Last Flesh: Life in the Transhuman Era

July 16, 2010
Author:
Christopher Dewdney
Publisher:
HarperCollins Canada (2/1/1998)

Last Flesh: Life in the Transhuman EraMedia Studies | Last Flesh has a decidedly optimistic tone, reminiscent of McLuhan’s catholic embrace of human creativity and ingenuity. Like McLuhan, Dewdney harbours the poet’s desire for sublime transcendence, and the evolution of human capacity.  As a poet, Dewdney has always been at home in the material world of science; in fact, much of his poetry attempts to integrate the documentary impulses of the sciences with the imaginative and transformative power of the poetic vision. He is thus concerned that we are entering a period of “growing scientific illiteracy, an age of superstition and dangerous credulity”. He cites as an example a 1996 Gallop survey which “found that 49 percent of Canadians believe that antibiotics would be effective against viral illnesses such as colds and flu”. He concludes, “The time is ripe for a new dark age.”  Dewdney uses insights explored by McLuhan in The Laws of Media where it is proposed that, while new media extend and disturb the equilibrium of the senses, they also reverse and displace (“obsolesce”) previous extensions. The new digital media giveth, and taketh away. Dewdney hopes to act as our guide in negotiating the threshold–the limin–between the human and transhuman.