Erik Davis

“Erik Davis (born June 12, 1967) is an American writer, scholar, journalist and public speaker whose writings have run the gamut from rock criticism to cultural analysis to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. He is perhaps best known for his book Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information, as well as his work on California counterculture, including Burning Man, the human potential movement, and the writings of Philip K. Dick.

Born in Redwood City, California in 1967, Davis grew up in Del Mar before attending Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English. He wrote a senior thesis on science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, and has since written a number of articles in the popular press about Dick and his unusual religious experiences. Davis would go on to co-edit The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2011.

While at Yale, Davis began writing for Nadine, an on-campus magazine that turned out a number of rock critics and pop culture writers in the 1980s and 1990s. Soon after graduation in 1988, Davis pitched his first story to the Village Voice, a review of the Swiss heavy metal band Celtic Frost.

Writing for the Village Voice throughout the early 1990s, Davis also contributed to Spin, Details, Rolling Stone, and Wired magazines, writing about music, art, film, pop culture and technology.

In July 1995, Davis published a piece in Wired magazine called “Technopagans”, which was one of the precursors for Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information, a dense cultural history of the mystical, magical, and apocalyptic dreams and fantasies that haunt modern technoculture. Published by Harmony Books, the book is a cult classic of media studies and was eventually translated into five languages. It was re-released in paperback by Serpent’s Tail in 2004 with a new afterword.

Throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, Davis continued to write for both popular magazines and scholarly publications, and also expanded his speaking career, where his eclectic interests in subject ranging from music, art, popular culture and esoterica led to speaking engagements at such diverse venues as Stanford University, the British Museum, Burning Man, the Boom Festival, the Houston Jung Center, the Ojai Foundation, and Esalen.

In 2000, Davis won a Maggie Award for his profile of UFO contactee and Silicon Valley mogul Joe Firmage.

In 2005, he released his second book, Led Zeppelin IV, a monograph on the signature album from one of rock’s most celebrated bands, published by 33⅓. In 2006, Blender magazine included it in their list of the 40 Greatest Rock ‘N Roll Books.

In 2006, Davis cemented his reputation as a seminal writer of California counter-culture when he released The Visionary State: A Journey Through California’s Spiritual Landscape, a coffee table book of pictures and rich essays about California’s alternative spiritual movements and architecture. With photographs by Michael Rauner, the book was published by Chronicle Books. A prolific blogger for his site Techgnosis.com, Davis also released a fourth book in 2010, a collection of essays and journalism entitled Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica, published by Yeti Publishing.

In early 2006, Davis started working with composer Mark Nichols on the libretto for a rock opera inspired by Burning Man. The resulting production debuted in October of 2009 and was entitled How to Survive the Apocalypse: A Burning Opera, in which Davis also performed as the bunny-suited, bullhorn-wielding narrator. Davis also wrote extensively about West Coast festival culture in photographer Kyer Wiltshire’s 2009 book Tribal Revival.

In 2010, Davis began pursuing a PhD in Religious Studies at Rice University in their Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism program. He has taught courses at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Rice University, Pacifica, and CIIS.[citation needed]

Davis has appeared in a number of documentaries about technology and countercultural topics, including DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Electronic Awakening, and The Source Family. Along with Maja D’Aoust, he hosts a weekly podcast devoted to the “cultures of consciousness” called Expanding Mind, which is part of the Progressive Radio Network.” (Wikipedia)

Charles Eisenstein

“Born in 1967 to parents of Jewish descent, Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. He has lived in Taiwan where he worked as a translator. He married, had children, and later returned to the United States and divorced. Eisenstein currently lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Eisenstein now frequently travels to speak and share his work at conferences and other events. Since 2010, he has spoken over three hundred times in over one hundred cities in US and elsewhere. His events are held voluntarily, organized by others who invite him to speak. He generally charges people expenses but no fee, leaving it up to them to give him something if they feel the urge. This appeals to his ideal of generosity and “living in the gift.”

Eisenstein has written six books since 2001.

The Ascent of Humanity

The Ascent of Humanity, published in 2007, draws together Eisenstein’s thoughts on many topics. The entire text is available online. It was read on the Unwelcome Guests radio show and the reading was later released as an audiobook.

Sacred Economics

Eisenstein’s 2011 book Sacred Economics revolves around the theme of how the current monetary system based on interest and usury, along with the abandonment of the gift economy, has led to alienation, competition and need for an economic system predicated on continuous growth. It has been either fully or partially translated into at least nine languages including Turkish.

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible was published in November 2013.[13] In it, Eisenstein says that many of the social, economic, political, and environmental problems covered in his earlier works can be traced back to an underlying worldview that he calls the “Story of Separation”—that humans are separate from each other and from the rest of the natural world. A new story that is emerging, the “Story of Interbeing,” is a “story of the world that we really care about.” This book describes this as a time of transition between these stories: “Internally, it [the transition] is nothing less than a transformation in the experience of being alive. Externally is it nothing less than a transformation of humanity’s role on planet Earth.” He deconstructs the old story while describing the new. For example, the best way to interrupt the story of separation is to give someone an experience of non-separation. Publishers’ Weekly described it as “a revolutionary and interactive book—in the sense that it inspires the reader to think out of the ordinary,” adding that Eisenstein “will be noted in antiquity as one of the seminal and pioneering storytellers of this new world.”

Articles

Eisenstein occasionally writes for the “Comment is Free” section of The Guardian on topics including genetic modification and the patenting of seeds and debt. He is a contributing editor at the website Reality Sandwich.

Reception

In 2013, journalist and author Rory Spowers described Eisenstein as a “refreshing new voice”, saying that he’s young, fresh, well-informed, humble but articulate, with a very spiritual perspective. He added that Eisenstein is too intelligent to be confrontational but that, through his works, especially The Ascent of Humanity and Sacred Economics, “he’s really moved the whole thing along in a number of ways.” ” (Wikipedia)