Donald Trump Is A Cyborg (Donna Haraway)


As a creature that marks the “breakdown of clean distinctions between organism and machine,” the cyborg was theorized by Dona Harraway as a way out of the dualistic antinomies of our late capitalism moment. One could just as well argue that the cyborg does no such thing. In ways that Donna Haraway could not anticipate in 1985, one could invert her famous manifesto. By her own account, Donald Trump is a cyborg. He is partial, ironic and utterly perverse. Oppositonal and utopian without a shred of innocence, he has effectively destructured the polarity of public and private creating, in the process a technological polis and a revolution of social relations.

Here’s the source from Haraway:

“The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity. It is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence. No longer structured by the polarity of public and private, the cyborg defines a technological polis based partly on a revolution of social relations in the oikos, the household. Nature and culture are reworked; the one can no longer be the resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other. The relationships for forming wholes from parts, including those of polarity and hierarchical domination, are at issue in the cyborg world. Unlike the hopes of Frankenstein’s monster, the cyborg does not expect its father to save it through a restoration of the garden; that is, through the fabrication of a heterosexual mate, through its completion in a finished whole, a city and cosmos. The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust. Perhaps that is why I want to see if cyborgs can subvert the apocalypse of returning to nuclear dust in the manic compulsion to name the Enemy. Cyborgs are not reverent; they do not re-member the cosmos. They are wary of holism, but needy for connection- they seem to have a natural feel for united front politics, but without the vanguard party. The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential.”


“Cyborg Manifesto” in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, p.151


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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7 Responses to Donald Trump Is A Cyborg (Donna Haraway)

  1. dmf says:

    Reblogged this on synthetic zero.

  2. Jon Awbrey says:

    It does people no good to engage in mystique this way. Trump is a garden variety con man and demagogue. Period.

  3. Michel Ottens says:

    How is projecting the cyborg archetype onto something despicable or abject an inversion of the concept? Is it not just evidence of the extended viability of Haraway’s concept?

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