Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Man Machine

The Man Machine

A current showing on the History Channel expects mankind to become more and more machine like in the future. According to the program’s analysis, this starts by integrating machines as synthesized body parts, a process already underway in the real world with pacemakers and joint replacement, and made palatable in the popular mind by such movies as “The Bionic Man” and “Robocop.”

It is supposed that the body could eventually be replaced so completely by metal and plastic parts that there would be a blurring of the demarcation between man and machine. The only organ remaining might be the brain, which science conceives to be the sole source of human personhood. Eventually even this could be replaced by computers capable of “thinking” a million times faster than a man. Ordinary people might find themselves put into zoos to be observed as archaic curiosities by the robotic creatures they had invented.

This speculative theme is very common. But while formerly it remained a fanciful conjecture in the realm of science fiction, now it is going main stream. A recent remake of H. G. Wells classic tale “Time Machine” depicts a future in which humanity has evolved into two types: brute beasts that must be controlled, and huge brains that control them. The idea that a supersized thinking mentality is both destiny and “salvation” to the human race is reinforced continuously in movies such as “Star Trek” and “Minority Report.”

To the ego that conceives of itself as the imperfect god, there is no other logical path but to become a larger version of its own computational, unfeeling self. It has no awareness, let alone understanding, of the multidimensional aspect of existence. It does not know that the body is no mere machine that can be replaced indifferently by synthetics.

The ego relishes the idea of a metallic, post-organic future where nothing can decay or die because it senses its own impermanence and mortality. But the mind of man has already made a hell of this earth. Enabling it to think a million times faster would do – what?


  1. You could argue that given the way most human beings seem to be operating on automatic, they go through a machine-like existence, already.

    Reaction, reaction, reaction. Stimulus-response. Stimulus-response. Stimulus-response. That's a typical day for most people.

    And, you know what? I think it would be a really good thing if the machines took over (and given the hold technology has over our lives, that's already the case, in some respects).

    Then, if it was out in the open for everyone to see, and people realised that, yes, the machines are controlling everything, then, finally, they might question the whole nature of their existence.

    The more inauthentic and machine-like our collective existence becomes, the more people will rebel against this, and the more authenticity will come to the fore.

    There might be a good old battle raging on for a bit between the forces of authenticity and inauthenticity. But that's as it right now, anyway.

    If it is truly out in the open, and truly evident that this is the way things are, then the converts from inauthenticty to authenticity will be great indeed. As more and more people will no longer be able to stomach the fakeness and plasticity and machine-like conveyer-belt reality of their existences.

    Oh, and given that my printer has been playing up lately - and refuses to work for whatever reason ... And given that I've recently had problems with my internet connection and other things ...

    In these areas I am very much a slave to technology as I have no power of them, and they have (hopefully diminishing) power over my thoughts and feelings, in that instant when they don't work the way they "should".

  2. This blog is so mind blowing I could fall in love with you just for your writing.

  3. I think the new era is more bio-engineering with the advent of gene manipulation in healthcare and food production. More and more of the world's population will be reliant upon GMO's for sustenance as the top soil is decimated and nutritional components are artificially injected.

  4. Whoa..whoa..oooo...yeah, blow this level of mind off. I saw a you tube video if I recall correctly...the robot looked so much like an actual child, facial movments gesturing, voice and and all! Wonder how much more advancement in the next few years
    Thanks for the writing...Chrysanthie