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Re: <eyebeam><blast> posthuman?

3 messages, by  Stephen Linhart, Eve Andree Laramee, and Robert Simon

 Stephen Linhart <Stephen123@aol.com> writes:

I agree with Duane Griffin that our circumstance is better (in an
average sort of way) today than in the much of the past.  Population
growth has resulted from increased health and safety.  That people
survive past childhood has a great potential to make them, their
parents, etc. much more fulfilled.  On the other hand, the acute lack of
clean water etc. results (in many cases) from the increased population
and from exploitation.  Undisturbed native populations and modern elites
both seem to have a better circumstance than the modern or medieval

By an "historical circumstance" I mean that the state of the world and
human endeavor is not the result of an inevitable millennial sequence
but of simple, changeable, changing circumstance.  We are not on a road
to a dark future or a bright one.  We are in the woods camping by a
stream.  It's a nice stream, but it's cold out and all directions are

- Stephen Linhart


On Friday February 13, Duane Griffin wrote:

>We wouldn't have the luxury of time, and
>certainly not the technological means, to have electronic discussions
>about the death of art (questions, I should add, that were answered
>convincingly by Yves Fissiault in 1966).

Eve Andree Laramee <wander@earthlink.net> writes:

Hello Duane, welcome to the forum.
My interest is peaked by your mention of the little known works of Yves
Fissault. His writings from the fifties and sixties not only reflected
on the impact of technology, but he created a very novel approach to 
the history and philosophy of digital and networking culture. His
analyses effectively became a process of de-analyzing which were viewed
as romantic and irresponsible.... it's historical, ahistorical, and
transhistorical. Looking back, his work links with very contemporary
strategies of intervention, the arrangements of which enter into history
only indirectly, by coming into all sorts of different relations with
different apparatuses. How do you respond to his criticisms and doubts
about what he refered to as the "Bio-Techno-Imaginary" (1966) in light
of recent discussions of encoded/embodied technologies?

Eve Andree Laramee


Robert Simon <robertms@euronet.nl> writes:

As one human who cringed for years when the word post-modern was  hurled
in his direction, my eyeballs twisted 180 degrees in their  sockets and
I felt as if legions of army ants were racing across my epidermis upon
hearing that we are already almost maybe fully or at least at the verge
of being post-human. This sounded like geeky sci-fi enthusiasm, or idle
name-coining, instead of serious futurological rumination.

Please understand that I found the brief comments by K. Hayles quite
interesting--definitely so--and I will much look forward to reading the
book. But while first I thought what was being talked about was an event
in current discourse, I then concluded it was an event in nature that
was being named. And then I thought well,  maybe it's just mostly a
semantic problem.

But it's more than that. Others have commented upon the notions of
progress at work in this supposed post-human trajectory, which is to
say, its teleological, scientistic, and ultimately (or primordially)
moral(izing) dimension, as progress here as in other such secular
eschatologies is usually a movement towards the good, the true, and the
beautiful. (If not the End and the final judgment)

To this I add a question of what is the "human" as opposed to the
"subject" or the "individual" ?, these last being infernally complex,
crossed unstable and contingent positions--taken, eg, from either a
historicist (Foucault) or anti-historicist (Lacan) perspective--as
opposed to the former, the human, which, as I said above, seems to be
close to, or part of Nature. 

As well, when I first read the comment by, and cited by K. Hayles re:
the progressive complexification of the lived/built environment helping
improve human cognition I thought this seems quite reasonable on a local
biological/perceptual level, say, in that babies and kids and even
grownups thrive with and shrivel without new stimulation. But
stimulation and complexity come in many different forms, which is to say
that for example--and putting aside the very long duree matter, raised
by others, of the complexity of the built environment 10000 years
ago--the medieval spirit-ridden world, haunted everywhere by
manifestations of god, and by the teachings, institutions, liturgies,
laws, images, priests, etc of the church, offered a built environment in
which the boundaries of the "self" and the "community"  were
simultaneously defined and dissolved. What sense do teleological,
technology-driven notions of humans finally becoming post-human make in
this context? (When I think seriously of machines and post-humans I
immediately think of the great Tetsuo: The Iron Man, but I've come to
look at that more in terms of fetishism than techno/cyber-philia/phobia,
though these are all inter-related in the film).

I certainly don't want to say that modernization--a word I'm completely
happy with--isn't a powerful force, though I prefer talking in terms of
a multplicity of processes, as opposed to a progress. Modernization--of
which technological developments are a significant part--is however a
radically uneven movement, happening at different speeds, at different
locations, meeting powerful resistances (eg recent fundamentalisms)
along the way, etc. (Thinking of combined and uneven development here,
rather than rhizomatic flows).

One more thing: when I think about what is arguably the most globally
powerful cultural technological development of the 20th century, ie
teevee, the word that comes to mind in describing the newly emergent
shape of minds and bodies--jellified--is amoebic, or pre-human.



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