The Cyborg Subject

Garfield Benjamin


This book outlines a new conception of the cyborg in terms of consciousness as the parallax gap between physical and digital worlds. The contemporary subject constructs its own internal reality in the interplay of the Virtual and the Real. Reinterpreting the work of Slavoj Zizek and Gilles Deleuze in terms of the psychological and ontological construction of the digital, alongside the philosophy of quantum physics, this book offers a challenge to materialist perspectives in the fluid cyberspace that is ever permeating our lives. The inclusion of the subject in its own epistemological framework establishes a model for an engaged spectatorship of reality. Through the analysis of online media, digital art, avatars, computer games and science fiction, a new model of cyborg culture reveals the opportunities for critical and creative interventions in the contemporary subjective experience, promoting an awareness of the parallax position we all occupy between physical and digital worlds.

Palgrave Macmillan


"The age of humanity is at an end! The cyborg cometh! This does not, however, represent cause for alarm; it is not the apocalypse, the new age will cause no sudden doom in which every last human is scoured from the earth by the rise of maleficent technology. Neither does not it constitute a technological singularity; there are no preparations underway for the ultimate party at the joyous moment of simultaneous transcendence by the entire species. It is not a single event at all. It would not be possible to define the moment at which humanity ceased and cyborgs appeared, for it is a process that has been decades, centuries, even millennia in the making, and it is far from complete. The cyborg is evolving just as humanity evolved."

"But what is the cyborg today? What constitutes the result of this process that has taken thousands of years to develop? To understand the cyborg we must define its difference from humanity, the shift in modes of thinking that have allowed a new consciousness to evolve. This shift is the introduction of a gap between physical and digital worlds... The conventionally human consciousness rests firmly within the physical mode of thinking and of reality, while the cyborg straddles this gap as it engages with both physical and digital realities, both physical and digital modes of consciousness. The gap between physical and digital worlds is thus formed as an irreducible gap of consciousness. Central to this book will be the formulation of the cyborg as such a gap, spanning the two perspectives of physical and digital reality within one functioning consciousness."