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Moveo ergo sum

I am a human and as such I am rational, autonomous and have free-will, right? Yet, why do I so often tremble, unsure of myself and world around me? Why do I feel I am on a constant quest, unable to settle down, unable to be ‘one’, but undergoing transformation and fragmentation, me being an echo of past selfs and a sum of a number of present selfs and would-be selfs?

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Among different threats related to the globally rising prevalence of digital technologies, Hand lists ‘liquefaction’ of traditional institutions and practices. The humanistic stability of the self could also be subject to this process. Bauman (2000) pointed at  uncertainty as pervasive characteristics of liquid modernity. He illustrates this further by referring to notions of chaos, fluidity and ambivalence and describes a liquid modern man as a nomad or a tourist, responsible for weaving his life himself. Being in  perpetual motion and executing the freedom of one’s own making have become a mode of being.

The collapse of stability and the never-ending changes a human undergoes through the course of their life seem to be at the forefront of posthumanism (based only on preliminary reading), which also conceives the posthuman as an ‘emergent ontology’, thus emphasising the importance of becoming, hosting multiple identities and perceiving the world from a number of perspectives.

Again rapid digitisation and the transformation of culture into digital culture is possibly instrumental in this process of posthumanisation of a human(Hand 2008) or even their cyborgisation.

Is this liquefaction liberating or threatening in regard to our agency and the choices we make, our free will? If none of the universal truths can be trusted any more in the times of supercomplexity and if reality is to be observed through a number of perspectives, perhaps the notions of agency and ‘free will’ lose their validity, especially when multiple identities are at stake? It appears a whole new mindset is needed …

 

Liquid Man

Pic by Chris Wardle-Cousins.

 

~ by Ania Rolińska on September 25, 2011 . Tagged: , , , ,



2 Responses to “Moveo ergo sum”

  1.   Siân Bayne Says:

    I quite like Margaret Shilrick on this point about where the question of ‘liquidity’ in posthumanism leaves us, in termsof politics. She says:

    The modernist focus on a humanist politics of norms and identity gives way to a politics of hybrids and transformation. And the point here is that although final meaning, full presence and fixed substance are all deferred, the promise is not one of unproductive, limitless fragmentation, but rather of dynamic new incorporations…. The postmodern challenge to humanism is innovative and creative rather than destructive.
    Shildrick, Margaret (1996) Posthumanism and the monstrous body. Body and Society 2 (1): 1-15

    There’s lots of theoretical writing out there which counters the dystopian thinking we see so much of in the popular culture…

  2.   Ania Rolińska Says:

    Thanks Sian for the reference. I must say that the ambivalence and uncertainty characteristic for posthumanism appeal to me and fill with threat at the same time, similarly to the interaction between the tech and human. Still an unsolved puzzle. Although I’m feeling baffled, I perceive this ‘crisis’ as something positive and generative. The lifestream unfortunately cannot show the ferment of thoughts in my head during the sleepless nights …

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