When I rise from sleep, I simply cannot function past the sleep chamber without my optical device. I am very near-sighted, so I don my lens goggles and THEN feel normal.
Even at this stage I am impaired. I cannot interface with my environment until I pull on garments (I won't bore you with the narrative of each piece, but each does have a story).
Then, it is time for the computers. The first computer is of course my wristwatch. It is a very personal selection. It has to provide me with time, date, day-of-week, and stopwatch functions in a package that provides readability in all conditions and wear-ability without allergic reactions. I feel totally lost without this device.
The second computer is the PDA. This memory and calculation amplifier augments my brain. The interface is optics.
Then it is time for dumb hardware. Keys, man, I can't function at all without keys to my house, my car, my office, my locker, etc.
Then comes the item that actually sparked this essay, my pocketknife. I have spent years in search of the perfect pocketknife. I will never find it, but I will always carry a close substitute. There was a moment of epiphany, when I realized the importance this device had in my psyche. My wife was trying to open an envelope while we were motoring somewhere. (She was not in her normal envelope opening environment, the kitchen, where she keeps her knives.) So in one comfortable motion, I pulled my lock-blade from my pocket, thumbed it open, and handed her the handle. Her sister said from the backseat, "You could hurt somebody with that!" referring to the long serrated blade. I replied simply, "That's why I carry it."
My comment triggered some self-evaluation. I have never pulled a knife on anyone and probably never will. I do not want to. I fancy myself a man of peace. I do use the knife daily for attacking foes like boxes and envelopes and occasional worthy contestants like rope. But there is something deeper. In Saint-Exupery's book, The Little Prince, the main character says that roses believe that their thorns are very dangerous, even able to ward off wild tigers. When I read that, I wondered if that feeling of protection is what enables them to bloom. Their thorns are part of their body. My pocketknife serves the same role, yet is an artificial appendage.
So, I see that I am physically and emotionally dependent on artificial parts. Where does that leave me? Am I a cyborg? What does it mean to be a cyborg? The most honest answer I can give is, I am a man with tools. And even if a surgeon spliced my PDA into my spinal cord, I would still be a man with tools. Evolutionarily, I'm in the same category as a warrior with a spear and a toothpick. I really cannot see this situation changing.
You might argue that one day we will be able to upload our minds/personalities into robotic systems that will never die, surely that would be an evolutionary step. Salvation through technology; let me think about that...