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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies I

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distinguish it from a common «astronaut»: technical apparatuses that equip the human body with supplementary functions and abilities, guaranteeing its ability to survive, were to be integrated into this body and organically fused with it. A small step for the fantasy, but a giant leap for humankind: This is the fundamental philosophy that until this very day has left its mark on cyborg utopias in science and technology as well as in the arts.

However, we can also refer back to the deep rootedness of the cyborg utopias in the fantasy space of artificial creations, in which one idea has always proven to be particularly fertile: That of creating an artificial human. In Western culture, the traditional mirror relation between a human's «godlike qualities» and God's «humanlike qualities» plays a decisive role: Humans understand themselves as the measure of all things—and in their ability to give life and procreate, they know themselves to be near ‹their Creator.› However, what separates them from the latter is—and this is equally as decisive—their finiteness, which also means the finiteness of their creative abilities. To overcome this finiteness—above all mortality, which in


Christianity attests to the humanity of the Son of God, while his resurrection to eternal life proves his

divinity—is a desire that has lastingly characterized humans up to this very day. As it were: A fantasy of omnipotence that is nourished by the (self- )realization of human weakness, vulnerability and finiteness. The longing to be able to create artificial life, and in particular artificial humans, has its root in the wish to overcome one's own finiteness. Viewed against this background, it is no wonder that we encounter the embodiments of cyborgs primarily in human form.

In other words: Cyborg configurations may herald the desire to overcome the «human, all too human» (F. Nietzsche) and thus be characteristic of posthuman thought. However, in that they originate in the human imagination and in that they always have to allow themselves to be compared with humans, they are decisively defined from an anthropocentric perspective. This is another reason why while they go beyond what is human, the images we have of cyborgs remain bound to those human contours they at the same time are supposed to breach.

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