Cyborg - The Posthuman Condition.

The End of Humanity?

Like most other `endings' like the death of God, Truth, History, the end of the human is a poetic way of saying that a pardigm line, a phase shift, has been passed. It's much nicer to write that `God is dead' rather than `The dominant structuring of the world is no longer measured against the objective category of God' - it's a question of style, which is no empty matter.

Humanity - the Enlightenment project - has been made a sub-category of nostalgia within the machine of the pan-capitalists  and the process of prescience has been left to `crack-pots' like para-psychics, cult leaders. The End of Humanity, while sounding scary, marks a shift and not an absolute. If `modern' civilisation can be seen as a product of the Enlightenment and the rise of `the power to be one', then the current shift suggested by the phrase `Posthuman' takes us into uncharted waters; the power to be many.

Pan-Capitalist: With the decline/development of Russia and China into Market Economies, Capitalism is everywhere and has no series contenders.

The Posthuman Cyborg

The assembling of the words `cyber' and `organism' nicely shows the forces at work here. `Cyber' is from Cybernetics, the study of communication patterns, robotics and data-space. `Organism' is an interesting choice, it already assumes that `human' is merely one case of `organism', and not a privileged case at that. So Cyborg does not even necessarily include `human', or only as one possible instance.

As mentioned `above' in notes on Manuel Delandas work  it's conceivable to see the development of the human as a first stage in the evolution of robots or Cyborgs. It has been proved theoretically that machines are capable of reproducing through machines, that they can assemble themselves in processes independently of human input. With the advent of artificial tissue and bone growth (a recent development) there is no reason at all why such an `ubercyborg' race could not develop. The subject has been extensively examined in fiction and film, perhaps the most notable example being the blockbuster Terminator series.

Manuel De Landa: Contemporary Technology Critic
Theory into Practice.

The cyborg principle is well under way to becoming reality. The Military machine has the most to benefit here, and the creation of the `wired' soldier is only one step off being a true cyborg in that the grunt can take the stuff off at the end of the day. It's debatable whether, while he's packing the gear, a grunt is a cyborg, but certainly it's getting close. My main point is, however, that the cyborg is an ellision between the machine and the organism, in much the same way as the self is an ellision between identity and the network; it's a phase shift into a new space, and it certainly has the potential to leave the `human' well behind. Whether you think this is great and think that the unaugmented body has had it's day  or not is kind of irrelevant unless you're active in the feild in a practical or theoretical way. Opposing the cyborg principle is like trying to outlaw modern art, try it if you can... better to be on the inside perhaps, to join the `Virtual Class?'.

The most renown artist exploring this theme is Stelarc. While he used to confine himself to hanging by fish hooks in lift shafts, in later years he has embraced computers and the internet in a big way, hooking himself up in various ways. A Very Serious Artist.
The Will to Virtuality.

Arthur Kroker and Micheal Weinstein, in their book "Data Trash", assert the existence of a `Virtual Class', those who are connected and have the `will to virtuality'. In their world, the Cyborg is only a step along the way to the desire for a purely virtual being, an effort to escape the `meat' of the human flesh entirely.

Among their striking observations of a post-human future, they identify the modern/Pomo histories as those of a `culture of recline', a laying down to the ultimate virtual species that we have been the `gene' pool for. Relating their ideas to some of mine `above', the will to virtuality is a strange mutation of the fascist attractor. If, in Nazi Germany, the people were willing to bear the weird constructions of the state - the patchwork of myth, technological brilliance and perfect marketing - in order to get their paradise (and by implication necessitate an arbitrary `other'), then what does the our conception of a virtual paradise mean? Are we in the process of empowering a `Virtual Fuhrer', a post-human one, whose mandate allows it to use us as `the other'?

If this is so then it's a very weird topology in which we are both the people AND the enemy. Are we so disgusted with ourselves that we need make ourselves obsolete? Do we have to sacrifice ourselves to get a better life?

- oh no, my true nature revealed!

Lines and Folds - a theory of the aesthetics of being.