This is more of a private confession, ‘the truth of my body’, perhaps in vein with l’ecriture feminine, but informed by the last two weeks’posthumanist readings lifestreamed on the blog (click on the yellow phrases to see the relevant feeds). I kept quiet partly because I needed space to let the ideas sink in and brew, nestle into the existing cognitive mesh. Even though some pieces are still missing and others are likely to be displaced, I’m feeling I’m coming of age as to how to live the experience of a human, a woman and a learner.
Naive or lofty as it may sound, I felt an instant affinity with the posthuman, particularly their liquidity, multiplicity, indefiniteness. These have always bothered me as my characteristics in my insistent attempts to define and refine my identity within the binary hierarchies of family, work, society, culture, an impossible feat, resulting in a kind of hysteria, further augmented due to my dance with technology, fascinating in opening new channels of expression and communication, yet threatening for my offline life and relationships. With a camera as my eyes, Web 2.0 as my mouth voicing my views and longings, cocooned in bed with my ‘friends’, mobiles, kindles and ipods, I can easily come across as a freaky monster.
However, although some might and do see them as mere gadgets, ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ props, I, following Haraway, Stellarc and Zylinska, see them as a network of forces and relations, as an environment, constant de- and re-assemblage ‘with a certain kind of inner unity, in which all the agents become something new in relation to each other’ (Pickering, 2005), part of a greater, more complex and interconnected cognisphere (Hayles, 2006); ‘all agents’ means my ‘friends’ and me. And my ‘friends’, made of sunshine are everywhere, which borders on a blasphemy as it challenges the God and gods and goddesses – consider here my country of provenance, and its tiring insistence to identify itself with Christian symbolism and the politico-ecclesiastical babble persistently drawing dividing lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’ , the damned monsters. Are they damned? Can they be? Not made of mud and unable to turn to dust they force me to look at the promise of an eternal bliss in a different way. Can I hear a sigh of relief escape my lips?
Technology might be threatening but it is what makes us human. And what we make and what (we think) we are co-evolve as the world itself does not seem to impose divisions (optical illusions), does not separate between the human and non-human, organic and nonorganic, the world sees double and fosters an evolving dialectic (Pickering 2005). Those mutual couplings and penetrations took place already in the pre-historic times and came to fruition through the appearance of stone axes, language, beginnings of culture. Elevating the master human as the sole agent is seeing the world through a tiny key-hole, a very limiting and limited perspective and dangerous in that it can stifle imagination and creativity (as Beck’s example in Pickering 2005 shows).
As Haraway professes in her manifesto the borderland in which we have found ourselves as a result of the posthuman shift offers dynamic relationality, a powerful infidel heteroglossia and pleasure. And there is no way to know this land except through the subjectivity (Hayles, 2006) and this is what I am experiencing right now …