Discarnate Śivas: Marshall McLuhan, Pratyabhijñā Philosophy and the Evolution of Religion

Nicholas E. M. Collins


This paper explores an interface between the media ecological theories of Marshall McLuhan and the Indian philosophical system known as Pratyabhijñā (recognition). It is argued that our contemporary digital environment of networked electronic media reorients human perception, expanding our awareness to spatial and temporal ranges that are, metaphorically and in some ways actually, universal in scope. Conversely, this massive expansion condenses into a single, resonating sphere of electronic interpenetration, rendering all individuals simultaneously present. In this "discarnate condition" our metaphysical state approximates the condition of divinity and enlightened consciousness as conceptualized in the pratyabhijñā. Subjectivity itself becomes the locus or mirror of religious recognition and the site for the irruption of the sacred.

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