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Cyborg theory

Cyborg theory

Cyborg theory was created by Donna Haraway in order to criticize traditional notions of feminism -- particularly its strong emphasis on identity, rather than affinity. She uses the metaphor of a cyborg in order to construct a postmodern feminism that moves beyond dualisms and moves beyond the limitations of traditional gender, feminism, and politics.

Donna Haraway's cyborg is an attempt to break away from Oedipal narratives and Christian origin doctrines like Genesis. In the Cyborg Manifesto, she writes: "The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust."

The concept of the cyborg is a rejection of rigid boundaries, notably those separating "human" from "animal" and "human" from "machine." Cyborg theory thus asserts that technology, as the artifacts of cultural evolution, merely comprise material extensions of the material human body. This view follows from John Locke's logical justification for property rights, in that "mixing one's labor" with external natural materials internalizes them and affords those materials the same rights as one's body itself.

The fashionable ideology that "artificial" lacks the inherent goodness of "natural" is an appealing, but hopelessly simplistic notion of the intellectually chic. Artifice is the result of a deliberate intent to make. Nature also "makes" things, using a set of basic building blocks common throughout the universe. Exchanging infinite time for deliberate design, nature has ingeniously built plants, planets, galaxies and unimaginable constructs which seem to structure the universe itself. What we call "natural" is simply the result of whatever set of rules nature has followed in fashioning our observable reality. On planet Earth, nature has manipulated the common elements to fashion everything from bacteria to the molten core of the planet. Discoveries in the "nano" technologies of bio, molecular, and micro engineering will re-edit the nomenclature of "natural" versus "unnatural", blurring if not erasing the line of distinction between "machine" and "organism", "natural" and "unnatural", "God-given" and "man-made". — Syd Mead

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