[ExI] Beating the "meat" (was Re: "meat")

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Mon May 25 04:33:52 UTC 2009

2009/5/24 Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com>:
> Most of the people posting here seem to have no notion how depraved it is to
> speak of human bodies as "meat".
> I wish you'd all get over this nerdish affectation.

I think I'm aware of the negative connotations of calling our physical
form "meat". I have to admit a soft (meaty?) spot for it though.

I know it turns off "outsiders", but equally it's a signal to those
who "get" the transhuman meme. I think that at the core of the impulse
to techno-utopianism, transhumanism, technophilia, is an immense
frustration with the particular form our embodiment takes. While in
many ways it's marvellous (self repairing, self regulating, complex
beyond our current understanding), it's also an inappropriate form for
a general intelligence. It's not readily upgradeable, you can't easily
do repairs, it has no administration interface. It's not modular, it's
not compatible with anything, it's not extendable. There's no manual.
You can't get out of it, you can't get a new embodiment. You can't
point your higher reasoning skills at it and find ways to improve your
condition, beyond the minimal and banal (exercise and eat right). And
of course it eventually breaks down and stops.

In fact, excepting recent workers in medical and biological fields,
our only interaction with it is as meat. You can't do anything with it
except for be it, eat it or bury it.

If the human body had been created by a conscious actor, rather than
evolution, we would rightly deem it a great cruelty.

So the term "meat" is at once self effacing, and an expression of
frustration and anger at the mismatch between the mind and bodies that
we are.

(Actually, I always liked "meat sack" from Men in Black ("don't bet on
it, meat sack"), and "Ugly bags of mostly water!" from ST:TNG.)

I know the term upsets some people, and that it leaves us open to
accusations of being deniers of the flesh from the other culture
(which we ignore, so far entirely without consequence). The secret
though, is that this term isn't used for the derision of others, for
the belittlement of people who feel differently about it. I think use
of "meat" is always self directed, signalling to others who feel
similarly, communicating frustration, no little anger, and functioning
as a call to action. I think it's an important term and shouldn't be
cast aside.


http://emlyntech.wordpress.com - coding related
http://point7.wordpress.com - ranting
http://emlynoregan.com - main site

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