Earlier this year, Kopimism, the religion that holds file-sharing sacred, was officially recognized in Sweden. Since then, I’ve been taking my time writing up my own thoughts. As someone with a LOT of thoughts on religion and a LOT of thoughts on file-sharing, this was quite a task. But some of these thoughts are now starting to see the light of day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So here’s the first of what I wrote for the First United Church of Kopimism, US. (I don’t think they’ll mind that I copied it over here!)
Since it’s official acceptance in Sweden, a torrent of confusion has followed the rise of Kopimism. People struggle with something that calls itself a religion, yet is silent on common questions that religions are expected to answer, questions like Who made us? What happens after death? and What does the special underwear do? After fielding some similar questions from curious friends on and offline, I thought this would be a good place to start exploring Kopimism.
The fact is, the simplicity of Kopimism has confused the world. And the real question is, amid this confusion, can it possibly fulfill the role of religion?
Well I think so.
The skeptics are right, of course, that Kopimism lacks many of the qualities we’ve come to expect from religious philosophies. It has a simple core that basically boils down to: Copying, mixing and disseminating information is right.
There are some nuts and bolts in there, too, but the fact remains that Kopimism doesn’t cast a wide net over believers’ lives. It doesn’t tell you not to cheat on your wife. It doesn’t tell you what parts of your body to cover. It doesn’t tell you what food to eat. It doesn’t tell you what to say before a meal or before you die. Kopimism has exactly what all religions begin with: a core.
So does it need more? Does it need to cast a wide net?
Not at all.
It’s 2012. We live in a digital culture that has the unprecedented power to experience life communally, to share life and culture everywhere, to anyone, all the time. And we exercise this power. Frequently. We see it every day, we drive it, we revel in it, we love it, and sometimes we fear it a little too. Religion reflects culture, and Kopimism is a perfect reflection of a culture whose unifying feature is sharing.
And another feature of this digital culture? It’s global.
Ours is a culture that threads across continents, languages, beliefs and customs. This digital culture is one based on a multitude of others, all woven together with the power to share anything across those continents, languages, beliefs and customs.
And Kopimism can reflect a multitudes of cultures, exactly because it sanctifies this one unifying feature. This core. Copying, mixing and disseminating information is right. The lack of other, traditional aspects of religion is exactly what gives Kopimism its strength. If it extended more of a net, it wouldn’t, accurately represent the values of this twenty-first century digital culture.
And the world isn’t getting less digital.
The world isn’t getting less connected.
Read it on the First United Church of Kopimism, US blog…