A critique on Postmodernism and Cyberpunk

in philosophy •  last year

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In our current age of information warfare and propaganda the ideas surrounding cyberpunk are more relevant than ever. For the longest time we we're under a veil of a planned future, false stability, and that fact that we are not in control of our knowable reality. Cyberpunk is a viewpoint that tells us now more than ever that these realties are false. We are not free. It includes themes of love, exploitation, postmodernism, social hierarchy and social decay. We can learn much from the cyberpunk genre.

"Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society, in a generally distopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technology change and a ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive mods to the human body." -Lawrence Peterson

The cyberpunk genre pulls it's ideas of the world from postmodernism and nihilism. It is the social-constructionist view that cyberpunk "utopias" are the effect of an overload of information and technological progress. This abundance of technology appeals to humans weaker traits of surrender. In a high-tech low-life society where your basic needs meet everyone succumbs to the silent truth that everything means nothing.

What it means to be human

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The cyberpunk genre makes us confront what it means to be human by stripping away what makes us human. From the body to the mind at what point do we stop being human. Is it when we only have a ghost in the machine or is it much earlier in the upgrade process? The central problem of modernity which is present in cyberpunk as much as it is in our own lives isn't humanity. It's the freedom to choose identity. Society is full freedom, secularism, egalitarianism and choices that hides it's true colors. Identity is not something you can choose. It is the negotiation between the individual and society itself. With all the gifts the future can bring it seems to come with as many physiological curses.

It's not all doom and gloom

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Some argue that a knowing submission to this chaos is in fact helpful. Pondering on the ideas of cyberpunk has helped me understand that we are now facing the mouth of the dragon. This dragon is our reality and our universe devoid of meaning. In comparison to this dragon our abilities are powerless. Despite these facts that cyberpunks propose through it's narrative, I've arrived to the conclusion that if nothing means anything, then everything you do has meaning, but only if you suffer; because if you don't suffer you cannot sacrifice for the future (or upgrade). If this is the case, it's important to pick your suffering and be grateful like Sisyphus.

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