These Shoes Were Made for Cyborgs

"Do eye glasses make us all cyborgs?" Someone asked me a few days ago.

I was annoyed more than anything.

Of course they do. Corrective lenses are a non-biological technology that shape our experience of the world and of our bodies. By this logic, pretty much every tool developed as a product of "technology" (applied science; otherwise known as tinkering with stuff,) renders us cyborgs.

I like the notion that cyborgism is the rule and not the exception in the course of human history, but it makes the conversation about the cyborg moment more banal. A more banal cyborg moment makes it harder to think about the parts that I think are most interesting: the internet, distributed collaboration, free software and open source, and the impact of technology on literature and reading/writing.

As a retort, I said something like, "Perhaps, but if you accept that eye glasses create cyborg beings, then you'd have to accept that shoes also create cyborgs. And the effects of shoes are much more interesting."

Shoes affect how far people can walk, the speed of independent locomotion, they prevent all sorts of awful injuries, and probably lengthen the lifespan as a result. Shoes probably also change our feet and make us dependent upon wearing shoes, and more prone to certain kinds of injuries when barefoot. Fascinating stuff.

All other things being equal, I'm going to stick to internet and the cyborgs resulting from the encounter of humans and that technology.

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