Lester D. Stone II '06, The Cyborg Self, Brown University, Fall 2006

Cyberpunk fiction brings ambiguity to the human self. Gender is questioned. Sex, memories, and other humanistic traits are also questioned. Ghost in the shell for instance, sheds new light on reproduction as well as memories. Memories in the movie are similiar to body parts. A person can basically remove their soul from their physical body and put that soul in a mechanical body. Can a person's memories be removed and put into a container? Motoko and Bateau are prime models for this soul moving into different bodies. The soul leaving the body and entering another has been presented in science fiction like the Exorcist. Policing Memory ANd Identity by Ian Jones questions memory as portrayed in Ghost in the Shell. The most obvious reference points to the garbage men's disscussion about controlling the wife through ghost-hacking. What the garbage men doesn't realize was the Puppet Master was in control the whole time and that his mind was altered from the hacking. The puppet master shadders the usual notion of self-awareness. To be able to express your feelings an opinions and kill people was first presented in 2001 space odyssey with the computer Hal. Somewhere in the book and the movie Hal became human. If machines are self-aware, does it mean that humans create life? The puppet master, the program made by section 9, arises like Frankenstein's monster and immediately starts taking over the facilities.. The mind it owns has a complex weaving and deep manipulation through its usage of humans. Humans ghost hack other humans while secretly controlled by the Puppet Master. AI manipulating humans brings a fear that has long been part of cyberpunk. It is through these surges of feelings that the puppet master starts to seek Motoko. Sex becomes an ambiguous state through the final interactions between Motoko and the Puppet Master. The Puppet Master and Motoko eventuallymerge becoming a new being all together. This replicates the cyborg way of mating. Instead of asexual or sexual, the viewer is shown a whole new level of reproduction that surpasses anything in human society. Blade Runnerhttp and BubbleGum Crisis I need a link for [my article here] deal with sexuality in a slightly different form./P>


1. Ghost-Hacking brings a whole new issue to Cyberpunk fiction. The idea that humans are able to hack inside the ghost of other humans. The problem comes in the side effects attributed to this. In the same way as merging, Ghost-hacking is the next step. Is there some of this manipulation today?

2. Self-Awareness in the machine has been an issue for many years. The newest incarnation is in the Animatrix. It reveals a society in which robots demand equal rights to humans. This results in a full scale war with the robots winning. Can Cognition arise in mechanical beings?

3. Mating becomes merging in Oshii's world of Ghost in the Shell. If merging between beings of cybernetics exists, can humans create life?

4.Memories being used as body parts represents the long tradition of humans selling themselves for money. Being able to put your mind in a different body sheds a whole new meaning to the word body swapping. Do memories really bring a new soul into a whole new realm?

5. Does Buddhism have a role in Cyberpunk Fiction with the notion of achieving a higher plane?

Course Website cyborg Body & Self

Last modified 20 November 2006