Neuromancer Research Paper

Decent Essays
Can the human mind exist without a functional body? The degree connection between the body and mind is a topic that many people find controversial. Many people believe that the mind is an entity of its own and completely separate from the body. Others state that the body is the biggest influence on the shape of the mind. Though the mind can seem independent from the body at times, it is never truly free. The mind is inseparable from the body it inhabits. A damaged or lost body has immense effects on a person’s grip on their mind and their sense of self. Furthermore, the self is influenced and tied to the characteristics of the body it inhabits. The mind cannot function properly without a fully functional body. The complexities of the mind…show more content…
In the novel Neuromancer, the character of Dixie Flatline lacks a meat body. Dixie Flatline was a talented computer hacker until he flatlined while in the matrix. Now, he only exists in the matrix as a ROM construct who can’t create memories or change at all. Case, the main character, asks him if he is a sentient. Dixie replies, "’Well, it feels like I am, kid, but I'm really just a bunch of ROM. It's one of them, ah, philosophical questions, I guess’" (10. 103-104). Dixie’s mind and self is reduced to a construct, because the mind is fatally tied to the body. Dixie has no body, so he is not truly sentient. Both Dixie and Case seem to know that, which is why Case asked and DIxie couldn’t provide a concrete answer. Because Dixie is generated by a computer, he can only act in predictable patterns. Throughout the novel, Dixie’s only wish is to be deleted. He is not leading a fulfilling existence as a ROM construct. He sees no meaning of life without a body, and has no personality or chance for growth. A woman named Christina also loses her sense of self after she loses her sense of proprioception. Proprioception is a “sixth sense” - it is a person’s ability to sense the relative position of their body parts. Christina suffers the loss of this, essentially losing sense of her own body. She described her condition, “‘ I feel my body is blind and deaf to itself… it has no sense of itself’” (Sacks 51).…show more content…
The mind is limited by the body on what it can accomplish. The unique case of Madeline J and her hands help illustrate this concept. Madeline J was an elderly blind lady who had cerebral palsy and no control over her hands. She described her hands as “‘useless godforsaken lumps of dough - they don’t even feel part of me” (Sacks 59). She went about life as if she had no hands, because she couldn’t access them. Though she learned to live life without them, she was never satisfied. Madeline J visited doctor after doctor. Finally, a doctor was able to help. He triggered an impulse in her hands by placing food near her but not feeding her. One day Madeline J got hungry and impatient, and this prompted her hands to reach out and grab the food. After this event, Madeline rapidly gained use of her hands. This change in her body radically changed her mind and self. Though she was still blind, she began to touch and feel everything to recognize items. This recognition went with “vivid delight, and a sense that she was discovering a world full of enchantment, mystery and beauty” (Sacks 62). This delight and wonder inspired her to reproduce the objects she could now touch and hold. She made beautiful art with her hands that now seemed to have “preternatural animation and sensibility” (Sacks 63). Her change in body completely changed how her mind perceived of the world, and altered her sense of self. She went
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