Re: The postmodern body

Gerold Firl (
1 Jul 1996 20:11:48 GMT

In article <4quu1q$>, (Anne-Marie Capili Achico) writes:

|> Gerold Firl ( wrote:
|> : You're getting carried away a little here; the net is a great
|> : information-transfer and communications tool, and as such it will have
|> : Cyber-power may be useful as a means of acquiring social power;
|> : otherwise, it's a poor substitute.

|> Okay, I'm going to take the side of the post-modernist, I think.
|> True that the idea of a "virtual cyber mind/body" is /really/
|> way out of there - I don't see how it should be totally impossible.

|> Who's to say that sometime in the future we will no longer need bodies?
|> In the future, what if everything we are born with will have nothing
|> to do with the way we live?

Sure - I like science fiction as much as the next guy. As far as I'm
concerned, *anything* is possible. But that's way beyond what the level
of speculation raised in this discussion of the "postmodern body",
which took as point of departure a few reasonable cliches ( e.g., "in
cyberspace, no one knows you're a dog") and tried to extrapolate all
manner of wacky conclusions.

The net will accellerate information transfer; that will be
significant, in education, technology development, economics, and
eventually politics. But postmodernism, with its squeemish avoidance of
messy real-world entities (such as facts, for instance) has little
chance of illuminating any of those areas.

|> Could tomorrow's technology bring about true egalitarianism?

Imagine what it would mean for our political systems if each
congressional representative had their own usenet-type discussion
group, where the constituency could debate issues with each other and
actually dialog with their representative. Both politician and citizen
would gain a better understanding of the issues and the priorities, and
a more democratic government could result from it. The technological
difficulty of operating a democratic form of government for 300 million
citizens will be helped enormously by the internet.

|> I can see how scientist would not take postmodernism very seriously.
|> Like other "liberal" areas of science it is difficult to find
|> any type of proof on something like that.

I take history, literature, and anthropology seriously, but
"postmodernism" is just a fad, a glittery facade of phoney obscurantism
with nothing inside but a crass and venal jockeying for poitical
advantage. A number of acedemics have been able to snow their way to
positions of tenure (or at least notereity) by hiding behind the
postmodern smokescreen, but hollow is hollow, no matter what you stuff
it with.

|> <g> Think of it as "scientific philosophy" - the qualitative "why not?"


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