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The Human Zoo
Transcript of The Human Zoo
Rules of the Human Zoo
1. Classic Humanism - The elite, or the literary societies, that by its literary conditions have acquired the right to be called ‘humanized’ societies, and use this power to rule over the non-literate or 'barbaric' (conquest, colonization).
2. Modern Humanism - The normalization of reading through a literary canon, ‘inclining the youth toward the classics’, as a condition of citizenship of national states (national myths or national narratives).
3. Postwar Humanism (Post-humanism) - The vanishing of the literary societies with the emergence of the mass media spectacles. Tendency towards bestializing and disinhibiting forces. Literature is no longer the ‘bearer of the national spirit’.
Biosecurity: "The genealogies, imaginaries, and emergent articulations of biological weapons and biodefence" (Collier, Lakoff, Rabinow 2004) How to problematize biosecurity using Sloterdijk?
The national literary cannon: “insufficient media” for society (populations) to organize around. The rise of security experts.
Biosecurity: Deals with dangerous knowledge, a kind of knowledge that has direct anthropotechnological effects.
Humanist letters are archived and forgotten; unlike Fahrenheit 451, today books have lost their political power and digital information has taken over (acceleration of generational information.
The transformation of culture into projects of impatience (whereas they used to be drifts governed by generational conflict): "Nobody has time for an entire generation anymore." (Sloterdijk, 2012 interview)
Information is available everywhere, anyone can style him/her self an expert (biohacking, DIYbio.) What power structures and complementary risks/dangers will organize around this type of leadership?
"By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs."
"In the future, the new genetics will cease to be a biological metaphor for modern society and will become instead a circulation network of identity terms and restriction loci, around which and through which a truly new type of autoproduction will emerge, which I call 'biosociality.' If sociobiology is culture constructed on the basis of a metaphor of nature, then in biosociality nature will be modeled on culture understood as practice. Nature will be known and remade through technique and will finally become artificial, just as culture becomes natural."
Junk Food and Health Nuts
Bestializing vs. Taming?
Humanist vs. Superhumanist?
Taming - Reading/Literature - To save men from barbarism - Battle against bestiality (Anthropodicy).
A global battle of self-designing (self-taming/self-breeding) forces in the name of human lives (a global anthropo-bio-technology).
The requirement of new rules for this designing (like Plato's 'rules of the human zoo'). As Plato, the modern statesman tries to design the perfect species.
Sloterdijk talks about that 'it will become necessary in the future to formulate a codex of an anthropotechnology'. May part of this could be what is happening now in the areas that we are about to examine?
Sloterdijk seems to suggest that, what is at stake in the
is more than a silent and passive shepherding, but rather the question of how to maximize and manipulate the life of human species.
Replacement of humanists with archivists.
Taming/nurturing - Breeding - Politics of breeding
Does the Clearing have a history? Who decides who shall be the shepherds and teachers?
Breeding for minimization/breeding for maximization - Battle between 'humanists' and 'superhumanists'
Shepherding - taking care of the essence of human beings - befriending on man through language
Ontological question, not zoological or biological (denial of 'animal rationale').
) - Place of shepherding (neighborhoods of Being, not at the center).
The WHO was able to grossly exaggerate the potential of H1N1 and change the definition of a pandemic using insufficient knowledge of the population, making claims for biosecurity based on experts of the field.
Bureaucratic bodies are able to use the post-humanism mass media to disseminate particular information in the name of biosecurity. eg. UK declaring a level 6 pandemic situation before anyone in the UK had died.
If Sloterdijk is right in saying that a nation is a group of people that have read the same literature, then national boundaries are a site for inquiry into post-humanism.
Airports are experimental places where dubious techniques of control (anthropotechnology) may be enacted. To calm the inner beast we must no longer read the right books, but move, look, speak in regimented manners.
What differentiates men from other animals is the capacity of anthropodicy that language provides: In airports, neoliberal discourse (that make the individual responsible for the whole) are common ("You are the eyes and ears...") Language is used to codify a certain ethos, in a way opposed to that of humanism: we are not all friends, we must suspect of each other constantly.
The division of spaces in airports for security reasons: unlike quarantine-style, these spaces do not
people, they monitor movement rather than prevent movement.
What sort of 'clearing' is an airport? An offensive place where human beings are forced to listen, where critical thinking is discouraged.
“From now on there will be more favorable preconditions for more comprehensive formations of sovereignty, whose like has never yet existed. And even this is not the most important thing; the possibility has been established for the formation of international genetic associations whose task will be to rear a race of masters, the future ‘Masters of the Earth’ - a new, tremendous aristocracy, based on the severest self-legislation, in which the despotic will of philosophers and artist-tyrants will be made to endure for millennia - a higher kind of man who, thanks to the superiority in will, knowledge, riches, and influence, employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth, so as to work as artists on 'man' himself.
Enough: the time is coming when politics will have a different meaning.
Nietzsche, KSA, Vol. 12, pp. 87-8, 2, Fall 1885-Fall 1886 [Kl.: 146].
Das Zarathustra Projekt
After the publication in 1999 of
The Rules of the Human Zoo
, part of the German press accused him of advocating for the resurrection of the 'old fascist' Nietzsche 'fantasy of the Superman', by intending to use genetic selection This was called the
Example of Nietzsche's Clearing?
"Human beings in high culture are constantly subjected simultaneously to two pressures...the 'constraining' and the 'unconstraining,' or 'disinhibiting'." (15)
Placement of new regulatory systems around new experts who determine health and disease (WHO, NACCHO e.g.)
Part of the domestication process of humans, the desire to create structures for themselves to live in
Potentially dangerous as the determining factor of what constitutes disease as in the case of H1N1 may be biased towards interests of leaders
Threat of illness may be real, but the actual efficacy of regulatory controls around it may be largely invented
Virus mutation, ease of accessibility to public and DIYBiologists or biohackers--all erratic and difficult even to predict, much less control
What we do have are new supervisory systems monitoring human activity
Innate response to of rise in bestialization?
“In the age of Cicero the two influences were easy to identify, for each of them had their characteristic medium.” (15)
News coverage of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic was sensationalized. Expanded coverage, often promoting misinformation, created widespread fear of a potentially massive loss of human life. Should this be seen as a fear-mongering, disinhibiting spectacle equivalent to the stadium, or as a constraining influence meant to inform the population on how to act during an emergency in order to best protect human life?
Human beings are ‘creatures capable of suggestion’ and humanism serves to tame them by exposing them to proper influences. Sloterdijk characterizes “ancient humanism” or “humanitas” as one opponent in a media contest with the bestializing spectacle of the stadiums. In his words it was “the resistance of the books against the amphitheater, and the opposition of the humanizing, patient-making, sensitizing philosophical reading against the dehumanizing, impatient, unrestrained, sensation-mongering and excitement-mongering of the stadium.” (15-16)
Which type of influence do contemporary mass news outlets further, taming or bestializing? Are these influences still easy to identify? Could certain media be furthering both?
No Bread and the big-little humans: inhibiting and disinhibiting
Anthropotechnicians, Agri Technicians;
Crticial mistrust point
Anthropos: Humanists vs Superhumanists
GMOs: Corporations vs. Luddites
i.e. Ethics and the Cessation of Politics
i.e. the suggestibility of man and the virginity of nature
Fictive Categories: Marketing and
GMOs and Behavior
Kellog and Graham, Buddhists and Daoists
"Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates and flavanoids
junk food, foods with artificial colorings and flavorings, MSG, yeast, preservatives, processed and manufactured food, apple cider vinegar, bacon, butter, candy, condiments(like ketchup and mustard), lunch meat, hot dogs, ham, corn, soy, tea and wheat.
The Flavr Savr!
4,000 years of Breeding for Genetic Modification
1870- 1940 Tomatoes bred for larger seeds
1934: First transfer of disease resistance gene
1946: First Hybrids. Very popular.
1960’s: Machine Harvestable tomatoes.
1970s: Yield and Novelty
1980s: Shelf life
1994: First transgenic tomato- e coli + tomato= Flavr Savr
2012: (domestic) tomato genome sequenced
What is, and what is not, a GMO?
GMO: Organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally (WHO). Involves the addition of foreign genes.
Non GMO: Breeding relies on reproductive processes.
Foreign genes is a particular type of gmo- transgenics.
Emphasis on natural vs artificial
Sex isnt always about breeding, and breeding isnt always about sex.
What is the Human?
Aurochs- 6' tall, 10' long
Cows: 10,500 years ago the original herd of 80 was domesticated over 1000 years. Now, 1.3 billion.
7,000 years ago- genetic mutation for lactose tolerance- 4 isolated incidents.
1760: British agricultural revolution- selective breeding tied to enclosure laws.
2012: Human genes introduced into the DNA of dairy cows. Produce milk containing 3 types of human proteins.
" The 23andMe spit kit and personal genome service, or PGS, are being marketed without FDA's blessing...'Therefore, 23andMe must immediately discontinue marketing the PGS until such time as it receives FDA marketing authorization for the device,' the agency concludes.
The company's $99 test promises to tell you if your kids are at risk for a range of inherited health conditions, your own genetic health risks and even how you're likely to respond to certain drugs.
That last claim really peeved FDA. People's genes can affect how they'll respond to blood thinners and cancer drugs, such asfluorouracil. But how accurate are the test's results? And even if they are spot on, what if someone taking one of the drugs stopped or adjusted the dose after looking at the test results and before consulting a doctor? Changes like those pose a serious risk of injury or death, the agency says.”
3 stages in the history of
In Vitro Fertilization
With the rejection of Gods, we have come to realize that we are Gods.
With IVF, we are applying technology to breeding.
This intervention in reproduction creates one form of human cyborg, where the embryo's first womb is a petri dish, or a pipette, where the human becomes a "theorized and fabricated hybrid of machine and organism".
“groups formed around the chromosome 17, locus 16,256, site 654,376 allele variant with a guanine substitution. Such groups will have medical specialists, laboratories,narratives, traditions, and a heavy panoply of pastoral keepers to help them experience, share, intervene, and ‘understand’ their fate.” (Rabinow 1996: 102)
“Making Humans| The most spectacular encroachment of the mechanical into the subjective reveals itself in genetic technologies, for they draw a broad expanse of physical preconditions of the self into the span of artificial manipulations. This evokes the popular, fantastic image of a foreseeable future in which whole “humans” can be “made”. In such fantasies, primitive biologisms compete with helpless humanisms and theologisms, and it is impossible to detect in the proponents of such opinions a trace of insight into the evolutionary conditions of anthropogenesis.
This invasion into the imaginary field of the “subject” or the “person” is beset with fears. The basis for this is to be sought in the fact that even on the side of the so-called object, in the fundamental material structure of life, as represented by the genes, nothing “material” in the sense of the old culture/nature divide is to be found anymore. Rather one finds the purest form of information, for genes are nothing but “commands” for the synthesis of protein molecules.”
-Sloterdijk; excerpt from a lecture in 2007
Truth, and Worlding in the Clearing:
a bit of Foucault
"Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint. And it induces regular effects of power."
The creation of truth, and the existence of truth as a “thing of this world”, seems to evoke Heidegger’s notion of worlding, in Being and Time (1927).
"The world presences by worlding. That means: the world’s worlding cannot be explained by anything else nor can it be fathomed through anything else."
We might think of worlding as a generative process of world making, that which occurs in the clearing, since for Heidegger, the clearing is the necessary space where things appear.
And so, in the clearing, where the world presences, truth is produced.
“We must become technological in order to be humanist."
Michel Foucault’s notion of power as social clearing.
A synthesis of humanism and technology
techne: bringing forth.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis with IVF
In gender selection using IVF and PGD, embryos are created from the couple's eggs and sperm . On the third day after fertilization, when embryos have reached 6- to 8-cells, one of the cells is removed from the embryo, to be analyzed for its chromosomal makeup. (The removal of the cell at this stage does not negatively affect the embryo's growth competency.) This chromosomal analysis allows us to determine whether the embryo is male or female. Then, only the embryos of the desired gender are transferred to the uterus.
PGD gender selection is the most reliable method for gender selection, approaching 100% accuracy (although, of course, there are always possibilities for technical errors).
Reasons for Gender Selection
When gender selection is used to prevent a genetic disease, the process is called "medical gender selection." In some cases, the so-called "sex-linked diseases" are inherited via the mother but only male offspring are affected (muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, etc.).
In other cases, conditions are more severely expressed in one gender (Fragile X syndrome, autism in males, etc.) than the other.
Medical reasons for gender selection can, however, also be psychological: a single female may feel better equipped having a daughter than a son; parents who lost a child may feel a strong need for a child of the same gender.
Sometimes gender selection can be "non-medical" or "elective." In such cases, a child of a specific gender is desired without obvious medical indications. The most frequent indication for such gender selection is "family balancing," when one gender is already represented in the family unit and the other gender is desired.
Heidegger: things become objects
Foucault: selves become subjects
"Just as Heidegger offers a history of being, culminating in the technological understanding of being, in order to help us understand and overcome our current way of dealing with things as objects and resources, Foucault analyzes several regimes of power, culminating in bio-power, in order to help us free ourselves from understanding ourselves as desiring subjects and disciplined bodies.”
"How Having Three Parents Leads to Disease-Free Kids"
Allows women with mitochondrial diseases to have healthy babies
Mitochondrial DNA is inherited matrilineally, and does not mutate quickly or regularly across generations.
Scientists take an egg from a female donor and remove the nuclear DNA, leaving behind her mitochondria. Scientists then inject the egg with nuclear DNA from the intended biological (and presumably custodial) mother and the biological father.
"Mitochondria are tiny power plants inside each cell that help turn the food you eat into a usable source of energy. Each has its own DNA, with about 37 genes that help the mitochondrion function properly. Unlike nuclear genes, mitochondrial ones don't affect a person's appearance or personality traits or most of what we associate with heredity. "
A one-sided war?
Luddites vs ??
"our [food] is the confused answer to questions
which were asked in places we have forgotten"
Do we know how or why food has been modified across centuries? The agri-codex is now explicit: is it more obvious what questions are being answered?
Is 'food' knowledge archived?
Who are the archivers?
Indigenous foods movements
Three Stone Hearth
Does Nostalgia for the wise translate into support
"Royal anthropotechnology, in short, demands of the statesman that he understand how to bring together free but suggestible people in order to bring out the characteristics that are most advantageous to the whole"
No question of interests
No question of freedom
How to weave interests vs.
Whether to harness capacities
Odd and Ends