Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell perfectly creates the prototype of Dona Haraway’s the cyborg woman, “a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction” (148). Motoko, the prosthetic human with organism and machine, works for Office 9 and tries to investigate and arrest the mysterious “Puppet Master”. Motoko must find out who is the conspirator and how to hold down Puppet Master’s scheme. Originally, Puppet Master is merely a tool of Office 6 for the purpose of human benefits but it gradually develops the consciousness by itself.

Contrast to the Motoko who is the human embodied in the mechanized shell, Puppet Master is purely a program 2049 without organs. With merely the virtual data, Puppet Master relies on intrusion of human minds and bodies, trying to spread its gene data to control human thoroughly. I think the image of Puppet Master can be referred to Deleuze’s concept of “body without organ” which releases human embodiment from its indexation on socialized productivity to become “bodies without organs”, that is to say without organized efficiency (91-92). Puppet Master escapes from the symbolic system for pragmatism and create a new form of posthuman. It isn’t for anyone’s certain purpose but fluctuates the boundaries of meaning, keeping a “playful and pleasure-prone relationship to technology that is not based on functionalism” (91).

However, Puppet Master doesn’t satisfy with its current situation which is without any variation to resist the vicissitude of the environment. Unlike the organic gene which can mutate, Puppet Master will get extinct if some unexpected changes happen. Therefore, Puppet Master asks Motoko to merge with itself so that they can mutate to a new form of cyborg to survive. When Puppet Master talks to Motoko, the scenes show the images of rhizome. This is a significant symbol of reproduction of lives. According to Deleuze and Guattari, “a rhizome as subterranean stem is absolutely different from roots and radicles. Bulbs and tubers are rhizomes…Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be” (6-7). The genetic reproduction is just like rhizome, with continuous variation and mutation, forming a network associating with each other. Because there is no center, lives won’t be eliminated by one circumstance. The merge of the Puppet Master and Motoko is the demonstration of the new born of cyborg with mutated genes and get endless lives. “The merger of the human with the technological results in a new transversal compound, a new kind of eco-sophical unity, not unlike the symbiotic relationship between the animal and its planetary habitat (92)”. The fusion of Motoko and Puppet Master declares a new form of cyborg with lives. Human and Machine rely on each other, creating a mutualistic relationship to survive in this challenging posthuman era.

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