Problematizing the Human-Technology Relationship through Techno-Spiritual Myths Presented in The Machine, Transcendence and Her

  • Author(s): Heidi A. Campbell
  • When: 2016-01
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • This article explores three common techno-spiritual myths presented in three recent science fiction films, highlighting how the perceived spiritual nature of technology sets-out an inherently problematic relationship between humanity and technology. In The Machine, Transcendence and Her, human-created computers offer salvation from human limitations. Yet these creations eventually overpower their creators and threaten humanity as a whole. Each film is underwritten by a techno-spiritual myths including: “technology as divine transcendence” (where technology is shown to endow humans with divine qualities, “technological mysticism” (framing technology practice as a form of religion/spirituality) and “techgnosis” (where technology itself is presented as a God). Each myth highlights how the human relationship to technology is often framed in spiritual terms, not only in cinema, but in popular culture in general. I argue these myths inform the storylines of these films, and spotlight common concerns about the outcome of human engagement with new technologies. By identifying these myths and discussing how they inform these films, a techno-spirituality grounded in distinctive posthuman narratives about the future of humanity is revealed.

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