Reflections on Suicide: The Great Machine

Story by Cherubim Infernalis on SoFurry

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The agony of existence weighed against the horror of nonbeing

Reflections on SuicideThe Great MachineA great machine is always made of many small, sometimes even insignificant parts, but, without those very parts, the machine as a whole would cease to function. Gears of varying sizes turn at varying speeds, but as a whole, the machine chugs along at its own steady pace. Machines, as they began, would occupy whole buildings and rooms, at enormous sizes and equally enormous power consumption. These machines were clunky, fragile, and inefficient. They were simple, only able to compute simple tasks and put out simple results. As time grew on, and moved forward, so too did the development of the machine. The machines grew mute, durable, and conservative. Now, even the most complex machines can fit in a pocket. They are made of microscopic components, each component itself a complicated mechanism, comprised of microscopic circuits and macroscopic engineering feats. The machines grow in their complexity, but shrink in their size. They threaten our existence, and challenge our intelligence, like Deep Blue, who had shown no sympathy for Kasparov. Only the cold responses dictated by the flow of current through a modern supercomputer left Kasparov defeated as he walked away at the mercy of a machine. A defeat seen as a shame unto man, but a victory for the engineers and of science today. As they transgress the scale of time, machines will one day surpass us. As we live our lives, and feed the machine, we are slowly weaning our necessity for existence away from the traditional values of hard work and labour into maintaining the complex processes of automation in industries, in commercial enterprise, and even into our own homes. As we lean on these devices, and spoil ourselves with their luxury, our livelihood slowly wilts away, until we are held in the grasp of total control.

 We do not need the machine, but the machine needs us. We are the creators of the machine. With our two hands directed by our minds, we have crafted the machine, and programmed its abilities. We need the machine as much as the machine needs us. As complex and advanced as the machine may be, there will always be a need for the human counterpart: the creator, the operator, the soul.The machine grows every day. We created the machine to work for us, but now we work for the machine. Robot armies amassed in great factories and assembly lines, liberating the average worker from their duties, but they return to maintain the machine. Machines are now constructed to create other machines. They self-replicate themselves, and propagate across the industries and economies of the world. From the early vacuum tube diodes to the integrated circuit embedded with thousands of microscopic transistors, these machines which began at the size of a small house became smaller than the width of your hair. Their creators look upon their creations with pride. They smile as they see the fruits of their labour grow as plentiful as

grains of sand across the land. These great assemblies of men, learned and educated in advanced sciences, brought together with this common goal of technological supremacy, hide their craft among the shadows of secrecy. Their inventions are shrouded in confidentiality, under the threat of industrial espionage, of military prowess, and of foreign agencies who will reverse-engineer their inventions for the use and implementation against them. These secrets govern our modern society. Inventions go untold, unnoticed, some even repressed under the competition of capitalism. Some inventions may threaten the profitability of other inventors, and thus these inventions are sold to the highest bidder, and subsequently destroyed. The balance of power must remain under control. This control must be maintained into the depths of time.

 The clock ticks by, once controlled by the tension of gears against the force of gravity, now tamed to flow through the oscillations of electronic components. The time flows eternally forward, though relative, it continues to pulse itself forward, ticking along with each turn of the earth; each spin of its axis; each day that rises and falls. There was a time when men of old would look to the sun and stars, and ask the heavens to show them the time. We now have no need for the heavens. We look down upon the machine as we oppress ourselves to this eternal burden of maintaining its mechanisms. Time always moves forward, though its flow may be relative, it flows forward nonetheless. It's eternal path guides us forward, but we are eternally stuck in the present. Though the days ahead will constantly approach us, flowing ever so closer to the future, the future will always evade us. The present time will always dominate our consciousness. The past is pushed behind us, with no beginning or end, as we look to the future which never arrives. Like a circle chasing itself, we are trapped here, today, and must live here forever. The forward motion of time constantly rounds itself along this eternal circle, the cycle of the Universe. The earth rounds the sun, as the sun rounds the galaxy. Empires rise and fall, and build themselves up renewed. Economic grieves are revisited periodically; wars fought eternally. The lessons of old revisit us, do we ever learn?

 History, as they say, repeats itself. Therefore, we can look to our past and see where we are going. Predictions based on analysis of mathematical patterns and probabilities are the fortunes of modern time. Unless we take a proactive measure to redirect ourselves in our wanderings, we are destined to fall victim to the endless chain of events. As we meet ourselves at one link to the chain, our decisions of the past will govern us to the next link we belong. Nothing is random, time will show everything is carefully selected, deliberated, and acted out with conscious awareness according to past experience. Even the most seemingly irrelevant events are derived from

some sort of obscure pattern. So are we different from the machine? The machine is based entirely upon the principles of mathematics. The machine can not be random. The machine has no free will. The machine will output only what you put into it. Unlike the machine, which can only replicate instructions, the human can create new ideas and designs. The human has the power of thought. We can think, we are self-aware, and unlike the animals, we can appreciate art or science. Technology is a study of art; or rather, of practical art. We appreciate our inventions with aesthetic quality. A watch is as stylish as it is practical; a car is made to be as fast as it is appealing to the eyes. We dress up the machine, and give it some colour, so that we may appreciate our coexistence with it as we step into it. We are creators, and with the form granted to us, as a human, we have an endless power to create. Like our own creators, whose power to create is endless, so too do we reflect this image from our Universal fathers. The human form is constructed with the ability to achieve any conceivable feat: With our bipedal stance, we free our hands; with our opposing thumbs, can wield any tool; with our tools used in conjunction with our advanced mind we craft great arts and technologies. With time and deliberation, what we cannot do now we will invent the technology to do later. As the saying goes, humans are mortal gods and gods are immortal humans.

 What are we except advanced biological machines? Are we nothing more than a biological mechanism, powered by the electro-chemical processes found within our bodies? Each carefully placed organ, assembled by thousands of individual cells, each themselves with their own carefully placed organelles, each holds their own purpose, and each must always coexist. None arose independent of each other, but grew together as a well designed structure. As we look down on our inventions with satisfaction, so too are we seen with satisfaction by our own creators, who smile down at us as we grow free from their intervention. We grow from our mistakes, and learn to make our own choices. We build and destroy, and tirelessly rebuild. We work together, or work alone. That choice is left to us, as we, as a civilization, continue to grow and rise into maturity to one day look back up to our Universal fathers, and follow in their steps.Who are we except cogs among the gears of society? As a whole, each individual seems meaningless among the wilderness of the urban society, but as an individual, we have great roles among our lives. We are mothers and fathers; brothers and sisters; friends and neighbours. We work together, building up our societies as we are employed by them, a social machine which propagates itself, just as we are self-replicating ourselves biologically. As social machines, we use articulate speech, unlike the animals, which only use voice. We can

communicate through speech and writing, and share abstract political concepts and sophisticated mathematical ideas. Though our words differ throughout the land by language, the words still share their meaning, and can bring us together into our societies as much as they can drive us apart.

 Mathematics are always constant throughout the Universe. Like words, mathematics hold their values throughout the Universe, as would any of the logical (math-based) sciences, such as physics or chemistry. We are made of these mathematical fundamentals which exist everywhere. Our genetic code, a logical procreation of constant perseverance and struggle, is just that: logical. Our advanced form, and any other form on earth, have their code shared in common. The code is held within a binary sequence within a molecule, much like, in essence, the programming of a computer. This code propagates itself, and produces not only the most complex and sophisticated forms of life found in the Universe, but also the most majestic ones. Their logical form, derived from this chemically encrypted mathematical code, is therefore Universal, and not necessarily restricted to this one earth. The common ancestor science searches for tirelessly to rationalize their simple exoteric theories may not necessarily be native to our earth, but may have had exoplanetary time to develop prior to our earth's existence, even as simple as this organism may have been when it arrived.

 Even if a complex organism had arrived to earth, and continues to return to probe our existence, are we not ourselves alien to this very planet? We criticize our pollution as an unnatural by-product of human existence, but did we not naturally evolve into industrial creatures? How is this adolescent phase of our species' development so unnatural? We evolved progressively into scientific and technological creatures, so naturally we enter this phase of our development to consume and refine our resources accordingly. Unless the human form in general is unnatural to the earth, and has been introduced artificially, we are only experiencing a natural shift from biological sustenance to mechanical sustenance. Humans, though, have a natural tendency for this. We have a natural talent to operate machinery, and work with tools, and coexist with machinery. We have a predisposition for space travel and advanced study which includes the sciences which were once nurtured by religions in antiquity. The great sciences of astronomy and biology and mathematics arose out of mankind's desire to appreciate the fine clockwork of their gods' creations within this physical Universe. The great scholars of ancient times, who studied writing and mathematics, did so within the great temples of the ancient gods. Peradventure they understood what was to arise in the future, but what could they do if they are trapped in the everlasting present? Maybe the great men who live on the lands in the sky, in great civilizations which

have found stability and mastered the technological arts, maybe these men dwell currently in the future, ahead of us in the cycles of time, rounding ever constantly closer to the end and the beginning of a cycle renewed. Like birth and death, the spirit is reborn. We live again, to make the same mistakes of old, and try once again to overcome these ancient agonies we all suffer with today.

 Tonight, the earth glows with radiant light as we broadcast our existence into space. A cry for help? A beacon of distress? Or an adolescent civilization on the rise to maturity? Only time will tell.

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