File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 115

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 23:57:04 +1000
Subject: Re: Homo Prosthesis


Is a cyborg  a human with mechanical parts?  Arms, legs, hearing aid,
pacemaker, heart?

A computer-brained robot  that behaves like a human?

A designer human contrived by manipulation of DNA?

Prostheses, rocket launched nukes, sticks and stones, bows and arrows,
swords and battering rams,  how could humans have become what they are today
without them?

Non-cyborgian self-evolution happens to species who don't use tools, for
they change their habits when their environment changes, or become extinct.


> Eric/All
> Some comments....
> EXcept we are not self-evolved any more than an amoeba is... and the
> imagery is deeply delusionary. Perhaps, as I said in the cyborg posts,
> some idiot will start experimenting, probably with disastrous
> consequences, with human dna/rna and the results will be inherited by
> its descendents.At this point some human beings will deserve the term
> 'self-evolved' but not before....
> Your definition of cyborg is interesting because all you appear to be
> doing is substituting the word 'cyborg' for 'human'  - as if the human
> is the authentic subject and the cyborg is the human in cultured state.
> But this definition of the cyborg is deeply different from the normal
> post-modern definition which incorporates the non-human into the
> definition of the cyborg, because unless I am mistakern your
> understanding is rooted in the human. I'll return to my dissagreement
> with your reading of the inhuman which you seem to be attempting to read
> as something that would approve of  your notion of your becoming a
> 'cyborg', in a later note. I, of course, deny that I am a cyborg. I am
> however someone who functions in, and understands the nature of the
> socio-economic system. Curiously my take on Badiou was that his project
> is precisely to put philosophy and ethics into the position you require.
> Not all avant-garde movements failed - some were so successful that they
> changed the world and/or changed the way we look at the world.  Damian
> Hirst  is simply exchange value written large across the cultural frame
> - the reterritorialisation of the avant-garde.
> Incapable of thinking.... its almost christmas... and late..
> regards
> steve
> Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:
> >All,
> >
> >Let Hugh's words stand as the emblem here- "this self-evolved
> >anthropoid, the hairless ape who walks erect, reaching for the stars."
> >
> >>From Johann Gottfried Herder to Desmond Morris, such imagery has been
> >commonplace. As Hans Joas points out in his book "The Creativity of
> >Action" Herder early on emphasized the glorious weakness of being human.
> >Joas writes about Herder's theory as follows:
> >
> >"The human being is initially regarded as a deficient creature, in that
> >he is inferior to the animals in terms of strength and reliability in
> >his instincts. The corollary of this inferiority, however, is that the
> >sensuality of the basic drives of the human being are concentrated less
> >exclusively on a particular segment of the world. The opportunity of
> >being open to the world is a consequence of being less specialized."
> >
> >I believe it is possible to develop an anthropology from this that sees
> >both technology and indetermination as being the fundamental
> >characteristics setting the human apart.  From this perspective,
> >technology no longer appears as an external tool such as a hammer, a
> >vaccine shot or a computer interface, technology is immanent in who we
> >are as human beings.
> >
> >An analogy might be made with the crab that periodically extrudes her
> >shell. Humans create a "plastic shell" composed of language and culture
> >that allows them to remain indeterminate, yet this shell is not so much
> >extruded as it is attached.  That is why the human might be better
> >described as Homo Prosthesis.  It is also the reason why we have always
> >been cyborgs.
> >
> >Recognition of this condition allows us to revision the old religious
> >stereotypes, embrace our indetermination and through the aesthetic
> >(which is not merely art) extend the nodes of our perceptions as we
> >intensify our experimentation. The Avant-Garde is not merely a history
> >of failed movements and manifestos; it is a shift that witnesses the
> >event because it does not attempt to program time. "Being prepared to
> >receive what thought is not prepared to think is what deserves the name
> >of thinking." That is what Lyotard means by the avant-garde.  Not Marcel
> >Duchamp; not John Cage; not even Damien Hirst!
> >
> >Lyotard, in "The Inhuman" implicitly recognizes this condition of being
> >human described above. He writes: "We should first remember that if the
> >name of human can and must oscillate between native indetermination and
> >instituted or self-instituted reason, it is the same for the name of the
> >inhuman.  All education is inhuman because it does not happen without
> >constraint and terror."
> >
> >We all bear the marks, the scars, the ravaged tissue of where the
> >prosthesis has been inscribed and implanted upon us. That is why we will
> >always be cyborgs.  In bearing witness to this fact and to the "infans"
> >within us who has never been humanized, we can begin to confront the
> >complexity which now ravages the planet and whose ill effects Hugh has
> >described so well.  Today's politics can start from no other place and
> >neither can ethics.
> >
> >eric
> >
> >


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