Rob Scovell's AntiCyberpunkDystopia Manifesto
It seems as though a lot of people in the tildeverse and GeminiSpace love the Cyberpunk genre. Me too. But I see it as a warning, not a blueprint!
The Tech Titans of our age are building this dystopia.
The way of rebellion merely sucks you in further.
The following Guardian article challenges Cyberpunk to show us a way out:
Why does Cyberpunk refuse to move on?
The only way out without abandoning a hundred years of innovation is through decentralisation: build parallel systems, optimising for maximum localisation.
That is the technological way out. What about the social way out? The Guardian won't like this at all, but the what if the social way out is to push back against atomised individualism and globalisation and go back to the way people used to find meaning, before the Enlightenment and before Liberalism: in God, in family, and in one's national identity. Can this be done without turning it into a fascist ideology? What happens if groups of people follow that route in a dystopian technocracy?
The Guardian thinks the answer lies in the ideology of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. No. That way lies a government-controlled cyberpunk dystopia.
I want to explore an imaginary future cyberpunk dystopia that contains Russian Orthodoxy, and I want to do it in a pro-religion kind of way, without it turning into a weird kind of steampunk or becoming incredibly cheesy, or preaching.
The idea is not to promote anything, but play with worldviews the way Heinlein does, to see where they end up.
I want to see if a literature like this is even possible. I'm no writer but I want to try it out.
I kind of see it as being in the same mould as Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. He was exploring whether Orthodoxy was even possible in proto-revolutionary Russia. It feels like the USA is in a similar proto-revolutionary space to Dostoevsky's Russia, with the same hot topics of discussion among the populace. The human and social conversations are the same, but now we have the added extra of tech.
This could be done in several ways:
- Orthodox religion as a control mechanism countering the technocracy
- Orthodoxy as an escape mechanism, not unlike alcohol
- Orthodoxy as an expression of a lingering nationalism among a group disconnected from their homeland
- Orthodoxy as a spiritual path to liberation, atonement and union with God.
I also want to look at how dystopias arise from an aggressive and obsessive focus on minimising or maximising one societal variable:
- deaths from a particular disease
- personal freedom
- racial purity.
The variable I will choose for this dystopia is 'kindess'! To be true to Cyberpunk, it will be a society run by corporate oligarchs who constantly claim their corporations operate solely on the principle of Kindness.
Firstly, a random extract from an article about Dostoevsky:
Rebecca West on Dostoevsky's Orthodox Nationalism
So here we go ...
Chapter 1. Helsing 2050: Meeting the Russk