Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within by Neil Badmington

By Neil Badmington

Alien Chic presents a cultural heritage of the alien because the Nineteen Fifties, asking ourselves why our attitudes to extraterrestrial beings have shifted from worry to affection, and what this may let us know approximately how we now see ourselves and others.

Neil Badmington explores our courting with extraterrestrial beings, inscribed in motion pictures comparable to The conflict of the Worlds, Mars Attacks!, Mission to Mars and Independence Day; and the way thinkers reminiscent of Descartes, Barthes, Freud, Lyotard and Derrida have conceptualised what it ability to be human (and post-human).

Alien Chic examines the the idea that of posthumanism in an age while the strains among what's human and what's non-human are more and more blurred through advances in technological know-how and know-how, for instance genetic cloning and engineering, and the advance of AI and cyborgs.

Questioning even if our present embracing of all issues 'alien' - within the type of extraterrestrial contraptions or abduction narratives, for example - stems from a wish to reaffirm ourselves as 'human', this is often an unique and thought-provoking contribution to the research of posthumanism.

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38 IT LIVES 43 He also came from Paris; or, Derrida’s difference Novelty implies a certain apocalypse: the old is razed and the new is raised. ‘Man’ dissolves, disrobes, disappears. Jean Baudrillard once asked, in fact, ‘what are the writings of Barthes, Lacan, Foucault (and even Althusser) but a philosophy of disappearance? ’39 And with this disappearance, something ‘quite different’, as Althusser puts it, comes to take the place of humanism. It was precisely this apocalyptic aspect of antihumanism that worried Jacques Derrida.

AMEE and Lucille are, in short, very different entities. Whereas the former is autonomous (a fact incorporated into her very name), Lucille remains entirely under human control. In Red Planet, it seems that the problems begin when humans are no longer able to dominate their machines, for the autonomous AMEE uses her freedom to wound and kill members of the crew. Subservient technology sustains life; autonomous technology leads only to death. This is nothing new. The characterization of autonomous technology as malevolent is common in western culture.

On 4 March 1963, those doubts were made public, when Derrida gave a lecture at the Collège Philosophique. The theme of his talk was Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique,40 Michel Foucault’s influential book on madness, which had been published two years earlier. ’43 Most of Derrida’s essay consists of a detailed reading of a passage from Descartes’s Meditations to which just three pages of the 693-page Folie et déraison had been devoted. Foucault, Derrida insists, has not read Descartes closely enough.

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