|About the Book|
Technoshamans is a humorous, illuminating narrative non-fiction book in which the author roams the world searching for places where technology and spirituality intersect. The driving force of the book is the narrator’s quest for relief for a bad backMoreTechnoshamans is a humorous, illuminating narrative non-fiction book in which the author roams the world searching for places where technology and spirituality intersect. The driving force of the book is the narrator’s quest for relief for a bad back which has tortured him for twenty years.Armed with his notebook, his experience as a veteran reporter for one of Italy’s largest daily papers, and an open heart and mind, Carlo Pizzati embarks on a spiritual and medical quest taking him from a medical office in Northern Italy, where a “posturologist” glues tiny white dots to his front teeth, to the rarefied – and affluent – mountain air of Boulder, Colorado, where he tries Rolfing massage and studies with the legendary founder of American Ashtanga yoga. From there, it’s only a hop and a skip to California, where he is hooked up to the cutting-edge of computer diagnostics: a fancy high-tech toy called a SCIO or Scientific Consciousness Interface Operating System, which uses tiny energy pulses to “read” his orthopedic problem. The diagnosis, fittingly for California, is “a karmic social crime committed in 1685 by a prior incarnation.” For an Italian, three hundred plus years is a just a few family members away.Clearly, it is time for him to deepen his investigations. Thus begins the second movement of Technoshamans, which takes him all over the world in a kind of post-modern medical picaresque. Still interested in probing the relationships between technology and spirituality, medicine and mindfulness, he flies back to his homeland to sample some of the local youth culture and put his quest in perspective. He attends several raves, lasting all day and all night designed specifically to induce visions through electronic music, in the mountains above Portofino. These inspire him to travel through the underworld of techno-pagans, that is to say, the sort of spiritual healers found in both Wicca and shamanism that lean heavily on tradition, but also rely on modern technology.As both a participant and witness, he is shaken by what he finds. From there he deepens his spiritual understanding in Argentina, where he experiences not only the famed indigenous shamans, but also aura-photographing computers and miscellaneous high-tech channeling gadgets.In the mountains outside Cordoba, he is guided through cinematic meditations and visions related to his backache. No mystical question would be complete without a passage to India. Sure enough, our suffering but still curious narrator eventually fetches up there, first in Bangalore, in India’s Silicon Valley, where he interviews two researchers who study the impact of mantra and meditation on the human nervous system with sophisticated modern software and hardware. He continues on to Mysore, a destination for well-heeled yoga practitioners, and to Kerala, where he discusses technology and spirituality with Dr. Sambhu, a celebrated ayurvedic practitioner known among other things for his mysterious Big Enema, a concoction of oil and herbs carried in the aforementioned diapers by many Chicago commodity traders.Whether he’s in an ashram in Tamil Nadu, chanting mantras at dusk, or on the beaches of the experimental township of Auroville, a spiritual Disneyland of sorts, being led through a tearful, explosive revelation about his past lives, he continues to dwell on his fundamental themes: the promiscuous relationship we human have with technology as a tool for expanding consciousness, and also the growing insecurity that machines may be about to outstrip our capacity for rational thought and may—just may—achieve a conscience and a rudimentary ego as well.