Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta

Escape of Sisyphus
Event Hours: 29/09/2023 (09:00)
Location: Concert Hall [H]
Gabe Czarnecki
Keywords: Sisyphus, Metaverse, Selfhood, AI, liminality

The myth of Sisyphus is self-referential of myth itself: a timeless reminder of the monotonies that make us eternally human. As we currently roll out of the c19 pandemic, the toil and repetitions of the daily grind remains much the same -- but the Metaverse is adding a twist.
The pandemic accelerated pre-existing trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is shifting the terrain of our daily lives. The datamining via online footprints we’re leaving, loosen the ground of being and erode our sense of selfhood as our digging heels steepen and deepen the pit of Silicon Valley’s technocratic regime.
“Taboo, Transgression and Transcendence”, in this sequential arrangement, has a trace of the Judeo-Christian tradition which is alive in our techno-cultural trappings today. Whether it be Kurzweilian uploading of consciousness to eternal life, Musk on Mars, or evolving into transhumanist cognitive elites, elements of spiritual bypassing are germinating with rapid ascent.
The spectre of transhumanism in this array of iterations make the mythologies of our zeitgeist. Perhaps our Salvation will be found within this collection of tech-gnosis, time will tell. But these myths could also be the product of decadence; their utopic and deific aspirations being “myths” in the pejorative sense. Seductive and self-deceptive.
Rather than formulating exit strategies toward cloud and virtual worlds in order to escape a dying planet and faltering legacy, we might rearrange the “triple T’s” into another sequence: “Taboo, Transcendence and Transgression” echoes the tripartite rites of passage configuration: severance, transformation and reintegration.

Having played with Promethean fire as our Original Sin, flirted with Frankenstein and the filial love of AI, we can now re- embody once again. And then with our feet firmly planted, continue following our ancestral footsteps pushing further toward Henri Bergson’s definition of habit: “the fossilized residue of a spiritual activity”.

We are at a liminal crossroads where we still can go either way.

Gabe Czarnecki
Gabe Czarnecki is a wilderness guide and independent researcher from Toronto, Canada, who completed an Anthropology BA from McGill University in 2005. He has worked as an outdoor educator with several youth oriented initiatives and is particularly passionate about empowering young people through wilderness rite of passage journeys. Research interests include human evolution, cognitive science, biosemiotics, philosophy, depth psychology, and media ecology. Connected to his enthusiasm for passage rites and eco-psychology is concern for mental health in the ever- changing media environments of our technological world.


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