Are We Cyborgs? Technology and the Collective Mind


One morning I put my wet laundry into the dryer, pushed start, and realized my dryer was broken. Hmm . . . do I haul my wet laundry to the laundromat in town? Do I call one of those expensive appliance repair companies that tell you your appliance is not worth the money it will cost them to fix it? Am I a cyborg that can fix this? 

No, I did not do those things. I fixed the dryer myself, even though I have ZERO experience repairing broken appliances. And honestly, it freaked me out a bit . . .

What made this possible is the cyborg hand extension, which most of us already own. By moving my fingers a certain way when engaged with this technology, I am able to access the information needed to evaluate the problem and execute the repair. I did have to get several more tools that are not as advanced as my cyborg hand tool: three different screwdrivers, two sets of pliers, and a wrench. I skipped the gloves because I cannot use the cyborg hand tool with gloves on.

The cyborg tool is ubiquitous. I use it to communicate a thought instantly to someone on the other side of town, or even the other side of the planet. If someone asks me a question that I do not know the answer to I can lift the device, wiggle my thumbs, and give them an answer. Although it may not always be correct, and some questions are too existential for a definitive conclusion . . . such as What is Life? Or What is Reality?

When did I become a cyborg? When did I acquire the ability to instantly access information that is not contained in my human brain?

The ability to tap into the collective mind developed sometime in my teens. It wasn’t a sudden shift, but a slow dawning of technological progress that started with access to the internet. 

The rise of this virtual realm has brought with it both blessings and dangers. I can choose to use my cyborg power only when necessary, to fix my dryer or pass a thought to a friend. To find my way to a place I’ve never been or to figure out why my carrots are only making flowers instead of robust roots. Or I could spend all my waking time tapped into the collective, my human body idle, touching the machine as my mind wanders through landscapes of headlines and images, an ocean of information pulling my attention away from the reality that surrounds me. 

So I’m cautious these days, and I use social media and the internet sparingly. Instead I wander through my garden to see what Nature is creating there. And sometimes I wonder if I am a dying breed, a human clinging to my humanity, an animal that loves to watch a fire burn and the feeling of rain on my skin, grateful that I could fix my dryer but frightened by the implications.