[iDC] Play, Labour & Herbert Marcuse

Margaret Morse memorse at comcast.net
Mon Oct 12 10:25:20 UTC 2009

Dear Christian,
Your mental association of any degree of comparison between animals  
and humans with Nazis who compared humans to vermin explains your  
reluctance.  Consider this:  humans are animals in fact and we share  
our sociality (and predation) with many animal species.  Why do we  
need to make a total and absolute difference in what amounts to  
denial?   I see your point about the Haraway cyborg being one figure,  
although an historically and specifically determined one.  It is a  
both/and, neither/nor figure that one encounters in liminal periods.   
It is one in number but not in any other way.  Condensations are dream  
thinking to be sure; they allow us to say things unspeakable  
otherwise.  A life without condensations would be a life without  
dreams, poetry or jokes.  If you have read it, what do you think of  
Haraways recent book _When Species Meet_?

I am thinking also of honorable comparisons of humans and animals.  I  
can't forget the illustration from a book related in form and function  
to The Book of Kells at Trinity in Dublin during ISEA2009.  There was  
a delightful mouse who was holding two things together, one perhaps a  
communion wafer?  That was a big issue back in the Dark Ages--if a  
mouse nibbles a communion wafer is that mouse part of the Christian  

Sorry I can't address your points more deeply;  your views are deeply  
felt and I understand them, though I don't share them.  Thanks for  
answering my question.

I found the comment about FaceBook tricking "friends" into drawing  
other friends into Farmville interesting from an erotics point of view.


On Oct 11, 2009, at 7:36 PM, Christian Fuchs wrote:

> Dear Margaret and Eva,
> Some people have pointed out to me that I mixed up Farm Life with the
> game in question, Farmville, a very popular Facebook game application.
> Thanks for that, obviously I am not a computer game expert.  
> Farmville is
> free to use, does not cost money, and has no advertising, profit is
> generated by selling virtual farm coins and virtual farm cash to users
> and by trying to trick ever more Facebook friends into the game as
> virtual commodity buyers. So the accumulation strategy is related to  
> the
> one of Second Life, you buy virtual money as commodity that enables  
> you
> to play the game and produces actual money profit for a corporation.  
> The
> players here are not surplus value producers, they are consumers and
> realize surplus value that is produced by the game designers. However,
> you could say that the labour of tricking users to invite their  
> Facebook
> friends to use the game significantly contributes to surplus value
> production.
> I think that comparisons between bees or birds or any other animals to
> humans in a metaphorical or non-metaphorical way should be avoided and
> that they are dangerous too. Hitler and the Nazis did it by comparing
> Jews to rats, insects, etc, so the danger of such comparisons is to  
> end
> up in biologism or eco-fascism. biologism is a logically necessary
> element of fascist ideology. The danger is one of reductionism, to
> reduce humans and to deny their specifity. So what I am arguing for  
> is a
> socialist humanism, humanist socialism.
> Of course gender should be mentioned as very important aspect of
> Haraway's cyborg concept, based on which she has contributed to
> cyberfeminism. The problem that I have with Haraway's cyborg concept  
> is
> that she in my view tends to collapse differences into unity, which
> risks degrading humans to the same analytical and logical level as
> machines, animals, etc (as is done in actor network theory). humans  
> are
> not machines, humans are no animals, they are primarily different from
> such systems, and secondarily connected to technical and material
> systems. Haraway's cyborg-concept is in my view undialectical, that is
> the problem that I have with it, it is a form of conflationism, what I
> am missing in the Cyborg-Manifesto is the logical figure of unity in
> diversity. In terms of the gender aspect of the cyborg, I think much  
> was
> said on that topic in the controversy between Norman O'Brown and  
> Herbert
> Marcuse in 1967 following the publication of O'Brown's book "Love's
> Body" and I found Marcuse's position quite reasonable. Haraway would
> more take the position of O'Brown in that discussion. O'Brown did not
> speak of cyborgs, but it is basically what he meant.
> Best,
> Christian
> -- 
> - - -
> Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christian Fuchs
> Associate Professor
> Unified Theory of Information Research Group
> ICT&S Center
> University of Salzburg
> Sigmund Haffner Gasse 18
> 5020 Salzburg
> Austria
> christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
> Phone +43 662 8044 4823
> Personal Website: http://fuchs.uti.at
> Research Group: http;//www.uti.at
> Editor of
> tripleC - Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation | Open Access  
> Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society
> http://www.triple-c.at
> Fuchs, Christian. 2008. Internet and Society: Social Theory in the  
> Information Age. New York: Routledge.
> http://fuchs.uti.at/?page_id=40
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Margaret Morse
memorse at comcast.net

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