As we shifted into the Pre-Modern period this week, Akbari’s book review “Becoming Human” expanded my views of the human and also the posthuman by exploring how people in the pre-modern period had similar troubles with ontological boundaries and the difficult middle. Continue reading
‘Ontological hygiene’ is a phrase whose definition has long eluded me. Though Graham talked about many times throughout her work, the concept has never fully made sense to me. However, this week, I think I’ve finally got a firm grasp on it, thanks to a reading of Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici.
In chapter 5 of Graham, there is a quote from Nelkin that says “social factors, such as social class, wealth or poverty, environment, lifestyle and diet are far more influential (than genes) in influencing morbidity and mortality rates, as successive surveys have shown.” I am curious as to how statistics like these are gathered and interpreted, and also how it is possible to know what it will be like if we do in fact make vast improvements in our understanding of genes through the Human Genome Project. To me, pushing the boundaries of science seems like a better long-term option for solving poverty and suffering than any alternatives. Continue reading
In class on Thursday we noted how both Oryx and Crake as well as The Stone Gods depict a future in which life is dominated by oppressive corporations who destroy the environment. There seemed some consensus that these dystopian worlds were a somewhat exaggerated product of literary imagination, that things most likely would not get that bad. I argue that modern American society is already as bad as the portrayal seen in those works. Continue reading
Although like Dr. Seaman noted that we are familiar with the use of words to convey a particular meaning based on the current issues in society, I also found that this part of Graham’s first chapter to be extremely interesting. Continue reading
In many ways one could make the argument that human and machine perform almost entirely the same functions. Both have the capability of storing information, responding to commands, and processing information. Both brain and machine operate by transmitting electrical signals. However, the single most distinct characteristic of humanity seems to be the challenging and unmeasurable concept of soul. Continue reading