“If I’m not me… who the hell am I?”
How can information be disconnected from the body? The message is tied to the medium… the medium might change, but you can’t have one without the other. The message must be conveyed by something… Does this tie into the idea of the posthuman? That we are something beyond human… that our “message” has become more important than our “medium”… that our intellect, our consciousness can be transposed and become apart from our bodies?
If we break down the human consciousness into streams of information, then what does it mean to be a human? Are we the sum of our parts, or can we replace those parts without losing “ourselves?” If we jack into the system and add new memories as in the Total Recall clip above, how will we know where we end and the new begins?
If we can transfer our consciousness into something beyond our bodies, what happens when the system fails? If the machine breaks, do we die? Does death then become akin to complete data loss, illness to corrupt files? If the data is recovered, are we “reborn?” Would we be aware of the “after-death” experience? Will new religions emerge to try to explain what happens when the power goes out?
Or maybe we are too focused on our own lives, on the importance we have given to our own selves that we fail to see beyond our limited place in the world… Most of us have, as Hayles (1999) puts it, an autopoietic view, where “we do not see a world “out there” that exists apart from us.” Is it our own egos then that is spurring our desire to move beyond the traditional human experience, to become something more, to be post human?
Or are we really all just fooling ourselves into thinking we understand our own importance in the grand scheme of things…