22 October, 2020

Philosophy Must Study The Cosmetic Self: Shiv Visvanathan

I modify myself, therefore I am. Philosophy must study the cosmetic self.

Philosophy Must Study The Cosmetic Self: Shiv Visvanathan

One of the great insights of the history of science is the way it shows how revolutions in cosmology and technology eve­ntually rewrite the idea of the body. The body becomes the site, witness, text for the changing perceptions of society. Consider the idea of youth today, which sees itself as a ­sep­arate subcontinent. The younger generation constructs itself through the notion of the body, which it transforms through ­rit­ualistic practices.

Today the body no longer has a sense of the sacred, yet ironically, parts can be fetishised into cults of fashion. The body is no longer seen as a part of nature but as an artifice that can be tinkered with like a piece of plumbing, a piece of prosthetics that can be modified to cater to any whim. The body is no longer god-given but an outline, a scaffolding to build on, to improve. There is also a merging of cosmologies where the worlds of food, medicine and cosmetics blur. The instantaneity of technology and the temporariness of the self merge in the idea of selfie. Since the self is a technological artefact, it...



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