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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathPostsexual Bodies

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the world has long since been conquered by «flickering signifiers.» The «floating signifiers» obtain their value and thus their semantic meaning from their different positions within the whole system of language (in the sense of the structural linguistics advanced by Ferdinand de Saussure, who wrote the first «Introduction to Structural Linguistics» in 1914). They function in much the same way as the now famous «peek-a-boo game» [34] that Sigmund Freud played with his grandson, using a set of signs to practice presence and absence (of the boy's mother). Hayle's «flickering signifiers,» in contrast, no longer play with presence and absence, rather they posit «pattern and randomness,» which are subject to permanent mutation. This mutation is for the posthuman age what castration was for modernity, for the era of possessive individualism. So in the posthuman age, in order to be able to recognize the radical difference between yesterday and today one must set Freud's «peek-a-boo game» beside David Cronenberg's film «The Fly» (1986): When during the process of his metamorphosis into a fly the protagonist's penis falls off, he no longer experiences this as castrated, but rather as


«posthuman.» [35]

In their list of the possibilities of becoming someone/something else, Deleuze and Guattari conferred a prominent position to «becoming an animal.» However, this does not suggest the actual metamorphosis into an animal, but rather—in the sense of Franz Kafka's «The Metamorphosis»—understanding the traumatic shock one experiences when one realizes that one is no longer standing on two legs, but lying wriggling on one's armored back. It can presumably be attributed to a Freudian slip that Hayles reads the falling off of the penis as the first indication of a posthuman state, a state of ‹beyond human.› Because both psychoanalysis and the Deleuzian philosophy of immanence agree in one point: that being human and the sexualization of the body are deeply connected. In 1986 the French psychoanalyst J. Laplanche and the philosopher J.-B. Pontalis wrote the following about this:

«The whole point is to show that human beings have lost their instincts, especially their sexual instinct and, more specifically still, their instinct to reproduce. […] [D]rives and forms of behavior are plastic, mobile

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