But these excursions into communications sciences and biology have been at a rarefied level; there is a mundane, largely economic reality to support my claim that these sciences and technologies indicate fundamental transformations in the structure of the world for us. Communications technologies depend on electronics. Modern states, multinational corporations, military power, welfare state apparatuses, satellite systems, political processes, fabrication of our imaginations, labour-control systems, medical constructions of our bodies, commercial pornography, the international division of labour, and religious evangelism depend intimately upon electronics. Micro-electronics is the technical basis of simulacra; that is, of copies without originals.
Donna Haraway “A Cyborg Manifesto
That phrase “copies without originals” has wound in and out of my thoughts for months, counterpoint to an increasing awareness of “authenticity” as a pervasive anxiety of our culture, digital culture, that is not just on-line, but the whole apparatus of constructed social architecture that now presents itself as given.
The digital is now part not only of human culture, transforming it into cyborg culture, but also a part of the ecology of the earth, just as the movement of air in wind, or water in currents is. The movement of digital information is as well, transforming the earth’s ecology into a cyborg ecology, the earth era of the Cyborgocene.
So “copies without originals”, the digitized wind, the digitized ocean currents, the digitized geologic flow of rock, the digitized cyborg experience, the same as the undigitized, but not the same, because the cyborg’s measurement of the thatness of say a tree produces a simulacra of interiority residing not only in firing neurons, but also in microelectronics, the two together in an awareness, dependent on each other, but unaware of each, like the conscious and sub-conscious, except for those moments, surreal and uncanny, that leave us gasping for something we can label as reality.