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Posthuman Manifesto

Posthuman Manifesto

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Published by Ryder Onopa
academic essay outlining a philosophic system for self-reference and action in post-humanist terms. Emphasis on the evolution of the graphical user interface as a case study for human/nonhuman hybridization and cyborg actor consciousness.
academic essay outlining a philosophic system for self-reference and action in post-humanist terms. Emphasis on the evolution of the graphical user interface as a case study for human/nonhuman hybridization and cyborg actor consciousness.

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Published by: Ryder Onopa on Jan 01, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/27/2012

 
Interface and the Architecture of Self 
I.
The End of 
 I 
There is a story that sleeps deep within our minds, beneath the frantic currents of higher consciousness. The
 I-
myth, the first and greatest of man’s innumerable social lies; it has persisted for so long that the very shape of thought has been recast in its explicit terms.Whatever nameless prophet or prehuman savant first dreamed this mad projection that sochanged us, the hallucination of selfhood has forever marked our species; wrenching thenatural order apart into the enduring tension between human and nonhuman.It is in such a state that mankind has reached the modern age; driven by a vision of selfhoodthat separates each individual from the rest of reality, projecting the strict bounds of ego uponthe boundless acting networks of causality. With this move, man sections himself off from thenatural, and re-centers the universe about this newly defined self. This may be madness, of sorts; certainly it is flagrant misrepresentation, but it is anything but stupid. The individualcrafted around the cognitive ‘I’ gains much from this dreaming, and the human societyconstituted by these illusory selves has made bold use of its peculiar advantages in itsreshaping of the natural world.Since the philosophic outburst of the Western Renaissance it has been firmly established thatsuch a self-defined actor gains a series of powerful advantages within a social network of similarly constructed selves. By projecting a holographic mental model of the world defined
 
exclusively from individual experience and memory, one is able to make a series of extremelyefficient and highly practical assumptions about the other acting factors that exist that existoutside the bounded self 
.
Moreover, by willfully casting faith and fate behind the power of thismode of action to accurately inform choices toward a desired state, one gains the courage to actwithin an often seemingly absurd framework. With this talisman charm of the self so excisedfrom the natural fundament, each individual becomes a functional prophet; proceedingdiligently with action according to the oracular predictions of the self’s bold simulation of reality.It is similarly easy to note the stark drawbacks that result from this societal exercise in self-definition. Since a constructed individual can only access and utilize the modes of action thatare collected in personal memory and synchronized by the acting computation of the ‘self’ projection, there is no way for an external factor to make a truly compelling argument againstaction. Because of this gap between the modeled decision tree developed by the self and theactual resonant consequence of reality, one is capable of (if not prone to) making decisions thatnegatively impact the very natural orders one seeks to predict and utilize.Ironically, even as this polarization of the self against the other serves to buffer the actor fromthe immeasurability of consequence, the resulting system of social motivations (i.e. the rise of human society) has significantly impacted and profoundly changed the ‘natural’ world fromwhich the self has been differentiated. Most of the issues that significantly impact humansociety—environmental, criminal, political, racial—all fundamentally stem from the samesystem of ‘human’ motivation; with the ‘person’ nicely isolated within the bounds of self, the
 
impulse toward self-benefit can very easily influence individual choice and action. Since allexternal factors must be referenced against the self at several points, to build up the symbolictoolset to analyze them and act accordingly, it becomes all too easy to execute a decision thatimparts a small convenience to the self at the expense of some external status quo, whether thatexternal system be as large as the global environment or as bounded as another human ‘self’.As such, it is reasonable to posit that the Humanist individual is a functional array of lies thathas allowed mankind to ignore consequence in favor of self-referenced progress. In manyways, it follows the model of a viral social meme that been firmly established in our cognitivefirmament, reinforced by every societal interaction undertaken. This has achieved much interms of the arbitrarily set terms for ‘human progress’, but poses profound risks to the larger ‘natural’ system from which humanity has removed itself. In addition, this choreography of thought requires that in order for the projected self to be sustained, each individual must bekept unaware of the virtuality of this construct. Should the self realize the full extent to whichconsequence is hidden and uninterpretable, the individual becomes caught up in the “ironicdespair of Postmodernism,” (as Latour so succinctly puts it); the more one becomes aware of consequence, the harder it becomes to act at all.As the hybrid networks of the modern age proliferate around and through the human species, it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals to maintain the calculated self-deception that hassustained their explosive growth. When, as such, one’s projected psychological identity- barriers begin to break down—abandoned for the promises of futurist connectivity, perpetualcommunication and free information— the mind is left to grapple helplessly for reference

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