The metamorphosis of the human body in the 21st century

Omnivorous capitalism recognized the body as a magnificent prey and had no qualms about the fact that the prey was somehow the hunter’s mother.

In the relationship between the human being and his body we have witnessed a functional metamorphosis from being a body to having a body (see the disappearance of the bodies).

This passage corresponded with the commodification of the human body which allowed capital to use it in three distinct ways: as a product, as an instrument of production, and as a market in itself.

The human body as a product

As a product to buy and sell in the market of production and consumption, the human body has always been limited in its rigidity, by which, unlike many other products, it has never been able to be modified at will. Now biotechnology and artificial intelligence seem to be able to break down this barrier.

The separation of the body from the identity of the individual made it possible to sell the human body not only to men as happens with slavery, prostitution, or, in other terms, wage labor, but also to the owner of the body himself, whom, in interacting with himself/herself enters a circle of creation and satisfaction of needs, that are satisfied through body care, beauty care, surgery, fitness and so on.

In this way, the individual ends up becoming a sort of buyer, user, and customer towards his own body.

Biotechnologies can expand the possibilities of the human body, understood as a product, according to market needs identifying new targeted parts to improve, replace and exchange; and in perspective, artificial intelligence is able to algorithmically reproduce the mind, thus separating the mind from the body. From this point of view, every mind could inhabit any body, in a sort of human body real estate.

The human body as an instrument of production

As an instrument of production, the body has shown all its limits almost at the birth of social life.

Technique and technology in this perspective can do nothing to transform the human body into something that can rival machines in production functions.

The human body as a market

As a market, we can imagine the human body as a country, a geographic place in which to buy and sell commodities. From this point of view, the human body represented an obstacle that capital tried to circumvent by expanding itself through the multiplication of individuals and the increase of the world population.

Recent developments allow the human body to overcome the traditional uses of the body as a market for the sale of clothing to wear, watches, shoes, drugs and so on. Slowly, capital has made its way into the human body with the sale of blood, organs, and more recently seeds and ovules for insemination and the rental of wombs for reproduction. In recent years, the development of technology has allowed the design of personalized medicines, gene variations, nanomedicines, proteomics, stem cells and synthetic biology, which promise to make the human body a market with huge possibilities.

The 21st century sees man completely detached from his body and the body completely commodified and subject to the rules of the market. In the most extreme perspectives of artificial intelligence, the body can be inhabited, bought and sold like an apartment, while in the perspective of biotechnology it can be modified at will, updated, and integrated with robotic parts.

The mind will perhaps adapt to the new reality, (the mind gets accustomed to everything), but it will be like seeing a turtle without a shell.

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