Here’s a fun little thought experiment. Go to your local store and peruse the buggy whip aisle. Look at all of the brands, emblems, luxury materials, and lengths and weights available. Sounds silly, right? I mean, there are no stores that have buggy whip aisles. I’d be honestly shocked if you could even find a buggy whip for sale in anything but an Amish shop nowadays. And yet, that’s not seen as a bad thing. Sure, it was rather traumatic to the buggy whip manufacturers at the dawn of the automobile. But now?
The point of that, of course, is that nothing lasts forever. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not. Some people will see it as good, and some will see it as bad. Sometimes change is sudden and jarring, like the 2011 “Arab Spring”. Sometimes it’s glacial, yet inevitable, like the decline of the cassette tape. In a changing market, sometimes it’s caused by forces external to the market creating a backlash (let’s take the Video Game Crash of 1984 as the example here) and sometimes it’s triggered from within in order to attract new customers (let’s use the rise of motion-based gaming).
As humans, we are in the unique position of being able to react to change better than animals are. Animals reacted to the Ice Age by dying, forcing their species to evolve pelts. Humans reacted to the Ice Age by wearing lots of thinner animal pelts. Nature– either the random laws of chance or the guided hand of a creator– rewards changing to adapt to a circumstance. Nature imposes the death penalty on stagnating organisms.
So we have changes happening in our society, in our grocery stores, in our refrigerators, on our clothing, in our very bodies. The price of progress is the relentless march of change. Every day we step a little bit away from “bad”, and a little bit closer to “better”. We cannot afford to stay in one place for even a moment, or we are all as good as dead.
So things are changing. But even change itself is not a constant, not a singular, monolithic thing. Change comes in many forms. It can be evolutionary, or it can be revolutionary. And that’s where the difference between “Cyberpunk” and “Post-Cyberpunk” lies.