When I think of Cyborg, I think of Seria Mau, who refused her destiny as an abused girl child and redefined herself, to become the K-ship whose captain she was. I think of Stephen Hawkins, and what he would have been, had he been born a century earlier. I think of heart valve replacement surgery and the artificial transplants in the heart of my friend. I think of dreams of electric sheep, and imagine possibilities of sensing beyond our bodies. I think of the son who became the God Emperor of Dune by merging his body with that of the sandworm, to save the disappearing desert of Arrakis.
When I think of Goddess, I think of celebrating and honouring the gifts that the Earth offers us. I think of my New Agey friends and their altars in the woods, and how I am irritated by their way of defining Goddess as fitting to their beliefs and needs. I think of maternal clay figures with many breasts, of a matriarchal utopia. I think of my great aunts and their summer paradise, on the beach with women of all ages, shapes and sizes, naked, strong, sun bathing. I think of belonging, I feel the wish to belong, to have a Home.
Then, I think of Zeus giving birth from his head.
And then, I think of Monique Wittig, replying to a rude interviewer that she does not have a vagina.
So much for a foreword. Now for Haraway.
I understand the argument, and I find it appealing. The cyborg’s multiplicity, the refusal of origin and of one truth, seems a necessity in order to overcome the dualist thinking that creates and renews boundaries, hierarchies and a self-reinforcing mechanism of othering. The cyborg, with no loyalty to its creators, suggests a possibility of freedom and survival through fluidity, changing, constantly in the process of re-defining self, and/or balancing on the boundaries of rigid definitions. A home in language, communication, networking, instead of a home in a place, a belief system, a genealogy.
But can we afford to refuse the Goddess, the wisdom of ecological feminist thinking? Does it make sense to let go and burn the bridges leading to ‘origin’ in a flashy post modernist kind of way? (Here I am speaking of origin in an ecological sense.) Could not a cyborgic network of identities leave that bridge standing, too, while building a multiplicity of new ones?
Is it possible to combine the two, to have an open fluid cyborg identity, but to still honour the dust or the minerals that we are constructed of? To piss on the Father’s (Mother’s) shoes, but still acknowledge that we are related?
In other words: does metaphysics have to be anti-science? (page 28) Isn’t that just another dualism that the cyborg image can question and re-define?
I believe we need metaphysics.
We need it to feel the meaning of our actions, not just see the consequences. We need something to believe in: not to flock to one Truth like sheep, but to have a reason to keep living. I believe that if we want to stop raping and abusing the planet we live in, on, and of, we need to acknowledge what we owe to it.
Maybe love is the last stronghold of metaphysics, or maybe it is art.
And maybe art, or love, can open a possibility to imagine a fusion of the two, an ecological cyborg, not of the Family of Man, but bound by love to the minerals she is constructed from.