We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE


Ghosts, the Incalculable, and the Suspension of Animation

Gray Kochhar-Lindgren

Publication Year: 2005

Adding to the growing field of posthuman or cyborg studies, TechnoLogics explores how our position in the technologized world reorders, in the most radical ways imaginable, our basic experience of the lines governing literary, philosophical, and cultural production. The ancient dream of immortality is now becoming realized through cloning, genetic research, and artificial intelligence, bringing with it the need for new forms of both reading and living in the everyday world. In this emerging cyborg culture, what is to come for us is not predictable but, instead, an open possibility to be shaped by the work of, among others, artists, computer designers, scientists, and writers. Through encounters with Plato, Melville, Marx, Jünger, Heidegger, Freud, Derrida, Baudrillard, and others, Gray Kochhar-Lindgren identifies the causes, characteristics, and links between the most primordial of wishes—immortality—and the highest of high tech, and asks how, in our culture of technocapitalism, we can continue to listen to the faint call of ethics.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Postmodern Culture

TechnoLogics: Ghosts, the Incalculable, and the Suspension of Animation

pdf iconDownload PDF (22.1 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (37.0 KB)
pp. vii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (38.0 KB)
pp. ix

Writing is an act of gratitude. My thanks go to Barry Alford, Anne Alton, Gary Astrachan, Bill Brevda, Mary Ann Crawford, William Doty, Hedwig Fraunhofer, Peter Haddad, Heidi Holder, Robert Hrdina, Joseph Lease, John Moore, Jerry Neeb-Crippen, Daniel Patterson, Robert Paul, Steve Scholl, David Smith, Christina Tassev,...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (55.4 KB)
pp. 1-10

TechnoLogics is an attempt to understand the uncanny logic that is unfolding for all of us as it enfolds all of us in its multiple orders. It concerns itself with small prefixes such as un-, re-, and in-, as well as with the broad movements of history that leap from the Hebrew Bible and Plato straight into the nineteenth century and beyond. Rather than directly analyze the chronological...

I. Laying Down the Power Grid

read more

1. Call Forwarding

pdf iconDownload PDF (52.7 KB)
pp. 13-19

Cloning, the immortality of the reproduction of the same, has always been the openly secret dream of homo phantasticus, but such dreaming, in the dominant history of the west, has been subsumed by the logic of the drive for the rational explication and use of the world that we have come to call metaphysics. This subsumption has not destroyed the dreaming, but, rather, has installed...

read more

2. On-(the)-Line

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.5 KB)
pp. 21-39

There is a low humming in the background. Everything is now on-line. Powered up. We must, whether we want to or not, put ourselves on the line as well. What, though, is a line? What is the course of the line between the living and the dead, the animate and the inanimate? What does it mean that now, driven by the program of technology, we are attempting crossings back and forth across that line that has long been...

read more

3. The Platonic Teleport

pdf iconDownload PDF (95.9 KB)
pp. 41-65

Plato launches metaphysics, the thought-program that will give rise to cloning, artificial intelligence, and the crisscrossing of the (in)animate at the turning of the transepochal. And this Platonic template—with multiple revisions, to be sure—is teleported as far into the future as we can see. The file carries the name, among others, of cognitive science, the human genome project, AI, and vir-...

II. Ghosts in the Machines

read more

4. The Elixir of Life

pdf iconDownload PDF (58.6 KB)
pp. 69-77

Many specters haunt the nineteenth century. One of them is called communism, but there is an uncanny phantasmagoria of other names produced by the encounter between the ghosts of the past and the ghosts of the future in a present that is haunted by both. As capital, linked with the sciences, begins to gain the power to realize ancient dreams of immortality, Nathaniel...

read more

5. The Immortality Machine of Capitalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.4 KB)
pp. 79-92

In 1833, Karl Marx turned twelve years old and alchemy, Frankenstein, and capitalism awaited his coming. What Marx would come to understand better than anyone else in the nineteenth century was the historical sociality—the “social brain” of emergent capitalism—of all human events, and it was Marx who first demonstrated how the alchemical dream of immortality had been...

read more

6. Bartleby the Incalculable

pdf iconDownload PDF (99.3 KB)
pp. 93-119

Plato responded to the call of the distinguishability of numbers and letters, constructing a matrix of value that was, after its incarnation as the Hegelian Weltgeist, overturned by Marx, who responded to the call of labor, alchemy, money, justice, and a table that was not a table. Already for Marx, the world was haunted by the frozen desire of commodities, fetishes, the vampire of capital, and...

III. The Suspension of Animation

read more

7. The Drone of Technocapitalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.4 KB)
pp. 123-142

On the occasion of his 100th birthday, Ernst Jünger briefly commented on the century in which he has lived. Concerning the year of his birth, 1895, Jünger recalled the Dreyfus affair in France and Roentgen’s discovery of X-rays, which “finally made the invisible visible and made possible new measurements of the organic and the inorganic world.”1 This is where we today exist: on the...

read more

8. The Psychotelemetry of Surveillance

pdf iconDownload PDF (102.2 KB)
pp. 143-169

If Zapparoni represents the possibility of absolute surveillance in a world dominated by the electronic surveillance produced by the twinning of science and capitalism, his domain has been under preparation, as we have seen, for a very long time, passing along a network articulated first by Plato but carried along by all the transformers in the West. That net included Oedipus, which also creates its...

read more

9. Temps: Time, Work, and the Delay

pdf iconDownload PDF (85.7 KB)
pp. 171-192

We are all temps. Riding the tides of time that ebb and flow, settle and swirl. Weathered and scored. Scoured. “There is a ’now’ of the untimely; there is a singularity which is that of this disjunction of the present” (Derrida and Ferraris 2002, 12). Here today, gone tomorrow. Split. Timed out. Provisionally employed, tensely employed in the legerdemain of...

read more

Conclusion: Heeding the Phantomenological

pdf iconDownload PDF (55.7 KB)
pp. 193-201

Perhaps, though, in the end nothing has changed. After all, we all wake up in the morning, go about our business as we live out our numbered days, and then slip away, at one time or another, into sleep at first and then, at last, into the night of nothingness. We continue to hope for a long life, for love in its many forms, and for a graciously courageous death. We are anxious about being...


pdf iconDownload PDF (57.3 KB)
pp. 203-212

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (52.2 KB)
pp. 213-220


pdf iconDownload PDF (35.6 KB)
pp. 221-222

E-ISBN-13: 9780791483985
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791463031
Print-ISBN-10: 0791463036

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: SUNY series in Postmodern Culture