Awesomesauce / Books / Geek / Hyperculture / Social Media

So What is Hyperculture? An Attempt to Define It.


To understand what “hyperculture” is, one needs to try to define the word “culture”. Culture is concerned with human relationships, activity, and the symbolic structures that give such activities meaning, culture has traditionally included all forms of the Arts, but has expanded to include science, technology, and consumerism. It’s also concerned with groups unified by beliefs, norms, dress, language, rituals, law, and religion. Most developed nations, particularly Japan which is rife with technological advances,  have seen technology, particularly the internet, rapidly increase the rate at which emerging trends become new cultural touchstones. This shift has created an updated definition of culture, as a network of variable connections between people in diverse locales and levels of society. With this new structural climate, any group can construct a cultural identity free from national borders and traditional belief systems.

This brings us to hyperculture. This term refers to a more dynamic and increasingly complex culture where boundaries and spatial proximity lose significance due to a heavy reliance on technology such as the Internet. This instantaneous, worldwide access to information produces an environment of unlimited possibility with steady doses of stimulation, and in this setting, entertainment, once just a past time, begins occupying all intervals between periods of work. The downside is that traditional cultural markers such as the arts, science, technology, and politics can be reduced to sound bites and consumerism. People in this fast-paced scene can easily become impatient, distracted, and bored because the culture requires constant input to refuel, and individuals resort to extreme behaviors just to be noticed. However, if these potentially negative aspects are tempered by contemplative downtime and a set of ethics, then hyperculture will truly evolve into the harmonious globally oriented lifestyle it seeks to foster.


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