Thinking about the Cyberpunk Apocalypse


CW: another grim /apocalyptic one, avoid as required

We’re clearly living in a cyberpunk era. Enough could be said on that to fill a book, but I’m more likely to turn it into a blog post, if anything. Marx and many others had ideas about the stages of history, the progress of civilization. I don’t know how well any of those hypotheses have played out, but from our vantage point now, the current and next stages of civilization are easy to see: Cyberpunk Dystopia, and collapse into Post Apocalypse. I just want to jot down this thought before I forget it, for future reference. One recurring theme of cyberpunk fiction was an inversion of what we’re going to see.

To thinkers back then, cyberspace was a sad fake realm of delusions that ultimately perpetuated human woe. While the internet has helped promote hate crimes and establish fascism in our time, that’s a case of a good thing being manipulated to evil ends. Much like how con artists exploit positive social instincts of trust and enthusiasm to rob people, I don’t think that reflects negatively on thing that was exploited.

Cyberspace is a good thing. We’re able to come together and make good things happen like never before, enrich each other’s lives, pool human knowledge and creativity and compassion. Selling out net neutrality, allowing monopolies for the mega-rich, these are killing the experience by tiny cuts.

And ultimately, it’s all going away. The infrastructure will collapse and we’ll lose this. For some people, that’s already the case. Rural areas in the USA already have garbage for service. Morpheus’s ideal – everyone walking away from the illusion to embrace the desert of the real? It’s not going to edify or elevate us in any way, but we’ll still have to experience it.

The collapse of the internet will be a good defining bound between the Cyberpunk and Post Apocalypse eras. And it’ll just be another signpost on the slide into extinction.

Comments

  1. says

    The thing about ecology is that is shows us over and over again how everything is interconnected. The kind of damage we’re doing now, have done, could kill us all *hella* faster than that, if the right unforeseens come to pass.

    The coral reefs will be dead in 20 years. That will have a big effect. What if one of those effects leads to a massive change in the balance of life in the ocean, to where it starts producing more carbon than it converts, accelerating global warming? Could we get an apocalyptic hothouse by the end of this century? What if one of those ancient diseases from the Siberian permafrost turns out to be a humanity-killer? There are so many ways we can get annihilated now.

    Anyhow, smash the state, comrade. Party on.

  2. says

    The coral reefs will be dead in 20 years.

    Yeah. The Gulf of Mexico fisheries and the Bay of Bengal fisheries are collapsing. It could happen very fast.

    I decided not to have kids because I was afraid of nuclear war. I’m glad that I didn’t raise a new generation to confront what’s coming. For me, I’ve got a big supply of fentanyl dermals, some phenobarbitol, and Cliquot. So it’ll affect me but only as much as I’m willing to take.

    I was on the internet early and spent most of my adult life trying to secure it against fucking assholes. Wasted time; I’m 55 now. If I make it old age I’ll be stuck in the middle of the collapse and I’ll be a mostly helpless grumpy old coot. I should have done something else, like gone eco-terrorist. We should have all gone eco-terrorist. At this point I feel like Private Hudson.

  3. wontbehere4long says

    Okay, I swear I am not going to go on another high strung blowout this time.

    I just got done reading an awesome article from the Anarchist Library called “Blessed is the Flame.” To sum this incredible long story short, it detailed the sudden euphoric instances of rebellion committed briefly by the Jewish people during the Holocaust. From anarcho-nihilist point of view, and I do not know if that’s up your alley, this is what life is all about, finding that euphoria in the eternal present, also known as jouissance, instead of worrying about a concept like the “future.” According to anarcho-nihilism, we’re basically screwed unless we start tearing shit up. We need to tear the system, the parties, the institutions, everything, if we want the best quality of life.

    In addition, I have also been tuning into Innuendo Studios, and I just watched two very impressive editorials concerning Mad Max: Fury Road and its relation to other media, as well Princess Mononoke.

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