“The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence.”(Haraway 151) Haraway more or less focuses on the benefits of the cyborg. She aligns its existence with that of a genderless, utopian future society as opposed to our society today in which our differences (gender and others) are the main elements of our downfall. In those two sentences above Haraway summates the sole purpose and in essence the defining characteristics of the cyborg. In dissecting Haraway’s statement, one can discover the being that is the cyborg and inevitably the characteristics of utopian society.
To be resolutely committed to something means to be determined, firm, and to be characterized as being such. It is an absolute. Partiality can either be a favorable bias or a prejudice. Prejudice, a sneered yet ever present attribute to our society. What purpose would it have in a utopian or perfect society. In Dick’s novel, partiality is ever present as well. The humans have prejudices based on IQ and status. The androids although most presented as being in hiding, pretending to be human, have prejudices against humans.
Cyborgs are committed to irony, by choice or simply in principle. Early in Haraway’s paper, she describes the cyborg as being the ‘final’ irony of the Western sense, the cyborg having no origin of its own, proceeds to steal our ending. The irony involved in Dick’s novel is almost suffocating. From the realization by both Isidore and Deckard that the kipple that they toil to keep away will inevitably take over once they cease, to Deckard’s resentment of not “retiring” Rachael. That in itself has some type of double irony. She was destined to wear out in just a few years so he let her live only for her to retaliate by killing his goat and he having no ammo for his revenge on her. To have empathy is to be human. To take advantage of that empathy and not caring either way if revenge comes is to be a cyborg? Or perhaps just a desensitized human?
Intimacy a term associated with closeness and endearment must bring some sort of humanity to these cold beings. The androids gave off an air of having a love-hate relationship with the human race. They found freedom within posing as humans .It is a pseudo closeness and affection with being human even if it meant risking their existence. That shows more commitment to something than even most humans would oblige.
Perversity and oppositional are two characteristics that go hand in hand with the cyborg, only strengthening the resolve. If the cyborg was simply oppositional it would merely mean that it went against something, good or bad. Giving the cyborg the benefit of the doubt, and its supposed lead to Utopia, one can suppose that the cyborg could be opposed to the negative traits of our society, making it both perfect and good. Yet Haraway states that the cyborg is committed to perversity. Perversity meaning a deviance to all that is good. In other terms, the cyborg is wicked. It is committed which means it is persistent in being wicked.
As if it had not been already been implied, the cyborg iswithout innocence. Innocence involves a lack of understanding, freedom from moral and legal wrong, guiltlessness, and harmlessness. The androids of Dick’s novel, were a band of illegal escapees and murderers. They were far from harmless, although they lacked the understanding of emotion they understood its presence, they were guilty although it did not bother them because they did not share the same emotions as humans.
From both Haraway, and Dick’s novel one can see that from the human standpoint, the cyborg represents a cold shell that mimcs a human. It has greater knowledge yet lacks feeling. It understands but is not completely understanding. The cyborg is perfect. It is utopian, but it is not good. At least not from the human standpoint and opinion of what is good. Even so, Haraway approves of the existence of such creatures. The main point being that these beings aren’t human, therefore the characteristics previously discussed would have to be redefined to fit the purpose that is the cyborg.
Partiality from the cyborg’s view is important indeed. In Dick’s novel, the androids indicate a preference for each other, looking down on the humans. With greater numbers of such “rogue” androids , the preference or prejudice would simply work as a stimulus for natural selection. Humans would continue to feel useless and unwanted to the point where they would become nothing more than the appendix of society. Ironically it will be the beings who lack a genesis story, to play the surgeon removing the useless organ that when knowingly present only manages to bring pain, thus ending its reign.
Intimacy is all part of the plan. Ever heard of the phrase: “Keep your friends close keep your enemies closer”? The androids stayed close, absorbing knowledge, observing and practiced being human, so much so that the lines blurred on who is human and who is not. Cyborgs must learn all that is humanity, so that it can be redesigned in Utopia.
Perversity is such an opinionated word but necessary. Humans have obviously confused right from wrong. Ethics and morals are not as they seem. It is the cyborg’s job to correct this. If one deems someone else to be the enemy, then most or all of what they do is wrong. Therefore cyborgs and androids alike are simply being perverse to the likes of humans. Humans do wrong therefore the cyborgs are doing what is right.