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Natural Born Cyborg?

Franklin20's picture

As I stated in class, I really disagree with Clarks claims that humans are "Natural Born Cyborgs."  I understand what both Clark and Harraway are doing in their articles; they are using culturally loaded terms, in this case "technology" and "cyborgs", and challenges the reader to redefine them.  For instance, at one point Clark argues that simply using a pen to write is technological advancement and that because we are so able to adapt and use tools as extensions of ourselves we are "natural born cyborgs" ("cyborg" here challenges the reader to think of a cyborg as not one who is physically grafted with metal or one who becomes part machine but rather one who uses tools).  And I think that at its core, I agree with Clark and Harraway; I think we shouldn't run from or fear technological advancement because technology is all around us.

My biggest disagreement is Clarks notion that we are naturally primed to pursue technological advancement.  I think that Clark is right in her assertion that humans are born with the ability to adapt to and utilize technology for survival and cultural advancement.  However, I do not believe that we are naturally primed to pursue technological advancement.  Rather, I take more of a social constructionist approach to the way humans approach technology.  For instance, I dont believe that humans use cell phones from a natural innate desire to increase their ability to communicate.  Rather, our dependence on cell phones (and the phone in general) is a product of human mobility.  That is to say, if humans didnt travel as much, if we didnt have cars get travel far distances in a short amount of time, we wouldn't have such a great need to communicate across longer distances.  Our desire to advance technology stems from social needs and the consequences of other natural and technological stimuli.  Furthermore, I think instances in which humans may intentionally reject technological advancement (not wanting to fly on an airplane, for instance) challenges the Clarks notion of the "natural born cyborg."  If we believe Clark to be right in her assertions, than we must believe that rejecting technology is unnatural (and I do not believe this).

Overall, I appreciate the way that Clark and Harraway challenge the way the reader considers technology; however, I don't think they provide a nuanced enough argument for their articles to be as strong as they potentially could be.



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