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technorganic environments

SOURCE: Thomas Goppel


In an excerpt from their 1997 book Street Trends (published by HarperBusiness), Janine Lopiano-Miscom and Joanne De Luca, the principals of New York-based youth marketing firm Sputnik, examine "technorganics," a segment of today's youth culture which centers around the creation of a lifestyle that incorporates both the modern and the primitive.So has Technorganic Recordings.

Travis Somerville is thinking about going underground. But unlike his '60s predecessors, who ran off to communes to become independent from mainstream society, the 26-year-old computer programmer intends to do it in a different way: He's not going to drop out; instead, he'll link up.

Somerville's goal is to live a minimalist lifestyle in a self-created "community," one that is eco-friendly and techno-progressive, yet located physically within mainstream society. How is this possible? Along with other local programmers, he is setting up a movement, a cooperative community that can sustain itself and have enough power (by linking up as a virtual community) to lobby the government or spread whatever the movement's message will be.

Does he have a name for this community or movement? No name. Just a symbol to get it going.

"It would be peace and autonomy," Somerville said, making a V with his fingers and then crossing them into a closed fist.

What exists today, and will grow even stronger tomorrow, is a new generation of young people not unlike Somerville who are utilizing technology to create traditions, customs and a sense of family and community.

Unlike their counterparts in the '60s, who challenged everybody to drop out, the youth of the '90s will go down in history as challenging everyone to link up. The basis of this new counterculture is raving, netting and moving together as a community. This is the technorganic movement.

The concept of community--the way we perceive it today as well as in the nostalgic sense--is expanding because of technological advances. The new communities that exist in cyberspace are strong, global and growing larger every day. They are propelling creativity, entrepreneurial endeavors, and political and social debate.

One thing needs to be stressed: although technology is key, it is not the driving force of this movement; the knowledge gained through technology is what empowers these new communities. Technology serves as the conduit, it gives access to those who want knowledge and a forum for those who carry the message.

The Internet helps traverse time and space, and thus fills the younger generation's need to expand and connect into a communal-like consciousness. Learning to tap into technology will pull those from different cultures together into Internet communities consisting of citizens with a unified purpose of developing new forms of networking and support.

The technorganic movement is fueled by free thinkers who believe it is time to seize the power and change what they perceive as wrong. Hackers/cyberpunks are the underground messengers of new thought. With technology as their vehicle, these electronic philosophers operate quietly in the shadows, their messages pirated over the wire or posted on a BBS. In essence, technorganics are a hybrid of old school hippie, New Age traveler and ecstatic raver. They are equally at one with nature and computer: The generation that grew up with computers in its classrooms and Gameboys in its pockets naturally has a much higher comfort level with technology than its predecessors. To them, the familiar computer is an organic tool: a basic, natural means of communication.

Technorganics use their analytical side to work with technology--the computer--and inject into it their sense of spirituality. They use this approach in business and in their personal lives. By day, they may look like pacifists, and work within the mainstream; but by night, they are existentialists, hacking into the latest programs and creating their own virtual communities, such as Wellnet.

The ideas of the technorganics may seem alien to some of their peers and other segments of the population, but their creations and impact will likely create a real benefit for all who spend time online.

Programs designed and run by these young entrepreneurs will center around the idea that interaction with the computer should be more personal.

In the future, we can expect to experience more of the online concepts pioneered by [technorganics]: calming sounds, sensory stimulation and meditational "karma" screen savers programmed to give users periodic breaks. As we spend more and more hours in front of our machines, these types of virtual therapeutic devices will become a necessity in keeping us "fit."


Technoshamanism is a futuristic concept that revolves around the idea of merging one's spiritual self with everyday technological advances. The movement does not discourage individuality, nor is it about rejecting the powerful advances of technology and taking up a Unabomber-type mentality. The idea is to bring the whole human being (body, mind and spirit) into the technological age.

Members of today's youth culture are moving toward techno music in search of an altered consciousness and communal sense, and they are embracing computers and new-found information. Yet, as a result of society's lust for self gratification, they are reliant on alternative substances (ecstacy, mushrooms, pot, etc.) to reach those spiritual, enlightened heights. Levannah, lead singer of South African group Qkumba Zoo, believes this dependence on outside stimuli to reach enlightenment is only a transitional phase--in true technoshamanism, a higher level of consciousness is reached organically (i.e., without drugs) through the celebration of technology, such as the electronically fused tribal beats her band practices.

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