worldview with biblical foundations, based on the belief that there exists a set of moral absolutes revealed in Christian scripture that should dictate social institutions, laws, and public policy.  Religious conservatism and the rapid ascendancy of religious based television programming were interdependent during the 1980s.  Programming listed on the Christian Broadcasting Network Internet site include:  “The 700 Club,” “CBN News Watch,”  “CBNinteractive,” “Living the Life,” “Christian World News,” “Scott Ross’s ‘Streets of the World’,” and “One Cubed.”

The description of the Christian Broadcasting Network listed on the contents of their Internet site state:  “The mission of CBN and its affiliated organizations is to prepare the United States of America and the nations of the world for the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.  Our ultimate goal is to achieve a time in history when ‘the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. ”8 The network like many others this writer has observed uses innovative mass communication via television, the Internet, broadcast radio, and print to carry a message of religious significance as seen by its administrators, and founder.

The Christian Broadcasting Network and its evangelical programming use information technology as a means of galvanizing viewership in a post-modern society where technology has virtually erased geopolitical boundaries.  The canopy between sacred and the secular is not widened but bridges despite the scandals of such ministries from the Bakkers, Jerry Falwell, and Jimmy Swaggert.  Ostwalt notes evangelism as a cornerstone that founded the popular megachurch movement in contemporary society.  Evangelical marketing of religion at once galvanizes a fundamentalist discontent against secular society while employing the very media such ministries preach adversity to:  “…it is certain that the use of media, particularly television, connected evangelical culture to secular popular culture in a way that was new and novel, and this experience provided evangelicalism…a sense of relevance and power through participation in a popular secular medium.”9 (Ostwalt 2003)

In a society of conservative political architecture, predatory economies, and cultural diffusion, evangelist notorieties such as the Christian Broadcasting Network thrust our culture collectively and individually toward both a privatization, and communalization of religiosity.  Religious scholars notice “public evangelism” having “recurring elements of popular religiosity”10(Lippy 1994).  Such an institutionalization of styles of religiosity in televangelism has a reciprocal relationship with social structures scholars classify as religious and secular.  Lippy offers that “most who watch religious programming do not know or even care about the connections televangelists might have with formal religious institutions”11 (Lippy 1994)

C.B.N. explains that its large financial profit, based solely upon audience contribution and donations from the private sector, reciprocates to the viewer in the form of humanitarian relief funding.  At present, C.B.N. is multifaceted, providing evangelist broadcasts in over two-hundred countries in seventy-one different languages, with the afore described 24 hour prayer telephone hotline.  The itinerant evangelical role of the biblical John the Baptist is reflected in the televangelism of the Christian Broadcasting Network.  The network portrays an evolution in interactivity between the missionary and the Christian, whose religious piety and devotion is glamorized in the often-sensational broadcasting of televangelism.

“The Da Vinci Code” is the latest in popular culture threaded to such films, and novels, as The Last Temptation of Christ, The Matrix, The Godfather, and most recently, Passion of the Christ that not only popularizes but also mystifies Christian heritage and private religiosity.  In the latter works of popular religion, orthodoxy and faith are the guardians of tradition, whereas in The Da Vinci Code we are returned through pseudo-history to the roots of mysticism in Christianity.  Religion is justified in invoking faith, as secular culture is saturated with religiosity.

The Da Vinci Code” published in 2003 by Random House (New York, NY) rides a popular wave of revulsion against perceived scandal and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church.  Since the novels publication, it has become a record bestseller, igniting passionate debates about religion and sexuality, feminism, the exclusory faith of the Catholic Church, renaissance art, and esoteric symbology.  Catholicism in its ecclesiastic attachments to the secular arms of law and society, appeals to the disenchanted and faithful complete with ritual, spirituality, history, and art.  The Da Vinci code mystifies doctrinal religiosity, offering new meaning through cryptic symbols of the sacred feminine.  Popular films and novels, according to scholar Conrad Oswalt, prospect the meaning of metaphors and symbols in Christian mythology without trivializing religion or cultural heritage.

Brown teases the reader with esoteric codes and enigmatic puzzles contained in renaissance art that is coalescent of a greater symbology of the sacred feminine.  The popular trend to study and debunk the novel reflects an extensive scientific study, and ecclesiastic obscuring of texts and artifacts that trigger a quest for latent religiosity and personal understanding.  In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Emile Durkheim explains that religion is a “feeling of mystery.”12The Da Vinci Code invokes feelings of mystery by popularizing symbols in Christian iconography of the sacred feminine.  The sacred feminine permeates the symbolism of Rosicrucian, Freemasonic and other occult traditions of which this writer is intimate.

The Internet disposes of the dichotomy of religion organized around immanence-transcendence in the human condition.  As the Information Technology Revolution matures the global order by coagulating cultures and religious belief systems, the great world religions will lose their historical flexibility by a failure to endure increasing metaphysical concerns {such as intelligent design}.  Radio broadcast programs such as Coast to Coast AM address this paradigm shift with a wide-ranging variety of topics, and have their nightly shows directly on the spiritual pulse of our society.

Innovations in computer-mediated communications and the emergence of global media conglomerates and the periphery of religiosity play a crucial role in the Information Technology Revolution.  The global environment of contemporary history exacerbates the proto-orthodoxy of ancient religious doctrine by pushing them into relativity.  Hence the dichotomy of the global order in the face of the Information Technology Revolution will either continue to mature from its initial stages of religious and information diffusion, or, fracture under the bane of fundamentalism that has experience resurgences throughout civilization.

The point of entry into this thesis intimated at the paradigm shift into the Information Age and how its maturity with affect religiosity.  These changes will continue to mature deeper into existing social and cultural structures, at once redefining them and deconstructing them.  The Internet has privatized religiosity and in accentuating the finitude of the human condition, a sort of metaphor for divine providence has been invoked at an intersection between spirituality and technology.  “In promoting a more remote and individualistic style of religious practice, the coming of the Internet has contributed further to the privatization of religion that has been so much of a feature of the modern period.” {Beckerlegge, 2001, pg. 228}.  The Internet and the social media web represents merely the first step in the Information Technology revolution and its link with digitalized religion.

The dichotomy between religion on the Internet and physical places of worship reciprocates an illusory digital divide in the notion that the human “spirit” is tangibly different than the flesh that incarnates it.  The digital divide between privatized religious practice and the cybercosm will continue to expose the fragility of the great world religious traditions while at once reinforcing religious communalism of the Internet.  Regardless of the antagonistic relationship between technology and religion, the human condition is only in the initial stages of the Information Technology Revolution that will initiate unparalleled shifts in the paradigm of religion and science.

Has social media rebooted religious practice?  Generations after religion was segregated from secular life, digital social media have retaught believers to expect the spiritual to imbue their daily lives. Any preacher or cleric will insist that our lives be lived out of our deepest spiritual values, but when religious services are held far apart from the environment in which we regularly live, it can be hard to set that ideal into daily personal practice.

From the printing press to the radio to the Internet, advances in communication technology have almost always instigated rapid and profound changes in religious practice. The proliferation of mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and other computer tablets provoke a similarly profound change, simultaneously allowing worshippers to craft a personal religious environment in an otherwise secular world, but also diluting many practices central to all religions.

Pastors post their sermons online; the Dalai Lama maintains an active Twitter feed; and Muslim worshipers can choose whether they want to podcast the call to prayer from the muezzin in Mecca, Jerusalem or Medina.  The Internet is a new digital frontier that recontextualizes ideas of theology and communication.  Cyberspace is a place where people from all corners of society can reconnect spheres of science and religion.

Theologians and Internet bloggers alike have paid notable attention to the expansion of online religious and spiritual communities, and how these groups transform religious conceptions of and participation in offline religious communities. Religious community as a network acknowledges that online groups typically function as loosely bounded social media networks with varying levels of affiliation and commitment. Conceptions of religious community are continuously transforming with social media, showing that online religious communities often function quite differently from conventional religious institutions.

Converging writing, painting, and music with new technologies and classic forms of media Leilah Publications leads a quantum leap of artistry into the 21st century.  Technology and the human species have broken traditional boundaries, soon our species will make a quantum leap to an age of wonder in which the human genome and brain will be completely reverse engineered; spirituality and technology, human and artificial intelligence will merge together in the mental and physical realms.

We will record and engineer information in our media, and in the media of other cultural-engineering networks technological, social, and geo-political changes so rapid and profound, they will represent a rupture in the fabric of human history.  Reverse engineering of human genetics and brain change will allow for a reshaping of the human structure:  neuroscience, brain-computer networking, bioart, and virtual media will propel radical changes in the arts and religion.

Culture will become engineered with hypertrends:::::synthetic intelligences and reverse-engineered brains – the humans who possess them – will move society into a transitional phase of hybrid intelligence.  The information age is a transitional period to the post-human era of artificial intelligence and organic-machine fusion.  Global networking will become neural networking, emotions and relationships will become redefined.  Intimacy and spirituality will deepen to levels unimagined by current human brain models.

The human genome will become a resilient  molecule-sized template for all nanotechnology.  Human life will undergo a radical metamorphosis within 100 years.  The information age is a transitory phase to the age of wonder. Paramedia and the convergence between science, technology, and religion will revolutionize culture…quantum data will merge with organic tissue establishing direct brain interface::::::::::::::information will synthesize with matter.  Direct brain interface will deepen human intimacy beyond imagination::::::::::::::under the template of synthetic telepathy.

Religion stems from the Latin, religio, “to bind recursively” :::: consciousness will break the fabric of reality.   The Mystery is not meta-physical, transpersonal, mystical, phenomenal, or noetic::::::the Mystery is innate in the human genome:::::::why?  Human evolution towards a synthetic intelligence – organic hybrid is inevitable:::::::human and machine will merge in the physical and mental::::::::::::

Reverse engineering of the human brain will create parallel neural nets, will be constructed through reverse-engineering the human brain:::::::::the species will assimilate then transcend “humanity”::::::organic humans will retain the same rights as the “hybrid” species:::::::::::::evolution is an inevitability :::::::::: the dinosaurs had their time.  Digital media networks, like YouTube, inundate you with a wealth of disinformation : : :  nanotechnology means you are never alone, always accountable, surveilled on GPS networks, social media, and cellular tech.

You already are inundated with voluntary and synthetic telepathy ::: You are no longer an “I” first person singular ::: the Internet is just a transitional circuit to levels of evolution many consider ::: unnatural.  Technological progress, and the reverse-engineering of the human brain is not linear; it is recursive and exponential.  New social strata will replace obsolete social strata.

We are not animals ::: human DNA was constructed by an inventor far more intelligent and loving than human imagination ::: Technology and paramedia break down reality tunneling of the past; secret societies are now Media Mystery Schools.  Too much information has been released.  Naturally, we will counter with an influx of disinformation before we leave.  The Code of the Dhajjal is embedded in all forms of Art, and on back of the U.S. one Dollar note.  Unless accepting the scientific and spiritual truths of Islam, The one thing Mankind can count on, in its existence, is never understanding why.

Publishing and religious scriptures will turn to paramedia, and become digital, then neural.  He who has the ultimate power to define, has the ultimate power. Art is Religion ::: new media, paramedia of literature, writing, music, digital sound, painting, & drawing will edge out religion in a rivalry over the soul, success will paint apocalypse across the night sky.  Religion is art  ::: aesthetic experience occurs in every aspect of daily life.  The reverse engineering of the human brain will deepen aesthetic experiences of love that will rupture human imagination.

Religions invoke faith as an anesthesia in the absence of the sacred.  Mankind is the true artist, having created the divine stage of gods, archons, demons, goddesses, angels as a stellar play, an immemorial story of the soul captured in ancient texts. Above all of Mankind’s mystic history is the One, and Eternal Allah.  Virtual reality will merge with actual reality as the Infinitude cloaks itself and the darkest depths of the human imagination seep through.

Artists are the chaotic regulators of social strata and paramedia. Though conventional artists enjoy great social favor, chaotic regulators of paramedia, including neoteric and digital artists have a role as catalysts in the coming information wars.  Artists have always pushed the limits of human perception and imagination, through new forms of media; digital, paint, virtual, musical, literary, stage, visual ::: merging virtual and actual reality, initiating the viewer into an age of wonder; where bioart, and paramedia will rupture the human fabric of history, spearheading new wonders of communication in religion and technology.

Communications will only increase with nanotechnology, a rise of unified consciousness; peace through superconnectivity.  Rapid streaming information will propel us to the next step in human technological evolution, or at least distract us from whatever crises are at hand.  In our time of deep economic, political, and intergenerational uncertainty, social unanimity gives us a chance to apply human knowledge to the next step in evolution, which likely includes artificial intelligence.  Social media is the best method available for reflecting and motivating an aesthetic of unanimity.

I join many leading scientists like Ray Kurzweil  in a utopian hope for technology and humankind. When we are sucked into what dystopian sociologists call the ‘vortex’ that is Facebook, a micro-knowledge of the lives of our network give us an ambient awareness.  The social hive that is Facebook is a new kind of social nervous system or ethereal limb, and many are learning to use it with ease.  Newcomers to the social media intra-nets are still getting the feel for it.

The common moral compass that guides the human race when we go astray from our faith or ethics tells us it is not cool if someone is posting about cocaine habits and piercing private body parts.  We get war is bad, decent human beings do not need to see photos of dead babies on news streams to understand the horrors of war.  Many Facebook users look the other way when a couples’ argument spills online.  This utopia will be a product of design and necessity.  Social networks will develop parallel to nanotechnology.  The old web was frontier universe that is now being rewritten.

The flaming, snarky, commenter-board culture that periodically surfaces to foster self-hate among humankind will be blacklisted from future paramedia, condemned to their own virtual reality and their own kind where constant trolling reigns.  Paramedia will rewrite social networking to make a better world with more information, and more information is power, it could push progressive cultural changes, like the Saudi women who organized for driving privileges with the help of Facebook; or the Egyptian revolution spreading across Twitter.  Social networking is a movement, and once or twice every hundred years, media changes a generation.

Information, now in its first stages of paramedia, streams into our online profiles, becoming part of the global stream of media,  which is a map of every known human relationship in the universe. This is the evolutionary leap we can expect on the web of social intra-nets.  Our fates are already tied together, because Generation X can either rise up and step forward with the rest of humankind into the Age of Spiritual Machines or remain silent-rule-followers, faceless Facebook members.

Social media today is evolving into paramedia,   the “fourth estate.”  Our robots on Mars, probes on comets, footprints on the moon have all been passed around, and memed into sci-fi and scientific delight all over social media.  Social networks are contingent on the act of sharing.  We choose to share things in our social networks, to keep our friends and families current, particularly when something weighty happens.  “I got a job!”  “I’m pregnant!”  “I need bail money!”  Once upon a time, we used to write lengthy letters to loved ones, friends, especially grandparents.

I and other Generation Xers used to write long letters to my grandparents, and got excited upon receiving a reply.  Letters always summed up yearly achievements and goals, long-term aspirations, and a few shades of wisdom.  Today, one could email a link to an entire Facebook timeline complete with enhanced digital iPhone picture albums.  Beyond important news, GenXers often network professionally; keep up with entertainment industry gossip.  More often than not, we post narratives no one really needs to know.  “I’m having sushi.”  “I’m drunk!”  “I’m watching American Idol.”  “I’m a transsexual.”  Yet we devour these narratives, feeling outlandishly part of the “friend’s” life.

Each small victory or triumph we post online; each event becomes a jewel of a memory.  Else, why do we create status updates at all?  Online narratives are for many, stage drama reaching Shakespearean levels at times.  Facebook is akin to being in front of a live studio audience for your own life.  We laugh at cultural iconic jokes, share memes about political drama, and add our own commentary on our lives and the lives of others immediately into a collective hive.  The “hive” will only grow exponentially within a generation.

Bibliography and Citations

1.  pg. 214 Mitchell, Jolyon & Marriage, Sophia, ed.  “Mediating Religion: Conversations in Media, Religion, and Culture.”  T & T Clark, Ltd. London, U.K. 2003

2.  ibid, pg. 216

3.  December, John “Notes on Defining of Computer-Mediated Communications” “Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine”, Vol. IV No. 1 {January 1997}.

4.  “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” http://www.coasttocoastam.com/

5.   Ostwalt, Conrad.  “Secular Steeples:  Popular Culture and the Religious Imagination” Trinity Press International; Harrisburg PA 2003

6.  Clark, Kenneth R. “The $70 Miracle Named CBN.”  Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), July 26, 1985.

7.  “The Christian Broadcasting Network”   http://www.cbn.com/about/

8.  Lippy, Charles H.  “Being Religious, American Style” Greenwood Press; Westport CT 1994

9. ibid.

10.  Hoover, Stewart M. & Lundby, Knut. “Rethinking Media, Religion, and Culture.”  Sage Publications CA U.S.A. 1997

11.  Hoover, Stewart M. & Clark, Lynn Schofield. Ed. “Practicing Religion In the Age of Media: Explorations in Media, Religion, and Culture.”  Columbia University Press NY U.S.A. 2002

12.  pg. 23. Durkheim, Emile (1995).  The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.  The Free Press.  New York, NY USA.

13.  pg. 228 Beckerlegge, Gwilym.  “Religion Today: Tradition, Modernity, and Change, From Sacred Text to the Internet.”  The Open University U.K. 2001.

14.  Bunt, G “Virtually Islamic: Computer-Mediated Communication and Cyber Islamic Environments.” Lampeter: University of Wales Press. 2000