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 cyberpunk worldview

 

ęCopyright 2002-2008
[Shawn Nacol]
All rights reserved

Description of the Cyberpunk Worldview

 

Gareth Branwyn posted the following description of the cyberpunk worldview to general approval at a MONDO 2000 conference on The WELL:

A) The future has imploded onto the present. There was no nuclear Armageddon. There's too much real estate to lose. The new battlefield is people's minds.

B) The megacorps are the new governments.

C) The U.S. is a big bully with lackluster economic power.

D) The world is splintering into a trillion subcultures and designer cults with their own language, codes, and lifestyles.

E) Computer-generated info-domains are the next frontiers.

F) There is better living through chemistry.

G) Small groups or individual "console cowboys" can wield tremendous power over governments, corporations, etc.

H) The coalescence of a computer "culture" is expressed in self-aware computer music, art, virtual communities, and a hacker/street tech subculture. The computer nerd image is passi, and people are not ashamed anymore about the role the computer has in this subculture. The computer is a cool tool, a friend, important human augmentation.

I) We're becoming cyborgs [1]. Our tech is getting smaller, closer to us, and it will soon merge with us.

J) Some attitudes that seem to be related [2]:

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Information wants to be free.

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Access to computers and anything which may teach you something about how the world works should be unlimited and total.

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Always yield to the hands-on imperative.

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Mistrust authority.

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Promote Decentralization.

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Do It Yourself.

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Fight the Power.

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Feed the noise back into the system.

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Surf the Edges.

and, most important:

K) CYBERPUNK HAS MORE TO DO WITH A WAY OF THINKING THAN WITH FOLLOWING A PARTICULAR BIBLE!

[1] "Cyborg" is a science-fictional shorting of "cybernetic organism". The idea is that, in the future, we may have more and more artificial body parts - arms, legs, hearts, eyes, and so on. The logical conclusion is that one might become a brain in a wholly artificial body. And the step after that is to replace your meat brain by a computer brain.

[2] Related attitudes: A few of these "attitudes" have time-traveled directly from the 1960s hacker ethics as defined by Stephen Levy in his 1984 book Hackers.

Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being. And we can do most anything to rats. This is a hard thing to think about, but it's the truth. It won't go away because we cover our eyes. This is cyberpunk.

Bruce Sterling


 

The symbols of the divine show up in our world initially at the trash stratum.

Philip K. Dick


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