Self-destruction

In this day in age, technological advancements are steadily on the rise. We have already landed on Mars, cloned animals, and created machines that are arguably smarter than humans, along with many other major scientific feats. The possibilities of what our society will be capable of achieving in the future seem endless. However, Gibson’s novel suggests that these endless possibilities may hurt us in the long run. Case’s world in Neuromancer could be seen as an example of what our society could look like if we continue on this path of technological discovery. In this portion of the reading, we witness the self-destruction of two characters who have built their empires based on technological manipulation. I think that through these characters, Gibson is trying to send a message that this path could eventually lead to the self-destruction of our society.

The first character to self-destruct is Ashpool. He is the founder of Tessier-Ashpool, a wealthy business responsible for building the space station, Freeside. Through his involvement in the company, it is clear that Ashpool is a technological genius and has made noteworthy achievements. However, our only encounter with Ashpool occurs while he is in the middle of committing suicide. Prior to this encounter, I imagined Tessier Ashpool to be a highly regarded, accomplished company. Gibson tarnishes this image when we meet Ashpool as Gibson seems to portray Ashpool as weak and pathetic.

Similarly, the mastermind, Armitage, completely self-destructs before his death. Since the beginning of the novel, Armitage has been orchestrating elaborate crimes through cyberspace and manipulating people into doing his dirty work. However, Armitage has a psychological breakdown as his entire persona begins to unravel. It was shocking to see such a seemingly in control, powerful person transform into a vulnerable and unstable character.

Why does Gibson choose to destroy the image of such influential and dominant characters in the technological world? These characters were consumed with science and technology but still seemed to be completely in control. However, their inner workings eventually unravel and they can no longer maintain their lifestyles. I think Gibson is drawing a parallel to the real world. For now, all seems to be under control, as new technology is developed everyday However, if we are not careful, technology could infiltrate all aspects of our lives and destroy our society.

 

2 comments
  1. I understand the parallels that could be drawn between the novel and our society, in that technology make cause us to destroy ourselves. However, I am not quite convinced that GIbson is saying that technology alone is what has caused characters like Ashpool and Armitage to self destruct. I think one crucial fact we need to remember is that these characters are also criminals. They have used technology negatively to hurt others and now that destruction is catching up with them. Gibson may be drawing parallels not just simply to all of society that uses technology, but those that purposely misuse it to destroy others.

  2. These are some nice insights, Jaime. Your argument would be strengthened with direct quotations from the novel to back up what you’re talking about. And it’s worth noting that Corto/Armitage is not necessarily the person who has been doing the manipulating or using technology. But I think you’re still on the right track.

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