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#1 2/11/12 2:38pm

Seph
攻殻機動隊
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: 8/22/11
Posts: 149
Website

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

I should have posted this here a long time ago. It was written awhile back so please feel free to offer feedback and I will incorporate updates into the document as necessary. I release it to the cyberpunk community under the Creative Commons license.

Cyberpunk is a place where science and technology meets philosophy

What exactly is cyberpunk? The question seems to have been continuously resurrected in online discussion forums without having ever come to any conclusion as to a definition. What is the point of this article then? While it is true that cyberpunk may mean different things to different people, there is certainly a common thread. That then is what this article is after.

Cyberpunk is “low life, high tech”

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 they intend for order, we make disorder; as they say, “the street will find its own use for things.” As a movement, we seek to see the world for what it is and look past the black and white to see the true shades of grey, blurring the lines between natural and artificial, organic and mechanical, real and virtual.

Cyberpunk is an attitude

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 also notices that the world might be heading in the wrong direction: 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.

Cyberpunk is an awareness

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 people seem to be apathetic about the philosophical implications of the uncanny technologies of the near future; the 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 will likely only become more coercive and invasive in the future, especially with the birth of the cybernetic organism and brain–computer interface. While these technologies are not inherently malign, we would rather not see what happens when they are exclusively in the hands of the corporate elite.

Cyberpunk is a subculture

Perhaps the most clandestine aspect of cyberpunk is the ethereal subculture of hackers, phreaks, netrunners, ravers, and razor girls. It is androgynous, sophisticated, and futuristic. It is also impossible to restrain as it has slipped through the cracks; it is now lost in the delicate balance between the analogue and digital worlds, avoiding both the attention and oppression of the system. With the rise of a ubiquitous internet, cyberculture has begun to permeate throughout the popular culture of modern society. Meanwhile the cyberpunk subculture remains underground, though where one ends and the other begins is often difficult to discern.

Cyberpunk is a subgenre

The most accessible aspect of cyberpunk is the literary subgenre of science fiction that features a dark and gritty, yet painfully realistic vision of the near future. It essentially takes active social trends and pushes them to the extremes. The megacorporation now dominates as the primary influence of society, which brings about an aggregation of wealth, acceleration of environmental decay, and expansion of Asian popular culture. Urbanization sprawls as people flock to the cities, drugs and crime offer most one’s only hope of achieving happiness, and the line between human and machine continues to fade away. This culminates in the “city lights at night” aesthetic present in much of cyberpunk art. While some may enjoy—perhaps even fetish—the dystopian world presented in cyberpunk literature, most are anticipating the resistance against it. For some this fight has already begun.

Cyberpunk is so much more

The truth is that a word with such an elusive and controversial definition will continue to be discussed. We invite you to continue the dialogue and express your thoughts and feelings about cyberpunk in the discussion forums, Diaspora tag, and internet relay chat.


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2/11/12 2:38pm

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Re: What is Cyberpunk?



#2 2/14/12 4:40am

Stormtrooper of Death
Shit-posting Juggernaut
From: Neo-Tokyo/Eindhoven/Holland/Eu
Registered: 8/23/11
Posts: 2,720

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

Thanks for posting, Seph !


Greetings from Stormtrooper of Death, Panasonic Toughbook Fanatic, Founder of the Punkrock Apocalypse DVD collection to preserve all things punkrock WORLDWIDE, member of the High Tech Team, Duty of Thelema, Knights of the Holy Grail,Eindhoven Punk Squad (EPS) , DV8,  Anti System Organisation (A.S.O.), the new Red Army Faction (R.A.F.),  the Dream Team and The Corporation

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#3 2/27/12 11:52am

A-methamorphose
Member
Registered: 2/27/12
Posts: 41

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

Looks like a nice continuation from the old forums discussion. It's good that at least this time it's made in an announcement form so that people don't beat each other's heads. Better be locked.

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#4 3/08/12 3:24am

Stormtrooper of Death
Shit-posting Juggernaut
From: Neo-Tokyo/Eindhoven/Holland/Eu
Registered: 8/23/11
Posts: 2,720

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

When you ask yourselve and us the question "What is cyberpunk",

it can be handy to specify what you want to know:

are you ...

1 - Trying to define what is cyberpunk, by analysing the Cyberpunk literature / movies of the past

or

2 - Trying to create a uniform label for us/others for now and in the future, so we know what is cyberpunk, and how we can be/become a cyberpunk. Simply said: What does it take, to become a cyberpunk ? Option 2 is not based on the cy books/movies,but based on real life experience in the now and future of 2012.

option 1 and 2 are to two totally diferent aspects of a possible answer to the question "What is cyberpunk"


Concerning 2 i ask you this:

Are the people i post below cyberpunk or not ?

- a Gamer with a mohawk
- a Cop that helps the poor and likes to sell information to crime-syndicates to help his sick mum
- A hacker that is hired by the FBI
- a Drunk beertank like myselve, that has a mohawk, knows a bit about hacking and modding/repairing laptops, listens to hardcore techno/punk metal, Ludwig von Beethoven and hates all authority but his own self
- President Obama, who is the first black president, and wants an American version of the Soviet Perestroyka
- Rivet-heads / cybergoths / ravers who look very cyberpunkish, but dont know jack shit about computer tech or robotics


I myselve declare myselve cyberpunk, because i fit these things:

- i am an anarcho-syndicalist
- i have a mohawk
- i know how to program in visual.net / HTML
- i can repair my own laptops
- i hate cops and racists
- i am not rich , but poor
- i live in a shit redneck town in the middle of nowhere in holland, where nothing ever happens.
- I like sci-fi movies
- i like to read all things about computer games/technology/robotics and also Global world Politics
- I like to dance, party and can even make my own music
- i used to live in Squats, but also in my own Expensive Villa (i know both worlds of extreme poverty vs rich and wealthy)
- i know how to survive in the "Concrete jungle"

So, Seph, what do you think about my answer to your question ?


Greetings from Stormtrooper of Death, Panasonic Toughbook Fanatic, Founder of the Punkrock Apocalypse DVD collection to preserve all things punkrock WORLDWIDE, member of the High Tech Team, Duty of Thelema, Knights of the Holy Grail,Eindhoven Punk Squad (EPS) , DV8,  Anti System Organisation (A.S.O.), the new Red Army Faction (R.A.F.),  the Dream Team and The Corporation

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#5 3/16/12 11:23pm

TechWolf
Member
Registered: 3/16/12
Posts: 1

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

Thanks You.. this is a very good thread  biggrin
I alway get curious about this theme, and this helped me a lot ..

I have a question , can we be CyberPunks without the capes ?  Probably sounds stupid xD But if a person have the hair shorn and dress black t shirts can it be considered ?? And if we do not dress like a Cyberpunk, but you think like one , you should be a cyberpunk right ??

Thank You
TechWolf

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#6 3/25/12 9:49pm

MimeOfAnarchy
Member
Registered: 3/20/12
Posts: 2

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

Cyberpunk is not just standing against the system, attempting to be non-conformist.  It can also hold its definition by how it is wrapped in philosophical theory.  One's assimilation into the system, one's growing addiction to finding lies in the system, and how they can gain the power to control.  Stand Alone Compex, God Complex, Solid State Society.  I will admit that I obtained such ideas from Ghost In The Shell, but these philosophical and psychological ideas are quite entertaining.


"Somebody's gotta be funny around here.  Sure as fuck isn't you." -Case, NEUROMANCER

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#7 4/11/12 10:39pm

xen0blade
Member
From: On the Net!
Registered: 9/27/11
Posts: 57
Website

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

I would also argue some of us are at the opposite end of the spectrum; those of us that are very successful in fits and starts, making large (or semi-large) amounts of cash in short spaces of time, with long periods in between these periods of cash flow.  Since I myself fall heavily into this category, I think personal bias may be influencing this opinion.  Also, it isn't just about finding the outright lies in the system, but the assumptions within the system: the assumption, for instance, that we all WANT targeted advertising, for instance.  Personally, I don't necessarily have a problem with some corporation knowing I like cheese, but I want that to be at my discretion, not theirs.  I reserve the right to change my mind, and myself, should I so choose, and it is also this that makes us cyberpunk.  I wear a fedora (actually a trilby, but whatever) nearly every single day.  People in my neighborhood have actually referred to me as "that guy with the hat."  That doesn't mean I have anything in common with some other person that also wears a hat.  We are all unique as individuals, and the same as homo-sapiens.  The dichotomy between those two things, or perhaps, our stance on those things, makes us cyberpunk.  We are cyberpunk because we choose to be.  Also, I'm a bit drunk, so this might not be entirely comprehensible.  If it isn't, sorry.

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#8 4/12/12 4:55am

chips
Member
From: Kastanienallee, Berlin, German
Registered: 8/22/11
Posts: 760
Website

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

+1
No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers.
(Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Roman philosopher, (65-8 BC) ...

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#9 4/21/12 9:02am

Circuit_Fever
Member
From: Maine, USA
Registered: 4/21/12
Posts: 3

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

I think above all, as with most things, cyberpunky is about the philosophy and not the aesthetic.  After all, you wouldn't call someone who dresses in BDU's a soldier if they're not a soldier, right?  I had a mohawk for a year or so but at no point considered myself a punker.  After all, I was a successful commission-based salesman.  I think philosophy and actions dictate far more than an outward appearance.  Appearance can help someone put for the illusion of belonging to a philosophy like cyberpunk, but it doesn't mean they are a legitimate part of the culture.

To me, I feel being cyberpunk has greatly to do with a love for science that goes beyond loving your new smartphone.  It's about wanting to see the technological boundaries pushed further.  I think there are many people out there who feel something that borders kinship with machines, whether it's cars, computers, or tractors.  There's something in the  machina that we identify with more than others. 

Building off of that, I think cyberpunk is about progress. Sometimes that progress means fighting the system and sometimes it means developing a new line of code or a new circuit board.  Either way, it adds flavor and diversity to the world and that is never a bad thing.

While 'punk' originally was used to describe items that were worthless, much like 'chaffe'.  As with anything, the word evolved through time. It has been used to identify kindling and cigarettes [much like the term 'faggot'].  Obviously, pop-culture holds it as someone who is deviant from the 'norm', enjoys anarchy, and promotes violence.  I think it is time for the word--when coupled with the term 'cyber'--to take on another definition.  Cyberpunk is about conviction and empathy towards the artificial.  It's about using technology not just to make the day to day easier, but to continue the progression of mankind.  Using machines to make machines.  After all, a machine, by definition, is a device capable of doing work.  Organic life was the original machine, so there is no reason why we cannot create a bond between ourselves and synthetic machines. organici et mechanica.

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#10 5/24/12 12:41pm

Kovacs
Member
Registered: 8/23/11
Posts: 753

Re: What is Cyberpunk?

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