Complex Singularities

Adventures in Thinking Outside the Tower
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On Weaving Something other than a Shroud for the Day after the Apocalypse

I’m re-reading Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” for my Robotic Intimacies class, and this passage, written in the depth of 80s struggles and fear, leapt out at me an appropriate measure of today, too:
 
I do not know of any other time in history when there was greater need for political unity to confront effectively the dominations of ‘race’, ‘gender’, ‘sexuality’, and ‘class’. I also do not know of any other time when the kind of unity we might help build could have been possible. None of ‘us’ have any longer the symbolic or material capability of dictating the shape of reality to any of ‘them’. Or at least ‘we’ cannot claim innocence from practising such dominations. White women, including socialist feminists, discovered (that is, were forced kicking and screaming to notice) the non-innocence of the category ‘woman’. That consciousness changes the geography of all previous categories; it denatures them as heat denatures a fragile protein. Cyborg feminists have to argue that ‘we’ do not want any more natural matrix of unity and that no construction is whole. Innocence, and the corollary insistence on victimhood as the only ground for insight, has done enough damage. But the constructed revolutionary subject must give late-twentieth-century people pause as well. In the fraying of identities and in the reflexive strategies for constructing them, the possibility opens up for weaving something other than a shroud for the day after the apocalypse that so prophetically ends salvation history.
 
Here’s to new affinities, new alliances, new possibilities, and to fighting those old and new struggles now upon us—as well as those that loom in the offing. And here’s to weaving a new and better future, together.

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