Have you noticed a certain queerness to electronics and mechanical things? Do you think that such things are more of an oppressive burden than a help? As Nicholas Carr has pointed out in his work The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, the psychological effects of 21st century technological are almost overwhelming. Novus Ordo conservative Catholics argue ad nauseam of the good of TV that allows them to watch EWTN’s daily servings of Vatican II Catholicism. Even Jay Dyer has made the argument that the internet could serve as a koine Greek for contemporary evangelization. However, let’s take a look at what both Catholic visionaries as well as occultists say about technology. For usually when both are in agreement (from radically different perspectives) on an issue, there is truth.
In the Bible, the Children of Cain are those who build cities and develop technology. In Genesis, it is Cain who founds the first city, city named “Henoch” after the name of his son (Genesis 4.17). Cain’s descendent Tubalcain develops metal working; he “who was a hammerer and artificer in every work of brass and iron” (Genesis 3:22). Thus, from the inception there is a clear divide between high and low technology peoples–the latter being more noble. Babylon and Egyptian as well are both places of high technology and evil in the Bible, and apocalyptic discussion of the end times describes the wicked world of the future as being filled with technology. The prophet Daniel is told that in the end times “knowledge shall be manifold” (Daniel 12.4). Clearly this has been the effort of masonic forces who have pushed for the distribution of any and all information to as many people as possible.
Catholic mystics as well have pointed to technological advance as a sign of man’s diabolical pride and separation from God. Our Lady of Good Success famously said, “Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs because Satan will reign through the Masonic sects, targeting the children in particular to insure general corruption.” This is clearly a reference to the American and French revolutions as well as the transformation of the world with American and French liberalism over the past several centuries of wars for democracy , but it is also a clear reference to the transformation of the world through technology, which has enabled the spread art deliberately meant to stir up the passions—this is one of the ironic and unintended messages of the movie Cinema Paradiso in which a small Italian town’s morals are destroyed by American movies that the Church can no longer censure.
Our Lady further stated in Quito, “In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.” This image of the “saturation” of “the atmosphere” with impurity is a probably reference to advertisements distributed via billboards, television, the internet, that are now almost universally impure.
Our Blessed Mother makes a clear reference to the luxurious abundance that modern technology has enabled as well as the impurity inspired by modern technology: “Further, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury, which will ensnare the rest into sin and conquer innumerable frivolous souls, who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women. In this supreme moment of need of the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent.” How many children of the most recent generation have viewed pornography on their phones–even before the age of puberty?
St. Elizabeth Anne Seton also prophesized in the eighteenth century: “Every American would have a black box in their home through which the devil would enter.” While many have suggested that St. Elizabeth is talking about TV, Emmett O’Regan has suggested that these black boxes are smart phones, but it is my view that it is both, for both technological objects have accomplished the same goal: the destruction of souls.
Conservative Catholics might plug their ears or laugh off such accusations of their precious toys as the product of the fevered minds of traditionalists who always bring up fuddy duddy books like the Bible or messages from the Mother of God. Or they might retort that Game of Thrones or Fifty Shades of Grey has some redeeming value. Or, perhaps, they might respond that the scandal-riven EWTN network has some good content sometimes. However, lets take a look at what the forces of evil themselves say about technology.
In mythology, it is the Luciferan character such as Prometheus or Thoth or the Watchers of the apocraphal Book of Enoch who give technology to men. Prometheus in the Greek playwrite Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound boasts to the daughters of Ocean:
Hear the rest and you will be even more
amazed at the arts and inventions I
devised. The greatest was this: before,
if a man fell sick, there was no remedy—
nothing, no pill, ointment, nor drink—and without 480
drugs they wasted away. I showed them how
to mix healing medicines that could ward off
all diseases. I also gave them skills so that
they could predict the future: I showed them
which dreams were true; how to interpret
strange voices and sayings, and how to
understand chance meetings during travel.
I taught Man to understand the flight of the
taloned bird, what was beneficial, and
what meant harm, their daily lives, loves and hates, 490
and how they mate. Then I taught about the
smoothness of entrails, the right color of gall
so that it please the gods, and how to read
the liver’s lovely mottled lobe. I showed Man
thighbones wrapped in fat, and how to burn
the long backbone, and thus I taught Man the
obscure art of prophecy, sacrifice, and
the language of fire, which had not yet been
understood. But so much for that. Who could claim
before me that he discovered the hidden 500
treasures that lay buried under earth: bronze,
iron, silver and gold? No one. That’s clear,
unless some fool babbles nonsense. I’ll make
a long story short: all the arts and crafts
that Man possesses came from me, Prometheus,
the god you see suffering before you now.
Iamblichus, the 3rd century AD, Egyptian Neoplatonist writes in his On the Egyptian Mysteries of theurgy or “god working”, a type of magic that normally one associates with wizards and magicians such as Faust who summon spirits to help perform some task. He further discusses the phenomenon of statues becoming animated by spirits in ancient Egypt. These animated statues sound remarkably like robots or machines, and what is especially weird is that throughout much of the modern period, many scientists have attempted to recreate this phenomemon.
Recently, reading Frances Yates’s masterful The Theatre of the World, I came across an interesting discussion of early modern thinkers and scientists and their attempt to revive theurgy that paralleled their efforts to revive ancient science, math, and technology—the magus John Dee produced some sort of mechanical flying bug at a performance of Aristophanes’s Pax. Of course, Enlightenment thinkers and inventors such as Robert Fludd, Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, and in our own time Robert Parsons all saw magic and theurgy as means of obtaining technological and scientific information.
The occult-infested pop culture of our own time also verifies this idea of advanced, industrial and electronic age technology as being essentially (yes, essentially) demonic. The popular and deeply Satanic Puppet Master 80s horror film series is about a group of murdering puppets animated by “Egyptian magic”, which means that the directors and writers of these movies were likely dabbling in theurgic magic when they were directing and writing horror films.
In his song “Rock is Dead” from Mechanical Animals and The Matrix soundtrack, Marilyn Manson croons, “god is in the TV.”—this is also a title of a Marilyn Manson live album. The suggestion here is that the content of television teaches and molds the people of the world who worship the television as a good, but there also could be a suggestion that there is some sort of demonic force animating television–and all electronics. You and I both know enough to recognize the ironic posturing of shock rockers, but you and I also know that if the mystics of the Church as well as the servants of the devil both are saying the same thing: we should listen. Iamblichus, John Dee, Cornelius Agrippa as well as our own beloved American St. Elizabeth Anne Seton would agree with Marilyn Manson: there is a “god” in the TV.