A Conceptual Lever and the Narrative Construction of the Cyborg as a Quantum Machine

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Liccardo, Sabrina (2013)
  • Publisher: University of East London, School of Law and Social Sciences

Archimedes purportedly announced, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to\ud place it, and I shall move the world.” Archimedes was referring to how the use of a lever could\ud provide leverage by amplifying an input force to create a greater output force executed against an\ud object. Thus, the basic elements of a lever include effort, load or resistance, a lever arm, pivoting\ud point and a fulcrum. In this theoretical paper, I have mapped several concepts onto the following\ud elements of a lever; the psychological world onto ‘effort’, the socio-material world onto ‘load’,\ud history, culture, and tradition onto the ‘lever arm’, temporality onto the ‘pivoting point’, narratives\ud onto the ‘fulcrum’ and a ‘chronotope’ onto the ground. Who is the ‘One’ that attempts to move the\ud ‘other’ and how does he use the elements of a ‘lever’ to do so? In a phallocratic culture, the\ud difference between a set of dualities is constructed as binary opposites and the positive terms,\ud which dominate the binary, are linked to one particular sex. Thus, man (the ‘One’) is valued over\ud woman (its negative ‘other’). If we are to transform culture we need to destabilise the binary\ud opposition that is founded in the male/female couple (Cixous, 1981). Thus, in this paper I\ud compare mechanical nature of a lever with the dichotomous patriarchal social system, in which\ud the masculine dominates the construction of meaning. I use the elements of a ‘lever’ to illustrate\ud how the reproduction of a phallocratic culture might occur. This patriarchal social system follows\ud the principles of digital computing in that it encodes ‘data’ that are associated with the masculine\ud and feminine into binary oppositions. However, the ‘cyborg’ (Haraway, 1991) as a quantum\ud machine, can exist in more than one state simultaneously. The cyborg maintains a state of\ud ‘quantum superposition’ and ‘quantum entanglement’ because when it is in one state of a binary,\ud it partly exists in the other state simultaneously. Due to this entanglement, each member of the\ud binary must be delineated relative to one another. I thus conceptualise the cyborg at the centre of\ud this lever as it embodies the self as a psychological, socio-material and cultural phenomenon thus\ud providing an interpretive entry point to understanding ontology as the entanglement of subject\ud and object, space and time, matter and meaning, history and fiction. Furthermore, the cyborg\ud utilises narratives (stories) to reconstruct identity in the interplay of duality.
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