William Gibson is well known for driving his cyberpunk knowledge to the limit of imagination, depicting possible realities of tomorrow. I definitely disagree with the critics accusing him of writing anti-humanist novels that glorify technology and downgrade human society in the name of progress. I believe that these opinions and critics are mainly based on the idea of the Neuromancer as an unreal ultramodern world, where human society and individuality are relegated by technology.
According to Gibson’s future world, technology becomes more than fundamental, which is one of the reasons why some people (possibly technophobes) are shocked as shown by the critics. It is therefore the purpose of this essay to justify that William Gibson’s Neuromancer is not an anti-humanist novel. Negative criticisms about Gibson’s writing accuse him of pushing reality to the extreme where the materials of our own expertise are valorized over human values of society.
Indeed, Gibson created a fictive, futuristic society where mankind could be shuddered considerably. Gibson echoes the opinion of economists who believe that we are currently experiencing the beginning of a profound economic revolution due to the breakthroughs in information and communication technology. The fact that his future society is well described, unique and quite reasonable is what shocked the world of literature. If Neuromancer was set in a completely unrealistic and fantastic world, no one would care to accuse it of being anti-humanist.
Even though the author creatively pictured a future somewhat hopeless for nature and animals based on the fast rising technology of the actual period, it is wrong to define his story as anti-humanist. We are already glorifying technology and although some aspects of Gibson’s creative work may seem extreme, they are still based on the progression from the actual period. Technology has the basic meaning of ameliorating human life, advantaging our senses, facilitating everyday tasks and helping us to survive.
In Neuromancer, the creation of an unnatural form of life (the AI) originated from a desire for immortality: “Tessier-Ashpool would be immortal, a hive, each of us units of a larger entity”30 However, humankind can unleash powers that seem beyond its control. This is seen when Neuromancer reveals who he really is to Case, shockingly divulging the supremacy of the new creation: “I call up the dead…. I am the dead and their land”. 31 Gibson is not necessarily wrong to imagine a future where our own creations do not only benefit the human race but also lead us to an unlimited variety of facilities that surpass man’s faculty.
Most of the individuals depend on technology because at the short-term, it makes their life easier, faster and more efficient. It is what lies behind human’s desire to aspire for more, more production, more profit, more at any price. In the long-term case, we cannot envisage accurately the far future, future generations will have to live with the consequences of insatiability for achievements. Hence, although Neuromancer is set in the future, it is also about the present. The world that Case and Molly inhabit is fundamentally our own because it represents both what we have become and what we are on the edge of becoming.
Indeed, Gibson based his story on today’s real society, his ideas being consistent, and parallel to the evolving aspects of the present. Nowadays, we all rely or depend on technological aspects to subsist, technology having the ability to save the life of every individual. Like the creators of the futuristic AI, the health scientists of the present strive to extent life to the utmost. Because it involves the overall benefits of multi-functionality and efficiency, technology is imposed on the whole population. The success of the majority globalizes its use. Gibson’s portrayal of the individual is logical and well thought out.
He proves proper judgment defining that no matter where technology brings us, most of our intentions stays positive, as we do not normally wish to harm human life. There is nothing that relies the Neuromancer to anti-humanism. Indeed, its story involves human beings getting into different situations in which they have to make decisions whereas computers do not make decisions: QUOTE In the Blade Runner movie made in 1983, the citizens down on earth typically belong in the low social class while the higher class is literally higher in the buildings owned by huge corporations.
In the case of Neuromancer, there is a larger gap and disconnection between the two social classes. The riches are not down on earth anymore but they live on space stations. The society in Gibson’s world is particularly at a very advanced social time period. Consequently, technology leads to change the lifestyle for everybody. However, his society has nothing scientifically impossible and therefore, is comparable to that of today. For instance, the human that has the personality of space cowboy could very well be a secret agent of the 20th century that wears a mini receptor.
The American society is known for its qualification of capitalist. However, no one would let a corporation take over our society, using cyberspace as the superior aspect that surpasses the world. In Neuromancer, Cyberspace is becoming as important as the real life. Virtual reality made its first apparition in the early 1980s, envisioning a new dimension and new style of drawing. (drawing? ) Virtual reality did not drastically control the real world and human still have control over it. Therefore, it does not lead to an anti-humanist novel.
Gibson’s literary work actually brings scientists and engineers to engender new technologies, bearing in mind the many possibilities (… ways? ) of the future depending on one of them. Gibson gives us the opportunity to discover one of those possibilities by realistically depicting a fictitious cyberpunk world. Technology is essential in human evolution. Nothing ever significantly stopped its growth since prehistory. I believe that Gibson was reasonable in portraying his very well described future. We should consider that the fictitious world of Gibson in Neuromancer was based on facts of the modern time period.
He does not seem to wish for the end of the world or definite pessimism for humanity. In his imaginative masterpiece, he does however, design many difficulties for his characters in perilous moments. Like any piece of art, constructive criticisms are sometimes very well taken and appreciated by its author. Conversely, the opposite also happens no matter how stunning the success is. No artist has yet succeeded in convincing the entire planet’s population in believing in their creation, and thus far, it might never happen.