Cyberpunk Witches Facebook Group Launches
Guest Post by a CyberPunkWitch Talks About Motivation for New Group
November 16, 2018
So, first off, I can’t speak to any of the people that are in my group or what their motivations are, really. I created it but there hasn’t been a ton of discussion yet and I don’t know what everyone believes we are. To me, Cyberpunk Witch is a near -approximation of what I am, even if I feel like I’m very much a neophyte at it.
So what is it?
To me, a cyberpunk witch is:
- someone who maybe believes Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- who may or may not wonder about memetic ghosts or spirits. This is a tricky one. There’s a lot of neurophilosophy and ontology you can dig into here. the question is roughly, “what is a valid being and is there only one per human brain? Or can more than one occupy a mind? Can they occupy things which are not brains, such as algorithms or as a kind of shared hallucination..?” There’s a lot to think about there that is worth exploring.
- who may (like me) find themselves skeptical of the traditional boundary between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’. Humans are a part of nature, tool use and culture are part of humans, much like they are to a lesser degree of complexity part of crows, dolphins and chimpanzees. There is a lot more to talk about concerning engineering ethics, labor ethics, and the relationship of humans to high technology as a craft, the why of the alienation many return-to-nature primitivists feel, especially in the framework of the an unsustainably consumptive empire whose excessive resources are cobbled together from the robbery and domination of much of the planet. I can only lend a few brush strokes by pointing out that much of our awareness of the issues has emerged thanks to that same technology and the hard work of scientists to understand the ecosystem and our relationship with it, and that humanity has been wiping out other species with tools since the moment we hefted a spear, long before anyone ever threw a sabot into a loom (also, the luddites were not anti-tech. It might be more accurate to say they were against qualitatively inferior mass production displacing skilled workers, but that’s another story).
- Also a witch. To me, a witch is someone who explores and does ritual magic. This may or may not stem from a belief in the supernatural. Rituals shape and structure and give meaning to our lives and connect us to others. Many magical practitioners use magic to frame and focus their intent and to gain wisdom and insight by thinking about things from special frames of reference. Either way if magic as people commonly think of it did exist, it would be better called ‘preternatural’, or an extraordinary but natural event, something we do not yet fully understand. Personally for my own amusement and curiosity I admit I explore the preternatural as well but don’t believe in it (or take the possibility too seriously). That’s just what keeps the work, and the spiritual component, fun.
- I think the final paradigmatic theme at least for me is a saying of William Gibson’s — “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Every day we see stories of bleeding edge technology – 3d-printed biological tissue, backflipping robots, mail order genetic engineering kits (at least for E. coli), flying camera drones, and self-driving cars are all technology that exists now.
- There’s probably – no I know for a fact there IS – a LOT that I have left out.
In summary and to add a little more, I see myself as a hacker-witch with an emphasis on technology, and to some extent I see the world as an increasingly cyberpunk setting, where technology is abused and we’re living in something of a dystopia, and social upheavals resulting are happening both in wonderful and terrible directions at the same time, with a complexity no one involved can fully see. I feel the classically noir protagonist attitude many such high-tech low lifes feel in cyberpunk stories, of being in a moral gray area but trying to do my best, even when that leads to being against the grain at times. Doing our best to stay focused and engaged with the details, philosophical, technological, magical or otherwise and to make the world a better place. I think the best outcome would be for everyone involved to leverage their creativity, intelligence and resourcefulness to swing us towards some optimistic post-cyberpunk world, where things are not so dark and gritty – but c’est la vie at least for now.
Stop by and join us on our Facebook Group, if this speaks to you.