To forget these three events of the early 1980s is to forget who we are: the dropping of "Clear" in 1982, the releasing of Blade Runner in 1982, and the publishing of Neuromancer in 1984. The first is a tune that leads directly to the emergence of Detroit and Berlin techno; the second is a movie that leads to a 21st-century form of science-fiction cinema and urban theory that has Mike Davis as its leading figure; the third is a novel that inaugurates a major literary movement, cyberpunk.
The author of this novel is William Gibson, and the movement initiated by his work revived for almost two decades a kind of philosophical thinking, Cartesian duality, that first went into decline with the rise of neuroscience in biology and Spinozism in philosophy. And what is the true desire of cyberpunk? Not the accurate representation of a world that is interconnected, multicultural, and more and more finds East Asia as the emerging center power; nor is it the celebration of an urbanization that's so dense and turbulent and unmanageable that it's on the verge of a becoming something radically new. No, Gibson turned to cyberspace to fulfill a primitive promise broken by God's death: the promise of immortality.
In cyberspace, the ego, the subject (as thought, as self-consciousness, as the me that knows it is me, myself, I), could be liberated from the body and continue indefinitely in the electronic ether. In order to believe in this fiction, you had to believe in another fiction: the Cartesian split between the body and the mind. In order to believe in this Cartesian split, you had to believe in a type of spirituality that has its trunk in Christianity and its roots in Plato. William Gibson's first hero, Case, was the new messiah, and Neuromancer the bible for an age that was destined to end not in heaven (what cyberpunk truly wanted) but with Microsoft and Google (what it didn't see coming).