Barbara Henry

Imaginaries of the global age. "Golem and others" in the post-human condition

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The new fields of possibility opened up by the developments of the life sciences and bionic medicine of high technological impact are now a part of day-to-day reality. But, what is this reality? Is there not perhaps a different symbolic space of elaboration and a motivated social criticism of the research of the neuroscientists, and of bio-robotic medical practices, which is different from religion and ethics, or rather pop culture? In this contribution I aim to show the symbolic and anthropological line that crosses the mythic plot, from the Golem of Talmudic and Kabbalistic tradition to the modern cyborg. On the one hand, the golemic class includes a range of intermediate beings: spirits, angels and demons, imaginary creatures made up of intelligent matter or material capable of self-organization and of the pursuit of specific objectives. On the other hand, the class of cyborgs comprises human or humanoid subjects - partly organic, partly inorganic - whose hybrid conformation is functionally cohesive. Since cyborgs reflect the kind of anthropoids that are neither totally organic nor totally mechanical, their manifold configurations are located along a continuous line. At the moment there is no correspondence, and not even a partial overlap between the most "ancient" mythographies, of the robotic type, and the design visions springing from the potential, and current successes, of bionic and mechatronic scientific-technological research.


  • Golem
  • Cyborg
  • Robotic Mythographies
  • Post-Human
  • Interculturalism


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