Friday, 18 July 2014


This is hardly an original observation, but it is an observation I shall make all the same: of all the futures that SF has and continue to deal with, it turned out that cyberpunk would be the one to come true. Ho-hum.

This is a thought I have had before, and I’m certain lots of people far cleverer than me have noticed it too, but the obviousness of it really dawned on me earlier in the week. I had decided, at long last, to actually get round to reading Neuromancer, and I was finding it rather enjoyable. I was in town, sitting under a tree in a small square of park land in one of the quieter streets, enjoying the shade and the story. I was reading it on my Kindle, idly messaging a friend from university on my phones Facebook app, and I realised how eerily, eerily prescient the novel was in so many ways. I had been able to partially de-tune myself out of social reality by listening to music from a film on my MP3 player, I had two devices on me that allowed me functionally unlimited amounts of information (for an oh-so reasonable price), I had had falafel for lunch, with a side of chips and a can of the Classic, and had passed a clinic which advertised cosmetic surgery. I realise now that it’s a minute-or-so walk away from a TESCO cash point.

It’s not something unique to the city I live in, it’s something you find in most Western(ised) big cities now. The past and the future rushing headlong into each other and producing the present; the cultures of the world colliding to create new cultures containing elements of both; tradition gradually being eaten away without any sign of new traditions (in the sense of structures of customs and values being offered to us out of the past) being ready to fill them. Everything has become so impermanent, so digitized and monetised. One thing Marx was undoubtedly right about was that Capital and the system of its accumulation melts down all solidity in the name of profit-maximisation.

Capitalism as the economic manifestation of Gestell, in which economics is understood as praxis. The shape of the essence of technology as we see it today is principally not mathematical/scientific but commercial.

This is not an original observation, but it feels worthwhile to say it all the same. 

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