in the shell Forum Index in the shell
Discussions about the many incarnations of Ghost in the Shell, philosophy and more!
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Mechanical bodies and body image
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    in the shell Forum Index -> The Philosophy
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
james_sb



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 47
Location: Dublin, Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I was making my point sure I had a new perspective, ...until i thought it through while writing it. Convinced myself it was a new point, but having read your reply, I'll go with that explaination.

Just luck this year really. Found a nice place, and they let me stay here even though I'm a student...
_________________
Are you ANTI-POP?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lightice



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simon's ghost wrote:

my problem with the notion of cybernetic "enhancement" is really that it's all based on the will to compensate quickly and without effort. Then you even take the satisfaction out of life by taking away the possibility of being proud of what you accomplish because you stop even trying to accomplish it. You see your new "enhanced" self and feel satisfied, but it's an empty feeling, one that doesn't come from knowing how you persevered to get results, one that doesn't come from knowing or dicovering that you have character, one that even prevents you from becoming more mature about accepting that you cannot be perfect


But would you spend years to count pi to the 10 000th decimal, when you could do the same with a computer in a snap? Or would you dig for a vital piece of information from a library for days, when you could write the keywords into Google and get dozens of relating sites in few seconds? The kind of satisfation you speak is empty, anyway, if there was a better way to do things yet you refuse to take advantage of it solely out of spite for it's easiness.
Climbing on top of mountain despite of the handy elevator, because of the challenge is one thing - the act of climbing matters more than being on the top. But if it's neccesary for you to be on the top as soon as possible, refusing the elevator-ride proves nothing but foolishness.

In the end, you must decide, whether it is more important for you to climb, or to be on the top and especially what you intend to do, once you get there. New, different challenges wait us up there - ones, that we wouldn't dare to accomplish, even after the conventional climbing. One thing we can be fairly certain about: the life never gets too easy, unless you really want it to.

Quote:
I just thought of something. Imagine the implications of being able to improve your capabilities with either data jacks (skill programs "jacked" right into a cyberbrain) or cybernetic bodies. You could just buy any talent that you don't already have to get any job you want. How would that impact the possibility of doing what you dream of? How would we learn to do what we have to? Would we even still go to school? Would school become this place where you just have to go to a couple of hours once in a while to download the mandatory knowledge of the era?


I don't think that things would be that simple. You still need to learn how to use that knowledge and how to utilize the information given via the data jacks to the situation at hand. I already possess an external memory systems called Wikipedia and Oxford English Dictionary, as well as system for making complex mathematical calculations in a matter of seconds, called a pocket calculator. Putting these things in my head would make it far easier to access the information and would make these external memory systems part of my own memory. I do imagine, that this would come quite handy, but I'd still have to learn, what to do with all that info.

Quote:
Would thought control become even easier to authorities?


Or even harder? Typically the more freely information is available, the more difficult it is for authorities to control it's flow. Ofcourse larger amounts of information also make the risk of misinformation being spread larger and this calls for hightened responsibility and inquisitivness from the people. The people can be easily manipulated as masses, like the 2nd Gig teaches us. As such, higher understanding of self is required from them, if they wish to avoid the invisible system of control.
_________________
Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't think that things would be that simple. You still need to learn how to use that knowledge and how to utilize the information given via the data jacks to the situation at hand. I already possess an external memory systems called Wikipedia and Oxford English Dictionary, as well as system for making complex mathematical calculations in a matter of seconds, called a pocket calculator. Putting these things in my head would make it far easier to access the information and would make these external memory systems part of my own memory. I do imagine, that this would come quite handy, but I'd still have to learn, what to do with all that info.


I'd add that the "relational" or "social" value of what you do with information- Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? Does it benefit you/others, or cause harm?- would come into it, too. Are you "downloading" information on how to fly a helicopter to rescue people from a burning building, or to commit an act of violence?

You can study chemistry to produce medicines... or cook up a really addictive substance with a chemical structure that's just outside the scope of existing laws...

I think the kinds of technology folks have been discussing don't necessarily "change people", for exactly the reasons that Lightice has mentioned. What you do with the technology- and, by extension, with the information- is up to you. And what value or meaning the action has, is something to consider. But certain technologies wouldn't necessarily shake things up the same way that, say, fusing identities or switching physical forms would.

I think one could make a case that cosmetic/plastic surgery is related to several ideas that informed foot-binding, tribal and ritual scarification, tattooing, corsetry (both male and female), the use of cosmetics, the whole fascination with exercise technology, even certain dieting techniques... So I don't see it as the expression of that new an idea, or that radical.

Just an extension of already existing trends. Perhaps more informed by secularism and capitalism and whatnot than those other types of modification... but nonetheless related to them.

(It's interesting to note that a female Iranian journalist and her editor were arrested, imprisoned, and released a few years back for publishing a positive article on cosmetic surgery for women- the writer argued that surgery was a matter of choice and personal freedom- and that some types of plastic surgery are quite popular among the youth of Tehran; that cosmetic surgery to achieve a "Western look" is increasingly common among nouveau riche and middle class Asian women and is already quite prevalent among Asian pop singers and actors and actresses. Some examples of a technology having interesting impacts in social contexts other than our own...and of how matters of choice in relation to technology take on social, cultural, and political meanings.)

Same thing with prosthetics and the idea of "downloading" information. We might think of crutches, canes, artificial limbs made of wood or ivory or whalebone... or of the first written texts, the printing press...

If there's an airgun in that cane, or something like a rocket-propelled grenade in that prosthetic limb...

Tools to achieve a desired end. The particular end changes over time, and this results in changes to the technology, but there are similarities in the technologies, enough to make the comparison between books, online texts, and downloaded information possible.

And sure, a lot of this stuff is troubling, from a certain perspective. But I'm not sure how deeply these particular technologies- the real ones and the imagined or predicted ones- change us, per se. Maybe they just make certain trends or tendencies more obvious to the observer. Maybe they cause us to think about those things- the trends and tendencies- and then our perceptions change, and that change in perception and awareness seems and feels like radical change.

Still, I think we're talking about tools, as opposed to things that are even more unsettling. (Although there's something unsettling about how certain humans use their tools- or misuse the tools, or cut corners with the tools. But I'm not sure that's true of all people, and I don't think it says much about human nature as a universal.) But technologies that challenge assumptions about human nature, or about sex (as in biologically male, female, or...), or about the relationship between the external and the internal- now there're some things that are deeply disturbing and pretty darned fascinating and hard-to-get-one's-brain-around...

Simon's ghost wrote:

Quote:
Would we even still go to school? Would school become this place where you just have to go to a couple of hours once in a while to download the mandatory knowledge of the era? Would thought control become even easier to authorities?


That last one is an interesting question. Don't cable and satellite television, the Internet, and print journalism- political blogs, radio and television talk shows, newspaper and television reporters' connections to their sources, etc.- already raise the same issues? Propaganda isn't always something along the lines of Triumph of the Will, Cold War-era Pravda, or the worst examples of Stalinist kitsch. Sometimes it's far more subtle. Would this tendency towards subtle or "soft" propaganda become more pronounced, given the technology we're discussing, i.e. "plugs" or implants? Or would it simply become more noticeable as we become increasingly aware of, or "hip" to, the attempts to manipulate us, and might that awareness suggest more opportunities to resist control?

Maybe it's not the technology, but what you do with it, how you respond to the information...

And to the attempts to manipulate you through information.

I agree with Lightice: I think SAC deals with what happens to folks who don't think about information, about the nature of information, as something that can be manipulated, used to achieve desired results. I also agree that the episodes- and maybe our lives?- suggest that we should think about that sort of manipulation.

As for school... Would that be a good or bad thing? Seems to me that a lot of industrial and postindustrial educational systems are about the "downloading of the mandatory knowledge of the era..." It's just done differently from what you've proposed. But the idea seems to be the same. :lol:

POSTSCRIPT: It seems to me that digital technology offers a lot of opportunities to look at stuff that falls outside of "mandatory knowledge" but sheds light on required-reading, "these are the facts" education. If one could access or download or cross-reference documents while studying, it might actually improve one's education, or provide a deeper meaning or different take on "facts".

We might want to consider something like the University of Virginia's massive The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War project:
http://valley.vcdh.virginia.edu/

I wouldn't mind being able to download or access that information when discussing or thinking about American history- when I'm not near my computer. And I don't think doing so would make someone lazy, or devalue the meaning of an education; one has to pay attention to what one is reading/accessing for the broader picture- the context- to emerge.

Similar projects provide students and readers with access to documents that aren't available to anyone but specialists or to people who don't mind incurring expenses- travel, food and lodging, etc.- just to look at a single document. As the online or CD-ROM versions of the documents are hyperlinked and cross-referenced to other relevant documents, these sorts of projects are useful and pretty darned cool.

They're also a type of tool that was unimaginable not so long ago...
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi


Last edited by AlphonseVanWorden on Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:39 pm; edited 7 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this reminds me of a piece I read in the late 1980s by William Gibson, an essay called "Rocket Radio" which appeared in Rolling Stone:

"As a science-fiction writer, I'm sometimes asked whether or not I think the Net is a good thing. That's like being asked if being human is a good thing. As for being human being a good thing or not, I can't say - this has been referred to as the Postmodern Condition.

"In any case it sometimes looks to me as though lots of us will eventually have a basis for comparison, by virtue of no longer being quite human at all, thank you."
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
simon's ghost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 188
Location: Montréal area, Québec, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well alphonse, you raised many good points about my view of things. Many of which i agree with and would like to discuss a little more when i have time. However, I want to remind you that (I believe) we are not discussing functionality, but appearance. (that second post of mine should have gone to another topic) I think I'd easily agree with you on increasing one's functionality with artificial abilities that only a "lucky" few are born with, like autistic-savants (spl?), though I do wonder what room it leaves to the uniqueness of the individual. As far as appearance goes, I still feel that hard work and maturity is more satisfying than plastic surgery, unless you are the elephant man. Besides, staying fit and healthy has an automatic positive effect on the brain...that's just chemistry. Besides satisfaction often comes from success, and success comes with trying and doing things. Dealing with socially favored youths everyday, my experience is that they have everything they want but no battles to fight, and with no opportunities, no necessity to overcome odds, the possibility of enjoying success and building their confidence is limited and depression becomes a common thing.
_________________
Rise up.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Well alphonse, you raised many good points about my view of things. Many of which i agree with and would like to discuss a little more when i have time.


Thank you for the kind words. I look forward to the discussion. Smile

And I find this particular discussion fascinating...

Quote:
However, I want to remind you that (I believe) we are not discussing functionality, but appearance. (that second post of mine should have gone to another topic)


Actually, I'm not so sure james_sb and you were straying off-topic by raising those issues in this thread. We could easily say that how one views one's body- and how one views the relationship between the mind or brain and the body- relates directly to "body image." Is the body a tool of the mind, or something the Self has (a possession of the Self/mind), or is the relationship more complex?

What is the relationship between form and function when we're discussing the human body?

Maybe it's something like a feedback loop...Or multiple feedback loops...

Quote:
I think I'd easily agree with you on increasing one's functionality with artificial abilities that only a "lucky" few are born with, like autistic-savants (spl?), though I do wonder what room it leaves to the uniqueness of the individual.


I think I've proposed elsewhere that notions of uniqueness and individuality are challenged by technological advances and scientific discoveries- as well as by social and cultural thinking. But I've also asked the following questions, in somewhat wordier forms: Is that a bad thing? Or might one simply have to redefine "uniqueness" and "individuality" as we gain more scientific understanding of the body and control over it? It seems that those terms have been continuously defined and re-defined throughout our species' history...

Quote:
As far as appearance goes, I still feel that hard work and maturity is more satisfying than plastic surgery, unless you are the elephant man. Besides, staying fit and healthy has an automatic positive effect on the brain...that's just chemistry.


Yes, it is chemistry. Biochemistry, neurochemistry. Then again, "satisfaction" is a chemical reaction as well, yes?

Quote:
Besides satisfaction often comes from success, and success comes with trying and doing things.


That's one way of looking at the relationship between satisfaction and success. But mightn't going under the knife- for plastic surgery, or to get some cybernetic enhancement, or whatnot- be considered "doing something", and might the results bring satisfaction, and might that be considered success?

I'm not suggesting that you or I agree with- or even like- the sort of perception/experience that I'm describing in the previous paragraph. But might it have some validity to people who decide to alter their bodies?

Quote:
Dealing with socially favored youths everyday, my experience is that they have everything they want but no battles to fight, and with no opportunities, no necessity to overcome odds, the possibility of enjoying success and building their confidence is limited and depression becomes a common thing.


Isn't depression a chemical reaction or chemical imbalance, and doesn't ennui-or any emotional response- have a chemical component?

Isn't thinking a complex series of chemical reactions/interactions?

Again, we might want to look at the relationship between form and function, and how volition and desire come into that relationship- at least for humans.

I mentioned data- libraries, documents, archives- for a reason. I'll explain and elaborate what I'm thinking about and referring to soon... I'm a bit busy at the moment.

I'd love to know what other people think.

Is the body itself data, at a certain level, from a certain perspective? Can that data be manipulated? And does the manipulation imply something about the biological form?

Is the human form's relationship to its function(s) different from- or becoming different from- that of other species? If so, why?
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
simon's ghost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 188
Location: Montréal area, Québec, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the lines are blurry, difficult to define. too bad I'm just too tired to discuss it. I am looking forward to it too. Good thing with forums, you can always pick up from where you left off.
_________________
Rise up.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something good to be said for a forum as external memory... Wink
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
csulu



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Mechanical bodies and body image Reply with quote

Jeni Nielsen wrote:
Scary. Maybe we'd even end up all looking the same... urg.

Reminds me of the scene in the first movie where motoko is traveling around the city looking at models in shops and other people that looks just like her.
I think that if if I wanted cybernetic parts , I would like them to look just like how i look now.
_________________
"Here at section 9 we are good at both inteligence and knocking heads"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
GhostLine



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 633
Location: "the net is vast and infinite..."

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simon's ghost wrote:
with no opportunities, no necessity to overcome odds, the possibility of enjoying success and building theirconfidence is limited and depression becomes a common thing.


i like that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mirrormirror



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Mechanical bodies and body image Reply with quote

Jeni Nielsen wrote:
I guess I'm just kind of thinking out loud, but I think that cyborg bodies would have an interesting effect on body image. Maybe you could even buy a model body that looked like your favorite movie star... Scary. Maybe we'd even end up all looking the same... urg.


This is a response to the original post that started this string. I just registered to this site moments ago. Big fan of the show and the philosophical implications that link humans with technology in general.

That being said. It would be doubtful that people would unanimously move toward a homogenous idealization of beauty. More than likely, being that prosthetic bodies are much easier to reshape and redesign, people would move toward body customization. Customization in regards of not only appearance but physical ability. They'd be able to "pimp out" their bodies.

The socialogical impact of this might make a resurgence of the ideals of Descartes, claiming that the body and mind are two seperate items. Our bodies could be viewed as vehicles for our minds.

Feedback would be nice. Thnx! Wink
_________________
The Ego, the Self, perhaps even a Soul.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose it would depend upon what you mean by mind.

Could you also customize your mind, i.e. the wiring or function of your brain? If so, I suspect that such alterations would suggest something different from the concept of "mind" found within Cartesian mind-body dualism.

Or would you say that mind is something different from brain and neurological activity? If so, why, and how is a mind different from these things?
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Posts: 219
Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what is mind? ..doesn't matter
what is matter? ..nevermind


[This post soon to be replaced by a serious piece of discussion on the mind-body problem ..watch this space.. Razz ]
_________________
Joseph Cambell wrote:
Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mirrormirror



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simon's ghost wrote:
I know it's off topic since this is mostly about body image.

I just thought of something. Imagine the implications of being able to improve your capabilities with either data jacks (skill programs "jacked" right into a cyberbrain) or cybernetic bodies. You could just buy any talent that you don't already have to get any job you want. How would that impact the possibility of doing what you dream of? How would we learn to do what we have to? Would we even still go to school? Would school become this place where you just have to go to a couple of hours once in a while to download the mandatory knowledge of the era? Would thought control become even easier to authorities?


Perhaps data jacks are already implied in Ghost in the Shell series. In the first movie we see an American programmer that has his prosthetic hands modified in such a manner that allows him to operate a keyboard in a much more efficient manner. Instead of using a mere ten digits, he is using at least twice as many. The human mind is only capable of processing information at a limited speed and our ability to multitask is even more limited. Could it be that this character, is in fact, using data jacks to enhance his ability to assemble/examine code at a much faster pace. I doubt that a typical human mind could operate efficiently 20 fingers without some kind of programmed assistance.
The plotline did not imply that this character was special in any fashion (like say... genius or idot savant: typical plot devices) except that he has cybernetic implants which seem common in this fictional universe.
_________________
The Ego, the Self, perhaps even a Soul.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
mirrormirror



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 8:04 pm    Post subject: Mind Body Dualism Reply with quote

AlphonseVanWorden wrote:
I suppose it would depend upon what you mean by mind.

Could you also customize your mind, i.e. the wiring or function of your brain? If so, I suspect that such alterations would suggest something different from the concept of "mind" found within Cartesian mind-body dualism.

Or would you say that mind is something different from brain and neurological activity? If so, why, and how is a mind different from these things?


If we were to look at the mind from a completely mechanical perspective, it would be the unit of the body that assigns all functional commands. Respiration, heartrate, motor function, and etc.
Already we have learned how to create heartpacers which send electrical pulses to the heart and regulates rhythym. A function originally the responsibility of the brain. In that sense, we have created an autonomous extension of the brain.
I doubt that we would try to alter the "mind" in the sense that would alter our sense of identity. However we would probably build electronic extensions of the mind and command them in the same fashion that we command the motor functions of our own bodies. Thus making us the ultimate user.
This idea of thought does seem to branch off the Cartesian mind-body dualism

Please forgive me if I have misinterpreted you, the subject seemed to broad.
_________________
The Ego, the Self, perhaps even a Soul.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    in the shell Forum Index -> The Philosophy All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 2 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group