Friday, October 31, 2008

a very rough draft of a conference paper

This is a rough draft of a paper I am presenting in like a week. Any and all comments are encouraged. Remember this is very rough, full citations and all that is not in yet.

[I]t will eventually be necessary to reconsider the history of this law and to understand that although animals cannot be placed under concepts like citizen […], they are not for all that without a “right.”
- Jacques Derrida, For What Tomorrow…

I’d like to begin with a thought of digestion, for that is exactly what is at stake in this paper. I’d like to hear the word in its etymological valences, as that which is rooted in separating and arranging. At the same time that digestion is a method of separating and taking apart, it is also a process of assimilation, of how you take something in. Digestion is both separation and assimilation, and it is there that this paper you are about to take in takes place. I begin this way with every thought to the more physical digestion we will be taking place after this panel.
So digestion is a relationship, is a process that can only be conceived as a relationship of the most fundamental sort, what we take into ourselves, and also what we separate from ourselves. And these things are one and the same. So digestion isn’t just about assimilation, but also is about disavowal. I want us to look at this relation of disavowal to a particular place, to the disavowal that Derrida claimed to be the most fundamental disavowal of all. What I want to pay attention to is the disavowal of the animal inside of us, a phrase I want us to hear in its double meaning: Both the animal flesh that many of us digest, but also our very beings as animals.[1]
This relationship of disavowal to animals is, first of all, and most primary, organized by the ways in which we kill animals. I want to make this clear, the primary and fundamental way we relate to animals is the ways in which we kill them. In order to highlight this point, let me briefly cite some statistics that begin The Animal Studies Group’s Killing Animals. Over one billion animals are killed for leather worldwide every year. We kill animals for science and medicine, for recreation such as hunting and blood sports like dog fighting, for cosmetics, for fertilizer, for pet foods, and for jewelry and other forms of decoration. And none of that counts our indirect ways of killing animals by destroying their habitats, leaving out poisons, hitting them with cars, and killing them while harvesting crops. However, by far the most common way we directly kill animals is in the ways we consume them. ). For example, in the US, 45 millions turkeys are killed for thanksgiving, 6 billion broiler chickens are raised and killed every year, a hog sticker could cut as many as 1,100 throats an hour. I don’t know how to highlight for you that to kill animals is at least our most frequent if not also our most fundamental relationship. I also don’t know how to properly draw your attention to the horrors of particular kinds of relationships, of factory farms for example. Except maybe to let it go on without saying, knowing perfectly well that everyone here knows that factory farms are horrors and that our primary relationship to animals are death and disavowal.
Death and disavowal. This applies to the other animal inside of us as well, the animal that we are. Derrida, in discussions of the animal, referred to remarks made by Adorno about Kant, specifically that the animal in an idealist system plays the same role as the Jew in the fascist system.[2] Or as Adorno put it even more forcefully elsewhere, “Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.”[3] Now, I don’t want you take Adorno to mean that somehow our current treatment of animals is ethically analogous to Auschwitz, this isn’t simply PETA’s old ad campaign of a Holocaust on your plate. Rather Adorno is making a different, more subtle and more convincing argument, about what allows fascism and Auschwitz to exist in the first place. It is because we hate, or to use Adorno’s word “insult”, the animal in ourselves and others that we, we as a society, are able to control and to kill. It isn’t enough to turn certain others into animals in our discourses, but we have take these others; these racialized, colonized, others; and make the animal we see in them an object of experimentation, an object of administration, and an object of slaughter. In order to prove this claim, I wish I could spend more time with story and story of the ways that we have first had to see the animal in those others before we could colonize, enslave, and/or kill the other. Hopefully two quick examples might suffice (recognizing the perpetual insufficiency to any number of examples at proving a point).
The first is brief note left to us from a Sonderkommando at Auschwitz, Zalman Gradowski, “Forget your wife and children, your friends and acquaintances, forget the world you came from. Imagine that what you are seeing are not people, but despicable animals, animals which must be eliminated, for if not – your eyes will grow dim.”[4] Also, consider George Carrington, who recorded his travels in Northern Queensland, remark in 1871 that the Aborigine “has come to be considered in the light of a troublesome wild animal, to be shot and hunted down, whenever seen in open country.”[5] Surely, this last comment calls us to remember that Aristotle understood war to be an extension of hunting. As Aristotle claims in his Politics, “The art of war is a natural art of acquisition, for the art of acquisition includes hunting, an art which we ought to practice against wild beasts, and against men who, though intended by nature to be governed, will not submit; for war of such a kind is naturally just.”[6] For Aristotle we should hunt down wild beasts, and that logic extends to humans that refuse to be governed. Indeed, Carrington explains that this logic undergrids violence of British colonialism. It is here, in this double disavowal and death of the animal inside of us, that the lynchpin that holds the biopolitical and the thantopolitical together exists.
That last sentence begs a simple question: What do I mean by it? Indeed, biopolitics has come to be one of those words that seems to have lost specific meaning through a proliferation of often contradictory use, much like the words modernity and postmodernity. And yet, I, and it seems those on this panel, insist upon this word, and the thought of this word. So let us take a moment to hear this word, biopolitical.
Often accredited to Foucault, the word biopolitics was actually coined by the Swede, Rudolf Kjellén, in his 1916 book The State as Form of Life (Staten som Lifsform).[7] This is the same man that coined the term geopolitics. Kjellén's was one of the more prominent thinkers of a group of German language political theorists; including Friedrich Ratzel, Karl Haushofer, Karl Binding, Eberhard Dennert, and Edward Hahn. What ties these theorists together is first a belief in the organicist nature of the state (the state was a living entity for these thinkers) and the belief in lebensraum (living space). The term lebensraum, originally coined by biologist would get one of its most sustained treatments under Ratzel, who argued that the German people (the Volk) needed a living space. To acquire this living space the German state needed to be responsible for expansion, and also for cutting away the parasitic parts inside the state. Lebensraum is cited by Hitler directly in Mein Kampf, and forms the basis of much of National Socialism. Within this notion of Lebensraum we see the connection between Nazi's imperial ambition tied to its internal fascisms. Indeed, Lebensraum is a borderline concept, bringing inside and outside into a zone of indetermination. Kjellén radicalizes all of this, bringing geopolitics as being on the same level and totally co-terminus with ethnopolitics. One cannot have a geopolitical vision that is not simultaneously a vision of a particular people. Combined with the thoughts of the other thinkers mentioned earlier, the state, as a form of life, must protect itself. It must cut away the diseased parts, it must exterminate the parasites, it must do all these actions to guarantee its health as a state and the health of its people. This was biopolitics for Kjellén. And you can see this thought in Goebbels diary entry that stated: “We travel through the ghetto. We get out and observe everything in detail. It’s indescribable. These are not human beings any more, they are animals. Therefore, we have not a humanitarian task to perform, but a surgical one. One must cut here, in a radical way. Otherwise, one day, Europe will perish of the Jewish disease.”[8] So when I use the word biopolitics, I always want you to hear it in relation to these fundamental categories of fascism, racism, imperialism, and colonialism.
When Foucault introduced the term to a different set of readers in the 1970s, it was used to describe a period of a new category of power, of the binding together bio-power and anatamo-power. Biopolitics stitched together the disciplinary power over the individual body to a broader governmentality of the life and health of the population. If earlier versions of power rooted in sovereignty had the power to let live or make dead, than biopower’s supplement had the power to make live and let die. This concept of biopolitics would be picked up by many diverse thinkers, particularly several major Italian philosophers including Negri, Esposito, and Virno. And most influentially, at least in the Anglo-phone world, was the encounter of the concept of biopolitics with the work of Giorgio Agamben.
The term biopolitics emerges in Agamben’s work when it begins to take on a specifically political orientation with the Homo Sacer series and the works surrounding those books. The concept of biopolitics takes on a decidedly ontological character under Agamben, and is rooted in the political and legal thought of the Greeks and Romans through the present moment. Furthermore, biopolitics comes to be understood as nothing less than the relationship between two Aristotelian Greek terms, bios and zoe. Both are Greek words for life, preserved in such terms today as biology and zoo, zoe refers to unqualified life. The life held in common between the gods, humans, and animals. Bios, however, is qualified life, life that refers to only humans, specifically to the qualities of life that makes someone specifically human in the first place. There exists a zone of indistinction between bios and zoe, a fundamentally empty and kenomatic space, that allows us to constantly redraw the line between what counts as zoe and what counts as bios, between what counts as discardable life and what counts as life worth living. The metaphysical operator that constantly draws and redraws these lines is termed the anthropological machine. As Agamben put it, this machine “functions by excluding as not […] human an already human being from itself, that is, by animalizing the human, by isolating the nonhuman in the human[.]”[9] It is here, in this play of bios and zoe, that I wish to bring up the question of human rights.
Agamben entitles one of the chapters of Homo Sacer “Biopolitics and the Rights of Man,” obviously mirroring the title of the Hannah Arendt chapter much of his commentary is devoted to, her title being “The Decline of the Nation-State and End of the Rights of Man.” Agamben is positing the strong relationship, indeed as he describes it a “secret solidarity”[10] , between the violence of the biopolitical on one hand, and the existence of the rights of man on the other. Agamben sees from the beginning, from the very title of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the entanglement of biopolitics and rights. The title itself seems to say a declaration of the rights of zoe and bios, and does the term Man subsume citizen, or the other way around? What is the relationship between man and citizen, and do we not find in this relationship those who are bearers of rights, and those who are not? Moreover, as soon as there was a declaration of rights, immediately there were commentaries and debates about who to include in the rights, and who to exclude: Were women bearers of rights? Children? Foreigners? This concept, of a bearer of rights known as a citizen becomes something completely different from the concept of a subject to sovereignty. If you were born in the lands of a sovereign, you were a subject. If you came into the lands of the sovereign you were a subject. All were subjects, and subjects equally. The concept of the citizen introduces entirely new questions, with entirely new logics: Who counts as a citizen? And if you don’t count as a citizen, what rights, if any, do we have to show you? We know introduce a logic of inclusive exclusion: What parts of the people are not really parts of the people? What parts of Man are not really men? These are the questions that are specific to the nation-state. Nation itself comes from nascere, meaning to be born. So from birth you are now immediately summoned into a biopolitical order, and these questions of the nation-state concern exactly the same sort of questions the Nazis were interested in. The Nazi slogan, Blut und Boden (blood and soil), is really just the apotheoses of the questions of the nation-state. We can see here in America that these questions are still very much a part of our culture in our recent presidential election. You cannot be President, that is to say the executive with the power to execute in both senses of the term, unless you are a naturally-born citizen. What does that mean? That means you have to be a citizen of either blood or soil. Therefore, the very concept of rights, including human rights, immediately, from birth, draws us into the logics of biopolitics. Those of us who wish to fight sovereign violence are implicated in this arcane pact if we insist upon the rhetoric and logic of rights to resist that violence. But what if there isn’t just a secret solidarity that Agamben proposes, but a secret genealogy of rights that stands to radically oppose the anthropological machine upon which the biopolitical is carried out? I speak here, of course, of animal rights.
There exists a wide-spread mistaken notion, even among otherwise brilliant scholars that I respect a lot, that animal rights represent merely an extension of human rights towards animals. For example, Rosi Braidotti’s opposition to animal rights is based almost entirely on here belief that rights are the domain of humanity, so demands for animal rights really are nothing more than a becoming-human.[11] This is, however, incorrect. Not only were their several French revolutionaries that also fought for animal rights, but also several prominent advocates for human rights, like Thomas Paine, who were advocates for animal rights and welfare.[12] However, it goes farther than that, and I’d like to turn towards Hannah Arendt’s “The Decline of the Nation-State and the Ends of the Rights of Man” in her Origins of Totalitarianism that we mentioned earlier. In her discussion of why a more generalized human rights were unable to supported before WWII, she makes this claim: "Even worse was that all societies formed for the protection of the Rights of Man, all attempts to arrive at a new bill of human rights were sponsored by marginal figures-- by a few international jurists without political experience or professional philanthropists supported by uncertain sentiments of professional idealists. The groups they formed, the declarations they issued, showed an uncanny similarity in language and composition to that of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals. No statesman, no political figure of any importance could possibly take them seriously[.]"[13] And that seems, on the whole, to be a true statement. Many of the groups that supported human rights, especially those that fought for the rights of children, were originally groups organized around fighting for animals. Here in the United States, for example, Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Towards Animals. He also was the first person to prosecute a case of child abuse, and founded the societies for the prevention of cruelty towards children, the first such societies here in the US. And we could go on and on, seeing similar histories of the Royal SPCA, of Dutch animal rights groups, and more. A full scholarly history awaits to be written fully connecting the ways in which animal rights groups and human rights groups have cross-created each other. But from a philosophical and political stand-point, some conclusions can be drawn.
That animal rights groups would support human rights, particularly those humans like children who are most excluded from the political order, makes sense. Animal rights already represents a valorization of zoe, a refusal to insult the animal, even the animal inside of us. Animal rights doesn’t just stop there, but radically brings into question all the assumptions of duties, obligations, and citizenship that normally come with rights. Derrida has repeatedly recognized that the notion of animal rights would force us to rethink those categories of duties and obligations that since Kant has come with the notion of rights.[14] If we are to keep human rights, we must see them, if not as an extension, at least fundamentally rooted and co-evolved with animal rights. Human rights cannot become another category by which we get to define the human, and determine that those that violate human rights are now somehow outside of humanity. Rather, human rights must be seen as a continued affirmation of the zoe; as a refusal to continue to operate the anthropological machine. I cannot then affirm a certain set of declarations, however interesting, but rather the most minimal, and yet, most profound right. The same right that Hannah Arendt could bring herself to recognize, a right to have rights. It is only then, when all zoe has a right to have rights, that we can end this death and disavowal.

[1] I want to therefore distinguish myself from certain arguments for vegetarianism that takes as its foundation human exceptionalism.
[2] See specifically The Animal That Therefore I Am pp. 100-105. For other references to this passage from Adorno, also see “Fichus” in Paper Machine and “Violence Against Animals” in For What Tomorrow….
[3] As quoted in Charles Patterson’s Eternal Treblinka. P. 53
[4] From Gradowski’s “Writings” in The Scrolls of Auschwitz, p. 175.
[5] Cited in Alison Palmer Colonial Genocide, p. 44
[6] Politics, book I, Ch. 8.
[7] Much of my understanding of the historical nature of the word biopolitics comes from Roberto Esposito’s Bios, see especially pp. 13-24
[8] Cited in Dan Stone’s “The Holocaust and ‘The Human’”, in Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History,, p. 239
[9] Agamben, The Open, p. 37.
[10] Agamben, Homo Sacer, p. 133.
[11] See Braidotti, Transposistions, particularly pp. 106-112.
[12]For at least some of this history, see Tristram Stuart’s The Bloodless Revolution.
[13] Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 289, 1954 edition. Emphasis added.
[14] For one example, see the epigraph of this paper.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Footnotes are not ready yet. Any and all criticism welcomed (I guess). Also, need a title for this section besides just "Introduction". Thanks.


“I have come to tell you about my former life as an ape.” That is the opening line to Kafka’s “A Report to the Academy,” a bizarre and compelling tale about an ape, Red Peter (“A name only an ape could have given.” ) who learns to become human. Kafka’s parable stages an odd meeting, a talking ape who is addressing a faceless and voiceless academy. It is in many ways this lecture that serves as the basis for another lecture, this time J. M. Coetzee’s Tanner lectures. In The Lives of Animals Coetzee gives a Hamlet like quality to his presentation, in which the listener would be given a lecture within a lecture. And why do this? Well there are some obvious similarities between Coetzee and Elizabeth Costello who is the lecturer in The Lives of Animals. A famous novelist, who is something of a recluse, invited to give a lecture in which that person talks about something more philosophical than directly literary. Indeed, the Tanner lectures are dedicated to discussions about our moral values as humans. So every time that Costello tells us that she comes here as a novelist, rather than a Kafka scholar, or a philosopher, or a researcher of any sort, we are clearly being asked to hear Coetzee saying the same thing. You can almost hear Coetzee saying, “Don’t judge me by those standards.” Which isn’t, I think, his implying that we shouldn’t render a judgment on his work, but rather, we have to judge him by the criteria of a novelist advancing an ethical argument. Not as a philosopher, or even as a comparitivist researcher of literature; but as a novelist and a fabulist. What does that even mean? To judge an ethical argument by the criteria of a writer?
First of all, and perhaps most importantly, that we cannot simply take the lecture parts of Costello’s argument and run with them as the only parts of the story that matters. We are given characters and a setting who all interact, and we have to follow those interactions. And we are given three main characters here, the narrator, her son John Bernard, his wife Norma, and most importantly we are given the character Elizabeth Costello herself. And as a story, what we are dealing with is dynamic elements. Death contrasted with life, fullness of being contrasted with exhaustion and old age, ethics that bring us to relate to each other contrasted with alienation, and this is surely not an exhaustive list. However, these antinomies will concern my present discussion.
The first antinomy concerns the distinction between life and death. This is, in some way, the most fundamental theme of this lecture story. We kill animals in order to eat. We juxtapose their death with sustaining ourselves. Now certainly we don’t need to eat animals in order to live, but when we eat animals, we do so through a practice that is essential to life. This both brings in, while simultaneously contesting, Costello’s comparison between the Nazi death camps and our own slaughter of animals. She explains that what happened to the victims of the camps were able to be committed because the Nazis first rhetorically turned them into nothing but animals. It seems simple, but important, to remind that the Nazis didn’t refer to their task as the Holocaust, that term would come later, but rather they referred to it as The Extermination. Not in just in the sense of a killing, but in the sense that we call in an exterminator when our house in infested with rats and vermin. So the Nazis turned the victims of the death camps into animals, and when we describe the actions of the Nazis, we also use terms that turn the Nazis into animals. We can understand why it was so important for the Nazis to turn their victims into animals. Animals are not citizens, they do not have rights, they can be killed but they cannot be murdered. People do not mourn for animals, and if they do, it is considered, as the narrator himself expresses, simply “sentimental and jejune”. But why was it so important to the rest of us to make the Nazis into animals? Perhaps that is too simple of me, but it was to let humanity off the hook. Humans did not commit the holocaust, rather these beasts did. These were not crimes by humans so much as crimes against humanity. And if you can commit a crime against all of humanity, than you must be outside of humanity yourself. This doesn’t just let humanity off the hook, it lets us off from wondering if we could be Nazis ourselves. It is our very humanity, the knowledge that we are humans and not murderous beasts, that keep us from having to question what line separates us from the Nazis. And indeed this is part of what makes the claim that there is some analogy between the death camps of the Third Reich and the abattoir of the factory farm so polarizing, (the word that Costello chooses). It isn’t just that we are somehow belittling what happened to those in the camps, but it is often that it places those who engage in killing animals today to be Nazis. But, when I see the old PETA ad, “A Holocaust on your plate”, I think it isn’t just polarizing, but also perhaps philosophically weak. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner of literature, Primo Levi, wrote that for certain victims of the camp, “It is hard to call their death death.” Indeed, Hannah Arendt, while writing about the horrors of what happened, made a rather interesting remark. She said that was what shocked the conscience was not just the death, not just the amount of dead, but how it was done. She referred to it as “a fabrication of corpses.” And following up on those insights, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben said of the camps that it was a place “[w]here death cannot be death, corpses cannot be called corpses.” Does this not sound at least a little familiar? Where else do have corpses we cannot call corpses? Death that we hesitate to call death? Where else is there an engagement with the production and fabrication of corpses? What has emerged in factory farming is a completely new ontology; an ontology of the damned. With factory farming we have a new mode of production that radically recasts the relationship between life and death. This ontology is at the bottom of thantopolitical support of biopolitics. We will not be able to unravel modern mass violence without first unraveling the ontology of the factory farm.
The wounds of this modern violence brings us back to a story of an ape giving a report to an academy. In the story Red Peter explains that he receives two wounds when he is captured. The first shot that left a scar on his face, and the second shot that left him castrated. These wounds form in the story the first moment that Red Peter can really remember, but they form so much more. The first wound is where Red Peter gets his name from, and the second wound he constantly reveals to others demanding that it makes him less of an ape and more of a man. These traumas are the basis of name, species, and memory. His identity is based in a time of trauma, and the time of trauma is always a repetition. Those who suffer from trauma experience the trauma over and over and over again. The memory of trauma is never in the past, but always radically in the now. It is the past as present. It is not the wound of Red Peter I wish to talk about here, but I too want us to stay in the time of that wound as we turn our attention to the wound of Elizabeth Costello. I don’t mean, here, a psychical wound, but rather the wounded way in which she interacts with the world.
She is a woman whose interactions always carry a certain sadness, a certain devastation. When praised for her vegetarianism, she refuses the praise and sadly declares that she is merely trying to “save her soul.” And, at the close of the story, we see the tears in her eyes. It is this wound, this trauma, that separates and constantly separates her from others. This brings us back to the antinomy about ethics. We see throughout The Lives of Animals that a desire for an ethical relationship to animals leads to an alienation that specifically interferes with an ethics of breaking bread. That is to say, the ethics of hospitality, and of being a host or hostess. When we talk about ethics towards others, there is a trace of hospitality. Remember, ethos, the Greek word for ethics, refers to our habit and our habitat, toward where we live. Therefore, ethics is always a question for how we treat others where we live, a question of our hospitality. We see again and again in this story how the issue of breaking bread emerges. First, when her grandchildren are eating elsewhere because their mother insists on them eating meat, and Costello prefers (insists?) on not having meat when she eats. We are also presented with the problem when the university hosts a dinner for her lecture. And again, when we see the note from Abraham Stern who refused to break bread with Costello because of her comparisons between the Holocaust and the factory farm. Three times in her debate with O’Hearne, (1) When he references that a community with animals is as impossible as a community with Martians. (2) When Costello, referencing a philosopher who refused to believe that animals deserved moral consideration, said she would “not fall over [her]self to break bread with him.” (3) and her son’s observation at the end of the debate, where he stated that the debated ended on a note of “acrimony, hostility, bitterness.” (p. 164).
So this wound that Costello carries with her is one that isolates her. And it is a wound whose source she explains at the end of the story. It isn’t just that she opposes how we treat animals, and it isn’t just that she feels we are all complicit in a great, historical atrocity. One gets the feeling that all of that would make her feel alright, or at least on the right side of history. No, her wound comes from a fear that she is “making mountains out of molehills.” She worries she could be wrong. But again, it isn’t just that. Indeed, her real source of distress seems to come from a fear, not that is wrong, but that she is right. And that rightness means that the people she loves and cherishes, not some strangers, but her grandchildren, are somehow destroying their souls. This is a terrible moment of moral vertigo. It would be so easy if Elizabeth Costello was concerned about creating another category of the clean and the unclean, the damned and the saved, the righteous and the wicked. But what we have is not separation, but rather contamination. It is this thought of pollution that animates her discussion of Jonathan Swift and Gulliver’s Travels. She posits the question: Wouldn’t it be nice if we could decide if one was a god or a beast? And if a beast, we have that innocence. And if a god, we have that purity. But what if, rather than a god or a beast, we have a human, all too human existence. Neither beast nor god because both beast and god. And we are left, not with the clarity of good or evil, not with the safety of clear and crisp moral argumentation (remember her uncomfortableness with “therefore” statements), but an ethics that will not give us righteousness but might be the basis for something else.
If we are to fight the wound of the ontology of the damned, then we must escape another ethics that creates the saved and the damned. We must focus instead on this issue of contamination and pollution; escape purity to have an ontology of the common. The wounds of identity that Kafka’s Red Peter suffers; of memories, of a name, of species; must be subjected to the positive deconstruction of a fearful involution of a becoming-animal. It is only at this site of contamination and becoming that we can begin to both deactivate the ontology of the damned and produce an ontology of the common.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A question on technology and technique

In Security, Territory, and Population Foucault draws a very helpful distinction between technology and technique. I was hoping someone with a french copy might be able to tell me what are the french words that are used in the text.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On two thoughts of posthumanism

This post was inspired by a couple of different things, mainly a few conversations with my brother, and this article which argues that transhumanism has a moral imperative to 'uplift' non-human animals as well as humans.
The conversation with my brother had to deal with the problem of saying you study something called posthumanism (like Cary Wolfe does) when you study critical animal studies.
So here is an email I wrote to my brother with some of my thoughts on these issues:
"So you know how we discussed before that there is a certain tension (we can be hip and academic and refer to it as a libidinal economy) between different figurations of the cyborg. So in Haraway there is a desire to bring us back into this world. To make sure we don't engage in either nostalgia or escapist fantasies of being goddesses. She wants to engage in a critique of science and technology that falls into none of the agrarian fascism that pervades Heidegger's kritik of technics. On the other hand you have someone like Stelarc (or like the original meaning of cyborg) and it is obvious that figuration is about a desire for transcendence. That is about a desire for immortality, a desire for leaving community and also for exploring space and completely cutting ourselves off from the earth and the flesh.
This second desire, which often goes by the name transhumanism as much as posthumanism, seems to affirm techne over physis. But more importantly, it seems to affirm bios over zoe. It is dedicated to a human power to utilize techne to destroy the zoe. To make us into pure bios and exterminate the zoe. In this case transhumanism isn't at all a posthumanism, it is rather humanism on speed, terminator humanism, hyperdrive humanism. You get the drift."