Is a blind man’s cane part of the man?

June 20th, 2010

Based on a question I found in Hayles’ book originally posed by a professor (Gregory Bateson) to his graduate students, I queried “Is a blind man’s cane part of the man?” on my Facebook page. This launched one of the longer conversations I’ve had on FB, the culmination of which is worth repurposing into a post. As Socrates would see it, it was a rubbing together of minds through dialogue lead to a spark of illumination. So, here is an essay of my perspective on the matter formulated due to, and based on, that conversation with special thanks to Ronda W., Duglas K, Amanda B., Mark C., Lisa C-S, Cris B, Michael S., and Kim E.

This question stems from my reading this week of Hayles’ “How We Became Posthuman.” From my perception, the cane is part of the man. It is merely one example in the discussion that all tools are extensions of ourselves (a point I’ve touched on in last week’s blog posts on McLuhan and Hayles). The cane operates as part of the man’s body, it acts as an extension of his hand, being part of his working perception of the world (perception of the working world?). Read the rest of this entry »