There is a psyco-philoso-Historical-whatever explanation that says that humans usually call “god” the most sublime and worth sensation they can perceive or experience. That is why through History all societies had some kind of religion which reflected the cultural values of its people. In a religion of warrior people, die while fighting is the path to god. In a religion of poor people, being poor is the path to reach god. And so forth.
So, that is where Isak Gerson comes to play. He is the founder of the Missionary Church of Kopimism, a religion that basically preaches:
- All knowledge to all
- The search for knowledge is sacred
- The circulation of knowledge is sacred
- The act of copying is sacred
This are common values to certain people of today, so it makes sense something like that to exist, if we consider that explanation psyco-blablabla-etc as true. In fact there is no way to condemn, after all, History can prove us that life is hard but it is harder if you are stupid, so knowledge is always good.
The controversy, however, begins when their speech extends this to all areas, including all forms of copyright.
They make it very clear how important communication is and how internet should be used, defending copy, download and upload of everything for everyone. There is even histories relating members of the religion to websites like Pirate Bay.
Personally I believe that information, knowledge, is really the secret to humankind survive against itself and whatever else that may show up, or happen. ETs, meteors, nazis of another dimension, a super flu, what ever that may happen, it will only be overcome by knowledge.
On the other hand, I think this kind of values are not the same values that most people in the world have. Going deeper, this is an issue that goes beyond what your ant Mary believes, in her house, it is an issue connected to the economic system we have in the world today as a whole.
Seriously, now you should get something to drink ‘cause I will go very far
As a first point (I have two), discussions about copyright are always complicated since all forms of entertainment as well as all technological innovations, in this type of society we live, are connected to a economic system and this economic system states that a idea is a good idea only if it can return money.
Technology does not evolve, new products are not imagined, new medicine is not developed, new movies and games are not created, if there is not a possibility of making money with it.
If you share everything completely you kill the possibility of profit. If no one pays for the movie, if no one pays for the games and so on, in a money based society, how is it going to be possible to produce all these? In fact, if we forget the profit, the money is necessary as means to pay everyone, because all the people who worked need to eat, to live and all that.
And before you dress up as a crazy person believing you should go to the streets screaming for change, it is pretty important to notice that the method of money, of buying, of property, is these days the method that works best and attends best the cultural notions of most people and it was not something imposed by someone. It all came to be by an evolution of the collective mind through History.
To give you one example, I don’t think that the collective mind of today is really interested in having the search for knowledge as something sacred. Most people study during a period of their lives and then never again and it includes all that people with Phd who very often know the theory of a very tinny subject and also that old man who believes he knows everything because he already learned everything, one day, 30 years ago. Most people of today are not interested in forever learning.
As a second point, it is necessary to understand that, from a scientific point of view, copyright and patents are very important.
Imagine that you own a shoe company and than after 10 years of investment in research you find out that if you put inside a shoe a insole that is green with blue stripes, the person who wears this shoe will be able to... anh... let’s say, float.
With no copyrights or patents, there is no warranty that your competitors won’t do the same thing and if they to, all the investment you had during 10 years to learn this mysterious secret about insoles was a cost that only you had, since you competitors could simply get the result. Then, despite all the help you provided to human kind with your floating shoes, you lost money and perhaps the loss can be to great and your company may be forced to close doors. The consequence would be that in this world, any company would not want to create new things to avoid closing doors.
On the other hand, if we imagine a world with copyrights and patents, your floating shoe is yours and no one can copy your idea for some years, let’s say, 20 years. During these 20 years, only you would sell floating shoes based on insole color technology. This way, the consequence is that in a world like this, companies would be more interested in investing in development of new things that would give profit and, as a second effect, would also push human society further.
Of course it is a very simple example, but the great issue here is to comprehend that this works not only to the next shoe someone will invent, but also to the next medicine, to the next chemical process and even to the next source code.
That is the reason why defend total liberation of all copyrights without understanding how the game works can be a serious problem.
To close it up, I think it is very interesting to notice how the fact that our society is based on money end up being the biggest problem if we want to have a world with constant evolution in human mind and technology. In a world based on money, copyright and patents, the right to own information, can not be ignored and this impossibility while makes the system possible to exist also makes it slow an very often unfair.
Even so, I think it is very positive the promotion of this type of thinking about knowledge and information sharing, but I also think it is very important to understand how big is the world and how complex and full of people it is. Changes to new habits, cultural values and so on, even if the new ones are better by the light of reason, do not happen magically.
To have a society that doesn’t need money, a society with responsibility with the whole more than with the one and so forth, it is still necessary a big evolution in many fundamental values of global human culture.
Until that day, a religion like this one can be curious and interesting, but I don’t believe it can be more than that, specially if this religion itself does not understand how out of place the change it defends can be. The new way of thinking they defend is part of a process that does not happen by a simple decision, as if it had a on/off button. It could be much easier if it was.
The website of the Missionary Church of Kopimism