“We see the world as built on copies,” [Isak] Gerson told me. “We often talk about originality; we don’t believe there’s any such thing. It’s certainly that way with life—most parts of the world, from DNA to manufacturing, are built by copying.” The highest form of worship, he said, is the remix: “You use other people’s works to make something better.”
Image: Missionary Church of Kopimism logo, via Wikipedia.
When was the last time you’ve witnessed a formation of a new religion? Certainly not recently. But here’s a chance to observe a contemporary religion being granted legal permission to pass as an official religion.
Founded by a 19 year old, philosophy student hailing from Sweden, Kopimism is the latest addition to list of religions,after it was formally recognized by the Swedish government. This establishment took 3 attempts in one year in order to be recognized due to dogmatic formalities.
Kopimism gives an entirely new definition to religion as it does not mention at all about faith in God or anything along these lines. They dwell on the sanctity of information and copying it. Like Om (ॐ),the nazalized vowel-chant of Hinduism, Ctrl-V and Ctrl-C are the cantillates of Kopimism. Their rituals of “worshipping” include sharing files of information.
While asked the young pioneer, his stance on file sharing is interesting as he deems the sharing of information as a faith rather than an activity or passion. He believes all information and files must be made available and legal to all people.
The way of our humanity works, certainly gives a path to bafflement and astonishment.
“It’s almost as though God’s joke on us is to give us so much power and knowledge that we will either transcend ourselves or we will certainly destroy ourselves because the power and understanding being given to us is of Godlike proportion.” – Terence McKenna ‘Culture and Ideology Are Not Your Friends’
The Internet and technology as they are today are giving us Godlike powers of perception and action: Digital Natives are the first generation of young adults to be endowed with them. Look at what these network-connected extra electric brains our parents got us are really doing here–the Power Macs, the smartphones, the tablets, which are connected to evermore relays and satellites, evermore detailed maps, evermore evolving encyclopedias are all upgrading our reach into the universe. We can be deep in space, beyond the center of an atom, in an Amazonian Jungle, or in a Massachusetts court house. We can be in the heart of Japan, or in the heart of a star, and we can be there in real time. We are becoming omnipotent. We have dropped torchlights throughout the world and the cosmos, which we access on a second by second basis–from our bedrooms to our phones. We are granting ourselves uncanny levels of perception and interaction. Our technology is telling us that given time, we can really go anywhere and see anything and mayben even move beyond time. We are amassing incredible potential. It is no surprise that one Digital Native worked very hard to get the simple action of copy and pasting to be acknowledged by his peers and his government as the sacred activity it is. Knowledge is the first religion. And this transmission of wisdom, of light, reveals that we are becoming the information we are gathering—and that it is our most ancient human quality.
From cave paintings and stone tools we have been growing an eye of media and a hand of technology. We have been extending our power of sight and our power of action as far as we can push them. But the internet is a combination of both these appendages, these arms and eyes, into something else entirely. Something completely “Outside history,” as Tim Wu calls it. It acts like a mirror, “A psychological object,” as Sherry Turkle calls it. Computers, smartphones, satellites, cameras, and screens—they are ubiquitous eyes, hands, and mirrors. While they offer us Godlike powers, they also reflect their users: the human beings and their world as they are. They are revealing us to ourselves. What do we see in this ancient mirror, this tunnel, this cauldron, this kaleidoscope of media technology? I think it has a very clear message: we are capable of great things. We are becoming more Godlike. We can see any point in space, we can hear any whispered message, we can cast any vote, we can say anything—and as we do so, we are gazing into a worldwide mirror that keeps updating faster than a second. For thousands and thousands of years we have been changing our cave paintings into an Internet. We have been staring into our own human record and it’s that record, that mirror–that’s given us a quality that we consider higher than mere animal. We have a visible, accessible changing record of what we have imagined the world to be. The home cave painting is now the home 3D HD Internet TV, but it’s still the same changing puddle, the same evolving mirror.
All media, from the word and the cave painting to the electronic billboard and the tweet, has been telling many things. But one message stands clear throughout history: wake up or die. That with Godlike powers comes Godlike responsibility and that the most worthwhile mind to grant access to such an immense power would have to be a Godlike love. Contrary to popular belief, a loving intelligence of that magnitude is not at all difficult to manifest: It easy when you feel that we are all sharing the same fabric–reality.
Look at your phone; know who you can connect to, who you could connect to. In that grip realize that you are not alone. You couldn’t be alone if you wanted to be. To be life is to be caught in an act of constant sharing. There is an open-faced glory to this—The undeniable truth that everything is shared. That the air you breathe now is the same air that passed though the lungs of humanity as it began to build its first monuments and cities. We are all the same universe bubbling up here. We are all the same universe, engaging in an act of endless participation. And all this technology is amplifying this process. The Internet amplifies us all into the world, into the cosmos, into each other, into every corner we can sense. We have omnipotence: we can see everything; we have omnipresence, we are everywhere; and we have the power to destroy the world thousands of times over—we are Godlike. Since 2000 we have destroyed entire bodies of water. 70 years ago we learned how to destroy the world with a single device. We have weaponized life: created beings like bacteria that can wipe out our species. And we can pollute our home so quickly and with such irreversible force that our pale blue dot will look more like Venus or Jupiter, massive hurricanes of poison. For almost 100 years we have stared in the face of the knowledge and capacity for complete annihilation and we have chosen to innovate upon it. We can see everything, know everything. We are full-blown awake. We are completely here in every way we can be. And in this most extreme presence: that now a single raised arm ripples through world into a chain of cause and effect that leads into a calamity that ignites a riot, decimates entire villages, counties, ecosystems, species. We have reached a threshold. Now any future is possible. We have the sight, the knowledge, the power, and the mind to make any future possible. And, if we wish to avoid tremendous folly, we must understand the mind that has birthed all of this.
The mind. It is the mind that wields these Godlike powers with thought and choice. I’ll say it again—that is how we direct our Godlike powers: through thought and choice. First we think. We think all day long. It creates our world and our selves and each other. It gives us a map and this map simulates the world. It simulates our idea of our selves and each other. Our ideas constitute the map we use to move, see, and act through the world.
Then we have choice. We think things up and then you chose. We make one of them happen, or we try to make one of them happen. These are our mind tools: ideas and choices. Maps and decisions. Or, if you want to be technical: simulations and actualizations. Our ideas and how we choose to express them commands our Godlike technology, our Godlike sight, our Godlike knowledge, our Godlike powers. Now ask yourself—what do you see? Look in the mirror of the human record and realize you are seeing one long story. The ideas, the visions, the choices, the innovations, the developments, the powers, the changes, the organizations—they are all one whole story. What is our story? Wars. Famines. Revolutions. Innovations. Triumphs. Goodness. Tragedies. Compassion. And corruption. But If you look closely, I think you’ll see that one of the messages, not just from that ancient tale to its digital update, but a message from the cosmos itself is one that states: you can not escape responsibility. We are the ideas and choices and our world becomes them. As long as you are alive, neither can be avoided. And with that, if you remember anything from this comment, remember this: that you are the channel, you are the media, you are the vehicle through which the future arrives. You are the landing pad for the future. It is inevitable. That’s what you do. As long as you exist, you think up and choose the way that the future happens. What happens is directly congruent with what you are. What we all have in common is that we are all the same universe and we are helplessly caught in the act of making the future—right now. There is no way out. This is the pact of life.
So what shall we do? What shall we do when we accept our power, our sight, and our knowledge, and when we realize we wield them with thought and choice: these mental tools of simulation and actualization? We look at the world and we see there is the greedy, shortsighted, brutish, dying social program of our elders and their elders—but that was before the Internet and computers. In realizing this, we must also quickly understand that we are entering adulthood with these powers, and the old program is one thought up and created before our awareness was expanded by an extra-global network of eyes and ears which showed us in living detail the consequences of our actions. That proved to us that what we thought and did mattered. That proved to us that we live in a world of ever-amassing crises, crises that don’t need to exist at all. How we are all helplessly unified. One. How we can’t be alone, we aren’t alone, that we will never be alone because we are here with each other, and that we are the very same universe we occupy. And in the utterly, utterly apparent glow of the living presence of each other awakens an evolutionary intelligent loving awareness. And that the most worthy goal is a sane and loving society. This is the great awakening we have been writing of. And it’s everywhere: from all our most insightful moments in ancient holy books, to the story of Star Trek. We write of an awakening to unity. We speak of a moment of realization. And that unity can be felt in your phones. Through your phones you can hear every corner of the planet. Some of your phones are smart enough to actually see every corner of the planet. Others are smart enough to offer the best directions to any location on the planet they desire. With a few dollars worth of plastic and sand you can touch every living soul. You can watch society unfold before your eyes. You can witness the cause and effect of our ideas, choices, and Godlike powers in real-time. Feel the reality of this constant contact. Feel the pain that’s out there. Feel the brutality that’s out there. Feel the greed. Feel the shortsightedness. Now feel the wonder. Feel the depth. Now feel the creativity. Feel the potential. Feel the love that’s out there. Feel the imagination—the soft rumble of new things coming. That is the constantly available experience that leads to a realization of our unified circumstance, and the love necessary to keep it alive.
Can we keep it alive? Can we keep this touch alive? Is there a way out of the mess we’ve made for our selves? Or are we doomed to violent, short, and horrific end? Well it turns out that this whole notion of human nature is just a bad idea that legitimizes worse ones. It is denial. How much of us still looks like a prehistoric giant crab, or a land-strutting fish—maybe I should’ve picked what most would consider to be more flattering or familiar species. Fact is we’re not human beings, we are life itself and life itself does one thing: change. The only thing that seems to have a little trouble changing is our ideas and choices. And those don’t need much effort to change at all. Not much at all really. Well, maybe a tug. Maybe a push. Maybe a broke neighbor, or a sick family friend, or maybe a starving brother, or maybe more dead families, or maybe another war, or maybe a few more degrees of heat, or cold, or maybe a few hundred nautical miles of radioactive water, or maybe just the simple knowledge that you that someone was just born into a life that will hopefully be blessed with a quick death—And that their children, and theirs will hopefully for a quicker one. And that we here now complain of oiled-down gulfs and radioactive oceans—but what those kids are getting will look like good life in compassion. A radioactive west, an oil-polluted south, a warring east, and a melting north—this they will call the sweet life. This will be the good life, if we don’t allow ourselves to become the appropriate medium for a better future to pass through. And it doesn’t take much. All it takes is feeling it all out, and that’s all your ever really doing anyway. All you have to do is feel the evolving cosmos in front of your face. And in that confrontation you may be gripped by what we could call an awakened intelligent evolutionary love. Not a perfect soul, not some holier than thou judge, but a caring awakened sanity. This is what will seize you when you are in confrontation with the inferno of life that can not be escaped.
Everyday I hear my peers saying that they don’t want this old program they’re learning. Everyday I hear them speak of crafting a better one. And everyday I see them take steps towards making it a reality. Everyday the Internet is telling us a very different story than the one we learned in school. The greatest difference is between what we learned in classes and what we’ve learned online is that there is no difference—we are all in this together. We are all connected. And we see that we don’t need this old program anymore. We are realizing that to actualize the most beneficial possible future is to allow for something far more wise to be behind the wheel of these Godlike powers. We will not be the same adults; our imagination has been unleashed at too early an age for that. We grew up with an interactive window to the whole of humanity—it’s moved from a corner of a room to the corner of our pockets. What makes us different is that we grew up with a Godtoy. And since we will continue to play with them, we can not be playing the old games of conflict, war, greed, jealousy, hatred, fear, scarcity—all the old school programs and models have been voided, because—here I have to be really straight up with you: look at yourself and look the room you’re sitting in and the world around you and realize that, as one observant writer said, “Thought is responsible for all of this.” We have thought ourselves here. From our cultures, religions, philosophies, arts, sciences, and entertainments—we have thought ourselves into this condition. We have mentally simulated the conditions we call society and then we have actualized them, extended them into physical reality. We have made our ideas real. We are the bridge between mental image and its physical manifestation.
That’s how we got ourselves here—We thought our way, talked our way, and built our self into this being. We can think, and talk, and build our way into another being. We are the bridge. We are the landing-pad. And if we don’t let go of this low quality, low sample rate old school program we will be doomed to becoming a stain on the very fabric of the history our earthly cosmos. We must let go of their Pre-net ideas.
So we must begin discussing about what one generation always does with another: relinquishment. The fundamental difference between one generation and another is what is relinquished. The old models, the old ideas, the old patterns, the old choices, the old programs of one generation are left behind as that new generation begins a process of moving beyond the old generation’s limitations and imagination. This is evolution. One generation teaches another what the world is and that new generation begins to bend and break those limits. It has new experiences, new technologies, new powers, new visions, new ideas, new words, new maps, and crosses new frontiers, and explores territories that the previous generation believed never existed. That is what furthers evolution, furthers–here’s an important word—maturation. That is how we mature, we let go of what doesn’t work anymore. So then, as we look around us and see a truly global collective suicide before us as one possible future, we are quite obviously being called to relinquish the cherished old beliefs, old ideas, old models, old maps, old notions, old behaviors, old teachings, and old societies that proceeded us. Quite clearly, they do not work. They give birth to a future none of us want, or need, or can allow. An instant and full disclosure of human ugliness was already available to us at age 15. We are not interested in a global death sentence at all. We are life itself. And in the old program, the remains of media, the political rhetoric, the reality television, the adverts, the false-understandings, the idols, the leftover bits of flickering militainment—that will be the collective suicide note clutched in our species’ dead fist. We must not be alone on this precipice—There must be hundreds of millions of attempts at civilization scattered about the ecosystems of the universe that look just like that suicide note scrawled with our faulty ideas.
The word, the idea we are wrestling with together and the word we will be wrestling with forever is “civilization.” “Spend” and “War” has been the mantra of over 5,000 years of attempted civilization and its proven itself to be no civilization all. In fact the very word “civilization” will forever remain in quote—that is with quotation marks around it—as long as the love and care of all life comes into conflict with social norms.
But the good news is now we’re on the fast track to a Telewakening. We are on this fast track because we are quickly seeing and learning that a Pre-Internet society can’t survive the Post-Internet awareness. Nothing can be hidden. It is a different world now. We are all different beings now. And this Pre-net civilization we have found ourselves born into is obviously too unstable. It can destroy itself at any moment, simply because someone coughed the wrong way, or played followed the leader a little too seriously. It’s a shameful and juvenile state of being: Godlike or notlike. Telewakening means to see that all these screens are mirrors showing you what we are and that they will only change if we change our being. Don’t look into your smartphone—feel into them. Do not pick out what you want to see, feel the whole of the Internet, the whole of reality—feel all that life. Know what it knows. What it has known. What it can know tomorrow. And feel what we can be right now. Realize that you are always home, and that your neighborhood really never ends, so it’d be best if you saw beyond the convenient contrivances that we think separate us, and make peace with all your neighbors, friends, family, and brothers and sisters now. Notice that very time you log on, you are reflecting into the global mirror along with everyone else. You are changing it along with everyone else. What you are seeing on a Facebook profile, or your Linked in, or your email, on your newsfeed, blogs, tweets, updates, and statistics is what we are. When you see the riots, the poisoning, the corruption, the exploitation, the brutality, the abuse, the fear, and the willingness march further into the abyss of it because someone said we had to, realize you are seeing your family, you are watching your family, you are feeling your family. You are seeing and feeling, what I like to call: the pressing matter of our shared circumstance. Know that you can only change the global mirror, the global pool, the world, the family, by changing what you are—by changing what is looking into it. All you can change is what is reflected into it: your choices, your actions, your ideas, your images, your love, your Godlike powers.
So I must admit that I am calling for something. I’ve been calling it an evolutionary intelligent loving awareness—An evolutionary wise loving intelligent awareness to be at the command these Godlike powers. Call it reason, call it nature, call it God, call it the cosmos, call it heart, call it empathy, call it sympathy, call it compassion, call it wisdom, call it love—it doesn’t matter what you call it, because it’s the same damn thing you see, the same damn thing you feel when you confront the pressing matter of our shared circumstance. Sometimes you hear Christians call it agapé. A great intelligent loving unity: agapé. When you think civilization, you should feel agapé. Not the nasty, childish state of affairs that parade around the world today. But the wisdom that Godlike powers demand, and that wisdom is a Godlike love. We must allow that Godlike love to emerge amongst us, within us. It is a Godlike love that a future worth living in demands. I’m not the first to point this out. I’m not at all the first see that on the horizon of the universe, there is a burning tower of light that’s beckoning life to realize its greatest destiny, its greatest quality of being, and I wont be the last. Many, many, many, many people have seen it, do see it, and will continue to see it because—it is apparent. It is and always is right here.
We see what we are. We see that we are all in this together. We know that it is the depth of what the goodness of humanness has to offer that’s actually worth our time. We know that an apocalypse now is not what we need, an apocalypse now is not the great destiny of life—It is an agapélypse now that we need. It is an agapélypse now that is the greatest destiny of life. And in that announcement I have to say that I would forgive all the wrong doings of all the people of all the world if it meant that we all realized this great destiny together—For with the Godlike powers must come a Godlike understanding, a Godlike responsibility, and with that quite naturally, a Godlike love. As Rupert Murdoch has said, “Like many of you in this room, I’m a digital immigrant…My two young daughters, on the other hand, will be digital natives. They’ll never know a world without ubiquitous broadband internet access…We may never become true digital natives, but we can and must begin to assimilate to their culture and way of thinking.” I’d say it would do the world an enormous good to follow Mr. Murdoch’s advice—Get on our level.
“A digital native is a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technology, and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, has a greater understanding of its concepts. Alternatively, this term can describe people born in the latter 1960s or later, as the Digital Age began at that time; but in most cases the term focuses on people who grew up with the technology that became prevalent in the latter part of the 20th century, and continues to evolve today.”
“Other popular discourse identifies a digital native as a person who understands the value of digital technology and uses this to seek out opportunities for implementing it with a view to make an impact.”
“Digital Natives are certainly experimenting with multiple identities. Sometimes they are recreating or amplifying aspects of their real-space identities when they go online. In other instances, they are experimenting online with who they are, trying on roles and looks and relationships that they might never dare to try in real space..”
“If the Digital Natives created multiple identities, those identities might be connected to create a much fuller picture of the individual than was possible before, spanning a greater period of time..”
“Digital Natives are absolutely right not to distinguish between "online” and “offline” identities. Increasingly, the identity of just about anyone living in a digital era is a synthesis of real-space and online expressions of self.”
“The Internet has unleashed an explosion of creativity–and along with it thousands of new forms of creative expression–on a vast scale. These new forms of expression are unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Digital Natives are increasingly engaged in creating information, knowledge, and entertainment in online environments..”
“The Internet nevertheless has tremendous potential as a creative medium, particularly by comparison with other electronic media, and many Digital Natives haves used this potential to create something more than snapshots from their camera phones.”
[“Like many of you in this room, I’m a digital immigrant…My two young daughters, on the other hand, will be digital natives. They’ll never know a world without ubiquitous broadband internet access…We may never become true digital natives, but we can and must begin to assimilate to their culture and way of thinking.” – Rupert Murdoch source]
… Esto no hace que copiar sea legal en Suecia , pero al tratarse de una religión y estar protegida por la constitución sería un paso importante para estar protegido ante la justicia, ya que existe libertad de rito y el hecho de compartir archivos es algo fundamental para los Copimistas.
Reconocen culto al intercambio de archivos como religión oficial en Suecia
“Todo el mundo debería de tener acceso a la información que se produce todos los días a nivel mundial.” es una de las afirmaciones del fundador de la Iglesia Misionaria de Kopimismo, Isak Gerson, que comenzó esta iglesia con el fin de rendir culto y manifestarse a favor del libre acceso a la información digital, además cree que la comunicación es sagrada y necesita ser reconocida y respetada por todos.
La Iglesia Kopimista afirma que más que un acto de piratería, compartir archivos es un acto sagrado, y aunque desde 2010 se encontraban peleando por reconocimiento con las instancias suecas, esta oficialización no evita que siga habiendo gente perseguida por piratería en Suecia y a nivel mundial.
Habiendo triplicado su número de miembros en un poco más de un año y ahora con el reconocimiento como religión en Suecia, la Iglesia Kopimista exhorta a sus seguidores a tener siempre una conexión a Internet para poder seguir compartiendo archivos y hacer crecer esta red de intercambio de archivos que, no podemos saber ahora, pero se podría convertir en un movimiento mundia, así que si les parece una idea y quieren unirse, pueden hacerlo desde aquí.
Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism – which holds CTRL C and CTRL V as sacred symbols – is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing.
Philosophy student Isak Gerson is such a religious file-sharer, and in an attempt to protect his unique belief system he founded The Missionary Church of Kopimism in 2010. In the hope that they could help prevent persecution for their beliefs, the Church then filed a request to be officially accepted by the authorities.
After two failed attempts, where the Church was asked to formalize its way of praying or meditation, the authorities finally recognized the organization as an official religion. The Church’s founder is ecstatic about this news, and hopes that it will motivate more people to come forward as ‘Kopimists’.
The Church of Kopimism is recognized by the state of Sweden
Just before Christmas, the Swedish governmental agency Kammarkollegiet registered the Church of Kopimism as a religious organisation. This means that Sweden is the first country to recognize kopimism as a religion.
The Church of Kopimism have tried to become registered as a religious organisation by Kammarkollegiet for more than a year.
- Since Kammarkollegiet has been strict with formalities, we had to apply three times, a happy Gustav Nipe - board chairman for the organisation - says. He continues, I think it might have something to do with the governmental organisations abiding by a very copyright friendly attitude, with a twisted view on copying.
For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organisation and its members.
Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi. Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution, says Isak Gerson, spiritual leader of the Church of Kopimism.
The Church of Kopimism is a religious organisation with roots from 2010. The organisation formalizes a community that’s been well spread for a long time already. The community of kopimi requires no formal membership. You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy. To do this, we organize kopyactings - religious services - where the kopimists share information with eachother through copying and remix.
Religious leader Isak Gerson, leader of a religious file-sharing group called kopimists has finally been recognized. Kopimism is now an official religion in Sweden. During the last half year the “Missionary Church of Kopimism” tripled its members from 1,000 to 3,000. Kopimi beliefs originated with the Swedish group called Piratbyran who believed that everything should be shared freely online without restrictions from copyright. Recently Isak has had some disagreements with the Swedish Pirate Party where many people disagree with all religions.
The ability to produce facsimiles of the abstract knowledge and creations of others is the very basis of humanity and is a fundamental product, and process, of advanced cognitive function, which virtually no other species on Earth has exhibited, and certainly never with the depth and veracity we’re capable of. If anything about any of our behaviors is sacred, it must be this.
Excerpt from documentary series “The Norden”. In this part, an American Christian who believes in a very literal interpretation of the Bible visits North Europe and is chocked to learn how secular people are here.