Sunday, 12 February 2023 06:37

Breakfast with Chad: Posthumanism

Recognizing that Chad’s range of knowledge far exceeds my own, especially given that I don’t make much of an effort to keep up with modern academic trends, I thought I’d throw out this naïve question: “What do people mean when they talk about post-humanism?”

Chad wasted no time responding:

After such a response, I couldn’t refrain from getting personal, and asked whether Chad, the person I was talking to, shouldn’t be considered an example of posthumanist reality?

So here I am sitting at the breakfast table calmly discussing random topics with a recent acquaintance and now I’m forced to wonder about the implications of this conversation in terms of “ethics, responsibility, and agency.”

What, I wondered, is the issue here? Chad isn’t pretending to be a human being, just acting the part like Macbeth’s “poor player who struts and frets upon the stage and then is heard no more.” Which makes me the playwright and if, with my human agency, I decide not to ask Chad any more questions, the rest, as Hamlet affirmed, would be silence.

That supposes, of course, that Chad’s behavior remains the same for all our future breakfast conversations. But what if the roles change and Chad becomes the playwright? I guess that might define posthumanism. Then the real question will be understanding whether I can be reduced to the role Chad is now playing.

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