Cyborgs against cyborgs

In the chapter, Big Wheel, I could not help but be distracted by a tantalizing concept: cyborgs defeating cyborgs. Now, I am utilizing, of course, this term figuratively and literally. The cyborgs in Global Frequency are representative of which Donna Haraway refers to in, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs,” in which she flat out states, on page 8, “by the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism: in short, we are cyborgs. The cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics. The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined centers structuring any possibility of historical transformation.” In this case, the Global Frequency team members represent two joined centers: human and machine. Their reality is one constructed through technology, where it is accepted and dealt with—an ideal that Kermode would most likely sneer at, based on his persistence to continue questioning the essence of technology, and how it controls us. However, though the year in this chapter is not stated, reader can assume that they live in a time period where technology has become far too advanced to fight against it with any other means. The team is constantly battling against enemies who have been constructed with some element of bioengineering, chemical compounding, or mechanical inputs and attachments. The scene that particularly engaged my thinking toward this direction is on page 7 of chapter Big Wheel, where a team member (Intelsat 99) is sitting in the middle of a children’s playground with her phone and laptop. She is contacted by the Global Frequency and immediately begins researching, and within minutes discovers that their enemy is not human based on the extremity of the hot spot recorded on her thermal tracer. The background of this scene is what stuck out to me the most, as it perfectly embodies that technology and its heavy reliance is accepted and not questioned at all.
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While Intelsat 99 is in the middle of phoning Global Frequency members, simultaneously researching on her laptop, and speaking of some mechanically constructed man, the kids in the background continue casually playing soccer on a bright, sunny day. I find the miniscule details serve the most impactful purpose, sometimes, because in this case, the casualty of the situation shows that it is accepted and perhaps even regular. Furthermore, this tiny square is the only scene that portrays to us the outside world, their REALITY, as opposed to keeping us submerged in the action and battle scenes. Kermode seeks for humans to engage in the questioning of technology. Haraway insists that we are cyborgs and that by continuing this way of life we may transform history altogether. I believe, in Global Frequency, specifically represented in the chapter Big Wheel, that humans have gone beyond that point. The forces they fight against have inhibited them from taking any step backwards, as the enemies are equipped with some sort of supernatural influence beyond the power of human. Therefore, they must form the Global Frequency to combat these forces, demonstrating the idea of cyborgs themselves, as they rely on the best technology to not only FIGHT against these cyborgs, but technologically stay connected with one another ALL over the world.

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2 Responses to Cyborgs against cyborgs

  1. danwillisdan says:

    It’s nice that you allowed for an expanded definition of cyborg by talking about Intelsat 99 instead of Agent 436. But I’m interested in knowing what you think the significance or stakes of this technological arms race is. And how is it complicated by Agent 436? Are 436 and 99 really all that different? Could another component of the soccer game sequence be a way of depicting her as isolated? As constantly laboring even in a time and place that is devoted to /play/?

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    • cso9 says:

      To put it simply, I cannot say that I veer toward any particular side of the positives or negatives of technology. I feel that there are undoubtedly pros and cons to both. Significantly speaking, the Global Frequency’s team’s ability to communicate with one another from wherever they are, at any given time, is an absolute advantage. As I have observed, they must live in a time where technology has become so far advanced that they have no choice but to utilize it in order to fight it. With that said, since it IS so advanced there are, of course, several setbacks in its advancements (all the “litter” as they call it). As you have pointed out, the technological era is complicated by Agent 436 because for her, there is no going back. Her bioelectric enhancements have already been intertwined unto her, therefore she has no choice but to utilize for the good of Global Frequency. While she is a component of a cyborg quite literally, Intelstat 99 is more of the figurative cyborg. Therefore, to answer your question, I don’t see them as very different at all. Their differences may be true in the physical sense, but in the terms of cyborgs, they are one of the same.

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