Fiction is Becoming Fact as Modern Events Trend Toward The Cyberpunk Now
Cyberpunk involves many elements we wouldn’t necessarily want to experience in real life. As audiences, we cheer when we see Neo in The Matrix wearing his trench coat and gunning down agents. As genre enthusiasts, we look skeptically at Star Trek and wonder if maybe the future will have a little more misery and oppression than that. When we play games like Shadowrun, we engage with the power fantasy of decking ourselves out head-to-toe in cybernetics and driving through explosions in open defiance of evil corporations and governments. It’s all well and good, but ask yourself honestly: would you really want your daily life to be like that?
We’re Watching The Cyberpunk World Form
Take a look around. Right now, agitators with a wide variety of agendas are roaming the streets, executing police, and setting churches ablaze. Police are lining up in tactical armor to violently enforce curfews of questionable legality, kicking young girls in the face and shooting peaceful protestors with teargas canisters.
Federal agents without identification or badges are shoving protestors into unmarked cars in Portland. People are mowing down police officers in their cars and shooting them in the head. Police forces are being radically reorganized (or not).
Meanwhile, YouTube commentators are speculating about civil war in the US. The media can’t seem to make up its mind about what’s going on. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the raging global pandemic.
It’s all very cyberpunk, isn’t it? Cyberpunk or no, should we really be rejoicing?
To Bug Out, or Not To Bug Out?
If you don’t already own a gun, now is probably not a bad time to buy one. If you don’t have a bug out bag and a few weeks of food stocked up, you might consider taking care of these things and being ready to leave your home on short notice. In a time of considerable uncertainty, your trench coat and Akira soundtrack probably won’t serve you all that well.
Whether to bug out or not bug out has long been pondered by the prepper community, and right now could be a good time to ask yourself that question.
Maybe everything is ok where you are. But if it went from being okay to not okay, at what point would you know? What exactly are the indicators that would tell you it’s time to leave? What one thing could happen that would be enough for you to leave your comfortable living room and head for the hills before the supply chain breaks down? If a tsunami is coming, you can’t wait for it to reach your driveway before you start running. If you do, it’s already too late.
Maybe we can’t all have cabins in the woods, and maybe we can’t all own a decommissioned nuclear silo for use as personal bunker space. But a backpack full of food and a couple cases of bottled water under the back seat of your minivan are cheap options that you probably won’t regret very much if you never have to use them. It would be wise to be prepared.
At the same time, the current state of affairs may be very cyberpunk, but let’s not become too enamored with it. Being prepared doesn’t need to become a lifestyle. You can own a gun and not use it. You can be aware of all the craziness going on in the world without being consumed by it. Civil unrest is very cyberpunk, and so far 2020 has given us a whole lot of gritty.
But as we make our choices going forward, let’s not forget that the future is supposed to be shiny too.