What exactly is cyberpunk? The question seems to be continuously resurrected in cyberpunk communities without ever coming to a conclusion as to a definition. What is the point of this topic then? While it is true that cyberpunk may mean different things to different people, there certainly is a common thread. That then is what we're after.
The very word cyberpunk
is itself a portmanteau of cybernetics
, the science and technology of the system, and punk
, the philosophy of rebellion against the system. Where the system intends for order, cyberpunks frequently make disorder; as they say, “the street will find its own use for things.” To understand the movement we must look past the black-and-white to see the modern world in its true shades of grey as the lines between natural and artificial, organic and mechanical, and real and virtual continue to blur.
There seems to be a common attitude or philosophy among those attracted to cyberpunk. They often find themselves caught in the romantic struggle between themselves and the system. For some this manifests in an interest—sometimes even an obsession—with privacy and security, both online and offline. The cyberpunk notices that the world is heading in the wrong direction as the wealthy are becoming more powerful while the poor are becoming helpless, working more and earning less. As disparities grow wider, their tactics become more desperate: using the tools of the system against the system. When pushed they feel free to use anything and everything at their disposal: including hacking, deception, and intrusion. Do not fuck with us.
In a world saturated with violently accelerating change, the cyberpunk must find herself armed with a sharp awareness of what is going on around her. Most seem to be apathetic about the philosophical implications of the uncanny technologies of the near future as the existential issues invoked by artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and the technological singularity continue to evade our collective consciousness. Advances in biological and information technologies are already radically changing our lives, but wPost too long. Click here to view the full text.