File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 127

Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 21:56:33 -0600
Subject: Re: cyborgs and the inhuman


I thought you had me at a disadvantage. I could't find my copy of the
Inhuman. I simply have to get more organized.

Ah, there it all too human of me!

I have always been struck by the sheer ambivalence of the way Lyotard
uses the term 'inhuman'; haven't you? Certainly, he sometimes uses it in
the sense that you mean, as the "inhuman nature of the system which
wants to remake humans closer to the inhuman."

But why does he also favorably quote Apollinaire and Adorno who say,
respectively, "More than anything else, artists are men who want to
become inhuman." and "Art remains loyal to humankind uniquely through
its inhumanity in regard to it."

It seems to me that two concepts of the inhuman are at play here. There
is the complexity of development that leads to inhuman ends and there is
the infanta, the inhuman who resists the process of humanization and to
which the artist must subsequently bears witness.  

It is in this latter notion of the inhuman that straddles the no mans
land between human-inhuman, animal-machine, where the cyborg appears
like Pinochio.

Unless you are arguing as a luddite against technology, (is this your
position?) it seems that the cyborg is a necessary concept as the
micro-serfs begin to take responsibility for their machinic desires. 

The recognition that language is always already a form of technology is
to recognise that far more is involved here than "the
military-scientific complex, criuse missiles, intelligent mines and
smart bombs."

My point, Steve, is simply this. I am not necessarily adverse to using
pulp science fiction to further the development of philosophy, I refuse,
however, to limit myself to Dona Haraway's use of the concept.  

The cyborg, like Badiou's Immortal and Deleuze's desiring machines,
shows that something more is at stake in ethics beyond alterity and the

Or to put the question another way - what is your stance on technology?

Are you for it or agin it? or do you recognise this is the wrong way to
formulate the question?



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