Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cyborgasmic (that was too easy)

This is Amber Case. She is a cyborg anthropologist. Apparently that exists now. I don't know if I am allowed to disagree with the usage of the word "cyborg." I'm fine with "cyborgization," "cybergenetics," and "cybergenics." But "cyborg" poses almost as much of a problem for me as "human" does (where "human-like," "humanize," and "humanism" don't put as much of a knot into my own fluidity of thought...all of these concepts make me think of something at least almost definite; "human" and "cyborg" do not).
I mean, this blog is a form of women's rhetoric, is it not? One of the reasons I have chosen this medium for this project is because the blog itself, and whatever personality I have that is coming off of this screen, ties into the cyborgization of myself, and of whoever is reading this. This is human communication and interaction via a computerized bubble of existence that serves as an alternate to the "natural" world. Me writing a paper, e-mailing it to myself, printing it, and turning it in would just be too "natural." So. Blog. My own rhetoric. Feel free to trample it through your own glowing one-sided screen containing the depths of a whole other universe. The point I am making is I think that language is powerful, language moves quickly, and language can potentially misrepresent. I think that calling "humans" who have I-phones, Facebooks, or lips that have been plumped with the fat from their asses "cyborgs" is damaging to the word itself and what it conveys. But to say that these things are proof of our "cyborgization" as a society I think is fair. But the "cyborg." What all that entails...I just don't think the word should be thrown around the way that it has been. To me, it feels kind of like calling someone who shares their funnel cake a "communist." It's getting general. Cheapened. Although I admire Amber Case's studies, I wish she would stop referring to so many different non-cyborg entities as "cyborgs" (I know a lot of other totally brilliant people do this, but this blog is the means that I'm using as an undergraduate girl to assert that I think that this is wrong, and it is kind of terrifying to see how quickly words get picked up and inflated just enough to stay afloat, but not enough to hold true to the original concepta anymore). Maybe cyborgization itself is crying out for the creation of a new vernacular. Perhaps it will need to be the actual cyborgs themselves who one day need to create it.
When I was initially so enraptured by the idea of the cyborg, it was because, at times, I don't have a particular attachment to being human. I feel that our society only artificially criticizes its own artifice (when it is aware of it) but keeps perpetuating artifice nonetheless to sell, and to control - right down to our very own assignment of gender roles - that the idea of a cyborg not serving to oppose the natural human, but to expose the artifice of the "natural human" by demonstrating its similarities was intriguing. I found myself caring more about the cyborg than the human, because at least the cyborg is programmed internally rather than socially as we are. I do not know why this is so much less frightening to me than the idea of being programmed socially, but it is. Anyway, with this over-intellectualization of the human experience, a few things do get in the way when I am the most honest with myself about my own feelings surrounding the loss of the "natural" "human" (which, I know, I've said that I believe that the human is nothing more than a construct). One of those things is that I am not a mother. In this young and academically-focused point of my life, becoming a mother is not something that I want for a good long time, but eventually, if I am honest with myself, it IS part of the "human" experience that I want eventually. That I crave in a way. To be a mother. It is in thinking about mothering that I feel like I am maybe able to see a little bit more into the human than I was before. That want. It's a want that I can only intellectualize and make go away about half of the time. The other times, my intrinsic programming forces me to want to create my own cynical little green-eyed Another one of these experiences is the urgency surrounding the desire for sex, and the urgency within the act of sex itself. Won't get into too much detail, but sex in actuality is a return to the primal. Although you might find yourself tripping over a Macbook charger, or trying to ignore the ring of your I-phone, sex allows the human experience to fully manifest.
Can a cyborg come? I suppose the answer is "if he or she is programmed to." With the technological advancements made in recreating nerve systems with connections to the brain, of course programming a cyborg to climax is possible. But what good is that? Cyborg foreplay? Is the cyborg going to practically faint if you make it wait too long? I'm serious. Although this is likely a fantasy for many. What about love? Affectionate love, passionate love, best friend love, the kind of love that you can starve for, lose your body for, transcend the machine for? What about the ability to lose your mind completely through music? Through dancing? Through the creation and experience of art? Through the transcendent potentiality of poetry? Through a really fantastic communal experience? A drum circle at Venice Beach comes to mind, where people dance partially if not mostly nude fireside to a drum beat that never pauses, only changes. What about being drunk, sweaty, and hot in a basement of people you have only just met knowing, somehow knowing, that a togetherness, a humanness exists. Is that programming? Is all of that programming? It all very-well could be. But is it replicable in cyborgs? At my most "human," of times, also my most emotional and least-intellectualizing, I would say no. But ask me on a different day when I have a hard time even finding the actual signifieds of the signifiers in today's cesspool of images that seem to be put in place only to keep oppressive systems afloat. I may then say, "Yes. Of course this ridiculous inorganic system is replicable, but why the hell would you want to replicate it?" Right now though, thinking about love, about dancing, about friendship, about poetry, I am saying no. I do not think the human is replicable. Not entirely.
But pretty freaking-close.

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