Machines and Machine People
The Machine has taken over – but people are not aware of this.
I have given myself the job of explaining why. Although I am poorly equipped to do so. I have only one qualification – I have lived in the Machine World, and survived to write about it. Silicon Valley was the apotheosis of machine culture. And the Computer is the ultimate machine.
And it is fitting that we consider how it began – even as we lay it to rest.
It has done its best to lay us to rest – but without us it cannot exist. It has reduced the human world to ruins – much to its satisfaction – but something else is rising from the ashes.
You will note that I have referred to the Machine as though it were human – with a mind of its own. Strictly speaking this is not true – but it is true that many people have been more than willing to act for it. Since its short-term advantages have been so profitable.
To illustrate this, we may take as our example, the first Industrial machine – the Sailing Ship. Which, considered by itself, was not so remarkable – but when taken with everything else that made its construction, operation (all those sailors!), maintenance – and above all its financing – created the global market. And made Capitalism possible.
Where was the Machine in all of this? It was in its organization – which was destructive of all life – including human life. In college I read The Organization Man – and was stunned by its revelations. Which everyone else took for granted. I was surrounded by idiots that become rich and powerful – by being cogs in the wheel, that ground everything down.
You are no doubt impatient with my talk about history – which you are not interested in at all. You are only interested in right now – and nothing else. Not ten minutes before, or ten minutes after – but now.
You are part of the Machine.