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Free Content The Soul of the Golem

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Abstract:

There are many ways of interpreting the so-called new technologies. One of the most interesting is that which stems from defining them as a social imaginary, and therefore, as collective beliefs, fears and hopes. It is common to attribute to technologies all manner of threats that, founded or not, are real in the measure that the society makes decisions and acts in a way consistent with this conviction.

The fears and anxieties of society lead to a consideration of the limits of the human that technologies transgress. Among the figures with which one speaks about these limits there is Frankenstein, the modern Prometheus, which threatens modern fantasies with its deformity. There is, however, another man-made creature that can serve to orient our reflection, the Golem.

In 1609, 400 years ago, Rabbi Loew died. He is credited with the creation of a homunculus by combining of secret codes. The problem of the Golem was its imperfect soul made manifest in its lack of speech. Its silent presence was a source of great fear in the community that finally asked to get rid of the creature.

These figures of monstrosity, Frankenstein and above all Golem, will help us to make technologies understand from the fear that society projects onto them, and this will lead us to the question concerning the imaginary fears of the technological system.

Keywords: fear; limits; monstrosity; new technologies; social imaginary

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejpc.1.1.107/1

Affiliations: Universidad Veracruzana and Universidad de Zaragoza.

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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