In Part one, Section 1, the explaining the passage section of the final, I think it could be useful for us to respond to a passage from Bynum’s chapter. In this chapter, Bynum explains and dissects the many different wolf-human and metamorphosis stories that have existed throughout history. She displays the many differences between Ovid’s Lycaon and Marie’s Bisclavret towards the middle of the chapter. I found the following passage very thought-provoking and I think it lends itself very well to this section of the final.
“Whereas Ovid’s wolf carries traces of a former self on his skin, there is in Marie a suggestion of over and under, inner and outer, of a person under the shaggy wolf…” (Bynum 172).
(*In my opinion, there is a possibility that one might want to include the sentence that follows the above passage, simply for clarification, but I did not choose to include it here.)
So, in response to Julia’s presentation about the movie Zombie Honeymoon, it reminded a lot of what we have talked about in previous classes with the majority of the texts. The fact that love often gets mentioned, that a lot the texts have some kind of love story narrative, and that often the most human of characters are described as the characters who know how to love other people. Continue reading →
In my paper, I will explore the argument that an embodied consciousness, in conjunction with generally agreed upon characteristics; a sense of spirituality and the expression of emotion and the appreciation of art, is what makes an entity human. I am also interested in examining the narratives surrounding these concepts, that is, the way the narratives and discourse strengthen or hinder this argument. Continue reading →
Much of our semester has been conducted around the very illusive word ‘embodiment,’ whether in context with N.Katherine Hayles and her temporal debate on when does a person become machine or vice versa? or in relation to the spirit’s manifestation within the body as something entirely alien and foreign to earthly bound rules, there has always been argument to spare concerning this term. Exactly when I thought harmony was lost to the perfection of technology and the preservation of a species, I was rewarded with a return to the earth in the most dismal of methods. Finally enlightened, this week’s readings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kemp guided my critical eye to focus on a different phrase, entombment. Continue reading →
I think it is accurate to say that science inherently maintains a degree of righteousness, it is quite easy to use the empirical nature of its practice to deflect criticism of its relative and subjective motivations/directions. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of science, but there is truth to Graham’s somewhat harsh critique of the supposedly universally beneficial Human Genome Project, and I think her criticism stems from my earlier assertion. Continue reading →
After watching the epidsode 13 from season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, I am interested in the way the writers of the t.v. series explore the theme of uncertainty in this epidsode. Unlike many states of human emotion we have learned to alter or cheat through technologies, uncertainty is one of those feeling in the realm of technologically untouchables. Uncertainty just is, and the human mind is incapable of willing it away. Uncertainty lingers, and leaves one unsettled. As it is such an obscure emotion, it is a wonder why human beings often act on it. Though acting on uncertainty seems unethical, the President Rosalind on BSG attempts to act on this unclear emotion throughout the show, demonstrating how helpless man can be in spite of his many resources. Continue reading →
I am struck by the religious aspect of the television series, Battlestar Galactica. After viewing episode 8 of season 1 from the series, what has stuck with me is the way the cylon approached the topic of religion during his interrogation. The cylon said to his interrogator, “to know the face of God is to know madness,” before explaining that God created cylons to punish man. His idea presented an interesting theory about man’s use of technology – that man’s role in the development of technological advances is but a role, a predestined task to influence a predetermined demise. And the man pulling the puppet strings is none other than God, the creator. Continue reading →
In Andy Miah’s A Critical History of Posthumanism, we are warned against the commercialization of medical enhancements by Francis Fukuyama. He specifically cautions that the increased privatization of more and more of the crucial sectors of our society could result in the debasement of the fundamental human quality that Fukuyama calls, Factor X. While I believe Fukuyama is perfectly justified for having such a fear, I think he is missing a crucial piece to the puzzle that is our future selves. Privatized medicine, or whatever area in question, does not necessarily mean a loss of human dignity, a loss of Factor X. In fact, I think that if everything was privatized there would be a resurgence of this Factor X. If someone stands to profit off of something, they will absolutely make sure that people can buy it, that it is available, they care, hopefully, about the product they are selling, the thing that their livelihood is made from. Private industry is not the demon they are being made out to be, and to assume that the future economy will be ravaged with overpriced biomodifications is a bit fantastic. Barring some New World Order taking over, society today is actually on a pretty good path, I think increasing access to public and higher education across the globe should be our primary focus. I believe a more educated society would have a hard time becoming the commercialized automatons that Fukuyama fears we will turn into. People will always want to buy the latest stuff, but that doesn’t mean they want to blindly waste their money. They want a good deal, and if someone can provide them with one, they walk away satisfied. There’s no need to fear the future, after all, we’re the ones shaping it, aren’t we?
This week’s reading in Hayles discussing Philip K. Dick’s work towards conceptualizing the human/android I found really broadening. In this seventh chapter, Hayles works to show us how through thematic and psychological tropes, Dick’s understanding of the future human challenges our preconceptions beyond the idea of embodiment. A lot of Hayes analysis works on understanding the blurring of lines between the interior and exterior world (specifically in the context of capitalism) and the formation of the schizoid android reappearing in Dick’s works from the 60’s. Continue reading →