Cyberculture’s Abstract Utopia: Silicon Valley and Cleaner, Greener, Leaner Rules for a “New Economy”*

  • Timothy W. Luke


This preliminary analysis connects the dilemmas of eco-pessimism and eco-optimism and links them to a number of core and peripheral thinkers in the US during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who have sought an escape, or “an out,” from the deepening deterioration of both Nature and Society making many feel pessimistic about the environment. As New York City choked through eerie days cloaked by nearly impenetrable clouds of wood smoke in June 2023, the sky turned a Martian orange in the sunlight from dawn to dusk. At the same time, coastal homeowners along Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific beaches received notices that their property insurance costs would be greatly increased, or their policies canceled permanently, due to the increasing frequency and destruction of severe coastal erosion and weather events. Meanwhile, the American Southwest was being smothered in prolonged intense heat waves punctuated by massive hailstorms, intense rainfall, and tornados. Due to so many coincident catastrophes like these, the experience of eco-pessimism today is growing in its breadth and depth as climate change simply becomes more problematic, personal, and pervasive.