TH12. Global Vertebral Telegraphy & Neural Neuzeit


If teeth are objectified hunger, and the steam engine a mechanization of musculoskeletal vivacity, then telegraphy is the organ of a globe become self-conscious. Such a view was already common by the 1870s, two decades after the first transatlantic cables had been laid. In 1877, Ernst Kapp (1808– 1896) published his Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik, where he develops a theory of ‘organ projections’ (a concept that Alsberg inherited and borrowed) by claiming that technology is nothing but the eversion of the bodily functions of the human animal. Writing that ‘the comparison between the electrical telegraph and the nervous system is self-evident’, Kapp thereafter lists the many other anatomists of his time who had similarly noted how closely the global telegraph network resembles an extended nervous network of cerebrospinal arcs…