Miscellanea: Of Freaks and Posthumans
Posthumanism is an ontology waiting for its metaphysics. While we, still human, wait until posthumans finally come to meet their shadow, why not enrich our understanding of the posthuman, not by reading or thinking, but by leisurely browsing through pictures?
On the top of my head, I can offer two adequate images of the posthuman. One is its portrait, whereas the other is its symbol:
Take a long look at the first image, because it merits few words of interpretation.
As we can observe, the image consists of faces-collages, fitted from the mutually incongruous features of various persons. Judging by all appearances, the incongruity is not accidental, because it is being accentuated by asymmetrical fitting of the pieces composing the faces-collages.
There’s nothing organic here; the moment of fitting together, as opposed to any hint of melding or growing together, of incongruous features into individual faces has been stressed. The procedure is entirely mechanical, therefore implying cutting apart and pasting together.
Cutting apart and subsequent pasting together of disparate human faces produces freaks.
A freak is the symbol best depicting the posthuman being. If taken in this sense, it more or less, corresponds to an expression ‘Queer’. Hence, the first image can be understood as an incarnation of LGBTIQ flag from the second image; it is, one might say, the + sometimes added to the acronym.
LGBTIQ is the political focal point of posthumanism. To neglect this fact means to shut one’s eyes before the reality and to postpone the resistance towards transformative process it entails. It is easy to pontificate against the future where man will, supposedly, be transformed into chrome clad terminator; easy because that’s completely beside the point.
Charging that particular sort of windmill is a harmless pass time. It is, however, immeasurably more difficult to accept the fact that the good portion of the road towards realizing the first image in the real life has already been traversed and that it is questionable how many people are even able to stop and step out of the process.
If someone is convinced that the marriage between heterosexual beings on the one hand and that between monosexual beings on the other is something equal – and quite a few people do and, moreover, consider this to be the acme of civilization – then the person in question has already taken steps down the path towards posthuman civilization. And those are no small steps, mind you; rather, long strides would be a more adequate expression, because, by accepting this, one has interiorized a principle by which A and non-A can simultaneously and in the same sense be both A and non-A. And that is an inner fountain of insanity which is not a regular pathological state, i.e. the one extrinsic to free will, but a matter of choice.
When the will offers something for reason to assent to, if that something is within the power of human understanding, then the person is responsible for his or her decision. Hence today we are dealing with the quite hefty number of insane people who are nevertheless quite responsible for their insanity. In some parts of the world they are overwhelming majority.
Obviously, this is hardly without historical precedent – the previous century bears quite a few of those. However, novelty lies in the global potential of the posthuman principle, i.e. its universal acceptability conditioned by the certain appeal to human nature and favorable historical moment, but that’s a story for another occasion.
Suffice it to say that considerable number of people could soon consider the faces from the first image to be something quite normal.
Posthumanist or transhumanist movement figures merely as an avant-garde of the process already gone far down the line. Objections that Kurzweil and Harari are phantasts that will soon be forgotten are beside the point even if correct. That’s because the imaginarium of techno visionaries is just an icing on the already baked cake.
For foundation of posthumanism is not this or that technology but the exteriorization of what is intrinsic in order for the intrinsic to serve as the material for creation. This act of creation is the metaphysics posthumanity is waiting for.
And how exactly that act should look like and what would it produce, we can see clearly in this image.
And, by the way, that’s why the biology based arguments against LGBTIQ are useless or worse. Precisely the abolition of biology through its technological augmentation is the purpose of this political project, in the same way the posthuman abolishes human through augmentation.
To go and try to demonstrate that there are two sexes is an attempt to demonstrate the given, and given cannot be demonstrated – only accepted or rejected. The politics of posthumanism rejects it unequivocally.
Therefore, what’s the purpose in lecturing the transgender maniac about biology while the very foundation of his identity is based on abolishing the biology? Truth be told, the question about the given cuts far deeper than biology, but that’s a separate issue.
Human nature is not biological, but metaphysical given and once the argument descends into biological reductionism, this only means that clock has been turned back a century or so. Nature is discerned by intuiting the whole of the qualities expressing it and never by reducing it to a single one; reduction is an anachronistic, modern, procedure.
And modernity is gone. Let it rest in peace.
As I have said previously, the basic operation of posthuman is externalization of the intrinsic. Let us conclude therefore with a few remarks about this.
Faces from the first image are freaks for two reasons: first, because their sex and race has been recombined and, second, because it has been done not by mixing them from the inside, but by cutting and pasting them from the outside.
Races can be mixed naturally, but, from the posthuman point of view, it is unacceptable, because in that case the process cannot be controlled. This might be the reason – to mention in passing – why popular culture in some Western countries is saturated with the bizarre attempts to recombine history, where, for example, TV series depicting Medieval British village has it populated with Rastafarians.
However, sexes cannot be mixed from the inside. As such, then, sexual bipolarity is a festering boil that has to be removed by making it fluid to an extent that it loses its natural purpose; the purpose which is founded in natural duality.
In both cases the procedure depends on assumption that difference is prior to identity, i.e. that the thing that is determinate is prior to the thing determining it.
For example, the social group is identical to itself solely by being different from other groups. The difference doesn’t stem from some kind of prior identity, but from itself, so that the principle is indifferently applied to all. No one is in possession of the inner identity – only the one assigned by the outside agent.
The matter appears absurd because it indeed is absurd.
But the creation of the freak, which at deeper level really is to be understood as creation with all due metaphysical connotations, begins with contradiction. It is an act of destruction or self-destruction.
If this is true, then at some point it has to become clear that the purpose of the process is destruction and, correspondingly, there has to come to pass the pain in the one suffering destruction or self-destruction. Cutting and pasting of the pieces of one’s and another’s face is quite accurate image of the ordeal.
Some claim that the spectrum of various, congruent social processes I summed up above is a passing fad or an instance of accurate, but curable, “social disease”. There are historical instance of superficially similar kind that could make one argue in favor of the claim, but, unfortunately, I am not that optimistic; partly because the process as the whole has a strong historical foundation. It perfectly mirrors the mentality and ontology of modernity as a kind of step forward from it. Also, via negativa, it mirrors classical metaphysics in an inverted image. With some effort, one could demonstrate that every point of this intellectual edifice is an inversion of the corresponding point in the realm of classical thought.
I’ll put the religious implications aside, but I am sure that, even based on this short text, they are quite obvious.
In summary, if progress is the Being of beings, then this is where it ends.
If it is rather a leap of faith, then the progressive faith finds its fulfillment in the posthuman.
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