If you’ve been reading this site, you’ve probably begun to become exposed to the philosophy of Digital & Spiritual Nihilism. I talk a lot about philosophers like Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Camus, Lacan, Derrida, Aristotle, Socrates and others. I talk about quantum physics and famous scientific minds like Carl Sagan, Nikola Tesla and Galileo. I talk about world mythology and religion, from Nordic, Celtic and the myths of the British Isles to Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. I talk about consciousness and Jungian psychology.
So, you may be wondering, who is this guy, and what makes him an authority on these subjects? So I wanted to give you a brief overview of my background with these subjects.
My interest in these fields began when I was 9 years old, and I received a video game called Xenogears for Christmas, which was jam packed with allusions and references to Kabbalah, Christian gnosticism and the works of Carl Jung. I was so enthralled by this game that I remember I played it nonstop from beginning to end. In those days, we had a white shag carpet, and I was so engrossed that I sat kneeled in front of the TV playing this game for hours, not even realizing I was kneeling on a broken Christmas light. I played it from morning until morning the next day, getting woozy, until I eventually passed out, cleaned the blood off my leg and went right back to playing until it was over. Since then, I must’ve played through that game dozens of times, in addition to playing through its spiritual sequel, Xenosaga.
After playing that game at age 9, I went and researched all the references of the game, which led me to Carl Jung, who I would later dive into deeply, but more immediately it led me to an expert in world mythology named Joseph Campbell. Campbell is most well-known for his analysis of The Hero’s Journey, which was used as a blueprint for sci-fi/fantasy epics like Star Wars and later inspired Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon’s concept of the story circle. Even though that’s what Campbell is most famous for, his greater research is all about comparing world myth and religion and finding the points of overlap between them. He posited that it must be more than a coincidence that disparate cultures the world over consistently created the same moral parables and archetypal characters: the resurrection figure, the rebel, the poet king, etc.
From there, I became fascinated with world mythology. I read all the Greek myths. Not just the standard mythology of the Olympian Gods, but the extended mythology having to do with the Titans, Chaos, Nyx, Gaia, Thanatos, etc. I read Egyptian mythology, the stories of German folklore and myth, like Siegfried and the Nibelungenlied, British Isles mythology about the Merlin, dragons, Beowulf, The Green Knight and the Knights of the Round Table. Celtic Isles mythology about fairies and druids. Eastern mythology like the Chinese Monkey King and the Dragon Kings. Japanese folktales like those involving Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi and Susanoo, Tanuki, the Ou-Inari.
By the time I got to college, I had been deeply steeped in Derrida & Lacan (thanks to The Matrix, which came out when I was in middle school), the literature of Dostoevsky, and the Irish theater of the absurd, which includes the works of Samuel Beckett and James Joyce. It was at that time that I became greatly interested in existentialist philosophy and psychology and poured through the works of Nietzsche, Camus, Jung and Freud. Thus Spoke Zarathustra especially fascinated me. During this time I also became highly interested in Christian mythology and Christian gnosticism: Dante’s Inferno, The Book of Enoch, Paradise Lost, not to mention the Bible itself. I attended Catholic mass services on and off for a period of a few years.
Following that period, I became heavily interested in new age spirituality and psychedelics. I did LSD, mushrooms, salvia and other hallucinogens, and attended a weekly yoga meditation group. This period lasted about a year, but I took LSD and mushrooms a few times after that.
Fast forward a few years later, after grad school, I went through some traumatic experiences in my life and entered into secular therapy and also joined a Zen Buddhism class that met once a week. This period lasted roughly a year. After some time, I eventually hooked in with a widespread Japanese Buddhism movement called Soka-Gakkai, which I decided was too akin to a cult to continue participating in. While Soka-Gakkai has some illuminating Buddhist philosophy, it also worships its current leader, Daisaku Ikeda, who’s been credibly accused of rape multiple times, has amassed a vast fortune by profiting off his organization, and runs a powerful political party in Japan. I likened it to something in between separatist Mormonism and Scientology.
I spent roughly 2 years in Soka-Gakkai and what I discovered was that the trance state which can be achieved through their chanting regimen can be achieved other ways; such as through sensory deprivation, sometimes augmented by white noise or music, which is my preferred method of meditation now. One of the things that struck me about therapy, given my background in philosophy, spirituality and religion, was that it often prescribed ancient practices, rebranded as new and scientific, such as mindfulness, which is in many ways the lynchpin of Buddhism and Taoism.
Nevertheless, I found contemporary psychology and neuroscience to be a fascinating field. I learned a lot about various personality classifications, such as the Big 5 Personality test, Enneagrams, and Myers Briggs. I read a lot of studies about various psychological classifications, like narcissism, schizophrenia and schizotypal disorder, BPD, depression, etc. It all was quite apt and very interesting, though my criticism of psychology was then, and continues to be, that personality ‘disorder’ is measured in comparison to standard deviations from normal behavior; since ‘normal’ behavior is often peculiar and damaging to others, I found myself disagreeing with the reeducation doctrine of psychology as an institutional force.
One of the things I became most interested with in regards to psychology is how standard deviations fluctuate between cultures; what is “normal” orderliness in Japan might be considered OCD in America, for instance. It is codified moral relativism. I’m also fascinated by the fact that various personality factors are favored in society and catered to, for example, extroversion, though there is no empirical benefit to them outside of the fact that society caters to them. During this time, I also became highly interested in Tarot and zodiac personality traits, one reason being that the drive behind zodiacs is understanding and accepting differing personalities, juxtaposed against the reeducation principles of secular psychology.
Throughout this entire period (i.e.: my whole life), I’ve also been very interested in fiction and sci-fi, which is a whole other article, but what’s relevant is the scientific and philosophical concepts embedded in fiction, such as in Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the works of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov, etc. Because science is so integral to understand how reality works and the meaning of life, these stories grabbed me. Futurism in general is a subject I’m very interested in and have read deeply about and watched a great deal of content about.
In the past several years, I’ve gotten deeply into quantum physics. I watch a great deal of content from YouTube channels like PBS Space-Time, Arvin Ash, Sabine Hossenfelder, Quantum Gravity Research and many others. One of the many things that I find deeply, deeply fascinating about this subject is how regularly the designs and models of concepts in quantum physics fit cleanly over ancient designs. For example, how things like how the designs of quasicrystals reflect the designs of sacred geometry and the merkaba.
I have a moderate background in programming and video game development thanks to grad school, so in addition to the crossover I notice with physics, futurism and philosophy, I notice a great deal of crossover with how our reality so bizarrely closely resembles a much more sophisticated execution of development in terms of AI, simulation and cellular automata. When I see a video on the growth patterns of cells based on the golden ratio, for instance, I can’t help but visually recall the growth patterns of 3d cellular automata. When I see the calabi-yau, which is a multidimensional structure, I can’t help but make comparisons to voxels and the state-shifting transistors of quantum computers. Things like simulation theory or multidimensionality seem difficult to deny when they seem to be reinforced by the disconnected disciplines of science and spirituality that so often disagree, not to mention personal experience.
Throughout all this, it’s important to mention meditation and meditative practice, like kundalini chakra meditation, sensory deprivation, and other types of meditation, and although those experiences are more metaphysical and anecdotal, and less tangible or scientifically provable, they are nonetheless powerful experiences that have informed my thinking. For instance, the philosophical concept of dualism can be argued logically versus physicalism (personally, I feel like my logical argument for dualism is quite strong), but the intuitive knowing you can manifest through meditation is hard to discredit; when you can meditate at a high level and move consciousness, and thereby the state of consciousness, to various chakra centers of your body, or perceive out of body experiences, or disassociation or detachment, it is hard to deny.
There is a theory called the theory of multiple intelligences, developed by a man named Howard Gardner, which is contested but still very interesting, and in these multiple intelligence tests I score extremely high in introspective and logical intelligence, as well as verbal/written acuity. This, perhaps, presupposes my interest in all of these subjects.
I don’t think I invented Digital & Spiritual Nihilism so much as I recognized that so many of the competing ideologies are interpreting the same truths — the makeup and function of reality, the meaning of life, what system of morality and values humans should adopt — and they’re competing as tribalistic institutions for permission to have the trust and, let’s face it, money of followers who rely on trustees to interpret these huge questions of the universe on their behalf. It occurs to me that this is, somewhat prophetically, what Nietzsche predicted as the “grand competition of values”, when humanity has evolved beyond obeying the paternalism and fiction of dogmatic religions, but hasn’t yet evolved to the point where each individual can reliably interpret these truths for themselves without institutional guidance.
In many ways, Spiritual Nihilism is a sort of religious Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee’s famous martial arts philosophy that picked and chose from martial arts disciplines around the world to develop what would later go on to be called mixed martial arts, a game-changing advancement of the sport as a whole.
What strikes me about modern times is that the world is so grossly divided into tribal groups and, in the face of myriad problems in the present, is trying to eke out solutions from the past, and people, in the face of myriad problems of modern life, are trying to eke out solutions from nostalgia. This disagrees with me; what is exciting to me about the prospect of human evolution is not a return to history, but manifesting the future.
However, while the future waits for no one, the future will always be one of our own choosing; it can be bleak or it can be bright. It’s clear to me that the futures promised by militarism, cultural consumerism and tribalism are destined for conflict and widespread suffering. I feel there needs to be a widespread evolution of desire and interaction on an individual level, because the future will be shaped by demand, and if people awake to themselves, they will demand the cornerstones of what will build a bright future: widespread self-actualization, increased freedom, expansion into space and virtual reality, eliminating scarcity, increased connection and community, etc. All things that have no profit incentive in our current system. The incentive must be created through demand.
It’s my opinion that we’ve been living, during the modern era, under the philosophies of The Enlightenment, which was among other things a rejection of religious dogma. We’ve begun to see the cracks in the philosophy of The Enlightenment: social division, alienation, increased deaths from despair, lack of meaning, predatory hedonism and envy of predatory hedonism. It seems to me, The Enlightenment, a philosophy defined by the rejection of a philosophy at its core, is no real philosophy at all, but the absence of philosophy. While I wouldn’t suggest regressing to historically oppressive, controlling and predatory philosophies, I think the world is in dire need of a new philosophy.
That was my reasoning for beginning to write about Digital & Spiritual Nihilism, the current culmination of my ongoing journey in grappling with these greater questions about life, the soul and the universe.