Impure Cyborgs

How do we practice our relation to a world and a self suffused with otherness? As we are co-constituted with the world, we can neither isolate ourselves from radiation or herbicides that harm us nor form microbes or bacteria that serve us. Thus, despite all the detox tea, green smoothies, acupuncture, fasting, or sweat lodges, we are never “pure.” We were likely not even born pure, absorbing heavy metals and toxins while peacefully sleeping in the womb.

Does that imply that any attempts to consume “clean” products, breathe “clean” air, and make regular sauna visits are useless?


It does mean, though, that we can never be pure. It does mean that to be pure is never an individual endeavor but can only be solved collectively. It also means that the concept of being pure is obsolete - we are pure by being impure.

How we perceive parts of the world as impure tells us something about our relation to the world.

Purity is usually related to “natural.” Impurity is related to what is “unnatural.” Yet, as many scholars, such as Latour and Barad, point out, there is no distinction between natural and cultural. We are always already entangled in natureculture. Just like we are already, as Haraway calls us, “cyborgs,” we might need to come to terms with the idea that we are impure cyborgs.