Humanities now

In a very early essay called “Games,” Flusser announced his intention to characterize “humans” not in terms of differences from animals, but rather differences from their “apparatuses”.  He doesn’t offer any explanation about what prompted the decision but goes on to assert that the difference between human beings and their apparatuses lies in the capacity to play. Humans do and devices don’t. This lays the foundation for the extremely comprehensive definition of games that follows.  

The approach to the definition of “human” implies the definition of “apparatus” he elaborated more fully later, namely as an inextricable mesh between human and machine.  It also implies that when the mesh with machines is as deep and intricate and is progressing as unidirectionally as it seems to be now, that identifying, valuing what is “human” presents completely different challenges.  It implies a new, unfamiliar ground for “the humanities”.

Author: Nancy Roth