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Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction

Consciousness and the Posthuman

Series:

William S. Haney II

Addressing a key issue related to human nature, this book argues that the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology. In exploiting the mind’s capacity for instrumental behavior, posthumanists seek to extend human experience by physically projecting the mind outward through the continuity of thought and the material world, as through telepresence and other forms of prosthetic enhancements. Posthumanism envisions a biology/machine symbiosis that will promote this extension, arguably at the expense of the natural tendency of the mind to move toward pure consciousness. As each chapter of this book contends, by forcibly overextending and thus jeopardizing the neurophysiology of consciousness, the posthuman condition could in the long term undermine human nature, defined as the effortless capacity for transcending the mind’s conceptual content. Presented here for the first time, the essential argument of this book is more than a warning; it gives a direction: far better to practice patience and develop pure consciousness and evolve into a higher human being than to fall prey to the Faustian temptations of biotechnological power. As argued throughout the book, each person must choose for him or herself between the technological extension of physical experience through mind, body and world on the one hand, and the natural powers of human consciousness on the other as a means to realize their ultimate vision.

Collective Creativity

Collaborative Work in the Sciences, Literature and the Arts

Series:

Edited by Gerhard Fischer and Florian Vassen

Collective Creativity combines complex and ambivalent concepts. While ‘creativity’ is currently experiencing an inflationary boom in popularity, the term ‘collective’ appeared, until recently, rather controversial due to its ideological implications in twentieth-century politics. In a world defined by global cultural practice, the notion of collectivity has gained new relevance. This publication discusses a number of concepts of creativity and shows that, in opposition to the traditional ideal of the individual as creative genius, cultural theorists today emphasize the collaborative nature of creativity; they show that ‘creativity makes alterity, discontinuity and difference attractive’. Not the Romantic Originalgenie, but rather the agents of the ‘creative economy’ appear as the new avant-garde of aesthetic innovation: teams, groups and collectives in business and science, in art and digital media who work together in networking clusters to develop innovative products and processes.
In this book, scholars in the social sciences and in cultural and media studies, in literature, theatre and visual arts present for the first time a comprehensive, inter- and transdisciplinary account of collective creativity in its multifaceted applications. They investigate the intersections of artistic, scientific and cultural practice where the individual and the collective merge, come together or confront each other.