The Body, should we keep it?

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
see the good thing about ditching it would be that we wouldn't have to clothe, feed or shelter it and that would mean we wouldn't have to work and it would mean people wouldn't have power over other people and everyone could just float around non-corporally, just er, being free spirits and that, listening to the music of the spheres. the bad thing is that you wouldn't be able to watch match of the day on a saturday cos there would be no bodies to play football but i wouldn't mind that much cos i work saturday anyway, whats it to me?
 
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be.jazz

Guest
The Body, should we keep it?
Do we have a choice?

I understand what seems to me to be a very Cartesian way of thinking. The pleasures and pains of the flesh, live and die and spread your molecules back into the Earth.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
ahem, we're playing a game, abide by the rules please! the game is, imagine a world without bodies, do you like it? what are the benefits what are the problems? what is gained what is lost?
 

DavidD

can't be stopped
I essentially live this way already, as an inordinate amount of my day is spent sitting at my computer listening to hours of music.

[/dorkiness]
 

DigitalDjigit

Honky Tonk Woman
No bodies, Life extension & the Matrix

The only way I see myself supporting life extension technology is if it takes the form of uploading us into computers (if that is possible). There ain't enough room for everyBODY if everyone starts living 300 years. So it's like heaven in our time. You live till you are 80 or whatever then you die and get uploaded into a virtual reality. I don't see why it is not possible to then simulate football....or anything. It becomes like the Matrix only without bodies.

That whole part of it was really stupid. It takes more energy to maintain a body then you will get out of it (second law of thermodynamics, innit?). It would only make sense if they needed to transform one form of energy into another and since plants don't grow (no sun) there really isn't anything for the human body to transform....well maybe some kind of mineral enriched food synthesized out of microbes or something...but even the the human body is terribly inefficient for that since a lot of your energy goes to run your brain.

The whole thing was just so we could sympathize with the humans and want to rescue them. Now...I have not seen Matrix 2 and 3 and I do not plan to. So I am not gonna go any further here.
 

Woebot

Administrator
Staff member
luka said:
see the good thing about ditching it would be that we wouldn't have to clothe, feed or shelter it and that would mean we wouldn't have to work and it would mean people wouldn't have power over other people and everyone could just float around non-corporally, just er, being free spirits and that, listening to the music of the spheres. the bad thing is that you wouldn't be able to watch match of the day on a saturday cos there would be no bodies to play football but i wouldn't mind that much cos i work saturday anyway, whats it to me?
i don't understand how people can begin to conceive of one (the body) without the other (the mind). surely our body IS one large brain. life without one's body would be entirely meaningless, an unimaginable hell. eno has always been good on the thinking body.

in fact this reminds me of one bit in dante, when he comes across a disembodied couple, forever in love, forever in twine with eachother in an ecstatic intimacy, weeping. dante says (needle scratching across surface of record) ***hang on a minute*** isnt this supposed to be your ideal. the punchline, they can't shag.
 

Woebot

Administrator
Staff member
...just thought. you probably mean the body-vs-soul dichotomy as opposed to the body-vs-mind. yeah i'm gonna have to think about that...
 
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be.jazz

Guest
If we have no body, how do we experience each other? Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, Vulcan mind meld? I'm a breast man, how will I get my kicks?
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I would miss all the tactile stuff, not just the sex, personally. :(

Plus, the obligatory shouty student comment is that there is enough here already to feed, clothe and shelter everybody. It just doesn't get shared out.

There are already some loons in the US called the Transhumanists proposing this sort of thing, iirc. The conclusion I came to after reading their stuff was that they were a bit scared of poo and other mess. I.e. there is an underlying tone of not really approving of the body in the first place, cos it's a bit animal, and we should really be all about the supposedly "higher" functions like philosophising and all that. (not saying this applies to Luka, tho)
 
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be.jazz

Guest
john eden said:
I would miss all the tactile stuff, not just the sex, personally. :(
Yeah, food, sweat, sleep, stubbing your toe, where would we be without all that? It could be simulated like a football game, but what would be the point of simulating things when the real thing is readily available?

There are already some loons in the US called the Transhumanists proposing this sort of thing, iirc. The conclusion I came to after reading their stuff was that they were a bit scared of poo and other mess. I.e. there is an underlying tone of not really approving of the body in the first place, cos it's a bit animal, and we should really be all about the supposedly "higher" functions like philosophising and all that. (not saying this applies to Luka, tho)
Probably the best situation would be to be able to switch between bodiless, normal and mindless (primal?). I'd go along with that.
 

DigitalDjigit

Honky Tonk Woman
Yeah, the Transhumanists scare the shit out of me.

If our mind is just in the brain (which is debatable btw) then we could always just do the brain in a jar thing. All the brain sense centers would be stimulated by a computer that is either creating a virtual reality or showing the real world. Matrix again.

In theory there would be no difference between experiencing these things with your body or through the computer. The benefits are that the body doesn't have to be cared about so no need to grow food and all that. There would be less pollution too and the natural world would recover. Conflict would probably dissappear too.

I dunno, it doesn't seem all that bad. Gotta be a catch somewhere.
 

martin

----
Well, we're all out of body now. Existing purely in flesh-free spirit format must be like one big Internet forum
 

stelfox

Beast of Burden
you wouldn't be able to dance and there would be no sex or pies (not in any order of importance) - i rule against this motion!
 

Jamie S

Member
"For Case, who'd lived for the bodiless exultation of cyber-
space, it was the Fall. In the bars he'd frequented as a cowboy
hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt
for the flesh. The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of
his own flesh." Neromancer, William Gibson

It's all a bit eighties isn't it?

When I was a student, I was going to do a dissertation on 'Gendering Cyberspace'. How 'this' would be a female-coded space, 'cos of the way (male) bodies wouldn't be able to impinge on communication. Ha ha ha ha.
(I dropped out instead of finishing it, but never mind)

Anyway, to Luka's game: I've always done physical or partly physical jobs before now (farm worker, pizza maker, EFL teacher) but now, apart from typing, I work with my brain, and I hate it. So, If I have to work I want my body here to do it. And while we might have a virtual MoTD to watch, it is pretty good actually volleying a goal or going in with a sliding tackle or whatever.

Anyway, as Woebot almost said 'Down with dualism!'
 
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be.jazz

Guest
But who's taking care of the computer doing the simulating? Because it'll probably be running on Windows, so you know someone's going to have to reboot it at some point.
 

Woebot

Administrator
Staff member
...ok i thought about it for a while. sorry for fannying around. the thing is the idea presupposes that the two are indivisible. it must be one of the most seductive concepts available to us because it both seems to explain so many phenomena and naturally is a salve to our fears of the absence of life after death.

i've always believed really strongly that the soul has some independence, that our bodies are temporary houses for both our soul and other transmigratory spirits (music/voices which talk to one late at night/ideas which consume us etc) but again it's a matter of faith. there seems to be no "scientific" proof that the body is a vessel. the most convincing argument seems to be that all our ancestors believed that to be the reality of the situation.

in any case, and to answer your question, NO i wouldnt want to be disembodied. apart from any other reason I AM EMBODIED! It seems more reasonable to proceed with the assumption that I am in my body for a reason, and that i should take the trouble to figure out why the cosmos has made me thus.
 

k-punk

Spectres of Mark
OK... there are a number of possible takes on this that would reject carnal corporeality without signing up to Cartesian dualism:

Spinoza ---- Spinoza refutes dualism, claiming, with Woebot, that the mind is the body (or the mind is the idea of the body). Crucial distinction for Spinoza is that between passive and active bodies. In what to standard western ontology might seem a paradox, active bodies are sensitive and open to the Outside, whereas passive bodies are walled into their own reactive circuitries.

Artaud ---- Artaud distinguishes between the body (without organs) and the organism --- the BwO is the body as pure potentiality, the organism the hierarchically ordered depotentiated

The Gnostics --- the Gnostics reject corporeality in the name of knowledge, or gnosis --- everything in the world, including yr own body, is the demiurge's delusion, a hideous simulation ....

I was talking with Ray the other night about how one of the most disastrous moves in contemporary theory is the 'phenomenologization of bodily experience', the obsession with the 'lived body'. This serves to incarnate thought, when, as Ray says, the point is to make contact with an excarnate thought.

Ray's essay 'Solar Catastrophism' is brilliant on this... it begins as a commentary on Lyotard's essay 'Can Thought Go on without a Body?' (from <I>The Inhuman</i>), which takes as its ultimate problem the question of the sun's inevitable explosion. What then? Must thought be embodied, or can we imagine it escaping the body?

Here's Ray:

'I want to suggest that the traumatic scission which divides organic life from inorganic death has its transcendental analogue in the irreparable disjunction between thought and solar death. Bear in mind that what is repeated in the death-drive is something that never happened: a non-event that cannot be registered within the perception-consciousness system. Thus, organic life merely recapitulates the non-occurrence of aboriginal inorganic death. Similarly, terrestrial philosophy as quest is fuelled by the non-occurrence of solar death as impossible possibility. Solar death is catastrophic because the collapse of the terrestrial horizon is unenvisageable for embodied thought—unless that thought can switch from organic to inorganic (silicone based) embodiment—, and it is because it is unenvisageable that solar catastrophe overturns the relation between thought and its terrestrial horizon. Thus, for embodied terrestrial thought solar death is not an event but a trauma, something which does not take place within thought’s terrestrial horizon but persists as an unconscious trace disturbing embodied philosophical consciousness. Recall the earlier pronouncement made by Lyotard’s HE: “Everything’s dead already if this infinite reserve from which you now draw energy to defer answers, if in short thought as quest, dies out with the sun.” Everything is dead already, not only because the solar catastrophe vitiates the earth’s horizonal status as infinite, supposedly inexhaustible reservoir of noetic possibility, but also because thought as quest is driven by death, and strives to become equal to the death whose trace it bears by disembodying itself. Yet absolute disembodiment remains philosophically inconceivable. Although the materialist is less refractory on this issue than the phenomenologist, all HE can suggest is a change of embodiment, a shift from a carbon to a silicone-based substrate. This is only to postpone the day of reckoning, because sooner or later thought will have to reckon with the collapse of the ultimate horizon: the asymptopic death of the cosmos roughly one trillion, trillion, trillion (101728) years from now, when matter itself will cease to exist—along with the possibility of any kind of embodiment.
Because disembodied thought is philosophically unimaginable, HE, Lyotard’s materialist, limits the scope of the catastrophe by turning the collapse of the terrestrial horizon into an occasion for a change of horizon. The infinite horizonal reserve fuelling philosophical questioning is merely expanded from the terrestrial to the cosmic scale. The cosmos is now the locus of the irreparable disjunction between death and thought. But if thought is already dead this expansion of horizon is ultimately to no avail: of what use is the perpetuation of thought’s embodied life if what is perpetuated is philosophy’s constitutive inability to resolve, i.e. bind, the traumatic disjunction between thought and death? Since the death of the cosmos is just as much of an irrecusable faktum for philosophy as the death of the sun, every horizonal reserve upon which embodied thought draws to fuel its quest is necessarily finite. Why then should thought continue investing in an account whose dwindling reserves are circumscribed by the temporary parameters of embodiment? Why keep playing for time? A change of body is just a way of postponing thought’s inevitable encounter with the death that drives it. And a change of horizon is just a means of occluding the transcendental nature of the trauma that fuels thought.'
 
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