This is more a question that anything else, a proposed way of seeing which I would love your response to:
Despite the temporal sounding nature of the word `posthuman` we do not, I think, have to wait for the arrival of the beast, the posthuman is not a fantasy to be projected onto a dystopian or utopian future, but rather the posthuman is a tendency which expresses itself in many different scientific, social and artistic context in the material realities of ordinary lived experience. Not a dream or a dread so much as a complex issue in need of interrogation in our daily lives. All of us who have posted here have observed an example of the posthuman at play in our current context and I would like to add to the collection by suggesting that we see the drug addict as expressive of an (awry or partial) posthuman condition.
In William Burroughs Naked Lunch (as in much of his work) the junkie or drug addict is often described in a way that we might call subhuman. I use the prefix `sub` here because the mutated monstrous body of the junkie is described as insect like, primitive or single celled. The hierarchical ordering of a world of lower and higher (a deceptive pun) life forms is maintained and the junkie is relocated within that hierarchy. This is not the kind of reimagining of the human which we would associate with an ethical posthumanism rather it is a splitting off of certain human others(a making alien of) in some ways little different to any other act of internal othering our species is so fond of. It is easy to think of racial and gendered examples of the primitive not-quite-human.
Nonetheless this kind of dehumanizing of the addict is very prevalent in our culture(s) and within todays context of concern about the role, agency and place of the human in relation to the non-human world of matter, technology or the animal, I wonder if the addict can be seen as expressive of some of those anxieties? Perhaps we might also see the addict as Deleuze and Guattari suggested; as “knights of narcotics” (2013.p329)seeking to experience a posthuman state (my phrase) but doing so with “too violent an action” (2013. p187) and thereby risking death and botching the job? At the very least the addict seems to me to be an extreme example of a human-thing relationship in which the vital materiality and affective power of the thing cannot be denied.
Burroughs, W.S. Naked Lunch. Grove Press. New York. 2001
Deleuze, G &Guattari, F. A Thousand Plateaus. Bloomsbury. London, New York. 2013