Though I see that the body/mind issue has already been raised in responses, I'm really interested in how Gibson addresses this, and I think I can take a sufficiently original tack that my response will further the discussion.
The tension between mind and body is given a very complex treatment in Neuromancer, full of apparent contradictions that I am still trying to work out. On the one hand, the mind in Neuromancer is closer than ever to being able to transcend the physical body as it travels through cyberspace; on the other, the mind/body divide is becoming irrelevant as body modifications allow the body and mind to better reflect each other.
In one of my other classes, we just discussed an article by Kenneth Clark in which he pinpoints the genesis of the schism between mind and body. In classical times, according to him, the body and spirit were one; gods were embodied, and athleticism (or perfecting of the body) was considered a type of worship. By the Renaissance, however, the body was the source of sin, dirty and shameful: something that the mind had to strive to escape. In Neuromancer, even as Gibson imposes our society's battle of mind and body onto his characters, the world he has created contains a potential solution to the battle, waiting to be found.
Case is a perfect example of the fight for the mind to defeat the imperfect, shameful body. With his neurons fried and unable to loose his mind into cyberspace, he "[falls] into the prison of his own flesh" and is forced to confront his own embodiment (6). He is unable to accept that he is tied to a body, and conditioned by the cowboy culture to hold "a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh," he throws himself into an "arc of his self-destruction" that will unquestionably get him killed quickly (6,7). In today's â€“ Gibson's â€“ world, we cannot escape the fact that we are bounded by our bodies and are incapable of full transcendence. Case had a taste of what transcendence is like. When he re-enters cyberspace for the first time, he describes it as "his distanceless home, his country" while his body remains behind "somewhere," laughing and moving but now entirely separate from his consciousness (52).
Gibson is so busy indulging our fantasy of, through technology, getting closer to defeating the body that he does not take advantage of the technology that could potentially resolve the body v. mind war. Escaping the body would no longer be necessary. Body modifications are, in our world and Case's, a way for the consciousness of the mind to mark the natural body to which it belongs. It somewhat externalizes the mind and links the mind and body. The outer body and the inner mind are brought closer into alignment. In Neuromancer, modifications are no longer limited to piercings, tattoos, scarring, and an occasional plastic surgery. Pretty much anything is possible, aesthetic or practical. The Panther Modern leader, heading up a flashy terrorist group, adds color, changes pupils, shapes features until he resembles "some kind of a state of the art gargoyle" more than a human (67). Molly's job and identity is that of a fighter, so she adds retractable scalpel blades to her hands (25). The technology of Neuromancer allows the members of its population to prod, pierce, and pull at their bodies until it reflects the inner mind. Conversely, additions to the body can affect the mind; attaching microsofts to the body grants the individual new knowledge and abilities. Through these additions, subtractions, and modifications, the mind and body reflect each other perfectly and can me integrated into a single, harmonious entity. n this way, technology is no longer needed as a tool to defeat either mind or body; it erases the need for the war altogether.
Darn. I was hoping for feedback on this idea, because I feel like it's a little out in space, but I took a really long time to write it and now it's really late and everyone sane has already finished blogging.