Any opinion on designing surgical apparatus?

Hi guys,

Bear with me this long description. I am doing a project on designing surgical environment for minor subdermal implants such as rfid or magnets. I myself consider all these technology-driven bodily alterations are strongly grounded in doctrine like Transhumanism and view it positively as it might help us imagine an alternative typology of post-human near future. As an MA research requires a profound level of a theoretical background behind the subject, so at the beginning, I interviewed an implanter in Worthing UK and talked to an associate tutor in anthropology department Imperial in order to look into other parallels.

During the research, turns out there are notable parallels especially in tribal initiation rituals, in that surgical process also requires presence of acting chief (implanter) and he/she is not merely a practitioner but almost a therapist since he/she is the one who brings the patients what they have been eager to achieve realised and at the same time needs to be extremely careful not to patronise their mental frame. And also self-flagellatory aspects of tribal ceremony and so on! This area indeed abounds in interesting inter-subject common grounds. (any further discussion more than welcome xx) Anyway, so in the end, from the fact that most implanters use a regular medical bed and trolley which might contribute to pre-anxiety level, I decided to design a table that looks like a small modernised altar with some ornaments, where the implanter and the patient sit close enough together and go for the procedure with the impression of religious ritual. What I want to discuss with you guys is what you think about this idea overall and plus any opinion on an additional idea of adding a few cameras to the table that can record the process and even can upload it to a particular platform so that all the people interested can share. Personally, I think this idea is interesting in that it creates a self-surveillance system that can also serve as an equipment making a virtual scene out of the procedure. I really want to hear what you think, it will be extremely helpful. Thanks!


  • Well, having a few positional cameras so you can see what you're doing from other angles could be useful.

    Personally, I find your concept of equating grinding to religious rituals abhorrent. The foundations of what they are and why they're done are at complete odds. There's no spirituality or "magic" involved. Ascribing religious worship to things that can be understood and explained by science is just a way to spread ignorance.

  • @countseven Yes, grinding surely doesn't involve any superstitious interventions but what I was referring to was more of initiation rituals, whose characteristic does not necessarily entail the presence of superstitious beings/beliefs, particularly those including violence (inflicted on the self and the body) and the followed body-transformation. To be more specific, I personally think aspects of self-flagellation in exchange for advanced bodily flexibility can possibly be put into a similar equation within the territory of 'religious' rituals even though what those two are ultimately after is completely different.

  • I'm actually really interested in ritualization of tasks for a number of reasons.. before I jump in I'll say that I think biohacking/grinding has been resisting psychology for a bit too long. I've been writing a lot lately and exploring concepts of mind: this doesn't mean I've drank the kool aid though.
    The "mind" doesn't even have to exist. It doesn't matter as long as we remain steadfastly focused on affecting material outcome. Isn't that what ritual is? Anyhow, I'm a nurse right? I would say that 80% of the time when a patient comes into the ER I don't even need a doctor. I already know what tests to run, what medications to give, and I could diagnose the patient myself (not legally of course, outside of scope). I'd most often be right. However, when a physician doesn't do what I expect it comes as a surprise. Sure, I make some clinical judgements but I'm certainly not trained to make diagnosis. When things fit into the normal flow of assessment, diagnosis, intervention.. I'm just as good as a physician. When it doesn't, I don't see the signs. It's like, the MD will write some weird lab I've never heard of, for reasons I don't know.. diagnose people with things I never considered etc. This is the difference between a technician vs. professional at something. I'm at a technician level in terms of treating and diagnosing. I am able to go through the process like, if a then b. But a good physician has a much larger scope of understanding and doesn't need to go through the ritual. They have the reasoning behind the ritual.
    Point being, I DO think we should add ritualism to our procedures. There are times when it would probably be fine to break a sterile field or do a half-ass hand washing or something. Or how about the argument regarding the use or non-use of epi with lido? There are people who can weigh out the relative benefits and detriments of these things well. They're called surgeons. The rest of us should recognize that while we may be skilled technicians, we aren't surgeons. The only safe way for a technician to work is within boundaries determined by those who do know what they're doing. Ritualization essentially. We figure out a way to do something right and do it that way every time without having to think about it.. Of course, everything should remain open to change etc.

  • My problem with your view of ritualization, cassox, is that it enables complacency. Which I feel is the opposite of what we should be encouraging.
    If you want to put a magnet in your finger, you should make yourself intimately familiar with the entire structure of what you're operating on, not just following a step-by-step guide. I'm not saying memorize the scientific names of everything, but educating yourself and being intimately familiar with the concepts and purposes of everything should be an accepted requirement.

  • Let me give an example.. when I do a procedure, I clean the area in a very exact way with a specific set of cleaning tools. I set up my area in a very specific way and exactly the same every time. When I was my hands I use the exact same tools, supplies, and equipment in a very specific order.

    Now, the order of cleaning.. the way I lay out tools, and the way I was my hands isn't the only way. Shit, it's probably not even the best way.. but I intimately know if I do something out of order or if I'm forgetting some aspect. It feels wrong. The ritual has been broken.
  • edited February 2018

    But the point is you do those steps because you understand the purpose and reason behind each of them. If you did them in a different order, it would feel odd to you because you've made a habit out of doing them that way. It's not a ritual. There's nothing religious about it, and you don't simply do it because that's the way it's always been done. To use your example, there's a specific purpose behind every step of what you do, they aren't just done because "that's the way to do it" which is what rituals are.

    Using terminology is very important, calling something a ceremony or ritual has specific implications, namely that there are parts of it that are superfluous & done simply because it's tradition. Which is definitely not something that should be encouraged when talking about sterilization, bioproofing devices, or any sort of internal modification.

    If people choose to ignore information and take stupid risks that's one thing. But using language that encourages a distrust in proven information is something that should be avoided at all costs.

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