For Part One, Section One of the Final, I think that a passage from Shaw’s “Embodiment and the human from Dante through tomorrow” has a useful passage on p. 170. The passage is as follows: “At the core of the posthuman is the same hermeneutic feature that is key for humanity: the ability to understand the other” (Shaw 170). I think the passage generally sums up Shaw’s challenge of the necessity of embodiment by claiming that it does not matter so much what the posthuman looks like, as long as we can understand it in a human way. He uses Dante’s human interaction with the “trees” after his return from the afterlife as proof that the posthuman will not be about “corporeality but rather the personality and sustainability of their personality” (Shaw 170). Additionally, the passage includes a difficult vocabulary word in hermeneutic — a method of or principle of interpretation. Finally, I think this passage is especially relevant because the idea of an entity with a non-human appearance being interacted with as a human is one that we have repeatedly explored throughout the second half of the semester in werewolf texts such as “Bisclavret” and William of Palerne.
I found Zach’s presentation of his “enhanced” future self to be very interesting in both his perception of the direction science may be heading and his representation of the “ideal” qualities found in nature. The thing I found most interesting about it was the fact that he used natural elements (the best qualities from animals) to create his surgically modified version of himself. Most of the time when I think of the typical post human, especially as portrayed in popular fiction and media, I don’t think of natural elements being used to create a post human being. Continue reading
When we first began to look at the medieval texts, I didn’t really understand how the importance of embodiment was supported in the same way it was in the modern critical texts we have studied. It seemed confusing to me that highlighting the connectedness of the human to the unseen divine could result in the emphasis of a concept grounded in tangibility. A major problem for Christianity in the origin of its theology was figuring out how to relate the spiritual realm to the material world and explaining their interaction in ways that man could comprehend.
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
In N. Katherine Hayles’ prologue and first chapter of How We Became Posthuman, I am very interested in her discussion of embodiment, and how posthuman and liberal humanist thought desires an erasure of embodiment. Hayles asks a question in the prologue, where she wonders “what do gendered bodies have to do with the erasure of embodiment and the subsequent merging of machine and human intelligence in the figure of the cyborg?” (Hayles xii) This question is something I grappled with as I was reading the prologue and first chapter, and I came to understand the question in context to her inclusion of liberal humanist “notorious universality” (Hayles 4). Continue reading