There’s no hard line between technologies and intimologies. We are not only social animals and expert manipulators but, as Andy Clark puts it, Natural-Born Cyborgs. Our lives are so thoroughly pervaded with ‘mind-expanding technologies’ that ‘it becomes harder and harder to say where the world stops and the person begins’ (Clark 2003, 7). Nothing is more natural for humans than these artificial extensions of ourselves.

It is because our brains, more than those of any other animal on the planet, are primed to seek and consummate such intimate relations with nonbiological resources that we end up as bright and as capable of abstract thought as we are. It is because we are natural-born cyborgs, forever ready to merge our mental activities with the operations of pen, paper and electronics, that we are able to understand the world as we do.

— Clark (2003, 6)

And, of course, that same characteristic enables us to wreak untold damage on the biosphere; to enclose ourselves in a cocoon of denial as we do; and, perhaps, to break out of that cocoon by recognizing that we are the biosphere. We are extensions of it just as technologies are extensions of us.

2 thoughts on “Intimedia”

  1. I think perhaps some of us are natural born cyborgs, as you say. But there are many examples of those who cannot learn to decipher the written word (dyslexia) or the spoken word (aphasia) or the world of technology (Luddite).. These are not choices, but indeed some quirk of the natural brain dysfunctioning. And many of those humans can survive quite efficiently in the world without these attributes. I cannot say for sure, that is, I have no stats to back up my theory, but I suspect that we pay more attention to the biosphere, the natural world, we respect it more as we pull ourselves away from the technologies that we have created. We can just as easily cope in the world by getting back to basics ~ growing our own food, producing our own goods from the raw materials around us ~ it is not as efficient as with the grand technologies, but it certainly is more respectful of our biosphere.

  2. I think i get your point, Linda. But remember, the technology we use to grow our own food (agriculture, to use the technical term) is relatively recent, invented only about 11,000 years ago. I bet using those tools is second nature to you now, though, which makes you a cyborg too, in Andy Clark’s sense of the term. 🙂 Maybe we would be more attentive to the biosphere if we’d stuck to the older techniques of hunting and gathering. There would probably be a lot fewer of us, too …

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