The Machine Stops Essay, Research Paper
It is the end of the world as we know it?. or at least most of us do. It is books like that of Foresters that shove the truth in our faces so that it is almost impossible to deny the fact that we (the human race) will in the end create, and employ the machines that will lead to our own demise. The Machine Stops is a prophecy of the complete or partial end of human civilization and shows the lunacy in the civilization we have created for ourselves. Although Forester only saw the beginning of the technologic revolution, he saw the problems that would come out of the machine. He saw how we would rely on it, how it would deteriorate our communities, and how it would eventually be the end of us.
In order to wake up in the morning, I rely on a machine, when I need to check messages, I rely on a machine, when I need to contact someone, I rely on a machine. When I want music, light, entertainment, transportation, or even a more comfortable temperature, I rely on a machine. From waking up in the morning to going to bed again, I am surrounded by machines that rule my life. These machines have been made to aid in a better quality of life, but they are creating more problems in doing so. I have more to do because of machines, but I still only have the same 24-hour day to do these many more tasks. These machines are becoming a necessary part of life. If we do not have these machines we will be disconnected from the community we have created. Computers have created a new kind of community, an Internet community where you can be anything or anyone you want with complete anonymity. You can connect with people all over the world, but is this really necessary? Do we need to connect with people on the other side of the planet? What about the people who live next to us? We neglect those near us because of the computer. The Internet is a wonderful new source for information, but it is being relied on too much. Machines are certainly not a necessity of life, but we have made it so that we cannot have a life without them. We have created something that is more productive than a human brain. Since these tasks are done better than a human, we no longer feel the need to do them and have lost the ability completely or lost the need for something hand made. Soon computers will be the creative minds behind artwork and design.
I almost never have to communicate face to face with another person. Even by handing in this paper, I am bypassing human contact. Through telephones, computers, answering machines, pagers, etc., humans no longer have to truly talk to one another. As Kuno put it, ? I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you,? we rarely see or hear the real person, just something like them. One on one contact is deteriorating in society. We can talk to someone so easily with the level of communication technology we have, but it is not real. We do not really know this person we are communicating with, we do not really see them. We miss the hand gestures, the changes in the face, the body language, sometimes we even miss the slight change in tone of voice through these machines. I have repeatedly requested the presence of someone and they have asked me, ?Why, when you are talking to me now?? I reply. ? I do not see you, smell you, feel you, taste you, and I do not even hear the real you.? The five senses are not being used. We are loosing them because of these machines. What good is it to talk to someone when you cannot see them, they are not really there. It is such a great feeling to be able to see someone laugh than to just hear something like laughter on the phone or to see the lol (laugh out loud) typed out on their computer. The age of information and communication have increased the number of people I talk to on machines and the amount of information available to me. I am not able to have a close relationship with these people though, and I am not able to learn all of the information given to me, so what is the purpose of these machines? I am not able to get all this information, I am not able to have a relationship with these people, and I am not getting things done quicker and easier. There does not seem to be a great advantage with the machine. When Vashti was outside her cell during the collapse of the machine, with hundreds of people surrounding her, she was alone. Vashti had described before that she communicated with thousands of people on the machine, and yet she was going to die alone. Her son came to her though, he was soon going to die also, but they finally recaptured how life really was, they touched, talked, and kissed, not through the machine. In the end they finally felt the touch of another living being, and realized that the machine was preventing them from really living.
The Machine Stops has told me in so many words that what we are doing today is wrong. We should not be relying on machines so much, we should not be looking for a way to make life easier by creating more machines, and we should not be putting so much energy into something that has deteriorated the communion between people. Forester wrote this short story in the beginning of the machine revolution, warning of what was to come, and yet we have still let it happen. We have created the things that are ruining our society. We wonder why violence is increasing when we have devalued humanism and communion between people. How did more of us not see it coming? Now there seems like there is nothing to do to stop the machine, it is so embedded into society that it is impossible to go back. All we can do is watch life slowly slip out of our grasp, and hope that an outside force will help. We have created the machines that will end us, and can do nothing about it.