Thursday, January 22, 2009

Man and Machine

Cyborg’s are a part of our imagination found in fiction but to us they are not apparent because of their dual nature: both human and machine, with the human nature blinding us from their exsistence. Another place we find cyborgs is in medicine with the “coupling of man and machine.” A great example of the cyborg nature in modern medicine is in the building blocks of life, DNA. Endless lines of code creating a human being, all of this code stemming from reproduction that seems so basic at first glance, but under the microscope so complex and mechanistic. Cyborg sex itself restores the beauty of basic nature lacking the male or female aspect of more sophisticated organisms. This shows Haraway’s feminist nature. The inability to differentiate between sexes is ideal for her since it would inevitably lead to a fair and just society, atleast along the lines of sex.

Modern production is the essence of cyborgality. Taylorism and more specifically Fordism (developed by Henry Ford) is a management ideology that enables a complex device to be created by breaking it down into very small parts and dividing the labor amongst a large number of people. A great example of Fordism is an assembly line. Mechanistic by nature, these two methods of management ideology both rely on a systematic approach towards labor maximizing the productivity while morphing the individual worker into a machine. Both Taylorism and Fordism are widely criticizised for  their removal of inviduality and also creation of poor work environments mainly due to  management and workers rarely are striving for the same thing, with management striving for productivity and workers for humane working conditions and workers rights.

            Modern war as we know is even more mechanistic than when Haraway wrote her manifesto. Everyday new technologies are created removing more and more humans from the line of fire to be replaced by machines.

In the final two sentences Haraway describes the thesis of the first part of her essay. Arguing that there is little difference between what the human brain can imagine and the reality that follows. Coupling our reality with the imagination, quite similar to the coupling of man with machine in a cyborg.

The closing sentence refers to Michael Foucault ideas on biopolitics. Biopolitics is centered around the idea that governments have many methods to control the people living within their boundaries and the abilities of humans to control one another is only but a glimpse of the cyborg control onto other cyborg beings because of their human-machine duality. Leading me to question what Haraway means by this. My thought is that the machine nature of a cyborg would cause the cyborg politics to be very cold and naturally selective, and the human area of the cyborg that would stem from the everlasting search for new ways to gain power, politically, socially, and economically. A true marrige of man and machine.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

We'll treat this as a rough draft, since nobody commented on it, which is probably my fault.

Anyway, this is *very* scattered. You are dealing with various details of an exceptionally complicated passage, which you aren't actually reproducing for us, so while you have some interesting thoughts, it's hard to follow your *overall* line of thought. Why pick this passage? Why deal with so many subtopics, rather than picking a much shorter passage in greater depth? Your discussion of DNA was smart and interesting, but then it just abruptly stopped, and you shifted to another subject. You need a more organized response to a (probably) shorter passage for your potential here to be realized.

When you post a revised version, send me an email to remind me to grade it.