Greetings for Season 10, Episode 10 of Thoth-Hermes Podcast. In a calendrical resonance, Rudolf meets up with Robert Gordon- exactly one year after their last episode together! A gregarious Australian, Robert holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from University College London. In 2022, Lewis Masonic publishing released his book 21st Century Rosicrucianism.
Today’s exploration centers on Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly in the context of language-based models. Rudolf characterizes digital technology as typically either a non-topic or guarded subject in the worldviews of esotericists. Later, Robert observes that many depth creators in high-technology, green technology, and adjacent fields have esoteric involvement. With these twin realities concurrent, the discussion emphasizes the need for active contribution to societal conversations about AI as a “technology of the imagination”. As both men gamely note, we are in the 21st Century, not the 16th- as much as we seek to honor history.
Robert and Rudolf note the need for “reverential use of science”, Robert noting that Newton wrote more on theology than physics. Though exoteric religious doctrine is often at odds with the Esoteric (particularly in America), some parallels are noted. One is the belief in a higher Source as the bestower of human imagination, and consequently a form of sanctity in humans’ creative actions. Does AI connect to the Source through humanity? Is it fundamentally “natural” or “unnatural”? And how does the subjective, constructed nature of human-to-human communication mirror controversies with AI?
Robert’s utopian science-novel he wrote in 2015
There is some specific time spent with the question of AI and it’s visual “art” forays. Robert truly “goes there” makes a comparison to alchemical manuscripts’ images. Can content and imaginal inputs from humans produce outputs with “soul”? Could the vast flow of creative information placed into AI datasets produce a new form of “collective unconscious”? In many cases, today’s conversation walks a non-directive, even-handed line between answering these questions and placing them back to the listener. The “hubris of the magi” narrative is acknowledged, as well as the mythos of Daedalus. Do we only hear about the hubris that creates catastrophe?
Other careful questions include: can we emphasize the use of AI for sorcery, hall-of-mirrors illusion, or as a possible bulwark against sorcery? Could AI be an actual human-created agent of healing in our society? Can we redevelop a cultural norm of functionally conversing with disagreement? Could AI help us? Does AI have to be marketplace centered or could it assist with counterbalance in the current corruption of political systems? Can AI possibly contribute or experience states that we broadly term as “shamanic”? Is there anything that this human creation can “unlock” for us? Can it become a “technological tradition of imagination”? What human wisdom is offered in the distinction between “dogmatic” and “voluntarily enigmatic”? These prompts are all introduced and posed on today’s episode. Enjoy!
I have posted this image already last year, when Robert and I speak in Season 9. But for today’s subject it is even more important that you have a look at this website and the blog!
Robert Gordon’s website “Future Conscience”
SRIA London (Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia) has number of highly interesting talks on Video which partly also touch our subject – and Robert Gordon also appears in them!
Music played in this episode