File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 126

Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 10:21:51 -0600
Subject: Re: cyborg *


I have been thinking about Glen's comment about "What I am trying to
focus on is what makes something *feel* real, so that you *know* it is
real" and I don't have any real answers, but it makes think about the

Did anyone see the movie AI which played this summer?  I think most
audiences were too frightened at the thought of Kubrick's ghost
directing from the grave, like a voodoo loa, riding the horse named
Spielberg. However, I found it to be a thoughtful and engaging
meditation on both the cyborg and what feeling real is all about.  In
fact, I have been thinking more and more about the film as this
discussion continues, as well as contemplating its final scenes which
deal with the finitude of the human project and the dystopian
implications of where this all might lead.

Another movie along these line is "Total Recall" which is somewhat
cheesier, but dear to me because it is based on a Philip K. Dick novel
and Dick still seems to me as the true poet laureate of the cyborg,
simulcra and what it means to be able to distinguish the fake from the

Anyway, in this movie, all the experiences are fake and unreal. One of
Dick's jokes is that there is no need to actually go on a vacation. Just
buy the memories and have them implanted in your skull. Anyway, the main
characteric is programmed in a similar way to do a dastardly deed, but
in the course of the movie his experiences change his own perception of
who he is and as a result he acts in such a way so as to defy his own

This seems to be an allegory of what the cyborg or Pinochio must become
in order to be real.  Only in transgressing our own imposed definition
of who we are do we come to know who we are in a more intimate fashion.
That is one reason why I am still drawn to what Levinas says despite the
fact that I am non-theistic.  In the face of the other we discover who
we are beyond our own petty attempts at self actualization. There is a
desire that can never be satisfied and this is what calls us from afar
to act before we understand to realize what has never before been felt
or known.  The promise of difference as we leave forever our native land
behind. Perhaps it is that sense of mystery which eclipses both the
known and unknown that best defines the real.

Anyway, those are my own pagan holiday wishes.



P.S. - another movie is Waking Life which I highly recommend. This movie
is all about how waking life can be distinguished from a dream and how
difficult this can be. Anyway, one of the images is this. Look for a
light switch and turn it off and on.  If that doesn't work, you are
probably in a dream.


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