5.11.08

transhumanism and pain

i mentioned last time people's objections to cybernetics, specifically one that has to do with humanity. it's a common idea that the more someone works with technology, especially implants and biotechnology, the less 'human' they get; hence the usual stereotype of a cyborg as an uncaring, robotic soldier, the creation of irresponsible scientists in some sterile white laboratory. i often get flak about "losing my humanity", and although i don't exactly agree with it, i think that stereotype is where it comes from, and also from people's equation of 'human' with 'natural'. images of the enhanced tend to include assumptions like cyborgs will all be contemptuous of unmodified humans and cyborgs will want to make everyone into other cyborgs and even cyborgs will be people who have lost their feelings and ability to empathise with unmodified humans, which is more widespread than you'd think. damn you, Hollywood, for filling people's heads with this crap and making them less willing to accept real technological advances. damn you. there's only one tiny grain of truth in that picture, and that's the unfeeling part.

i don't mean that i'm an uncaring jerk because i have an interest in cybernetics. i'm a jerk with an interest in transhumanism, just like i'm a jerk who eats chocolate spread straight outta the jar; they're unconnected. what i do mean is that this shit really raises your pain tolerance, as well as making you seriously reexamine your concept of not damaging your body. i noticed that yesterday, when i was reopening a wound on my hand with a scalpel to stop it healing over before i could get a skin diver into it. the wounds are made with a biopsy punch, and i'd inserted a no.10 blade horizontally and swivelled it round under the skin in a circle, having gotten all the way to pulling out the loosened flesh and clots with a pair of tweezers before it occurred to me that maybe that's kind of fucking weird, and a normal person would have just put a plaster on it and given up on that piercing until they could get it redone. me, i bought another diver and reinserted it myself; after the magnet, and with me planning to do nine more in the comfort of my own home, it just didn't register as painful. or rather, it did, but i just don't care anymore. it needs to be done, damage in the short term that conveys an advantage in the long term.

so, You're gonna hurt yourself isn't really a valid objection either. i know. i don't mind hurting myself in exchange for a little more knowledge. in order to get subdermal components in place, right now a scalpel is necessary. in order to get transdermal ones to stay in place, you're gonna need to make incisions. the pain is bad at the start, but the longer i do this kind of thing and the more experiments i do, the less i seem to care about the pain at all. eventually i don't think i'll even consider it to hurt.

cybernetics: if you're not in pain, you're not doing enough science.

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