I read the news today-did you know that there are animals out there that are patented? In 1988 the U.S. Patent Office gave out the first patent for a living mammal, the OncoMouse(TM), a mouse developed by DuPont for breast cancer research. It is genetically built, not born, and it has female mammary tissue grafted onto it to be studied. There are various types and they're sold for between $50 and $75 on the open market.
Now, I knew there were patented living things: those oil-slick-eating bacteria from the mid eighties must be patented, for instance. But somehow a test tube mouse resonates more with me. I envision a tiny cute mouse scampering around the floor with a UPS symbol stamped on its back, and I think maybe we've commodified everything. Even without my own body being trademarked and stamped, I cover myself in clothes with trademarks. Even without an artificial heart or a bionic limb I feel half-human, half-machine, where the machine is a synthetic fabric that keeps me warm, or a bionic wrist attachment that tells me the time. We're not born with fur, or we're born with bad vision, and so modern science takes pity on the infant lying there helpless, like Robocop after he's shot apart by the bad guys in that movie, and they make Six Million Dollar Men and Bionic Women-better, stronger, faster than we were before. We are cyborgs.
Shit, what does that mean? I feel human, you know? I look around at other humans and I feel a connection that I don't feel when I look at other animals, or plants, or buildings or anything. When I took biology in high school and looked under microscopes at pond water I wasn't fascinated, didn't think about the mass of microscopic life teeming, just out of focus, just out of reach, too small to grasp. So small that if I held it in my hand, it wouldn't even notice, it would just keep on teeming. Its context changing, but changing at such a macro level that it wouldn't even notice. Until, maybe, I drop it into a glass of alcohol, and it can't survive. But by then it's too late.
I feel out of focus. I feel dangerously soft, like the edges outlining my body are blurred a little. Some of me is diffused into the rest of the world, and some of the rest of the world is diffused into me, into my skin. I feel like maybe it's getting worse, I'm getting more and more blurred, and more and more, and eventually it gets so I'm faded out, I'm scattered too distantly into my environment and I'm not even a coherent shape anymore. I am my environment and my environment is me. I am the world and the world is I.
I am the world.
The world is... >