Simulation and Simulacra

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

Jean Baudrillard, the cultural theorist and philosopher known for his work on postmodernism and poststructuralism, created a essay on simulation and simulacra that illuminats the idea of the cyborg. Simulation and simulacra sees everything either as a simulation or a simulacra. Imitation comes to mind when one thinks of simulation. When one thinks of simulacra, imitation that stands alone or an imitation of an imitation that dissipates. Cyborgs are simulacras. They indeed represent imitations of humans but they do not exactly form a copy. The cyborg can be understood as man's way of copying himself but that copy continues to be distinguishable to the real person. If humans are cyborgs, then the Platonic idea that one never sees the true form has come true. If one is a cyborg, one lives in a copy that may stand alone or may not. The world one lives in could be that simulation or simulacra. The matrix deals with this question. Within the matrix, machines get so advanced that they take over the humans and in effect make them cyborgish, Humans at this level are able to jack in and out of the matrix which in itself is a virtual reality. In the real world, machines control humans in these corn stalkish tubes and grow them as well as feed off their energy. They find humans as a never ending supply of energy. The machines are simulacra because they essentially take the place humans had as the dominant species but do not resemble the original.

History of the Cyborg: Index

Course Website cyborg Body & Self

Last modified 30 December 2006