ISSN (Online): 2583-0090


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Cthulhu and the snake: (Im)possibility of posthuman ipseity
Published On: 01/11/2022
SAIKAT CHAKRABORTYSAIKAT CHAKRABORTY,Integrated MPhil PhD Scholar,Kazi Nazrul University

Abstract In this paper I deal with two stories- “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P Lovecraft and Sarpopuran by Samiran Das from a posthumanist paradigm. Lovecraft has often been considered as to have fathered the Cthulhu cult, that he depicts as something fearful and incomprehensible to the Cartesian hubris. The story mainly revolves around the effigy of Cthulhu that has a strange appearance. The effigy is a queer admixture of a lively presence that has a tentacular head, giant claws and sharpened wings at back. The effigy entails an absolute sense of co-existence of different species. On a different level, Sarpopuran explores the crisis of human-nonhuman existence- where a snake coming out of a human body engulfs the human and takes the shape of it. While the former questions the humanist supremacy based on rationale modernity- a vicious child of Enlightenment Philosophy; the latter brings forward human helplessness in front of the ‘anomalous’ animal. Both the stories also challenge the idea of hierarchical human subjectivity based on the idea of transformation of neural signs into a network of signs, i.e, language- the former through its use of inexplicable words such as ‘nagl fhtagn’ and the latter, by giving language to the snake. The work- that constitutes- this paper, would take a deeper look into these aspects of the texts to find out whether such nuanced narratives can be considered as becoming part of a radical ontology- what I propose to call as posthuman ipseity or the ‘naming’ of an ontology becomes dichotomous and continues to sustain the hierarchy of what it is ‘post-ing’- the human.

Published On: 01/11/2022

Drawing on the depiction of the labyrinth from Dante Aligheri’s The Divine Comedy, both James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges have provided their own unique interpretation of the labyrinth by incorporating it in their literary writings. In Dante the movement through the labyrinth is one-directional, whereas in Joyce it is both multi-directional and circular. Self-knowledge is arrived at by returning to the starting point. The Borgesian labyrinth, on the other hand, is an infinite book containing autonomous microcosms within itself. Borges’ fiction, dealing with infinite libraries and fathomless information, contained within a minuscule dot, is an explicit illustration of this literary phenomenon. The never-ending amount of information provided in Borges is a metaphor for the proliferation of discourse that Michel Foucault has proposed in his concept of ‘author-function’. I propose that Borges’ metaphorical labyrinths prefigure the hypertextual form of writing that is present in most web pages and electronic literature. The hypertext is a form of electronic text where autonomous blocks of text are linked together to create a single coherent mass of writing. In this form of writing the readers and the author co-exist simultaneously, causing the concept of the author to be de-centered as the site of generation of meaning. In my paper I shall focus on ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’, ‘The Library of Babel’ and ‘The Aleph’ as representing the quintessential Borgesian labyrinth that prefigure the hypertextual form of the Internet, where meaning has no centre and both the author and the reader function as generators of meaning.

“But she was woman; he was dog” – A posthumanist approach to canine subjectivity in Woolf’s Flush
Published On: 01/11/2022

The world of literature essentially centers around human because it is constructed on the platform of an anthropocentric language. As Nietzsche points out in his essay ‘On Truth and Lying in a Non-moral Sense’, the human idea of truth is flawed and limited because it only extends to human relations established through the use of language over a period of time. The rise of posthumanism questions this position of human at the centre of the universe and seeks to dethrone the ‘Homo sapiens from any particularly privileged position in relation to matters of meaning, information and cognition’ (Wolfe, “What is Posthumanism?”, xii). Virginia Woolf’s Flush: A Biography, following the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel narrated by an omniscient narrator, moves out of the comfortable linguistic world of metaphors and idioms, and tries to locate an alternate world of sense and sensibility. This paper tries to enquire that by writing the biography of a dog whether Woolf is (or later Auster in Timbuktu) trying to extend the world of language to non-humans or it is an effort to include non-humans within the anthropomorphic frame of language because the linguistic barrier can hardly be overcome. I argue that the world of literature still remains human-centric, only the perceiving eyes become that of an outsider. The paper aims to look at Woolf’s Flush: A Biography from a posthumanist theoretical approach, trying to investigate the postanthropocentric ethic of representing the animal ‘other’. It also seeks to question that even with our posthumanist, postanthropocentric approach, whether it is possible to do away with our innate humanism, especially in terms of language.

The Signifiers and the Signified I:- Experimenting upon the ‘human’ and/or ‘posthuman’ in Subrata Sengupta’s “কম্পি বড় ভালো মেয়ে”
Published On: 01/11/2022
REESWAV CHATTERJEEREESWAV CHATTERJEE,State Aided College Teachers,Maheshtala College

Abstract:- Stanley Fish in his article “Is there a text in the class?” talks about an ‘interpretive community’ within which the speaker and the listener have to exist, to make possible any meaningful conversation. In case of amorous-sexual equations between the ‘human’ and the ‘robot’, a two directional translation serves as such a shared discursive context. It’s the translation of the mechanical consciousness into human co-ordinates or vice versa that places the two in what Fish calls a ‘context or system’. In Subrata Sengupta’s short story “কম্পি বড় ভালো মেয়ে” the equation between the ‘humanly consciousness’ and the ‘mechanical consciousness’ radically alters when we finally find out that the biological human possesses the mechanical consciousness, while the biological non-human i.e the robot has a human one. The essentialism of equating biological humanness and humanly consciousness, the mandatory placement of a certain type of consciousness within a certain type of body completely falls apart. This comprises of the first layer of the translation. In the second layer, the two directional translation occurs simultaneously in the story:- the mechanical consciousness tries to be human and the human consciousness tries to be mechanical at the same time. What emerges out of these two layers is that the consciousness in the two beings is the signified, while ‘the humanly’ and ‘the mechanical’ form of it function as the signifiers. In a pretty similar way, the biological humanness and the biological non-humanness fulfil the same role of two different signifiers to the same signified--- the consciousness. Thus it makes it impossible to think of ‘the humanly’ and ‘the mechanical’ as definitive and conflictual categories. Rather they are incessantly translatable to one another precisely because they are different signifiers of the same signified i.e. the same consciousness that is shared by the human and the robot both.

Eternity of Posthuman Intellect and algorithmic sentience: a Hybrid of Reality, Memory and Consciousness in Japanese Visual Culture
Published On: 01/11/2022
Arshiya ChahalArshiya Chahal,Student,GGSIPU
Simran GindwaniSimran Gindwani,Student,GGSIPU

Consciousness terminates with bodily death of human beings. However, due to extended obsession with eroto-mechanical enhancements, it creates a mind-body dualism which leads to the mutation in consciousness and identity. The significant question which manifests here is: ‘Would consciousness immortalize itself’? This paper examines how the concept of human consciousness metamorphose with that of a machine and how this fusion creates an eternal consciousness in the network. The focus of this paper will remain on two texts: Psycho Pass (2012) and Ghost in the Shell (1995). The common sutra which connects the two texts is the posthuman speculations made by Sibyl System, Motoko Kusanagi, and then how the consciousness evolves using the tools of assimilation and dissemination of knowledge. Through the portrayal of dystopian futuristic narrative, it creates a caricature of how the collective consciousness can be observed in two main branches – Sibyl System negotiates with how the intellect of posthumans (inspired* by human intelligence) keeps expanding through identity and memory. On the other hand, Ghost in the Shell franchise movies develop a hybridity among fake/made-up memories which constructs consciousness (for the utilitarian purposes of the hegemonic structure). Using Posthumanism as the theoretical perspective, this paper builds on the fact that how the digital replication of memory and transmission of consciousness is not a fiction in futuristic posthuman world anymore. Furthermore, how the connection among the different consciousness results in the birth of new kind of consciousness which is also perceived as machinery reproduction. In all the two texts, the system doesn’t die rather it transcends materiality. Using network theory, this paper will elucidate on certain vantage points: how the hybrid of the reality, memory and consciousness creates the intellectualism.

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