Image What is Cyborganic?

"Wherever progress is measured in terms of technology and not in terms of right understanding, the perfecting of the machine rather than of persons will be the guiding ideal."

- W.Y. Evans-Wentz

What is cyborganic? Cyber-organic: a blending of technology (the ruling star of our culture) and our organic natures (as beings hell-bent on making meaning, art, love, communities, and mischief ;-) The cyborganic enterprise is governed by one broad idea which can be understood as follows.

The Greek word techne means "art, skill, craft", yet everywhere in our world, in our ordinary understanding, technology has come to mean the tools themselves, rather than the craftsman; the machine, and perhaps the artistry of those who made it, but not the artistry of those who use it. We have, then, an impoverished understanding: art without artists, skill without people, craft without craftsmen.

Cyborganic opposes this sterile vision with the radical idea that technology is about people.

Cyborganic says conventional attitudes towards technology are backward. They put the horse before the cart, inventing tools without vision of the task at hand. Case in point: the World Wide Web came into existence as a form well before there was a full sense of the ends to which we might put it; a full sense of the kind of communications we might make with it.

We're all wired-up with no place to go.

The problem today is not to invent new tools, but to invent new ways of using the tools at hand. There are those who would use new telecommunications media in ways that serve to make us ever more remote from one another. Likely, this approach is taken from force of habit, rather than misanthropy.

There are many more for whom our new technologies foretell a nightmare future, Big Brother or Mad Max, depending on your taste. A future of domination, in any case, featuring hi-tech warfare, with the all the latest techno-goodies and some good old-fashioned gore. To be sure, this nightmare world has entertainment value. Our dark fantasies of technology are often very sexy. But they betray our fears of having set in motion processes we can no longer control. We must awake to see that these are our tools, not our masters.

We must use them to serve our own ends, not as ends in themselves, and we must work together to build a future we want, in our imaginations and in our lives.

This is the Cyborganic vision. This is the Cyborganic mission.

text © 1995 Jenny Cool
hypertext by Justin Hall

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