The Machine : A Sign of the Times

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts

The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin
The prophecies of George Orwell have been realized 

Cameras, gadgets and sensors colonize every part of our bodies 


The Machine slowly creeps in, gradually but deliberately 

It watches you, tracks you, measures your every move 

We surrender privacy and freedom for the sake of efficiency, progress and 'human optimization' 


Everyone thinks the same, acts the same, is the same - copies of copies of copies 


What is beauty? What is justice? What is wisdom? 

My questions go unanswered as the crowd remain mesmerized by the shiny black gadgets in their hands


The preachers of Silicon Valley promise salvation, heaven on earth - immortality 

Technology is their saving grace

Everything they say can be bought 

Everything they say is just a click away


Dissent is swallowed by the Machine, repurposed and sold to the masses on glowing billboards  

Consume more

Buy more 

Be more


There remain a few, however 

Who love their humanity, who cherish nature and the beauty of existence 

They find wealth in simplicity and strive for virtue


The Machine searches, but cannot find them

It longs for these people, but cannot conquer or control them 

They reject the false promises, hopes and dreams it offers


Their fortress , their strong impenetrable fortress, is found within


These last humans provide me with a north star, an ideal to aspire to 

A life to long for 
 

I  walk towards them for solace, for hope

12 thoughts on “The Machine : A Sign of the Times

  1. I have no cogent reply what’s so ever. Even sailing the voids are it appears now filled with the form of others. Nonetheless, I would point you to…
    David Miller at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
    and
    Bojan Radej in Complex Society: In the Middle of The Middle World by Bojan Radej and Mojca Golobič.
    Of course there are many others but I have found their contribution pretty good.
    For me one, anyone that is, has to work with (i) the required agenda (ii) the earned agenda…. Bloch’s The Principle of Hope an underrated text… Adorno’s amorphisms in Minima Moralia unlearnt learning and and and… but who am I? lol lol!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was trying to use the metaphor of the machine as synonymous with ‘the system.’ I would argue it’s become the ethos of our culture to view technology with almost a religious attitude. That is, for us humans to become ‘gods’ or to recreate heaven on earth. I think this leaves us without any sense of humility, and disconnects us from the natural world viewing everything as a means to an end.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can definitely see that. Honestly, I think it’s almost unavoidable in the sense that we’re living in the wake of Nietzsche’s “Death of God” and people, thus far, don’t seem to be able to live without religions very well.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Dear Andrew and Ben,

      The issues and implications of “The Machine” are very multifaceted and complex. In a very palpable way, the movie “Blade Runner” has post some sobering questions and possible scenarios.

      In turbo-charging our vision and dream of the cybernatically enhanced existence in the near future, there are many things to ponder. For example, I would like to consider not only sensory enhancement but also the quality and longevity of lives, and not just human lives. Each year, so many trees are logged and made into Christmas trees for decoration, and so many fresh flowers are cut only to fade within days or weeks. I simply resort to decorating, once and for all and as best as I can, a small artificial tree, which I keep using year after year. For the same reason, I have a lot of life-like artificial plants, flowers and leaves indoor and they could last for decades as opposed to having real flowers lasting just a few days. Could we have perpetually living artificial plants and animals so that some of us don’t have to bid farewell to short-lived pets and plants as they age and pass away?

      Similarly, I really wish that I could have some “artificial” but sentient humans or robots too, something like Commander Data, the Bicentennial Man, Rachel in Blade Runner, or other advanced automata as seen in Sci-Fi movies, as long as they are free of the usual human frailties, follies, deceptions and irrationality, if not immortality. Alternatively, some benign, benevolent and understanding extra-terrestrials could be even more desirable, and could present the chance and means for intergalactic or even interuniverse travel, thus ending, transforming and transcending my meagre earth-bound, dust-to-dust ephemeral existence.

      I am interested in the intersections of art and science, of public and private spaces, of the cultural and the technological. Whilst I agree that technology offers enormous unexplored potential allowing emerging artists to express themselves in unprecedented ways, I do have certain concerns and caveats regarding science “reproducing” reality and artists representing it. In some of my posts, I have endeavoured to give a very good inkling of the kind of society that humans might be heading towards. Looking into the future, here is an entry in my cultural anthropology journal entitled “🎧 Facing the Noise & Music: Playgrounds for Biophobic Citizens 🏗🌁🗼“, published at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/facing-the-noise-music-playgrounds-for-biophobic-citizens/

      Pushing forward another 50 years or less, we could indeed end up in the scenario as described in my said post.

      Yours sincerely,
      SoundEagle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting ideas. However, I wonder if our pets might not be so valuable to us if we didn’t know they would someday go away.

        The whole “reduction of suffering” ideology has, in my opinion, a close relationship with nihilism.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think it’s a main driver, but I have noticed that most people who get really close to their pets tend to reach that state as the animal gets old, calms down and starts to fit very, very well into its domestic environment.

        I’m thinking of Seneca, by the way. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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