Silence of the Idols: Appropriating the Myth of Sisyphus for Posthumanist Discourses

Postmodern Openings 9 (4):98-121 (2018)
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Both current and past analyses and critiques of transhumanist and posthumanist theories have had a propensity to cite the Greek myth of Prometheus as a paradigmatic figure. Although stark differences exist amongst the token forms of posthumanist theories and transhumanism, both theoretical domains claim promethean theory as their own. There are numerous definitions of those two concepts: therefore, this article focuses on posthumanism thought. By first analyzing the appropriation of the myth in posthumanism, we show how the myth fails to be foundational and how we need to rethink the posthumanist mythological framework. We then introduce Haldane’s Daedalus figure as a fruitful analogy to understand the demiurgic posture that critics mean to unveil by first using Prometheus. Daedalus embodies the artisan role, whose status as an inventor for the mighty preserves from the gods' direct opprobrium. Thereafter, we introduce the Camusian Myth of Sisyphus as a competing analogy that ultimately serves as a myth better suited to address the posthumanist position on an existential standpoint. we ultimately show that Sisyphus, as the ‘absurd man’ that Camus claims him to be, is himself the posthuman, thus serving as a more ideal foundational myth for posthumanism and preserving the importance of narrative in posthuman discourses. To conclude, we specifically show that the concept of Sisyphus as a posthuman icon has significance that reaches beyond narrative value to current ecological debates in posthumanism

Author Profiles

Jessica Lombard
Catholic University of Lille, France
Steven Umbrello
Institute For Ethics And Emerging Technology


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