Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell ★★★★★

A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.

The relation between organism and machine has been a border war. The stakes in the border war have been the territories of production, reproduction, and imagination. This tract is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction.

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.

Basically machines were not self-moving, self-designing, autonomous. They could not achieve man’s dream, only mock it. They were not man, an author to himself, but only a caricature of that masculinist reproductive dream. To think they were otherwise was paranoid. Now we are not so sure. Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.

A cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints.

The last beachheads of uniqueness have been polluted if not turned into amusement parks—language tool use, social behaviour, mental events, nothing really convincingly settles the separation of human and animal. And many people no longer feel the need for such a separation; indeed, many branches of feminist culture affirm the pleasure of connection of human and other living creatures.

The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self.

Why should our bodies end at the skin, or include at best other beings encapsulated by skin?

To recognize ‘oneself’ as fully implicated in the world frees us of the need to root politics in identification, vanguard parties, purity, and mothering.

The self is the One who is not dominated, who knows that by the service of the other, the other is the one who holds the future, who knows that by the experience of domination, which gives the lie to the autonomy of the self. To be One is to be autonomous, to be powerful, to be God; but to be One is to be an illusion, and so to be involved in a dialectic of apocalypse with the other. Yet to be other is to be multiple, without clear boundary, frayed, insubstantial. One is too few, but two are too many.

We are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.

Donna Haraway. A Cyborg Manifesto (1985). warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/undergraduate/modules/fictionnownarrativemediaandtheoryinthe21stcentury/manifestly_haraway_----_a_cyborg_manifesto_science_technology_and_socialist-feminism_in_the_....pdf

“I wonder where I'll go now. The net is vast and infinite.”
- Major Motoko Kusanagi

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