Apparent Subjectivity

Sebatian Kearse '10, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

Looks can be deceiving, or so the phrase goes when someone tries to explain what they mistook after a rushed glance. But looks can in fact confuse you when there are so many ways to disguise one self. With the advancing levels of science and technology, we can fool our friends and neighbors into believing false allegations. If you are severely burnt, surgery can graft a part of your butt skin onto your face, and the burn becomes a scar. Cosmetics and clothes can make a lower middle class citizen seem like they have enough money to spend on something other than food and shelter. Ergonomics in buildings and other constructs try to catch your eye amongst the thousands of distractions everyday.

In the anime movie, Ghost in the Shell, the idea that you can alter you body as a means to fool others is obvious. In this version of the future, people have completely merged with technology to change their appearance. Many characters appear to be human at first glance, but cables, extra fingers, and other contraptions pop out of some part of their body and interface with a computer. For those who know nothing of the series, they will find Major Kusanagi a normal human being until she rips out some plugs from her neck. The following scene then reveals that she is a cyborg with the song Making of a Cyborg playing at the same time. Her creators fooled you so they must be doing their job effectively.

For centuries, humans have cared about their appearance, a relatively unimportant issue when compared to all the other problems in the world. When did appearance become such an important issue? When you create a world where your body is free to manipulate and control, you begin to lose apart of yourself. You become apart of the faceless mass that walks down the street everyday. What can be said of the individual when modern society and the media controls your actions? Then these corporations own your very existence.

Course Website cyborg Body & Self Me++

Last modified 12 November 2006