File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 32

Date: Sun, 09 Dec 2001 22:43:15 +0000
Subject: Re: more on cyborgs and the inhuman

The concept of the cyborg did not remain within the area where it was 
supposedly about "scientific and intellectual responsibility" rather it 
was and has been used to further the increasing purchase of the 
'inhuman' on and in our societies. The 'political myth' Haraway is 
attempting to produce has already failed - fallen before the work of 
those proponents of the human future as being inextricably linked to the 
cybernetic machines. Consider in this light the work of Charles Gray who 
constructs the future and present as being a 'Cyborg Citizen' (see book 
of same name 2001)  in which we will be saved by the free market from 
centralised control and the state, but I'm not sure how.... A cyborg in 
this text is not simply an augmented human but also the 'inhuman' figure 
that supplants and replaces all things human including the end of gender 
and of course the end of flesh.

I'm not engaged in some 'sectarian battle', this is a mailing list on 
which 'we', collectively explore concepts, occasionally we deliberately 
misread them and place them in unstable contexts to see what happens. 
Whilst this is, of course, a micro-political activity on the whole I 
function 'politically' elsewhere.

As for Haraway's text - it is precisely its manifesto structure that 
makes the text pointless - perhaps in California/USA in the depths of 
the various silicon valleys such naive utopian visions may hold true, 
but the last such text I found useful was written by Guy Debord - 
Haraway is a supposedly  expert writer on subjects related to evolution 
and she has ignored the lessons of the theory of evolution.


>I'm at a loss. It seems to me that Haraway's work - among others we have
>been discussing - is, in fact, primarily about scientific and intellectual
>responsibility, and that the notion of the "cyborg" is an attempt to speak
>of the not-so-simple business of being "simply human subjects." The error
>of reduction seems to be most serious where "the cyborg" takes on some
>status (as, apparently, the insufficient or impermissable response) apart
>from particular uses of the terminology. I have anarchist comrades who
>react only to the term - which offends them in some way - rather than
>engaging with Haraway's consciously provocative use of it. They end up
>lumping socialist feminists and free market technophiles willy-nilly - and
>saving their attack for fellow socialists. I wonder if Badiou - and
>perhaps you - are engaged in some similarly sectarian battle. As for the
>"cyborg or goddess" question, Haraway herself has expressed some
>reservations about it - in part because it was a bit of a dig at another
>faction within feminism at the time when the "manifesto" was written. I
>respect her concern about divisiveness, as i respect what i take to be
>fairly extraordinary care in presenting her "cyborg" as anything but a
>simple reduction on the basis of which any of her audience could rest in
>good conscience or certainty of identity. There have been few promoters of
>restless, deeply responsible thought among the more or less
>"postmodern" crew who agitate as well, i would say, as Haraway. Derrida,
>in his own convoluted way, comes close, but the power of the
>"manifesto" was, in large part, that it was a *manifesto* (with all of the
>overstatements and bootstrap attempts that go with that form) without
>being some new statement of fundamentals. Or so i see it. 
>Perhaps there's no room for further discussion. I find the limitations of
>Ferry and his ilk plain enough, but find the attempt to apply a single
>critique to them and various poststructuralists unconvincing and perhaps
>politically unfortunate. The International has been split enough in the
>past. We have, i think, never recovered from the period around 1870. I
>wonder to what extent i am simply hearing another form of the
>"materialist" dogmatism of Marx in his more divisive moments, or of
>Shawn P. Wilbur       
>  |
>  |         


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