File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 100

Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 15:12:19 +1000
Subject: Cyborg sentiments


Eric wrote:
>...but as this discussion continues I have become  aware that I really want
to accomplish is a kind of philosophical  anthropology..

Here are some thoughts that could be clothed in philosophical terms if
anyone wants to.

Homo-sapiens, in primitive societies, was a primate possessing language and
a large brain.  Humans became accessories to their species-evolution.  From
infancy to adulthood, individual destiny is a product of genetics and
life-experience, from earliest memories to latest theories, beliefs,
meanings, intentions.

Social imaginary:  Worldwide, the dominant social institution is still the
nation-state.  The League of Nations failed, the United Nations failed to
bring world peace.

In recent decades 20 to 40 wars are usually being conducted around the globe
combatants whose weapons are supplied by the highly industrialized nations.

The U.N. is a majority of world nations who comprise an exclusive club.  The
sovereignty of each member nation, within its geographic boundaries is
acknowledged by other members.

That sovereignty  includes a monopoly on violence and official death - on or
off battlefields, in declared or undeclared wars.  Exercise of these
prerogatives is normally sanctioned in each nation by its religious leaders.

Although there are great differences in religions and rites, in Western
countries populations of agnostics, atheists, skeptics, and believers, still
participate in christenings, weddings and funerals.

The social imaginary:  "To change something in the minds of people,
that is the role of an intellectual."(Foucault).

Can the minds of the masses be changed so they will not respond to the acts
of sovereign nations (or terrorists) who send their members into combat and
likely death with the blessing of religious leaders?

Today, in a world gone global there is a significant risk that enormous
damage to the populations of many countries may result from existing stores
of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of  mass destruction.

A second risk of global proportions is uncontrolled infection by AIDS and
other deadly disease of natural origin.

A third risk is intolerable pollution of air and water resouces, destruction
of timber, mineral and agricultural resources.  This risk extends beyond the
boundaries or control of separate nations.

The question is:  Can mankind agree upon plans to govern the globe, to
eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, to combine in curing or limiting
the ravages of disease, to stop destruction of the global environment?

That is the task for this cyborg, this self-evolved anthropoid, the hairless
ape who walks erect, reaching for the stars.



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