Friday, February 2, 2007

Discussion Topic: Values

“Sitting up in the bed, she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if someone might be watching her. Then, half ashamed, half joyful, she murmured ‘O Machine!’ and raised the volume to her lips. Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence.”

'O Machine!’ she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted.

'You are beginning to worship the Machine,' he said coldly. At this she grew angry. ‘I worship nothing!’ she cried. ‘I am most advanced. I don’t think you irreligious, for there is no such thing as religion left.’

Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, and the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously.”

Discussion Question: Do you see any correlation between how technology affected the people in "The Machine Stops" and how technology affects us today? Please post your comment.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find that many people have come to depend on technology, sometimes to the exclusion of other methods of problem solving. A calculator takes the place of learning multiplication tables; a computer library catalog expands our horizons with keyword searching, but we seldom browse the bookshelves and often miss the discovery of new materials; television, video games, and computers often replace conversation and physical activites such as taking a walk on a sunny day; newspapers are disappearing as people rely increasingly on online news blurbs or condensed TV news.

Perhaps what we need to remember is that people are more valuable than things. Not all that is worth having in life comes through technology. Lynn Porter, Reference Librarian

Anonymous said...

"Not all that is worth having in life comes through technology." What a wonderfully insightful statement. We should cross-stitch this on pillows or print up bumper stickers. You are so right on, Ms. Porter!~JB

Anonymous said...

One thing that todya's technology has caused is the "couch potato".
Vashti was a "couch potato". Forster calls her a "lump of flesh - a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus." Sounds like a "couch potato".
MR

Mohamad said...

In the machine stops the worship of the machine book is understandable because many people in this world require some sort of feeling of a greater power and for a society that technology is there greatest asset then in turn why not worship what provides for you and cares for you at every push of a button. In a world where contact is unnessasry and human interaction is a burden more than pleasure it is intellegent to give appreciation for what allows a person to interact with their friends and family without breaking a sweat.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I believe that technology has brought people all over the world together. More and more people everyday are using cell phones to communicate. When you call someone on the phone, you can tell how they are doing by their tone of their voice. People also use text messaging and video messaging to communicate with each other.
~Peter Ramirez

Anonymous said...

i support what lynn porter says, "we depend too much on technology." sometimes i wish i lived in the early days of this country so i HAD to communicate face to face with someone. all too often i know a person by their myspace name or screen name and have no idea what their real name may be. i understand how techology is helping us, but i can also clearly see how too much techology is going to ruin us.

shyann l.

Victoria said...

In response to MR's post on the 14th @2:42....I agree with your thought.. The Machine's society weeded out people that weren't "soft" or totally dependent on the machine...They were "couch potatoes" to the extreme!!!!!

karintha said...

I agree with MR statement about the creation of the couch potato. The people in the relied upon the machine so much their muscles were under developed. Kuno had to lift a pillow just to build strength. We have a similiar problem today which includes some children being obese. Children do not go outside and play anymore they are either glued to the couch watching TV, on the computer or playing video games.

Dusty said...

While I agree with the general comments about technology creating couch potatos, let us not be so quick to criticize it either!
Just think of the wonderful advances it has brought to so many aspects of our life. Medical diagnosis, treatment, ease of communication - we could probably fill up this blog with the blessings technology has bestowed on us. And while some of us prefer to be couch patatos, others are using technology to get fit - wearing out treadmills and exercise machines.

Anonymous said...

DA
Mohamad makes an interesting point about human nature. Some of our approach to technology seems to be superstitious, if not religious. The comments in the text about Vashti's stroking of the book and gaining comfort from repeating page numbers reflects the basic animal need for comfort. Scientists have verified that monkeys, for example,will not learn to socialize or mother if they have not received mothering. The supposition is that humans as more complex creatures have an even greater need for comfort and contact with a loving other. Personalities, as represented by those in Forster's future, can't develop, but the needs remain.
In the 20th century, humans developed dependence on machines for survival. Farmers needed bigger tractors and combines; trains were more powerful and out-perform the tracks built to hold them; drivers, well, drivers are caught in complex relationships with the vehicles they buy and drive that are not rational and those feelings would be denied just as Vashti denies her "worship" of the Book. Subconsciously, at least, we are there.

Anonymous said...

Technology is a rapid growing part of today's society. It affcets everyone life in many aspects. No I do no think that technology isolates us as people in today's society . We as people have to think about how we use technology.


Annette P

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It seems to me that technology does makes us lazy. We know that technology is used to help us in the future and also today's problems but we chose to get items that make us lazier. For example, "the clapper" many people bought this item so they wont have to get up off thier chair and walk about 5 ft. to hit the light switch on and off. Jose C.

Anonymous said...

"Not all that is worth having in life comes through technology."If technology never excited we dont know life how is it all this time can communicate with other people in the other world,not using phone only writting letter by hand it going take day recived the letter.Henry