Jennifer Lake's Blog

April 13, 2012


“There are many actual cyborgs among us in society. Anyone with an artificial organ, limb or supplement (like a pacemaker), anyone reprogrammed to resist disease (immunized) or drugged to think/behave/feel better (psychopharmacology) is technically a cyborg… there is no consensus on what a cyborg is… Many see..Frankenstein’s creature as the first cyborg… ” –Chris Gray, p2, The Cyborg Handbook
“A cyborg, short for “cybernetic organism”, is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space….  the term “Cybernetic organism” has been applied to networks, such as road systems, corporations and governments, which have been classed as such. The term can also apply to micro-organisms which are modified to perform at higher levels than their unmodified counterparts…
   “The concept of a man-machine mixture was widespread in science fiction before World War II…
The term [cyborg] first appears in print [in 1960]..when The New York Times reported on the Psychophysiological Aspects of Space Flight Symposium where Clynes and Kline first presented their paper;
A cyborg is essentially a man-machine system in which the control mechanisms of the human portion are modified externally by drugs or regulatory devices so that the being can live in an environment different from the normal one.” — Clynes and Kline, 1960
Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline:
Altering  man’s bodily functions to meet the requirements of extraterrestrial environments  would be more logical than providing an earthly environment for him in space… This self-regulation must function without the benefit of consciousness in order to cooperate with  the body’s own autonomous homeostatic controls…
…While it is quite difficult to set upper limits to ‘natural’ human physiological and psychological  performance, we can take as minimal the capabilities demonstrated under control conditions such as yoga or hypnosis. The imagination is stretched by the  muscular control of which even the undergraduate at a Yoga College is capable,  and hypnosis per se may prove to have a definite place in space travel, although  there is much to be learned about the phenomena of disassociation,  generalization of instructions, and abdication of executive control.
      We are now working on a new  preparation which may greatly enhance hypnotizability, so that pharmacological  and hypnotic approaches may be symbiotically combined.
Wakefulness… The extension of normal functioning through the use of that group of drugs known  as psychic energizers, with adjunctive medication, for this purpose is a  present-day reality…
Radiation  Effects. One  subsystem of the Cyborg would involve a sensor to detect radiation levels and an  adaptation of the Rose osmotic pump which would automatically inject protective  pharmaceuticals in appropriate doses. Experiments at the AF School of Aviation  Medicine already indicate an increase in radiation resistance resulting from  combined administration of aminoethylisothioronium and cysteine to monkeys.
Metabolic..Controls. In the case of prolonged space flight…food — poses a  major problem. During a flight of a year Or longer… Hypothermia  (reduction of body temperature) would appear to be a desirable state in such  long voyages in order to reduce metabolism, and thus human “fuel” consumption… The use of.. hibernation (through pituitary control), alone or in  combination with pharmaceuticals, all seem to offer possibilities in attempting  to obtain and maintain such a state…
Enzyme  Systems. Under  conditions of lowered body temperature, certain enzyme systems would tend to  remain more active than others. The extent to which pharmaceutical or chemical  agents could influence this enzyme activity has not been systematically  investigated, but beyond question they will play an important role. Since  metabolism is subject to enzyme control, several intriguing possibilities exist.  For example, it may be possible through in vitro radiation to convert certain  organisms from aerobic to anaerobic states and, by studying changes in the  enzyme systems, to adapt them for eventual human use
Psychoses. Despite all the care exercised,  there remains a strong possibility that somewhere in the course of a long space  voyage a psychotic episode might occur, and this is one condition for which no  servomechanism can be completely designed at the present time. While an  emergency osmotic pump containing one of the high-potency phenothiazines  together with reserpine could be a part of the complete space man’s kit, the  frequent denial by an individual undergoing a psychotic episode that his thought  processes, emotions, or behavior are abnormal, might keep him from voluntarily  accepting medication. For this reason, if monitoring is adequate, provision  should be made for triggering administration of the medication remotely from  earth
Current development in “remote medicine”:
May, 2012: [Nature magazine] “Researchers have remotely activated genes inside living animals, a proof of concept that could one day lead to medical procedures in which patients’ genes are triggered on demand.”
“Some laboratory mice were given specially engineered insulin-producing genes. These genes were then remotely activated using radio waves. This could mean a whole new field of medical proceedures in which we turn genes on and off at will. This breakthrough is the work of geneticists at New York’s Rockefeller University… Admittedly..the researchers did first have to inject some nanoparticles onto the mice’s cells in order to affect their genes…
   “The radio waves are ideal for this sort of remote manipulation because they can pass through thick layers of tissue, and they can be easily focused…
Even better, the researchers have already developed a way to achieve similar, albeit weaker, results without having to inject nanoparticles at all. They have developed cells that can grow their own required nanoparticles… However, as Nature explains, this would still require growing tumors inside humans to actually get these cell cultures in place, which means the treatment isn’t yet ethically permissible in humans.”
Manfred Clynes interviewed by cyborgologist Chris Hables Gray [published in The Cyborg Handbook, 1995]:
CHG: Why exactly did you guys decide to write about space travel?
MC: Nathan Kline was the director of this research facility there at the Rockland State Hospital and one day somebody asked him… Dr. Kline was interested in the application of drugs for the treatment of mental patients.
CHG: Yes, psychopharmacology
MC: Psychopharmacology. This man, I think Flaherty…
CHG: Yeah, he was with NASA.
MC:..invited him to write something for us at NASA. So, he talked to me and said, ‘Would you like to write something jointly with me? I will write about the drugs and you write about other physiologic systems.’ I said, ‘What do I know about this? I know nothing.’ Anyhow we agreed… And I coined this word cyborg…
CHG: I noticed you used the term participant evolution in that article.
MC: Yes. In other words man has now become conscious enough of the way he was built physiologically…that he could now supplement the homeostasis with which he evolved… So as to supplement it by his own imagination and through his own creativity…to simply allow him to make use of his faculties…
…I have to criticize a little what seems to be a great lack of appreciation of molecular biology among cyborg studies. The great things that are happening today in the scientific world are advances in molecular biology along with computers. Those are the two regions of our scientific world that are growing very rapidly, and compared to them psychology is dead in the water completely.
   It is already known that the emotional world of men is fashioned through molecules like neuropeptides… These peptides have receptors scattered throughout the brain..[and] it is known that the emotional world can be affected now by designer molecules. That’s where the computers and molecular biology will intermarry… computer-designed molecules..that will naturally work inside the brain and will be able to change the emotional aspects.
…They continually are making gene products, some are turned off, some are turned on…So that by controlling and knowing how to control the natural products, and turning the genes on and off, we will have tremendous power to change the emotional world of man.
…Evolution is more than survival of the fittest. And participant evolution can…probably improve the qualities of life more effectively..than by just waiting for the less fit to become extinct.” [pp46-53]
Cyborg Ethics
C.H. Gray poses the question, “Could there be a cyborg ethics? Yes, we think so. And not just one. Several systems are implicitly elaborated in the pages [of The Cyborg Handbook]… David Channel has elaborated what he calls a ‘bionic’ ethic: ‘A bionic ethic must take into consideration both the mechanical and the organic aspects of the cybernetic ecology in order to maintain the system’s integrity, stability, diversity and purposefulness. Neither the mechanical nor the organic can be allowed to bring about the extinction of the other.’ (The Vital Machine, p154).” [p12]
For the Human Materials Industry generated by “patient care”, the ethic is described:

When it appears that a patient will become brain-dead, a change in medical routines occurs. Care of the patient as a whole being becomes care of biological materials contained within and the technological components that convert them into useable products. There are two parts to the process; the maintenance of the body as incubator and storage container for the human materials, and the preservation and conversion of the specific materials themselves. It is important to note that this process can begin long before the patient is declared legally dead…
   “Once the brain ceases to function…the body is no longer a self-regulating system… Cyborg mechanics must replace brain functions…
   “Recognizing the considerable market potential of the human materials industry, pharmaceutical and medical supply companies have developed new products and entire new industries… The goals of these new products are to preserve tissue integrity before being removed, and to make the materials more ‘immunologically silent’ to prevent problems later when they are replaced inside another body. In essence, the human materials are being structurally, chemically and functionally transformed to make them more universal. In this way, they become not only substitutable mechanical parts, but more like off-the-shelf reagents, available for use in a variety of end-users.” [p208]
This is possible in a late-capitalist age in which commodification has reached into hithertofore unimaginable realms of life. However it meant that ideas about the boundaries of the body as well as boundaries between human and nonhuman had to change… new social interventions were required. The first and most important was a new definition of ‘death’. The cessation of brain now accepted as the legal and medical category ‘death’…Brain death allows the suspension of time, which in turn allows cultural and bodily processes to be fragmented and reconfigured. Significantly, it allows the process to be staged by biomedical ‘managers’ and experts… this medical-legal construction left us with an even more ambiguous entity; the ‘living cadaver’. In attempting to reduce ambiguity, it is necessary to deconstruct the subject (the person), and reconstruct an object (the production unit)… Throughout the process, cultural meanings must be stripped from the person. Identity must be erased… While these processes can be called social technologies, the core technologies used..are chemical and mechanical. Through these, the physical body is reprogrammed and retooled for new uses…” [p206]
While it may be true that many of us are living in cyborg societies, we have to remember that those are also plural societies… Future cyborg studies will hopefully attend to cultural beliefs and practices, and the ways in which they are transformed and transforming. Studying cyborgs and their social relations means not only learning where and how bodies exist in relation to machines, but also what types of bodies they are, and where they are situated. As Stone (1994) has pointed out, bodies and communities constitute each other. [p215]
                                                      TechnoCalypse: The Transhumanists
                               (part one)
                               (part two)
                               (part three)
                               (part four)
                                                        Walker Lake Dome Project

The Walker Lake Dome Project, built by Universal Yoyodyne and announced on March 30, 2012, intends to enclose the town of Westwood, California, in the volcanic northeast region of the state.;  “Interestingly, Westwood had a very large indoor shopping mall as far back as the 1930s, as well as a large theater, skating rink and club for the mill workers. The town was sold in 1944 to the Fruit Growers Supply Company, today known as part of Sunkist… The [2010] Census reported that 1,647 people (100% of the population) lived in households..and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.”,_California

“The company plans on using the town as a proving ground for technology that might one day enclose major U.S. cities, especially those prone to weather related disasters…”

Sunkist Growers, Inc  “is the largest fresh produce shipper in the United States, the most diversified citrus processing and marketing operation in the world, and one of California’s largest land-owners.”; “[Albert D.] Lasker is largely responsible for America’s infatuation with orange juice. Lord & Thomas acquired the Sunkist Growers, Incorporated account in 1908, when Lasker was 28…”  Formerly timberland harvested for Sunkist packing boxes, the Westwood area and other lumber centers are now managed forests:


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