File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 25

Date: Sat, 08 Dec 2001 10:43:17 -0600
Subject: Re: more on cyborgs and the inhuman


I will provide a critique of Badiou later.

Before I had a chance to respond, I read Shawn's fine email and thought
his thoughts echoed many of my own.

But to briefly extend the discussion, let my add the following comments. 

You write:

>we are simply human subjects and the metaphors used are endlessly >reductionist. 

My problem with this is contained in the adverb 'simple'. For me, what
is most characteristic about the human subject is its capacity to form
various idealizations in the attempt to transform its environment. Some
of these "ends in view" are external objects, but others impact upon the
human subject more directly in terms of how it sees itself and the
meaning it gives to the value of its life and action.

Such a characterization of the human subject means that something called
religion loosely called always remains as a potential for experience. 
For what I just briefly described includes religious idealizations as

In a time like ours, when the tradition patriachial religious
institutions are undergoing a crisis of legitimation, it is a fair
question to ask, what if anything might take their place.  I evoke the
cyborg because it moves the entire discussion into a new key.  Instead
of entering into neo-traditional reapproachments to religion, the epoch
offers us the promise of a dynamic entrance into novelty.

As I said before the cyborg offers us the moral equivalent of religion
to the extent the it could take these energies and idealizations of the
old religion and activate them in a new way, one that offers some of the
better, life-affirming aspects of religion without their negative,
hierarchial elements. 

Certainly, for the global politics of the multitude to emerge it is
necessary for a positive conception to emerge of the possibilities the
new emerging planetary information culture offers. Certainly, Negri
himself isn't shy about evoking figures such as Augustine and Francis in
talking about this.

The promise of the cyborg is that it could transform religious energies
in a way that understands both technology and science more responsibly
and less like a fetish.  It also allows us to embrace technology in way
that is more libidinal and less puritanical, which allows us to be
actors, playing more diverse roles in a vast, myriad of relationships 
which the present workaday with its frozen identities cannot even begin
to comphrehend, it would allow us to pacify the struggle for existence
and slow things down as well (the cyborg is ultimately a slacker, a
cyberpunk with mirror shades.)  

The cyborg comes to emcompass for me much of what I mean by the
postmodern is its liberating sense.  Instead of the old metanarratives
with their eschatologies, it situates us in a new relationship to both
time and pleasure.  The future is now the world is a place where both
bliss and justice may ensue here now everywhere.  The cyborg is our neon
buddha nature.

The cyborg is an idealization of our situatedness within technology in a
way that allows us to create a new image of who we are and what we may
become.  If this is reductionist, I say let's make the most of it.



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