The word cyborg was first used in print in the September 1960 issue of Astronautics. It came with the definition: for the exogenously extended organizational complex functioning as an integrated system unconsciously, we propose the name Cyborg (Clynes and Kline)
The name was made up by Manfred Clynes working with Nathan Kline. Kline was a distinguished psychiatrist, director of research at Rockland State Hospital in New York and teacher at Columbia University. His foret was psychopharmacology. Those who consult the Cyborg Handbook (Gray 1996) will learn that he won numerous awards, some internal to his profession ( the Adolph Meyer award) and some more public (a New York Newspaper Guild Page One award in Science). He was a good deal more colourful than that. He was Poap Doc Duvalier’s personal psychiatric consultant, and he also established clinics in Haiti. The favours were mutual: he had a fine private collection of Haitian, popularly known as Voodoo, preparations and herbals, with which he is said to have experimented freely. He was an advisor on psychological topics to Hollywood producer Norman Lear, so whatever psychology appears in Lear’s movies or TV scripts had Kline’s imprimatur. (this supplementary information is derived from telephone interviews with family members.”
Kline was quite the Cold War magus and eminence gris. Oh, spirit of Pynchon, be with me now!
“And yet there is another twist in this story that I cannot omit. It has a lot to do with the mind, though here one imagines that it is Kline speaking and not Clynes. It interest me because Rewriting the Soul (Hacking 1995) is, among other things, a very extensive study of multiple personality and dissociation. Kline was apparently stirring the dissociative soup way back in 1960
… hypnosis per se may prove to have a definite place in space travel, although there is much to be learned about the phenomena of dissociation, generalization of instructions, and abdication of executive control.
We are now working on a new preparation which may greatly enhance hypnotizability, so that pharmacological and hypnotic researches may be symbiotically combined.
Ross (1966) is a book [sic – I believe Hacking is referring to Colin Ross’ The Osiris Complex] written by a leader in the field of dissociative disorder suggesting that the epidemic of disturbed people having flashbacks of alien abduction into outer space is due to what he calls CIA experiments in hypnosis, drugs and mind control in the 1960s. The unhappy people with these memories are really recalling trance states induced by mad scientists in the employ of the United States Government. Most readers, including myself, take this as proof that Ross is himself a bit touched. But now I wonder, what was going on at Rockford State?”
Surely this is a valuable trivial pursuit fact, no? The most popular comedy shows of the seventies received their psychological input from the inventor of the cyborg and a scientist deeply interested in mind control? Ho ho ho - I come from generation fucked. Now I know who did it!
But we have only covered one of the homonymous duo, doeppelgaengers sprung into the Cold War future by way of Freud and Philip Dick. To get back to our question about the bike for a second, the first cyborg devised by this duo was simply a rat, which had some kind of osmotic pump set to a feedback pattern that would pump chemicals into it, get some appropriate responding chemical cue and modify its injections. The point eventually, our Small ones (Kleins) (“At one time the elves are small enough to creep through key-holes, and a single potato is as much as one of them can carry; at another they resemble mankind, with whom they form alliances, and to whom they hire themselves as servants; while some are even said to be above the size of mortals, gigantic hags, in whose lap mortal women are mere infants” – Superstitions of the Highlands) thought, was to make man less robotlike – once in space, Hacking points out, an astronaut was to be as free in his capsule as the homunculus was in Descarte’s brain – freer! For the homunculus didn’t carry around a feedback rat.
Well, maybe I’ll do one more post on this.