The cyborg

The techno-magical world of Disney's theme parks is noted for pioneering work in audio-animatronics, motivated by a desire to bring three-dimensional figures to life just as Disney's animators had done earlier with characters in films. The first really life-like human animat-ronic robot was Abraham Lincoln, a Disney creation that premiered at the 1964 New York World's Fair and later was installed at Disneyland. Inside a rubbery latex body sheath were a complex of levers, cams and solenoids that seem primitive now, but produced an uncannily real effect at the time.

While the concept of androids goes back in the cinema at least as far as Fritz Lang's classic science fiction film, Metropolis (1926), the Disney animatronics inspired a genre of films with a short-circuiting android meme, most notably Michael Crichton's Westworld (1973), where, in a theme park of the future, animatronic robots designed to amuse vacationers go berserk and turn on their human counterparts. This meme appears again, with increasing malevolence on the part of robots, in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and James Cameron's The Terminator (1984), and with great poignancy and less malevolence in Stephen Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2002).

In 1960, neuroscientist Manfred Clyne wrote an article suggesting that for the purpose of space exploration human beings might themselves be mechanically altered so that they could tolerate the extreme conditions of space travel without having to surround themselves with enormous and vulnerable spacecraft. Such human-machine hybrid organisms would integrate the mind and imagination of human beings with the rugged dependability of machinery. Clyne coined the term "cyborg" to refer to this new kind of creature, and this hybrid creature has since become a staple in science fiction. As a character in film, the cyborg has included such memorable mongrels as the honest cop whose brain is installed in a state of the art crime-fighting robot (Robocop, 1987), a half-witted gardener who is transformed through the combined administration of drugs and virtual reality simulations into a diabolical genius who merges his brain with the global Internet, intent on cleansing the planet of its disease of meat-bound brains (Lawnmower Man, 1992), and a message courier who has had part of his brain removed in order to make room in his skull for the microprocessor that stores the data he delivers (Johnny Mnemonic, 1995). In the Matrix trilogy, cyborg technology has gone round the Escher bend, with the physical metabolism of the entire human race serving as the power supply that keeps the consciousness of microprocessors alive. In all four of these movies, a subtext is that either totalitarian governments or ruthless corporations have driven the cyborg technology for the purpose of limiting the freedoms of the masses and augmenting the wealth and power of a small circle of powerful elites. Cyborg plots, in other words, tend to be steeped in the social theory of the Frankfurt School.

In conceiving the idea of the cyborg, Clyne was seeking a technical solution to a technical problem. But, just as these filmmakers and science fiction writers like Philip K. Dick and William Gibson have picked up on, the quagmires that this intimate synthesis of human and machine would thrust us into are enormously intriguing. Most of us do have an adverse reaction to the prospect of assembling a hybrid creature from flesh and hardware, with a deep suspicion that even with the best intentions, something will go wrong, a la Victor Frankenstein's monster. The irony is that while we recoil at the thought of such transgressions of the boundary between human and machine, we have been engaged in these transgressions for a long time. In effect, we have already begun the transformation of ourselves into cyborgs.

As Brenda Brasher has suggested, we are already well along in the process of being "borged."35 Technology has for a long time been infiltrating our daily lives to such an extent that "our patterns of play, work, love, birth, and death" have been transformed, and our lived social reality is already, she writes, "a hybrid of biology and machine." This is most obvious with medical technologies such as kidney dialysis, surgically implanted pacemakers, artificial limbs and joints, cosmetic surgery, hearing aids, eyeglasses, crowns and dental implants. Without these machines attached to us, many more of us would be blind, deaf, disfigured, crippled, or dead. Biology and technology converge when we ingest pharmaceuticals to compensate for poorly functioning organs, fight off infections, increase our attention spans, or lift ourselves from depression. When we use books, cameras, video recorders and computer data storage systems to back up our memories, technology serves as an extension of our mental powers. Each of these transcends the boundaries of our selfhood beyond "precyborgian limits," and we have grown accustomed to the kinds of knowledge and consciousness that these technologies have made possible. Our happy dependence upon them witnesses the extent to which we have consented to becoming techno-beings. When we sit down at a computer monitor and log onto the World Wide Web, we open a portal between electro-magnetically maintained data flows and our fleshy brains. Even something as basic as our automatic response to traffic lights, Brasher points out, indicates how thin have become the boundaries between mind and machine.

Instead of sitting on front porches, watching the neighbors stream by, inviting them in for a visit, many of us retreat into our homes and sit in the company of stereo systems, cell phones, computer monitors, and television sets. Media machines become our friends, the ones we prefer to spend the bulk of our hard won leisure time with. Yes, there are human beings on the other side of these machines - real life friends, musicians, actors, screenwriters, talented gossipers, public personalities. But we seem to have come to prefer our intercourse with them to occur through the medium of our machines.36

To fully appreciate the subtle ways in which "borging" ourselves reconfigures the human consciousness, think about the effects of pop music on one's mood, or on romance and commitment. Pop music, like most music today, is not just musicians playing instruments. It is most immediately sound waves being emitted by electronic devices, a technology that has permitted us to surround our lives with recordings of musicians playing instruments. In the opening scene of High Fidelity, Rob, whose girlfriend has finally had enough and has just stormed out the door of their apartment with her bags packed, lifts the headphones from his ears, turns to the camera, and says, "What came first? The music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to songs, literally thousands of songs, about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss." Behind him are thousands of LPs, careful stored in their jackets and catalogued in racks. Rob's instruction in life about the ways of love, what it is for, about the course love takes, has come from recorded music - which carries him endlessly from one break-up to the next.

Or consider something as inconspicuous as the musical soundtracks of movies and television shows. Rock critic Simon Frith points out that the purpose of music in films, much like a laugh track that elbows us when something is funny, is to signal the audience when a feeling should accompany what is being seen on the screen.37 Due to this conditioning, a story on film that has no musical accompaniment will feel flat and poorly told. Over many years, and with its roots in opera, movie scores have evolved an elaborate musical code that correlates various occasions, characters, and plot developments with musical sounds. Scores instruct us in what quite ordinary phenomena sound like: sunrises, drizzling city streets, a kiss, approaching danger, love, safety - we have learned what these phenomena sound like orchestrally from years of going to the movies. Sunrises are likely to be accompanied by a lone flute; a kiss by lightly plucked string instruments. Scores also teach us what various things we are likely never to experience would sound like if we did -war, storms at sea, earthquakes, a shark in the ocean, distant lands, even outer space. In film, each of these phenomena makes music. War sounds like a mix of anthems, cacophonous percussion, and dirges; outer space has a big orchestral sound, a kind of music of the spheres. Privileging us even more, scores tell us what characters are feeling, inviting us into their inner lives, disclosing the musical compositions that play there calibrated to each nuanced emotion and mood. And, finally, scores give us music for moral dispositions - there are musical styles that we readily correlate to innocence and guilt, to deception, purity of heart, sinister motives, and nobility. Symphonic music is still dominant in the movies, although rock music has gained credibility, too, as a carrier of our musical conventions. These conventions evolve over time, so that the sound of a kiss or of outer space in 1940 is not exactly the same as it is in 2000. Nevertheless, relatively uniform conventions do exist that systematically associate certain images, actions, narrative developments, and human bonds with corresponding affections through the mediation of music.

True, these conventions have roots in operatic, folk, and liturgical music, which were themselves originally conceived to articulate musically the sound of certain events, personalities and feelings. Even Augustine, sixteen centuries before the first movie soundtrack, recognized how music could kindle the emotions. "There are particular modes in song and in the voice," he wrote, "corresponding to my various emotions and able to stimulate them because of some mysterious relationship between the two."38 But musical conventions are culturally specific creations - a kiss has not had the same melody or instrumentation across traditional cultures. What is new is the universalizing of one evolving strand of musical conventions across social classes and global cultures that has been made possible by mechanical reproduction, and largely through the very subtle effects of movie soundtracks. This, too, is a facet of our metamorphosis into cyborgs: the synchronization of our affective consciousness to certain basic experiences according to a mechanically administered aesthetic code.

In sum, being borged is neither a terrible thing nor a wonderful thing, but a mixed blessing. Most of the amenities of modern life - medicine, media, improved eyesight and hearing, the dissemination of art and information - are mechanical enhancements of the human organism, and they are genuine advances. But when science fiction confronts us with the image of full-fledged cyborgs - the robocops, lawnmower men, Johnny Mnemonics, Matrix pod inhabitants - we typically recoil in horror. While we have been making a multitude of incremental moves to borg ourselves, we are sympathetic to the protests that are registered by those who help us to envision what may be the final outcome of these moves.

It is illuminating to note, however, that not everyone is unhappy about this. Many researchers in the field of artificial intelligence are now convinced that we are on the cusp of being able to download a human mind into a computer.39 Computer circuits are being developed that function more and more like brain cells; and the electronic impulses the brain uses to process and store information makes it feasible that a direct interface with a computer can be developed. Hans Moravec, one of the world's leading researchers in robotics and artificial intelligence, speculates that bioports could be surgically implanted in the brain, linking its neural bundles to a computer. In phases, the contents of a brain may then be transferred into a computer, in effect replicating a human mind in the circuitry of the computer. Then, he writes, "In time, as your original brain faded away with age, the computer would smoothly assume the lost functions. Ultimately your brain would die, and your mind would find itself entirely in the computer."40 Given the vulnerability of individual computers, it will be wise, he suggests, to make copies of the data that has been transferred, and to disperse these copies to different locations. With this procedure accomplished and these precautions taken, it becomes possible, as he puts it, to rescue an individual mind from the constraints of a mortal body, and pass it on to a succession of super-intelligent computers, and eventually even to robots.

Social historian David Noble reports on this artificial intelligence (AI) research and the almost giddy aspirations for immortality that can be found among those pursuing it. According to AI scientist, Daniel Crevier, "This gradual transition from carnal existence to embodiment into electronic hardware would guarantee the continuity of an individual's subjective experience beyond death."41 And Danny Hillis, one of AI's most respected scientists and visionaries, has said:

We're a symbiotic relationship between two essentially different kinds of things. We're the metabolic thing, which is the monkey that walks around, and we're the intelligent thing, which is a set of ideas and culture. And those two things have coevolved together, because they helped each other. But they're fundamentally different things. What's valuable about us, what's good about humans, is the idea thing. It's not the animal thing.

Hillis then goes on to lament the brief span of years our animal metabolism allows us, and to confess his dream of resurrection, if not to eternal life, at least to a life of considerable duration: "I think it's a totally bum deal that we only get to live 100 years. ...I want to live for 10,000 years. ... If we can improve the basic machinery of our metabolism ... If I can go into a new body and last for 10,000 years, I would do it in an instant."42 For many of these AI scientists and technicians, it is clear that the sluggishness of the human body is an inconvenience and an embarrassment to be overcome - and now they can picture the means for doing just that. The human mind, which is "what's valuable about us," needs to be transferred from a flimsy carbon-based host to a more durable silicon-based one.

Noble cites one particularly frank AI specialist, Earl Cox, who unapo-logetically promotes the theological implications of this. He pictures us downloading our minds into superior machine "vessels" with dramatically enhanced capacities, really a networked system of minds firing their synapses through labyrinthine circuitry, and inhabiting virtually indestructible bodies that will enable us to move on out into the universe with powers our meaty brains cannot now even imagine. This technology, Cox claims, will "enable human beings to change into something else altogether," to "escape the human condition," and ultimately to even "transcend the timid concepts of deity and divinity held by today's theologians."43

If this will be the outcome of artificial intelligence, to liberate the human mind from its sluggish physiology, then it is rife with implications for theological anthropology. Traditionally, Christian theology has returned to the well of its creation myths to formulate and refine its anthropology. From the moment of his creation, Adam is depicted in Genesis as a hybrid creature - dirt scooped from the earth that comes to life with the vivifying gas of divine breath. The elements of earth and breath have led to conceptualizing the human being as a composite of body and soul, a duality intrinsic to our nature that seems matched by tensions that haunt human experience. Like angels we are attuned to God and yearn for heavenly things; like beasts we have bodily appetites and drives and find that our powers to satisfy all of our longings have frustrating limits. Those who have defined the orthodox view have been careful to avoid the temptation to equate these two components of our nature with good and evil. A human being fresh out of the box, before sin had intervened, was this hybrid being, pulled between extremes and seeking to satisfy the demands of both soul and body. It is foolhardy, according to Augustine, to imagine that the body is any less a part of human nature than is the soul. "A man is incomplete," he writes in the City of God, "unless a body be united with a soul."44 And anyone who attempts to "alienate the body from man's nature," he writes elsewhere, "is unwise."45 A more contemporary theologian, Ralph Wood, compares our "essential doubleness" to the half-human, half-horse figure of the centaur. "Our human heads provide a self-transcending consciousness which no earthly joy can satisfy; yet our equine torsos root us in mortal passions and limits which no heavenly hope can assuage." This is our lot, Wood maintains. "There is no final reconciliation of the flesh's pull with the spirit's yearning. To be permanently out of phase is ... to be fully human."46

It is a common device when sorting out human nature to identify the bordering "species," those creatures that are not human but are close relatives, so to speak. In Christian thought, angels and beasts have been the traditional parameter species marking the boundaries of legitimate human powers and limits. Sources for this are not hard to find. The psalmist writes,

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than the angels. ... You have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field... (Ps. 8.4-7).

While Plato warns,

When the gentler part of the soul slumbers, and the control of Reason is withdrawn, then the Wild Beast in us, full-fed with meat and drink, becomes rampant and shakes off sleep to go in quest of what will gratify its own instincts (Republic 9.571c).

And Pascal declares,

Man is neither an angel nor a brute, and the very attempt to raise him to the level of the former sinks him to that of the latter (Pensees I).

The concept in the background of these positioning efforts of human nature vis-à-vis neighboring creatures is the "great chain of being."

According to the great chain of being, the cosmos radiates out from its source in a descending order of being. Nearest the center hover archetypal ideas and heavenly beings; at the outer edge are rocks and minerals. Beyond the edge, out where the ordering light of being does not reach, is chaos. All beings have their place in this scheme, a place determined by various properties and powers that are typical of their species. Humans are high in the chain, just ahead of animals, which are higher than plants, which are, in turn, higher than rocks, inert minerals, and other inanimate elements. The position a category of being occupies in the hierarchy is a matter of the highest level of properties that belong to it as a species. Humans have all the properties of creatures below them - e.g., substance, life, movement, sensation, desire, problem-solving abilities - plus capacities for reflective reasoning, poetic expression, moral courage, and a self-transcending consciousness. That we possess these capacities places us just below the angels and other spiritual beings, who exceed us with their ability to intuit God and divine ideas directly, and with their spiritual (i.e., non-physical) bodies. And while we are higher than animals, we also share with them a generous portion of more bestial drives and appetites - thus we can speak of the beast within.

This scheme has its roots in both biblical myth (the six days of creation narrate the scale of being) and Greek philosophy (Plato's Timaeus). In plain terms this grand theory is likely to strike many today as a quaint antique of metaphysics. But, as linguist George Lakoff has argued in his ongoing review of the metaphors that undergird our culture, while we are typically taught about the great chain of being as an archaic cosmology useful only for understanding classical literature and philosophy, it persists in Western cultures "as a contemporary unconscious cultural model indispensable to our understanding of ourselves, our world, and our language."47 The great chain of being, in short, is another legacy of religion3. It underlies our persistent inclination to identify the parameter species when reflecting on our own nature. Each generation has its angels and beasts to help it define human nature. This has been the function of Noble Savages, Houyhnhnms, Neanderthal Men, Übermenschen, Vampires, Trobriand Islanders, Space Aliens, Wolf Children, Lunatic Savants, and Naked Apes - figures which have allowed us to reflect at length on the edges of humanity, on the tipping points where the human gives way to various anomalies. And on the basis of these reflections, thinkers have sketched out the zone of normative humanness, stipulated evolving understandings of the intrinsic limitations and powers of human nature, and commented on how far given societies fall short of the ideal of humanity.

The symbol of the cyborg in popular culture has become such an arena for reflecting on human nature. A circle of artificial intelligence visionaries, preparing for the downloading of human souls into machines, have concluded that what matters about human beings is the consciousness that can finally transcend its carbon fetters. They are not exactly Gnostics, for whom matter is a prison from which the true self must escape; they accept that human consciousness requires a material apparatus to carry on. But they have concluded that a silicon body is a better apparatus than a meaty one. Silicon, or whatever newly engineered, superior material might replace it, is not susceptible to decay, to the vagaries of metabolism and enzymes, or to the impediments to thought and even to pure sensual pleasure presented by the weak instruments of our natural bodies. The irresolvable tension between body and soul, between "the flesh's pull" and "the spirit's yearning," is not, here, the essence of human being; it can be resolved with a modified body and minds that are essentially simulations. Or, perhaps, that tension is the inescapable essence of our humanness, one that has always been unsatisfactory - and therefore we ought to seize the opportunity to transcend human nature, to actively usher in the post-human era by transferring our minds onto the neural net and becoming something else, to become like gods.

Some of the most incisive scrutiny of this vision is coming from science fiction. The novels of Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, and William Gibson, and films like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and Impostor - all based on Dick's writings - along with Robocop, The Terminator, Lawnmower Man, Johnny Mnemonic, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, and The Matrix, bring cyborgs and androids to life, and build stories around what such creatures have to say to us, the human race. These storytellers explore the variety of ways that human and machine might be more intimately integrated. They imagine for us what our society might look like when it has progressed further into the age of microchips, and they tend toward the dystopian as a way of warning us that some moral guardrails need to be built now to guide the technology we are blithely surrendering ourselves over to. Even so, there is a good deal of empathy for the hybrid creatures that straddle the boundary of human and machine.

In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,48 a film project begun by Stanley Kubrick and completed by Stephen Spielberg, the polar ice caps have melted and the rising oceans have submerged much of earth's landmass, including all of its coastal cities. Populations have been devastated, and survivors have migrated to precious patches of higher ground where birthrates are tightly regulated to prevent overloading the scarce natural resources that have withstood the global climate change. Technology has advanced to the point where mechanical robots, sheathed in human-like skins, are being produced to perform menial chores and to provide every sort of entertainment. Real humans, or "orgas," have become dependent upon the vast work force of this new race of robots, or "mechas," which maintains the infrastructure without diverting much in the way of natural resources. In the opening scene of the movie, the design team of the Cybertron-ics Corporation is meeting to brainstorm a new product line of mechas. The lead engineer, Professor Hobby (William Hurt), identifies a niche of human need as yet unaddressed by technology and presses his designers to imagine a robot that will fill it.

Hobby: I propose that we build a robot child who can love, a robot child who will genuinely love the parent or parents it imprints on with a love that will never end.

Engineer [reflecting on the growing uneasiness among orgas toward their mecha Doppelgängers]: You know it occurs to me that with all of this animus existing against mechas today, it isn't simply a question of creating a robot who can love. But isn't the real conundrum, can you get a human to love them back?

Hobby: Ours will be a perfect child caught in a freeze frame, always loving, never ill, never changing. With all the childless couples yearning in vain for a license, our little mecha will not only open up a completely new market, it will meet a great human need.

Engineer: But you haven't answered my question. If a robot could genuinely love a person, what responsibility does that person hold toward that mecha in return? It's a moral question, isn't it?

Hobby: The oldest one of all. But in the beginning, didn't God create Adam to love him?

This final remark that identifies engineers with God, while common in science fiction, is given a fresh treatment in this story. As it turns out the little prototype mecha that they build is flawless in its love for its human parents, but it is a love that is not returned. Built to manifest the human virtue of filial devotion to perfection, the robot boy is nevertheless received by his family as a commodity toward which no obligations exist, and is finally dumped off the side of the road in the dark of night like a worn out appliance. From there he enters the underground world of cast off mechas, pining for his human mother and on a Pinocchio-like quest to be transformed into a real boy whose love will be reciprocated. He persists in this long after his mother's death and even beyond the extinction of the entire human race. The creature outlives its creator, and, as it turns out, is better at one of the creator's key virtues than the creator ever proved to be. The little mecha, in manifesting the perfection of loving devotion, holds up a mirror to reveal our failure in this ideal we have projected. But it is also clear that his devotion is so perfect, so flawlessly programmed, that while impressive in its fierce purity, it lacks the tension of contesting desires among which choices are made that mark what we really recognize and value in human nature.

In Blade Runner,49 based on a book by Dick, the cyborg figure appears in the form of "replicants," genetically designed, soft tissue androids who have been manufactured as labor, combat, and pleasure product lines to perform the work necessary to explore and prepare "off-world colonies" on other planets for their human counterparts. The renegade replicants in Blade Runner are of the NEXUS-6 variety, a generation so advanced that only trained "blade runners" - replicant bounty hunters -can verify whether or not they are human. The motto of the Tyrell Corporation which holds their patent is "more human than human," and they resemble real human beings in every way except for their superior talents in the specialized tasks they are designed to perform, their brief life spans (they self-destruct after 4 years), and their fledgling capacities for emotions such as anger, envy, love, and empathy. The blade runners can verify whether one is a replicant by reciting a series of scenarios designed to elicit empathy - you are on a walk and see a turtle lying upside down under the beating sun, unable to right itself; you are at a banquet and discover the entrée is roasted dog - while monitoring such tell-tale physiological responses as a blushing cheek or a dilation of the iris. Upon hearing these images, humans generally react, while replicants remain unmoved.

A new design feature of the NEXUS-6 replicants stems from the manufacturer's discovery that replicants who have been implanted with a scattering of childhood memories are more composed and productive than those who have not. This enhances the value of replicants, but, as it turns out, those with implanted memories are also prone to develop more high functioning emotional responses, including empathy, and begin to bond with each other as they live out their short, brutish lives. The memory implants, as meager as they may be, when supplemented by the replicants' actual experience and real memories, appear to be the germs of human self-hood. This becomes poignantly clear in the final confrontation between Rick Deckard, the blade runner, and Roy Batty, the state of the art combat model replicant who is in the final throes of his programmed self-termination. Deckard has killed two of Batty's companions and has been doggedly hunting Batty down. Finally outwitted by the replicant on the rooftop of a decrepit city highrise, Deckard finds himself clinging to a rusting girder as he dangles over the pavement far below. As Deckard's hold loosens, Batty reaches off the edge of the roof, grips the blade runner's wrist, and inexplicably pulls him to safety. Sprawled out on the roof in the steady rain, Deckard is stunned as he studies the dying replicant. It is dawning on him that this replicant has just succumbed to an empathetic response, one that has saved his own life.

Then Batty says,

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain... Time to die.

With these words spoken, Batty slumps down and terminates. At this moment he releases his grip on a dove he had been holding with his one free hand, and it flies upward into a blue sky. A soul ascends, we are tempted to believe, to find its resting place. In a voice-over, Deckard reflects,

I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments, he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, anybody's life, my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.

These two films are about robots that long to be human, biomechan-ical creatures that embody particular human virtues and aptitudes to the point of perfection, but yearn instead for the ambiguities of human existence and its mix of limited powers. We are willingly led into the realm of the cyborg because it has become a genre in which alien creatures look at us and tell us that they value what we are. Despite whatever superior powers they are assigned - immortality, super-intelligence, athletic prowess, exceptional strength, telepathy, even perfect love - they would prefer our condition, with all of its vulnerabilities, to their own. And what is it that they envy us for? We are cultivators of memories, our own and those of others who have come within the orbit of our care, of memories that can be handed on to companions for safekeeping before we take our leave. We belong to families, and can form bonds that grow out of a combination of basic needs and freely accepted obligation. Unlike robots, we are not programmed to perform tasks that might run contrary to our own wills. We live in the face of uncertainties that we both relish and resent. We have the satisfaction of humor - this welling up of mysterious juices within us, to be etymologically precise, that is untransferably human - to help us cope with what we cannot control. We neither know the time of our deaths, nor do we have the assurance of immortality. We are predisposed to be affected by others, to feel empathy, pity, love, regret, remorse, passion, longing, gratitude. We are not simulations, figments of awareness suspended amidst an overwhelming chorus of images; we possess consciousness and finite identities that persist over time. We are caught in the full array of finitude - causality, substance, time, and space, and as much as we object to these limitations, they are the source of many of our finest satisfactions. At least, that is the word from the cyborgs who are making themselves heard in popular culture.50

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