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 Compartmentalization 
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
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Location: Sweden
Post Compartmentalization
There is something subcultures often lack that would be good for them to have. Let's call it compartmentalization. Here is an attempt to explain it:

Compartmentalization means recognizing that the subculture is a sum of separate parts with their own separate memeplexes. And recognizing that a claim in one memeplex doesn't necessarily spill over to the others within the subculture.

An example would be the way transhumanism consists of different parts such as futurism, fiction, ideology, actual science and so on. And how because transhumanism doesn't really separate between them, that culture becomes confusing.

If a transhumanist says he wants to clone 1000 copies of himself, travel the galaxy and meet up at the other end to compare notes and have a party. Is that fiction, futurism or is he serious? A transhumanist doesn't have to make that distinction. Distinctions are important, someone contemplating spending money on cryonics would do well to ask if that is science or futurism.

Without compartmentalization the culture quickly becomes confusing. Without distinction between science, futurism and fiction you quickly loose grip and anything goes. Douglas Hofstadter once said of Kurzweils books "It’s as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can't possibly figure out what's good or bad. It's an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it's very hard to disentangle the two,...".

Religious communities have a slightly different problem with compartmentalization. They have a need to try to include the religious compartment they have into other compartments they encounter. When they succeed they usually cripple the target compartment.

So how does this relate to Biopunk?

First off: Compartmentalization is probably necessary to keep a subculture like biopunk clean and honest. For the above reasons.

Second: There is freedom in compartmentalization. We can for instance say that there is something called "biopunk fiction". This biopunk fiction doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with say biopunk futurism or biopunk ideology or biopunk philosophy. Some of the fiction will of course - but it doesn't have to. They are different compartments.

There can be a "biopunk dystopia" section in "biopunk fiction" to be used as a drug on gloomy days and it doesn't reflect on the movement as a whole. It doesn't mean that say biopunk futurism is gloomy.

Third: Compartmentalizing like this makes the culture permissive. A biopunk philosopher doesn't have dominion over say biopunk fiction or biopunk hacking. Anyone can – if they want – claim a piece to partake in. As long as they are clear about what their compartment is - that is don't claim to be doing something they are not.

Thoughts?


-Splicer

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Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:13 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Compartmentalization
Clarity is always a good thing. So much stuff gets thrown under a subculture label that it's important to differentiate between the related but distinct pieces. Hell, I found this forum looking for something entirely unrelated to anything that happens here, that somebody else called "biopunk".


Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:41 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 195
Location: Sweden
Post Re: Compartmentalization
clouded_perception wrote:
Clarity is always a good thing. So much stuff gets thrown under a subculture label that it's important to differentiate between the related but distinct pieces. Hell, I found this forum looking for something entirely unrelated to anything that happens here, that somebody else called "biopunk".

I know what you mean and hope you don't see this as a bad thing. Biopunk to me is something far bigger than a subgenre of science fiction for people bored with steampunk. If that would be all it was then fuck it. Seriously.

But then one would have to find another name for the culture surrounding ubiquitous synthetic biology.

To me what's happening in biology brings the same awe that futurists felt for speed a hundred years ago. I know I'm not the only one feeling it, and I haven't found a better name for it than biopunk.

If biopunk is anything it's an expression of this awe. It's an umbrella, a forum.

-Splicer

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Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:16 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:57 pm
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Post Re: Compartmentalization
Yes Clarity is Important the last thing we need is the whole hacker debacle like the one we had with the hackers in the 80s and 90s. No doubt synthetic biology will have its few bad seeds like the hackers did back then. But the majority of the hackers are curious hobbyist and teenagers with too much time on their hands. the closing of IP commons in the IT world, in my opinion was much help by generating fear of computer hackers in the media. When they are anything but relatively harmless compared to the whole ecosystem of criminals, out there, that carry not harmless pranksterism or hacker curiousity, but sheer malice.

Similiarly Biopunk Pioneer, need not find themselves, in the same boat with a bit clever PR and clarity in elucidating what we are about. This will effectively communicate to the public and law enforcement the scope and nature of our exploration, and prevent hefty regulation, I think we need good media relationship and list of common courtesy we accord each other as well as ethics. The hacker subculture, had them too but they have a whole list of social and communication barrier, I am hoping Biomedical people having to have to work in groups, will be more forth coming and effective with their word.


Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:59 am
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