1,155 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2015
    1. stubbornness

      This word gets at what Brian was talking about above.

    2. “learning and running” than using the abilities that the Oankali can provide.

      But isn't Lilith's mantra all about using those abilities until it possible for them to escape, to run?

    3. These point out their value of maintaining a constant home or city by developing agriculture and not living a life always on the move.

      Nice. Historically, there have been many ways of being human.

    4. But that begs the question, what is Oankali?

      Right. The Oankali are in the same boat. They too will be different.

    5. “perfected”

      Not better, only different.

    6. They create a description for their own culture while describing others. Lilith describes what it is to be human through her recognition of the differences between her and the Oankali.

      I like the way this is phrase. It's probably not for nothing that we are told that Lilith is an anthropology student.

    1. She had crossed the line between human to inhuman, which is why she was able to conceive an Oankali baby.

      Here's the thing, it's not simply an Oankali baby. And, to orient this post the big question in this class, and the one you beg here, what do you mean by "human"?

    2. “protect”

      Why the quote marks? Do we have any reason to doubt the Oankali?

    3. By receiving these two main enhancements, the Oankali were trusting that Lilith would help introduce the Awoken humans into their new world, and Lilith was trusting that they would keep her safe and take her back to Earth.

      I like how you traced the theme of trust through this first half of the novel. That said, I'd like to have seen more payoff. What does this emphasis on trust suggest to you? What can we take away from this novel?

    4. I saw trust being used as a means for trade

      Trust, you're suggesting, is a kind a currency?

    5. a common theme I saw was trust

      I really dig this.

    1. Even in a entirely human world, relationships are crucial to developing and making humans, human.

      Nicely put.

    2. There is also another quote in the book,

      Instead of moving from quote to quote, work with and from one aspect of the novel. You aren't really developing a thesis here about the novel; just marking things that jump out at you. Go the extra step of explaining why this aspect interests you and how it speaks to some aspect of the course.

    3. this bothers me because they act like dying is no big deal

      I am not that this is the case. In many ways, Lilith seems overwhelmed with grief.

    1. I’m not saying that I would willingly accept this interspecies breeding.

      As the Oankali point out, they don't know plan on being better or worse, only different, which is anyone's guess.

    2. Most humans aren’t accustom to such honesty––especially not eager to trust something so foreign and unknown.

      This makes sense within the novel. The Oankali, driven by the urge to trade, are very upfront about what they are up. Humans, who seem intent on controlling or denying their urges, are more withholding.

    3. But, is it really our fault? Look at everything in our world.

      Great connections here.

    4. Even though I don’t get the feeling too often, I think the Oankali are afraid of the humans.

      Certainly, there is some fear mixed in with their fascination. Makes me think of how many humans respond to fire.

    5. It seems to me that humans and Oankali are just vessels for people.

      You are on to something here with this distinction between "human" and "person": do we always or necessarily want to see these as the same? Additionally, the Oankali, even though they seem to be calling the shots, are very much in the same boat: they will change as well and be other than they are. And, as Nikanj suggests at several points, the Oankali feel driven to connect to humans, which suggests that they are just "coerced" or "compelled" as their human partners.

    6. forcing themselves on humans without consent, but the Oankali seem kinda like saviors at first, so you just shrug it off.

      Great point. As I commented over on Hillary's post, it is amazing how quickly most readers settled into the Oankali perspective.

    7. Date Raped by Aliens

      Very provocative title, which does really get at some of the boundaries we find challenged within this novel.

    1. Relationships cannot be forced.

      Perhaps it's better to say that "healthy relationships" cannot be forced.

    2. that humans need relationships in order to survive, even though it is the very thing that could break them down


    3. After reading that quote, I found it sad because Lilith needed those people to be awake. But she also needed to be protected from them, and them from one another.

      Well said. This novel very much complicates the idea of protection.

    4. I think it says a lot about our relationships and how humans are inevitably bound to argue even with a common goal, survival.

      Interesting connections and claims: we struggle with other to survive together.

    5. Relationship to Survive

      I like this title: it focuses not on what counts as a relationship and instead focuses on what relationships might do.

    6. It’s easy for me to say that I would have been grateful in Lilith’s shoes but I wasn’t in the book.

      Nicely put. It's not unimportant that we are experience this story from the safety of this world.

    7. Humans are how they react to the environments they are placed into. This may not be how the Human is regularly, but our environments affect us, and in the end can shape us.

      Solid conclusion.

    8. unappreciative

      Strong word here.

    9. It baffled me that Lilith was so against the Oankali and all that they were doing.

      You are on to something here. There is for many readers this same tension. I too found myself quickly accepting the Oankali as benevolent. Even after having read the book several times and understanding and respecting Lilith's responses (and the responses of others), I still find myself asking "what's the big deal?" For me, this is one the more compelling parts of the novel: how quickly and easily Butler can get us into the state of mind of the alien and to push our own understanding of our own limits.

    10. started over

      A new Garden of Eden as it were.

  2. jacksoncritic.tumblr.com jacksoncritic.tumblr.com
    1. The novel mostly explores various posthuman themes

      Such as?

    2. The Oankali saved a select group of humans to breed with in order to repopulate the Earth with super humans

      Where are getting this reading from. It wasn't a "select" group that was saved. They saved whomever they could. Only certain humans will go back, however. And those going back won't be "super humans" so much as hybrids.

    3. a Utopian society

      Is this really the goal for anyone. The Oankali are pretty clear that they only imagine this world will be different rather than better or worse.

    4. Aliens: Saviors?

      This is almost entirely summary. Note also that your blog still has no title. If both this post and the blog generally, you need to develop and add some unique perspective.

    1. We crave others so much

      Well put. And this seems as true of the Oankali as it does human.

    2. Should we be happy for her?

      It certainly is an ambiguous (another interesting word) situation.

    3. engrossed

      "Engrossed" is a great word here. The Oankali begin to shape not only her body but her attention and her attitudes. She thinks only of them.

    4. but it does point to the carnal, and oftentimes, primal, nature that harkens back to when humans first began to occupy their current status.

      It's a reminder of what we often ignore about the human.

    5. solation. It is where we begin and end our story in Dawn.

      Nicely put.

    6. Just as Lilith was surprised at the Oankali because of their difference, so too will these humans begin to see her as different. She has transcended her physiology and will soon transcend her own being.

      Good point. I wonder at your use of "transcend." As we continue reading do we actually see transcendence or difference?

    7. Imagine quantum physics being “natural” to you, having a full understanding with minimal effort. Imagine the possibilities of the human mind when it doesn’t make mistakes and it never forgets.

      There are some interesting connections back to Blindsight here. Would we, at this point, even be aware of these abilities? Or would it be so seamless as to be unnoticeable?

    8. Our brains are not a computer system, they can’t bring up a perfect representation of memory.

      We could ask, of course, if this is the goal we should have for memories. That is, would "perfect" memory actually be a good thing?

    9. Humans are limited by their physiology.

      Interesting connections and links here, Brian.

    1. But, of course, that isn’t exactly true and an attitude of wanting to leave this sticky mess similar to the humans in Dawn was developed.

      I'm not sure what you mean here. That said, the connection you trace in this paragraph is a good one.

    2. To both the Oankali and humans, she is not fully either and neither groups see her as completely one of them.

      Nicely put. She is chided and challenged by both groups. It's for this reason that I like the title of this trilogy, Lilith's Brood: brood can mean both a group of children and a kind of mental state: one can brood.

    3. This statement applies to not only refugees, but to anyone who moves to another area with a completely different culture.

      This is a really great connection that is certainly at play within this novel. The whole question of assimilation and migration is being asked within Dawn.

    4. Though this doesn’t seem like a comparison that comes to mind with Lilith’s Brood, I do see some parallels with the lives of refugees or any other groups who leave home to somewhere else so they have a better chance of survival and opportunities.

      This is a great connection, but it has taken a while to get here. None of what you write above connects to or paves the way for this excellent connection, which, because it comes so late, doesn't get fully developed.

  3. itsmargeethings.tumblr.com itsmargeethings.tumblr.com
    1. For example, the origin of birds can be traced back to a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved in the Mesozoic Era. In conclusion, being “different” isn’t a bad thing. In fact, we should embrace change, difference, and evolution as a way of our species progressing into a new era, one that will thrive, grow, and evolve, as well.

      I really like this connection. It provides a nice historical perspective. Species don't simply go away; they often, over time, just become something else. Why would we be any different?

    2. Joseph flinches away

      Is this flinch about trust? It seemed instinctual and a result of the chemical influence of the Oankali.

    3. This further brings up the theme of species.

      Rather than bring up a new topic here, stay focused on the one you develop at the beginning of this paragraph. What is it about the relationship you describe in the first paragraph that helps us make sense of this human fear of difference?

    4. In conclusion, how do we really know what makes up or defines a human?

      This conclusion doesn't really follow from what you have written above.

    1. what a human becomes

      The focus on becoming is also a focus of posthuman. Not just what the human is but how the human becomes.

    2. website called Mutual Responsibility

      Great connection. Thanks for sharing this website, which works strongly with your post.

    3. To be any kind of living organism, is to consequently be affected by your environment.

      Such a great posthuman sentence here. Works really well with the previous two paragraphs.

    4. “To teach, to give comfort, to feed and clothe, to guide them through and interpret what will be, for them, a new and frightening world. To parent.”

      Excellent quote selection. I like the conversation they have about their use of the word parent as well.

    5. catapulted

      Another great word. Martin Heidegger, a major philosophical thinker of the 20th Century, used the word thrown to describe being. There is a nice resonance here with you use of catapulted.

    6. fashioned

      I really like the word "fashioned" here: it has so many difference meanings that are all potentially at work here.

    7. Rather than saying “We are humans because we fit into a box we have labeled as human” we could say “what makes us different from other creatures is what is human about us.”

      This is strongly posthuman. Rather than one fundamental difference, can we not explore many differences that all make a difference, and that, furthermore, can change through time.

    8. rather than owning the title

      Great question you pose here.

    9. what makes us similar to one another makes us human

      And we share in common might change, evolve.

    10. She is using the term human as an adjective rather than a title. So maybe the term “human” is just a slice of the pie, rather than the whole thing.

      I am digging this line of thought: the human not as a definitive thing but rather as a set of qualities. What are the implications of such an understanding: human aliens and inhuman humans?

    11. becoming less human she is worried about becoming less than herself

      This is really interesting and, I think, important distinction you make here. Perhaps our anxiety is not becoming less "human" in some abstract sense but in changing as a specific individual.

    12. he


    1. Framing choice and desire as forces in a constant mesh with innumerable other force, coalescing in Lilith or whoever, definitely helps me to muster up sympathy for others and their “issues”, Lilith included.

      I like the ethical implication you are here teasing out from Dawn. "Control" is certainly a fraught concept and Dawn attends to this.

    2. It almost seems like Lilith’s very consciousness is simply there to bear witness to the molding of Lilith and Lilith’s decisions, which both seem outside of her control. 

      Some possible connections to Blindsight. Consciousness either bears witness or gets in the way.

    3. I appreciated Nora’s recent post concerning loneliness and other mental forces and their presence in Dawn (find it at Are we Human, or are we Dancer?). 

      I really dig this direct connection to a classmate's blog. I'd like to see more of this going forward from everyone. And this is a great moment in the novel to zero in on in terms of this post.

    4. So, why haven’t the Oankali genetically modified humans in a way that would change their decision making processes?

      There's a great question. How alterable is this?

    5. At the same time, ideas of free will are complicated in Dawn, for instance, the conflict between choices of mind and body.

      You said it.

    6. place at the top of Earth’s food chain

      Are we though? Every tornado and hurricane and drought surely begin to suggest otherwise.

    7. It seems more that they are adopted for a greater good

      But surely humans provide the same rationale for hierarchies.

    8. they exist with our without our understanding of them as food-chains

      Lions eat zebras, surely. Any attempt to understand that will be, in part, on us.

    9. We didn’t make food-chains up

      We sort of did, in fact. Why the word "chain"? Why not "cycle" for instance.

    10. natural hierarchies

      Is though? We have certainly describe as so.

    11. (well, sort of)


    12. The fluidity allowed by free genetic trading and manipulation renders hierarchies obsolete, and so the species never adopted it.

      I find this explanation compelling. Hierarchy as humans practice it would really get in the way of the Oankali drive for difference, which they seem compelled to seek.

    1. It is best not to dumb ourselves down to cavemen, or animals, but to redefine the term “human” to mean treating others with decency and respect.  

      This surely is a daily struggle.

    2. This is a common term used to describe actions of humans today who seem to not think at all with the common sense or developed thought that has come about since the time of cavemen.

      Excellent connection here. Competing notions of the human are also competing standards of behavior.

    3. It seems that everyone should have a preconceived idea of what a human is, and what it would mean to treat others like people.

      This is a great connection: that are idea of what a human is/ought to be determines how we treat humans and those deemed nonhuman. This connection has, of course, historical precedents in terms of things like racism and genocide. Once a group doesn't meet the criteria another group has made for "the human," then violence and other forms of mistreatment follow.

    4. opportunity for Human contact

      I wonder, given Lilith's eventual connections to the Oankali, if it is human contact specifically or contact more generally. I am thinking of, for instance, animals as companions or pets as members of a family.

    5. she was able to warm up to him and even hold his hand to her own surprise because she was lonely

      Humans feel the drive to connect so strongly that we can form bonds that at times disturb us. Lilith so wants to connect with others, that she overcomes fear and anxiety to do so.

    6. Clinical Psychologist, Guy Winch wrote an article entitled “Loneliness is a Silent Killer”.

      Great connection here, Nora. You're nailing this post.

    7. Especially in college freshmen year when the environment is entirely new, it is easy to struggle with loneliness.

      Compelling connection.

    8. Or will we still need the physical presence of another Human to stay alive?

      As, I think, begins to be explored in Part III, humans have and need bodies.

    9. “Humans need one another” (Pg. 19). The novel Lilith’s Brood defines the Human as a being that needs another Human to live.

      Nice opening: connection to the novel and a strong, discernible claim.

    1. appearance that defines us as humans?

      This is a great question. Historically, we have certainly used appearance as a way of sorting humans, and, thereby, deeming some humans as less-than or not-quite human. Think about racism as form of using appearance to determine "human-ness."

    2. His appearance was so “unearthly” that she felt uncomfortable and rejected it. She rejected it because in comparison with herself, it was so different, so wrong to her.

      What is also important to note is that she feels torn, later in the novel, between comfort and familiarity on one hand, and revulsion on the other.

    3. Appearance or Genes?

      And to yet another complication, there is clearly a connection between the two. That is, is not our appearance, in part, a function of genetics?

    4. The limits of humans are not to be tempered with and the Oankali have crossed that line. 

      Awesome image. Great find!

    5. They say it was to protect the humans from destroying themselves because of their intelligence and hierarchical.  But did they even ask??

      Good question, but think about how many interactions we have with nonhumans in which asking doesn't happen and isn't possible. Our intestinal microbes don't ask, and neither do we.

      Simply put, and as Nikanj puts it, the Oankali are drawn to us.

    6. Their freedom is gone

      "Freedom" is an interesting criteria. What I find compelling about the novel is how it challenges this as a criteria. That is, I think there are many things we take or accept as human that aren't the products of freedom. For instance, our emotional responses and our desires are not necessarily things we choose. SO, are the Oankali taking "these away" or are the pointing to how such freedom is possible illusory?

    1. Is it unclean that Nikanj made Lilith pregnant without her consent?

      You have me thinking here about what the connection is between "unclean" and "free." I'm not sure what to make of it, but it's interesting that you connect them here (even if unintentionally).

    2. telling her she was ready

      This is an interesting tension in the novel: between what characters say they want and what their bodies say they want. We are daily aware of this tension. I don't want to take a nap, but my body clearly does.

    3. definition is difficult to nail down.

      Indeed, it seems like that have no real concept of freedom. I suspect this is because they aren't, near as we can tell, hierarchical. Would we need a concept of freedom if we didn't live within a hierarchy?

    4. I was aware of everything I was doing

      What a great response to a book.

    5. At least not the freedom we know.

      Nice caveat here.

    6. Paul wants Lilith to have sex with him so she can produce more humans but Lilith refuses.

      What is interesting here is how strongly Paul feels a desire to communicate. How does this desire impact or complicate your argument.

    7. It’s almost frightening. While we did avoid having the Cold War

      Not sure what the connection is here.

    8. The concern of losing this human connection comes from the amount of technology in our lives.

      Are we losing connection absolutely or only a particular kind of connection? Be more precise in these moments.

    9. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve sat next to a human but texted another one. How many people talk to strangers behind cell phones and computers? 

      But are they talking to strangers? And you are still communicating, yes. I guess what I am asking for more depth here in terms of the distinctions you are making.

    1. the more I think about it, the more I realize that the resources of destruction and the discovery of extraterrestrial life may be closer than we think.

      Two good points, but how are they related. How do the experiences you describe here shape Lilith's experience and help us to make sense of for ourselves?

    2. This keeps happening to you. It begins to become a routine. It becomes all you know.

      Great opening paragraph! We can't make sense of Lilith until we really recognize how this story starts for her.

    1. does an outstanding job of making us realize that without others, our lives would be lonely and miserable

      Nice connection here. Nora does something similar in her post for the first half of Dawn.

    2. If you thought living in your parents’ house up until you came to school was oppressive, just imagine having to ask permission just to open a door

      Nice. Weirdly enough, we have all sorts of other freedoms at home. I always though, for example, that dorm life was less free than we typically think. Negotiating sleep and bathroom schedules with strangers sounds like a Kafkaesque nightmare to me.

    3. but I honestly think that it isn’t until she gets out of her cage that Lilith feels truly trapped

      Very interesting claim. I'm on board.

  4. Sep 2015
    1. I could not help but ask myself if technology was beginning to replace the human race. For example, when I check in at the airport, I usually go straight to the electronic check in because it is faster, more efficient, and I don’t have to wait in line. Similarly, I don’t have to call the airport to book a ticket. I can do this all online with the help of technology. It makes me wonder if this will continue to be a common trend. Will our generation have to worry about technology taking over the careers we are currently working so hard to pursue?

      These questions, which come at the end and don't necessarily connect to what's written above, are interesting, but they don't get unpacked or explored here.

    2.  In Transmetropolitan, Spider’s body is transformed by drugs he encounters when he comes back down to the city of Angels. The reader interprets this as impossible in our world today. However, think about how one would interpret plastic surgery fifty years ago. Not only would it be impossible, but it would also be looked down upon.

      We are constantly adjusting what it means to be human: this is not transhumanism, but posthumanism.

    3. Arguments like these can attest to the fact that we are getting closer to transhumanism.

      They might also suggest, as posthumanism attends to, that to be human has always been to be in some mediated or modified.

    4. Perhaps it can be argued that present day humans are actually transhumans. Imagine living in the early 1900s.

      Great point here, and excellent historical parallel.

    1. postmonkeyism


    2. As Humonics became its own nation and separated from others, the Monkeys began to grow together and form governments and societies underground.

      Nice. I am so glad you picked up on this detail. The real story is the story that happened underneath this one.

    3. as, “It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”

      What a great quote.

    1. I still don’t know how I feel about it.

      While I appreciate your struggle, this post doesn't really go anywhere: there's no thesis. I really liked the connection to exercise and fitness, but you didn't really develop that here.

    2. Technology is an amazing thing, but if we are not careful, we’d potentially let it be taking the thoughts, emotions, questions, and everything else that makes us human away from us.  

      What is interesting here is how the presence of technologies create so many questions and generate so many emotional responses.

    3. Being “unique” wouldn’t exist.

      Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    4.  Although it does not relate to post humanism, I think it really does a good job of explaining what differentiates humans from everything else.          

      Another question is, "why do we feel a desire to differentiate ourselves from everything else?"

    5. genetically

      Have they been genetically altered? Or is it mechanically altered?

    6. This is what post humanism focuses on.

      The posthuman focuses more on the question you ask above. It doesn't necessarily entail technology all of the time.

    7.  Reading Blindsight really forces us, as humans, to confront some of the unanswered questions we have about what it means to be human.

      Nicely put.

    1. I think that the whole goal of this documentary was to expose this new breed of transhuman monkeys to the oblivious humans.

      Sure. But nothing more besides this?

    2. I think naming the narrator Dowidat was a subtle nod to Humonics’ product.

      Okay. Cool. But what does this nod do? Dig deeper here.

    3. I found out the name Heinrich means “home power,” which if you think about it, is pretty foreshadowing.

      Some great research here!

    4. Sarasti was alone or not physically present.

      They did spend a lot of time together.

    5. Looking back, I can see why Theseus would choose Sarasti as its “leader.”

      Sarasti wasn't chosen by the ship, but I think I understand what you are saying here.

    6. As a reader, I too trusted Theseus because I had no reason not to

      Great point. What harm could a ship do?

    1. I could be wrong but I don’t think that anyone would ever want to live in a world that someone is constantly lying to them, but then again that is kind of the world that we live in today.

      But is there some ground where presenting yourself a certain way isn't the same as lying?

    2. Sure, we can imagine what it would be like but we don’t really know.

      Good point. This is why science fiction can be valuable. It's an attempt to really imagine, in as much detail, what things might be like.

    3. Why is it interesting that there is a twist at the end?

      What a great question! :)

    4. I also like to think that humans are morally good, naturally.

      Here is the thing, though: Siri wants to comfort her. He does care for her. He spends hours researching the best way to talk to her, which strikes me as evidence of his affection for her. In other words, this doesn't strike me so much as a moral failure as it is a failure to communicate.

    5. It honestly is sad that Siri couldn’t even pick up. That he really couldn’t find the words to say actually saddens me a little bit but that’s just the way that Siri is programmed to act.

      Very compelling comment here. Shines a spotlight on the value of empathy.

    6. How should we talk about dying to a dying person?

      I am really glad somebody attended to this moment in the novel.

    1. Which is probably true, but if those monkeys don’t change socially, they’ll fair no better than us.

      There's sort of no real payoff here, accept humans suck.

    2. That seems like a clue to me that they aren’t worth a shit.

      Reminds me of the story of one of the grandfathers who own Jack Daniels telling his children and grandchildren, "we only sell the shit" as a caution against drinking alcohol.

    3.  Most people aren’t all that interested in becoming better human beings, they are just interested in convenience, and what will make things easier to deal with.

      Surely this is true, but surely it isn't true all the time and everywhere. Why so hard on your fellow humans?

    4. Is modifying our bodies in our best interest as a species, or just done out of selfishness? I actually think that it might be both.

      Given what we know about evolution, selfishness seems to play a big part in it. The desire to propagate one's own genetic material.

    5. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

      I love the way the title for this posts pairs with the image!

    6.  Just like Amanda Bates, we should be scared of our own power, and be scared of the things we’ve already done.

      I really like the way you come back to the novel here. This is a very solid post.

    7. While this technology allows us to complete missions with little to no risk to our personnel, you have to wonder how it affects us as human beings.

      Compelling question. While certainly, it saves lives, you have to wonder how it changes how we value. What unintentional effects could such tech generate?

    8. It is even better that your troops aren’t living beings with feeling to hurt, or families to come home to.

      Consciousness can be overrated in a lot of places.

    1. Ethical decision-making should be kept in mind as we move into our constantly evolving future.

      Do you think this is also what posthumanism is suggesting we do?

    2. However what needs to be monitored is how we advance and what we create.

      The urge to advance must be reflected upon.

    3. This urge to become a huge company really interested me because I thought that if the company were to be successful, it would’ve not only changed the “medical” world, but the business world and the entire world completely.

      Nice. There is an urge at work here. These kinds of projects exert a kind of pull on the imagination.

    4. As a business student

      Glad to see you making these connections.

    5. Critics Blog #4

      What's up with the junk code above?

  5. jacksoncritic.tumblr.com jacksoncritic.tumblr.com
    1. The Flaws in “Perfect” Humans

      This blog post is largely summary, with some assessment at the end. There's no real connection to a contemporary issue nor is there much analysis.

      You gotta dig deeper here.

    2. The aliens possess vast amounts of knowledge, yet are not self-aware, and do not think. The aliens just act.  This is a startling revelation for Siri’s Crew. 

      Nice summary here.

    3. Unintelligent species lack the ability to advance themselves technologically, the Scramblers had vast amounts of advanced technology, but they are born with no sense of self.

      What interesting is that Blindsight suggests that intelligence is automatically linked to a sense of self.

    1. Evolution or Devolution?

      Solid post, man.

    2. We will have become so preoccupied with our future definition that we would not see the definition changing right in front of us.

      Interesting. The desire to transcend blinds us to the present moment, which is what posthumanism attends to.

    3. We share a large content of our DNA

      Perhaps a link? Great connection.

    4. at least how Darwin describes it

      A link would work really well here.

    5. This is so transhumanist it makes my head hurt, it is very literally showing us that humans can be transcended, and in this case, the transcending is to monkeys.

      Perhaps, but to return to your opening paragraph, it's not so much that humans are being transcended as they are being replaced, which perhaps isn't quite the same.

    6. humanity niche has been emptied and needs to be filled

      Interesting. This make me think of Blindsight as well. There is no reason to assume that position of "top dog" will always be occupied by humans.

    7. Those that are repressed and pushed down always push back and usually that push back is staggering.

      Nicely put. Evolution is never settled.

    8. when our technology (that continues to change our idea of what is and isn’t possible) comes to the same conclusion as us?

      Great question. Will they hurt us? Will they be friends. Will they be bored by us?

    9. In Blindsight, the humans are constantly focused on consciousness; if the aliens have it, if machines have it, if we truly have it. That’s why I find it so interesting that Theseus was able to simulate or create its own, all without the humans ever being conscious of it.

      Nice observation: so worried about the Aliens are the crew, that mis-take the intelligence of the ship.

    10. will technology use us in this constantly evolving landscape?

      We are so focused on our own supposed transcendence that we miss the changes to the nonhumans around us. Transhuman gets at this as well.

    11. I understood the A.I. of the ship was magnitudes higher than the humans in intellect, but I never thought it would manipulate its own crew.

      Great point, Brian. There is something about its ability to manipulate the crew that suggests consciousness. The presence of manipulation and lying is actually frequently used as a test of intelligence and perhaps consciousness.

    1. An example of this just showed up recently with Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals. He raised the price of a drug used against Toxoplasmosis in AIDS by 5000% and had raised the price of a cystinuria treatment by 2000%.

      Really great connection here. How the ability to live is tightly connected to the distribution of wealth.

    2. Larger, more established companies are able to have more successful products simply because their name is more well known and such new products are able to pull in more money to such groups.

      They have a kind of gravity. The bigger they get the bigger they can get.

    3. On the other hand, our extensions do help us actually connect to each other more effectively.

      There is certainly a tension here. Each new technology creates its own unique sets of connection and disconnection, distraction and attention.

    4. It is one of the greatest banes of his mother’s existence, and his disconnect and apparent lack of empathy is very clearly seen with his relationship with his girlfriend, Chelsea.

      Great sentence. This is a strong opening paragraph.

  6. itsmargeethings.tumblr.com itsmargeethings.tumblr.com
    1. humane methods

      What interesting, though, is "human" their behavior appears to be.

    2. Both Janice and Dave Apple did not care if the people they hired to do the experiments were using ethical methods. They just wanted to be successful and make a name for themselves by being the company who pushed this movement further.

      This is an interesting argument: that our future as a species might be shaped by a few, interpersonal struggles.

    3. I think their interactions with each other are important because it is not like they are just talking to each other but they are also trying to understand one another.

      Great point. Also, it seems to be important to the mission that understand and communicate with one another.

    4. Without realizing it, we do connect and interact with each other whether it is in person or through something like the Internet.

      I really like the use of Flash Mobs to make this point. I imagine that participants in them don't already know everyone else, yet they are connected.

    1. But what I do see is a pattern and its turning humans into something ugly.

      With respect to your image, how far back do you think we should go?

    2. Shouldn’t we be exhibiting our supreme talents and gifts rather than trying to alter ourselves?

      What if altering ourselves is what it is to be human?

    3. We want everything to be easy

      Easy here. No reason to attribute such motives. This is no doubt true, but it is far from the whole story. Dig deeper here.

    4. If we can’t understand what the human really is, why are we constantly looking for ways to change it?

      Interesting paradox here. I'd phrase it along the lines of "If we can’t understand what the human really is, then how can we know we are changing it?

    5. Does simply the thought of being real, or knowing that we exist, make us human?

      Imagine you are conscious.

    6. I guess it would all cease to matter if we didn’t have a sense of self.

      Right. The whole concept of meaning would perhaps too disappear. Why would we worry?

    7. We’d be big bags of cells that can only perform functions for survival and not personal motives and vendettas.

      Great phrasing here.

    8. To imply the consciousness in the world is solely based on self-awareness doesn’t seem to encompass what a human is completely.

      Interesting. Excited to see how you develop this.

    9. But what about the kind of consciousness that allows you to be you- to be human?

      What is interesting here is that book is just as interested (if not more so) in the question of what consciousness is good for.

    1. I appreciate Transhuman’s recognition that no technology can be fully examined outside of its given set of circumstances. Technology are emergences from circumstances.

      Well said. And this is posthuman insight: the idea that cultural constructs and technologies are entangled.

    2. not to mention the 10 year jump into the future. The comic seems to suggest “This is where you’re at. This is where you’ll be.”

      Nice point here. The documentary makes us the present.

    3. critique is terrifying

      It is certainly funny, by a dark heart beats at the center of this story. (Indeed, one possible critique of the story is its default assumptions about competition driving everything. Then again, the monkeys end up on top out of dumb luck.)

    4. The same applies to Chelsea’s offering of a Transient Attitudinal Tweak.

      Interesting. Although I imagine she could adjust people's attitudes without them being conscious of it. What do make of that?

    5. If we can rethink consciousness as a malleable resource, we will be better equipped to manipulate it. 

      This is a conundrum here, of course: the requirement of consciousness in order to think through and manipulate consciousness. And note that major manipulation of Siri's consciousness was perform by someone else, and done so violently.

    6. But anyway, consciousness is used by Siri as a malleable resource.


    7. 9.5% of people in the U.S. have tried yoga. 8% have tried meditation. 56.4 percent of surveyed U.S. citizens reported that they drank within the past month. 9.4% admitted to using illicit drugs within the past month.

      Great use of sources and hyperlinks here.

    8. One reason this change has yet to occur may be due to our lack of a common terminology for the subject.

      Great point here. There is also the question of "who gets to talk about consciousness"? Is a topic reserved for philosophers and neuroscientists?

    9. We all know people who are more “down to earth” than others, yet we wouldn’t consider these people “unconscious”.

      I like your use of everyday language to explore consciousness. That is, is it possible to imagine or realize that we are always exploring consciousness.

    10. Siri’s hyperconsciousness, and the scramblers’ lack thereof. Is it possible to linger in that gray area between the two?

      Interesting distinction. Compelling question.

    1. It is interesting to read Transhuman while picturing that it might show a somewhat accurate illustration of what our world could turn into.

      In what ways is it already about the world we are living in now. What other sorts of modifications do humans seek. And what causes us to do so. In many ways, the things that push us to modify the human are themselves "human" motivations: the desire to improve oneself, the desire to fit in.

    2. Does conversation require there to be two humans or are we moving beyond that?

      I would have liked to see you forward an answer to this question. What does the novel suggest, as it surely does more than simply pose such questions.

    3. and if this could be a potential form of communication

      And, furthermore, how be able to select your face changes the nature of "face-to-face" communication?

    4. This puts into question whether they are actually present in a conversation, what they are capable of comprehending, and if they are machines?

      This aspect of Blindsight really expands the possibilities of what "communication" is.

    5. In the posthuman world, the definition of a ‘face-to-face’ conversation could be changed to (and is changing to) face-to-iPad, machine, or computer.

      This connects to my above question about how technology works here as well.

    6. The answers to these questions differ depending on the culture, context and persons involved.

      Excellent point here. Could we even add "technology" to this list?

    1. Those quote can be directly related to society today.

      Sure. But you need to make those connections here. And those connections need to go beyond the obvious. That is, there is lots of free shit out there that nobody takes.

    2. Now whether we like that or not isn’t our choice, because in the end it will be the new “trend” and “everyone will HAVE to have it.”

      This is a great point. It suggests that what makes us human and/or what might define us as human in the future may not be a conscious decision we make for ourselves.

    3. What’s different in the story than it is today is that the businesses are genetic engineering and human enhancement through robotic replacements.

      Great links!

    4. Would it be a real life Planet of the Apes??

      Image Description

    5. Here is another interesting definition of Consciousness

      Nice connection here. Maybe add a sentence or two to explain what you make of this video.

    6. but does that mean they are conscious all of the time?

      This a thorny question, is it not. If we make consciousness part of what makes us human, but there are many times, many moments when we are not, then are we not always human?

    1. One thing that stuck with me though was the end of the book. The monkey with the large brain, pointing at the reader and saying, “Transhuman refers to the evolutionary progression from human to posthuman. A transitory state. Congratulations, you’re forever stuck in neutral, manmeat. We’ll be replacing you soon.”

      If it struck you, then why not develop this into a blog post?

    2. I did not like this comic book. I am classifying it as the “WORST” (say it in Drake’s voice) book we have read so far in the semester.

      While I do appreciate your feelings on the matter (and agreeing that it is the weakest of the text we will read this semester), I have previously advised against making such judgements a part of your blog post. That is, such observations don't do much to advance our understanding or application of the reading.

      I do like this gif, though.

    3. Watts constantly says “Imagine you are” and I think that has an impact on how the reader interprets everything that has occurred during this book.

      How does this connect back to your question about Cunningham, or to your opening description of yourself as confused?