Bofa deez nuts ground me in experience
Zizek 2K (Slavoj Zizek: NO SEX, PLEASE, WE'RE POST-HUMAN!, http://www.lacan.com/nosex.htm)Jason Jang
We all know of Alan Turing's famous "imitation game" which should serve as the test if a machine can think: we communicate with two computer interfaces, asking them any imaginable question; behind one of the interfaces, there is a human person typing the answers, while behind the other, it is a machine. If, based on the answers we get, we cannot tell the intelligent machine from the intelligent human, then, according to Turing, our failure proves that machines can think. - What is a little bit less known is that in its first formulation, the issue was not to distinguish human from the machine, but man from woman. Why this strange displacement from sexual difference to the difference between human and machine? Was this due to Turing's simple eccentricity (recall his well-known troubles because of his homosexuality)? According to some interpreters, the point is to oppose the two experiments: a successful imitation of a woman's responses by a man (or vice versa) would not prove anything, because the gender identity does not depend on the sequences of symbols, while a successful imitation of man by a machine would prove that this machine thinks, because "thinking" ultimately is the proper way of sequencing symbols... What if, however, the solution to this enigma is much more simple and radical? What if sexual difference is not simply a biological fact, but the Real of an antagonism that defines humanity, so that once sexual difference is abolished, a human being effectively becomes indistinguishable from a machine. Perhaps the best way to specify this role of sexual love is through the notion of reflexivity as "the movement whereby that which has been used to generate a system is made, through a changed perspective, to become part of the system it generates."1 This appearance of the generating movement within the generated system as a rule takes the form of its opposite; say, in the later stage of a revolutionary process when Revolution starts to devour its own children, the political agent which effectively set in motion the process is renegated into the role of its main obstacle, of the waverers or outright traitors who are not ready to follow the revolutionary logic to its conclusion. Along the same lines, is it not that, once the socio-symbolic order is fully established, the very dimension which introduced the "transcendent" attitude that defines a human being, namely SEXUALITY, the uniquely human sexual passion, appears as its very opposite, as the main OBSTACLE to the elevation of a human being to the pure spirituality, as that which ties him/her down to the inertia of bodily existence? For this reason, the end of sexuality in the much celebrated "posthuman" self-cloning entity expected to emerge soon, far from opening up the way to pure spirituality, will simultaneously signal the end of what is traditionally designated as the uniquely human spiritual transcendence. All the celebrating of the new "enhanced" possibilities of sexual life that Virtual Reality offers cannot conceal the fact that, once cloning supplements sexual difference, the game is over. And, incidentally, with all the focus on the new experiences of pleasure that lay ahead with the development of Virtual Reality, direct neuronal implants, etc., what about new "enhanced" possibilities of TORTURE? Do biogenetics and Virtual Reality combined not open up new and unheard-of horizons of extending our ability to endure pain (through widening our sensory capacity to sustain pain, through inventing new forms of inflicting it) - perhaps, the ultimate Sadean image on an "undead" victim of the torture who can sustain endless pain without having at his/her disposal the escape into death, also waits to become reality? Perhaps, in a decade or two, our most horrifying cases of torture (say, what they did to the Chief-of-Staff of the Dominican Army after the failed coup in which the dictator Trujillo was killed - sewing his eyes together so that he wasn't able to see his torturers, and then for four months slowly cutting off parts of his body in most painful ways, like using clumsy scissors to detach his genitals) will appear as naive children's games. The paradox - or, rather, the antinomy - of the cyberspace reason concerns precisely the fate of the body. Even advocates of cyberspace warn us that we should not totally forget our body, that we should maintain our anchoring in the "real life" by returning, regularly, from our immersion in cyberspace to the intense experience of our body, from sex to jogging. We will never turn ourselves into virtual entities freely floating from one to another virtual universe: our "real life" body and its mortality is the ultimate horizon of our existence, the ultimate, innermost impossibility that underpins the immersion in all possible multiple virtual universes. Yet, at the same time, in cyberspace the body returns with a vengeance: in popular perception, "cyberspace IS hardcore pornography," i.e. hardcore pornography is perceived as the predominant use of cyberspace. The literal "enlightenment," the "lightness of being," the relief/alleviation we feel when we freely float in cyberspace (or, even more, in Virtual Reality), is not the experience of being bodyless, but the experience of possessing another - aetheric, virtual, weightless - body, a body which does not confine us to the inert materiality and finitude, an angelic spectral body, a body which can be artificially recreated and manipulated. Cyberspace thus designates a turn, a kind of "negation of negation," in the gradual progress towards the disembodying of our experience (first writing instead of the "living" speech, then press, then the mass media, then radio, then TV): in cyberspace, we return to the bodily immediacy, but to an uncanny, virtual immediacy. In this sense, the claim that cyberspace contains a Gnostic dimension is fully justified: the most concise definition of Gnosticism is precisely that it is a kind of spiritualized materialism: its topic is not directly the higher, purely notional, reality, but a "higher" BODILY reality, a proto-reality of shadowy ghosts and undead entities.