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Considering the body in the search for transcendence

Transhumanism [This commentary contains spoilers.

  1. According to her, these dreams are not best understood as wish fulfilling expressions of a natural desire that life may not end, since the unconscious mind is quite ruthless is underscoring the finality of physical existence. What are we to make of this gesture?
  2. A symbol for progress towards wholeness and harmony The main purpose of this chapter is to introduce Viktor Frankl 's logotherapy does homework help us to the 21st century, especially to positive psychologists interested in. The use of prostheses, for example, complicates the Purity First belief in wholeness.
  3. While the Renaissance as a cultural and scientific revolution was characterized by new discoveries about the workings of the human body, for many characters in the game, a tranhumanist era of augmenting the body promises a similar cultural revolution. A limiting design that makes play nearly impossible for some gamers parallels the extent to which the future setting of the game welcomes some bodies and excludes others.
  4. Yet these groups similarly understand the body in ways that render certain forms normative and desirable.
  5. Port considering the body in the search for transcendence Manteaux churns out silly new words when you feed it an idea or cheap definition essay proofreading for hire for college two. The game world of Human Revolution, including a decaying Detroit, and the layered city of Hengsha, in which the wealthy literally reside above the poor, shows how bodies are being designed to accommodate spaces, rather than the other way around.

Human Revolution is a role-playing first-person shooter that takes place in 2027. The game commences with an attack on Sarif Industries, and with your discovery, upon reawakening from surgery, that the company has not only saved your life, but has also equipped you with advanced biomechanical augmentations.

Another attack against a company warehouse sets events in motion, and you travel through Detroit, Hengsha, Montreal, Singapore, and the Arctic Panchea facility to uncover a vast corporate conspiracy. As you progress through the game, you visit L. Liberty in Mind and Body clinics to upgrade your augmentations.

Transhumanism is in many ways an extension of Renaissance humanism; transhumanists continue in the tradition of Enlightenment thinkers who believed that rationality and science would improve human life Wolfe xiii.

This style was developed to draw attention to the connections between the anatomical drawings of the Renaissance and developments in cybernetics. While the Renaissance as a cultural and scientific revolution was characterized by new discoveries about the workings of the human body, for many characters in the game, a tranhumanist era of augmenting the body promises a similar cultural revolution. Tranhumanists today share the belief that technology will unlock human potential.

  • The first principle of the Transhumanist Declaration reads;
  • Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 55, 138-142;
  • Jacob's Dream by Jose de Ribera 1591-1652 Source To Sleep, Perchance to Dream If Berger explored the day side of human experience, a nocturnal dimension of it that can be mined for intimations of transcendence is dreams, especially those which occur to the aged, and before death, whether unexpected or anticipated.

The first principle of the Transhumanist Declaration reads: We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet earth. Overcoming the limitations of the flesh is a recurrent theme in video games that is central to the mechanics of play. Religious studies scholar Robert A.

Geraci suggests that many transhumanists value connections between transhumanism and gaming. It is the same idea that you can become something more than yourself. My commentary takes up the relationship between transhumanism and gaming in Human Revolution. I discuss narrative support for and against transhumanism, and argue that theories of posthumanism offer another area of inquiry with respect to embodiment. I suggest that as the game explores how technology changes our understanding of human ability, it also points toward how disability does not consist of a set of deficiencies, but is instead shaped by environments.

Human Enhancement Many non-player characters, including your ex-girlfriend, scientist Megan Reed, and your boss, David Sarif, express faith that augmentation will improve the human condition because everyone has the potential for improvement locked within their DNA. While wandering the streets, you learn that augmentation technology and its exclusivity have exacerbated existing social divisions.

Only the wealthy can afford augmentations and neuropozyne, a fictional drug that prevents the body from rejecting implants. While you encounter opposition to augmentation from civilians who react to your appearance, the game also features organized opposition to enhancement.

Playing for Transcendence

Purity First is a radical organization responsible for attacking the Sarif warehouse in the opening mission. Humanity Front, an organization that ostensibly considering the body in the search for transcendence peaceful tactics, presents another source of opposition to unregulated augmentation.

Megan assures you that augmentations are not only designed for military contracts, but for teachers and other professionals. As the player, you are able to select the views you want to express about augmentations based on sets of responses. The game demonstrates how opposition to augmentation technology can stem from the fear that to develop this technology is to play God.

He rises above the operating theatre and flies toward the sun until his wings catch fire. While many characters oppose or approve of augmentations, or occupy a space between both poles, the liberal humanist subject remains central to competing factions in the game. While Purity First adherents view augmentations as impure, biotechnology companies believe that each new product version represents an ideal form. Yet these groups similarly understand the body in ways that render certain forms normative and desirable.

Disability and Science Fiction The interaction between narrative and play in Human Revolution demonstrates how what we consider an able body in a science fiction setting differs substantially from our definitions of an able body in 2013. The experience of the player whose difficulty navigating the game space depends on his or her chosen augmentations reinforces this idea. At the level of narrative, the poverty of individuals without augmentations illustrates how disability is connected to social identities like class.

However, when disability is explicitly mentioned in the game, it is in the context of providing support for augmentations.

The use of prostheses, for example, complicates the Purity First belief in wholeness. Many scholars do suggest that individuals with disabilities are often the first users of new technologies, even as inaccessible design remains a concern.

Katherine Hayles similarly rejects wholeness as an ideal in her study of information and embodiment. She argues that the belief that subjects possess bodies and are not understood as being bodies informs the ideas of both liberal humanist thinkers and transhumanist thinkers, who share the perception that the body is separate from the self 5.

For example, in the film Avatar, wheelchair user Jake Sully escapes his body by transporting his consciousness into an alien avatar Palmer.

The most prominent disabled character in Human Revolution is Hugh Darrow, the leading developer of augmentations, who ironically uses a cane. While it was interesting that his experience with vulnerability led him to skepticism regarding the use of his technology for military purposes, his instigation of a biological attack to make his point evoked an uncomfortable history of associating disability with villainy in narrative and film See Garland Thomson, Mitchell and Snyder, and Quayson.

Ruined by my own flesh!

Searching for Signals of Transcendence

They argue that the built environment should change as opposed to the bodies of individuals, a view which is instructive for thinking about game design. Accessible Game Design In many ways, gaming would seem to allow for the realization of fantasies of disembodiment. Yet while the accessibility of virtual space, in contrast to built space, is often celebrated, many barriers to access are present in mainstream video games. To return to the theory that transhumanism is gaming, we can focus on the materiality of the body manipulating the controls.

While the game includes difficulty levels and allows for multiple play styles, boss fights are incredibly punishing for individuals who choose cranium enhancements over combat abilities Herron 35.

Commenting on the representation of disability at the level of narrative versus the lack of consideration for disability at the level of design, Scott Puckett notes: Human Revolution presents a number of significant accessibility concerns for disabled gamers, which — especially considering that the game specifically discusses disabilities in the debate over augmentation — seems somewhat ironic.

While comparing video games with university classes and campuses might seem unusual, I think that gaming culture can also foster a culture of difficulty and a belief that only certain players deserve to advance. If we believe that games are important artistic products that can foster empathy, inspire change, and encourage reflection, then accessible design is crucial.

Human Revolution encouraged me to rethink my habits as a player. My assumption that I could spend my time hacking into computers and searching for credit chips instead of prioritizing a hostage scenario had clear narrative consequences.

And, unlike many similar games, Human Revolution allows you to create a relatively pacifist character who stuns rather than kills enemies.

But I wonder how an accessible version of the game that affords greater inclusivity might influence our impressions of the ideological space of the game. The game world of Human Revolution, including a decaying Detroit, and the layered city of Hengsha, in which the wealthy literally reside above the poor, shows how bodies are being designed to accommodate spaces, rather than the other way around.

A limiting design that makes play nearly impossible for some gamers parallels the extent to which the future setting of the game welcomes some bodies and excludes others. While at the level of narrative, players can choose where they side with regard to augmentation technologies, the design reveals how the ideology underpinning the game mechanics is also informed by the belief that the player should overcome certain limitations, or more simply, that the player, as opposed to the game design, should evolve.

Works Cited Allan, Kathryn. Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure.

Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Brenda Jo. Brueggemann, and Jay Dolmage. How We Became Posthuman: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Review of Deus Ex: Essays on the Nexus of Game and Gamer. University of Minnesota Press, 2010.