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We have become entangled with technology than ever before and as we are more connected to our devices, the distinctions between work and home, between leisure and labor, and between focus and distraction, are progressively blurring. How should we respond to this crisis and from where might we find the wisdom to regulate ourselves from the onslaught of digital creep? One source of wisdom is to be found with the ancient faith traditions that emerged from Asia. This film engages the practices and habits of community leaders and practitioners of Singapore’s major faith groups, in one of the world’s most advanced technological ‘smart nations.’ Technologies of the Soul shows us how our ancient traditions have adapted rituals, sacrifices, prayers, and sabbaticals, to create space outside of time to maintain peace and serenity. 



All of a sudden, the room went dark, but we continued to sit at the dinner table and chat about the weekly bible portion into the night. Since orthodox Jews are not permitted to operate electrical technology during the weekly sabbath, the lights were set by a timer to go off when it was time to sleep. While spending a year in Israel doing anthropological research for my PhD on Jewish national identity formation, I became fascinated with the ways ancient religious traditions have adapted to integrate technology with their longstanding beliefs and practices. A few years later, after I started a job as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in Singapore – the so-called Smart Nation – I began learning about the tremendous religious diversity of the island. I was curious to find out about how Asia’s traditions have responded to recent technological developments. This film is the product of interviews with leaders and practitioners of Singapore’s ten officially recognized religions, along with expert and scholarly perspectives on technology and the good life. I hope that by understanding the techniques of the self that have been preserved for thousands of years, we may be better prepared to embrace today’s technological potentials while maintaining the good life.

Ian McGonigle

RT: 60 min 

OUTPUT: 4K (DCP; ProRes) 


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