Thursday, March 01, 2007

CYBERMEN and Doctor Who

Ana Aguila Reyes beams down with a sci-fi posting of no little interest for obscene machine devotees:

From: Ana Aguila Reyes
Subject: question
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 14:20:58 -0800
To: b. nericcio

Hi, professor. A while back I had a conversation with a friend about sickness and our bodies. The question of Why we were made so fragile came up. For anybody who has had an illness or has known someone who is sick, we sometimes wish we were made of some other material other than flesh in order to avoid pain and suffering. In my conversation metal came to our minds. What if humans were made of metal? No more sickness. Linking this type of thought to the reading on Rita Hayward, it seems that people try to escape from they’re problems by becoming someone or something else. The excuses are endless.

One of my favorite sci-fi shows, Doctor Who, brought this theme up in one of their shows with the Cybermen. The Cybermen were once human like us but have received the ultimate upgrade. Their human brains welded into their cybernetic bodies which have been adapted so that the Cybermen are utterly devoid of emotion.

Here’s a clip of the Cybermen:

... and a photo as well!


  1. Hello Ana and all,

    This question interests me because I am, in a way, a newly created, or at least newly re-arranged, human being. What happened to me was that a part of me--a vein--was removed from me and replaced in another part of me, to perform a slightly different function; while I am not robotic (the part was not metal or plastic, but organic), I am permanently, irrevocably, remanufactured. I have a friend who has a stent in his heart. His replacement parts are metal and chemical but in a way, it is easier for me to grasp the notion of a artificially reinforced artery wall than it is for me to think of myself as a being who has been surgically reorganized for a more robust blood flow. The doctors have altered the pathways in the system that is me in a very basic way, and I am still trying to get my head around the idea.

    The question, for me, is this: how do I respond to my manufactured existence, or at least the parts of that existence that have been conciously altered? if i feel something about it, is that a "real" feeling or a product of the technology? Does it matter that my blood flow, which we use metaphorically all the time (bloodlines, hot-blooded, etc.) rushes to my head on a path that ain't natural?

    I'm still full of wondering.

  2. Anonymous6:30 PM

    I think that a common critique of humanity, especially today, is that of "numbing the pain" to not feel. The first example that comes to mind is the widespread usage of anti-depressants. I switch back and forth on my opinion of said prescription drugs, but it is easy for one to see my analogy(I'm sorry for those of you who do seriously suffer with psychological ailments, this isn't directed towards you): It seems like people today just don't want to feel anything. We get sad, hey, why not pop a pill and be happy. We use other drugs like alcohol and all the others so don't feel like we're supposed to, as humans. And as today's youth are using drugs(including RX anti-depressants) at a faster rate and younger ages than before. Sure, it's fun to not feel sad or anxious once in a while, but we need to feel MORE if anything in times like today. Whatever happened to common courtesy and compassion?

    -Rory Tiedge

  3. Oh, how I LOVE that Dr. Who (one of my very favorite shows) has wandered into our Obscene Machine! And how apt, too, that Ana should highlight the Cybermen, in all their genocidal, homogenized, mechanical glory. In the episode that first deals with this particular foe, the Doctor says that part of why they must cut away all traces of emotion from the "upgraded" humans when they turn them into Cybermen, is "Because it hurts." Though the statement refers to a literal, physical pain, the statement holds true metaphorically - that if we take away the things that make us different and unique, we only hurt ourselves in the end. In fact, one of the characters who undergoes the "upgrade" process and is turned into a Cyber against her will is a prime example of a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses socialite, committed to living the typical life of the rich and famous, to keeping up appearances and fitting in. I don't believe this is an unintentional bit of commentary.