File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 99

Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 19:32:16 +0000
Subject: Re: cyborg *


I think that where you suggest that a cyborg relates to a 'widening of 
the subjects field of experience' mediated through technology,  there is 
a problem. Namely that  this definition of the cyborg includes all human 
and a huge range of non-human beings. In the human aspect of the issue - 
an Ethiopian child vaccinated by an aid worker is it a cyborg? In the 
non-human - Is the chimpanzee who was taught a language and then passed 
on that knowledge to its children a cyborg?

The problem may be that I am having trouble with the universal 
application of a concept 'cyborg' - surely the definition if it means 
anything should be restricted, forced into a reductionist mode and made 
more discreet.

Perhaps the question is what relationship between the human and the 
technology would construct a 'cyborg'? The elements of the 'Cyborg' 
should logically be restricted to being inside the great ephemeral skin. 
(Except what of the VR units enabling a person to attend a meeting 2000 
kilkometers away). If the concept has a meaning I would restrict it to 
human-computing technologies existing either inside the skin or on the 
boundaries between the skin and the world.

Theorists often rightly claim that a long dead persons work is a 
pre-cursor to their own - for example Lyotard's discussion of Augustine 
- this places the contemporary theory in a historical relationship. But 
to claim - language, vaccinations or the prosthesic extensions to the 
body as cyborg - does seem insufficently reductionist.


fuller wrote:

>Also with the cyborg discussion isn't it also possible to think of a cyborg
>in terms of a widening of the subject's field of experience (seeing in UV,
>hearing ultrasonic,etc), and also increasing the mediated nature of that
>which is already experienced, through many more layers of 'technology' (in
>which I include ego-based rational thought, as a culturally constructed, or
>programmed, technology).
>Something which I have been thinking about is the apparent irreconcilablity
>of an ethically sound perspective (informed, self-reflexive, etc), and one
>that is indebted to immediate experience as pleasurable, painful, etc like a
>young child for example, where the latter seems undenialbly more 'real'.
>Badiou seemed to close this gap to some extent, however, a cyborg
>subjectivity, which increased the mediation of experience, would that not
>continue to reinforce dominant precepts and ethical shortcomings?


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