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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Ebon Fisher wrote:
>If we're on a fence looking at the flesh AND technology, why is there
>such a naive view of the flesh side, the human side, the cultural
>side?.... Forgive my French, but it sounds as if some of you have little
>regard for the need to develop a culture in tandem with the process of
>developing technology for that culture. Our technology changes culture.
>Culture isn't static. 

Such technological determinism _does_ ignore the human side of the
equation: the resistant flesh. I think it is "naive" to assert we must
"develop" culture in tandem with technology as though there were a worlds
of "flesh" and "silicon" which developed at different speeds - knowledge
and its artifacts are the _products_ of our bodies. 

Technology may change culture, but culture also _produces_ technology in
an eternal feedback loop. As Michael Joyce observed in _Of Two Minds_, it
is "we who shape it, we who change it, we who direct the flow". In
attending to the technological side, we also attend to the human side:  we
are dealing with the products of desiring, thinking bodies. We create
technology & it creates us in return. Personally, I think that we need to
recognise this and attend to the _interface_, as this is where desire is
exchanged, this is where the "flow" is.

I also think we need to change our questions to account for this. We
should not bother with "how can we change culture to develop in tandem
with technology," but instead ask, "how do computers and bodies permeate
each others' membranes? How do the products of our bodies in turn _change_
those bodies?"

We are not two, and yet we are not one. The techno-evangelist is as
"naive" as the fearful Luddite. Both positions deny the feedback loop,
both positions are determinist in their own way. 

(Perhaps I would rather be a "liberal" than a tech-determinist... at least
the liberal allows room for "the flesh".) 

Belinda Barnet     belinda@senet.com.au 

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