Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From CounterCulture to CyberCulture

by Kris Winstrom

In the article “From Counterculture to Cyber culture” , the author, Turner brings to light, how the internet on the one hand stemmed from the techies of the 60s and 70s, but also the Countercultural movement of the time. However, when one think of a countercultural movement or system today, the internet is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. This is, as the author claims, because we now live in a Cyber culture.

To me this seems like one of the most effective countercultural movements in our history. Not only has it changed our culture, system and the ways we look upon our world, but furthermore after an initial slow start it exploded into our lives in a way that make us think that this is the only system, which without, we would not survive. Some people would argue that the internet is in fact not Countercultural anymore, which I disagree with. It has broken down many of the walls of bureucracies as the early innovators hoped and the very nature of the internet challenges the market and society we live in.

Its ironic that the hippie ideals of the 1960s and 70s, which where so heavily scrutinized, are not at all left behind us, but has reemerged stronger then ever before thru the internet. Peer-to-Peer production, with no monetary incentives, but instead rather based on the incentive of group recognition, is very much something counter cultural in my opinion and yet people don’t see it. With this said, I am not stating that the internet is bad, but rather that the internet has changed and continues to change our culture in ways that may turn out pernicious. Because no one can negate the fact that the internet enables people to attack and severely damage our lives, culture, government and other social systems.

Another interesting aspect, is that of the hackers. Many will argue that hackers do more to push technology then the “planners” and other type of innovators. This hypothesis is based upon how they are thinking outside the box and are not contained by laws and other types of rules. This might very well be true, however, I would argue that the hackers often push the technology in the wrong direction and do not consider the macro picture. Furthermore, ethics are often not considered by hackers and I have a hard time with agreeing to their small exclusive groups being the real innovators of the internet and the world.

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