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."