Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cyborg Selves III

Excerpts from the Chapter "The Cyborg Manifesto"  by J. Thweat-Bates

Her (Donna Haraway) interest in cyborgs is driven, not out of a desire to conceptually define what is human (and not), but to encourage the creation of alternative social practices – “for responsibility in[ boundary] construction.
Haraway’s posthuman discourse is organized around the central figure of the cyborg, a simultaneously epistemological, ontological, political, and moral position deliberately taken up outside the categorical boundaries of nature and culture, science and politics, man and woman, human and nonhuman.  This posthuman figure is a harbinger of the dissolution of those boundaries, a reality both threatening and hopeful.  Haraway’s hope lies in the possibility of transgressive power and potential agency of the cyborg and its posthuman kin, the threat lies in the possibility of the continuing exploitation of those who find themselves already out-of-bounds with respect to the powerful discourses defining identity with technoscience.  

We will not be able to turn back the clock.  The postmodern world will continue to push us in directions that many will fear.  At the same time medical science helps us to live longer and well, it will be by becoming cyborgian.  But it will be at the cost of altering how we look, how we live, and what is inside us.  New capabilities will transgress boundaries we thought were clear and distinct and make us uncomfortable.   We think we know who we are and we do not want to change that.  "This is not how it oughta be" we will tell ourselves.   There will be a new normal and before we are acclimated to that another one and another one. 

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