Life as a Cyborg

Lester D. Stone, EL 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University, 2006

Humans were once thought of as the lastline but the cyborg looms in the distance. People are considered cyborgs today in the technical sense of having electronic pacemakers, artificial joints, drug implant systems, implanted corneal lenses and artificial skin. Those people make up 10% of the population. Another even higher percentage of people participate in jobs that make them a metaphoric cyborg such as a computer keyboarder, joining in a cybernetic circuit with the screen, the neurosurgeon guided by fiber optic microscopy during an operation, and the teen game player in the local video game store. Scott Bukatman named this condition Terminal Identity. This terminal identity pierced the way humans have lived. This information age brings humanity into a more mechanical state of being. Just imagine a world where thousands of people interacting with some electronic device, never really speaking with each other, the human becomes a zone of mindless automotion, A male or female these Frankenstein monsters become repaired when they wear down and thrown to the junkyard when obsolete. Already mentioned, the Japanese and the continuous obsession they have for robots, machines and of course cyborgs grows. If one focuses on cyborg narratives, it can be broken down into three phases. There first is adolescence. In adolescence, self-consciousness about ones body is at the peak and that body is in love with itself. The second phase is sexual maturity in which finding a partner and negotiating intimacy take place. The last phase is reproductive where an heir becomes the goal to carry on a legacy. The first dis/assembly zone happens at adolescence where a limb joins to a torso, appendage to trunk. The second dis/assembly zone is where the human is plugged into the machine or at the interface between the body and computer network. This zone happens in sexual maturity. The final zone focuses on the gap between the natural body and a mechanical copy. These stories bring out the future of humanity as well as parallel humans to a certain extent. As the Cyborg Handbook claims, "Cyborg looks to the past as well as the future ".(p 322)

History of the Cyborg: Index

Course Website cyborg Body & Self

Last modified 30 December 2006