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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!) 

A Kopimist’s Thoughts

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…

7 Responses to “Exploring Kopimism”

  1. crubin

    I’ve never heard of Kopimism. Thanks for teaching me something new. Does away with the concept of copyright, which I think would be difficult for many creators to accept. Interesting concept to say the least.

    Reply
    • aeliusblythe

      Yes, the battles over copyright are getting pretty heated up. I love that Kopimism, being a religion, eschews the political and legal talk and focuses on the heart of copying: our eternal, human need to share. And that’s something that no law or court can take down!

      Reply
  2. Scary Devil Monastery

    A minor bit of trivia here is that the holy symbols from kopimism mean something entirely different applied to other operating systems than microsoft windows.

    On the Linux command line “ctrl-C” means “abort current process” whereas “ctrl-v” means “insert verbatim”.

    Understandably this creates some hilarity among linux geeks as the kopimist greeting to them actually starts out with “Stop At Once”.

    I can see a schism already…

    Reply
      • Scary Devil Monastery

        Yes indeed. I can imagine a kopimist wedding where half of the congregation interprets the blessing as “Abort. Abort!”

        And that sort of thing can easily lead to a “404 Error – groom not found”.

        Linux geeks tend to go to war over everything from “which distro is better”, “KDE vs Gnome”, and all the way down to which editor is the best tool and which is crap – the “Vi vs eMacs” debate for instance resembled a holy war more than anything else.

        Suffice to say, a great many linux übergeeks are highly militant. No surprise to see many of them donning Guy Fawkes-masks today…

        Reply
    • stevenh512

      On the Linux command line (and also Windows or OSX command line), Ctrl-C means “abort the current process” but in many GUI apps it means “copy” (and Ctrl-V means “paste”), at least on Gnome based desktops line Ubuntu. It’s not too different in OSX, but if I remember correctly it’s Cmd-C and Cmd-V. Definitely not just a Windows thing, since most people use some kind of a GUI regarless of their choice of operating system “C” and “V” should be pretty universal. :)

      Reply
      • Scary Devil Monastery

        Don’t get me started on the “CLI” versus “GUI” skirmish. Next thing we’ll be debating vi vs emacs.

        And that always ends with the dirigible in flames, everyone dead, and with me losing my hat.

        Any plan which ends with me losing my hat is a bad plan. :P

        Reply

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