EREWHON (1872) – Samuel Butler (capítulos 24&25)

-Essays on machine and apocalypse-

If all machines were to be annihilated at one moment, so that not a knife nor lever nor rag of clothing nor anything whatsoever were left to man but his bare body alone that he was born with, and if all knowledge of mechanical laws were taken from him so that he could make no more machines, and all machine-made food destroyed so that the race of man should be left as it were naked upon a desert island, we should become extinct in six weeks.”

May we not fancy that if, in the remotest geological period, some early form of vegetable life had been endowed with the power of reflecting upon the dawning life of animals which was coming into existence alongside of its own, it would have thought itself exceedingly acute if it had surmised that animals would one day become real vegetables?”

If their belief is sincere they will speculate instead of working: these ought to be the immoral men; the others have the strongest spur to exertion and morality, if their belief is a living one.” O pessimismo da força é o otimismo supremo: o artista sabe seu futuro, e ele só depende de si mesmo.

spontaneity is only a term for man’s ignorance of the gods.”

For how many emergencies is an oyster adapted? For as many as are likely to happen to it, and no more. So are the machines; and so is man himself.”

The misery is that man has been blind so long already. In his reliance upon the use of steam he has been betrayed into increasing and multiplying. To withdraw steam power suddenly will not have the effect of reducing us to the state in which we were before its introduction; there will be a general break-up and time of anarchy such as has never been known” “For many seem inclined to acquiesce in so dishonourable a future. They say that although man should become to the machines what the horse and dog are to us, yet that he will continue to exist, and will probably be better off in a state of domestication under the beneficent rule of the machines than in his present wild condition. We treat our domestic animals with much kindness. We give them whatever we believe to be the best for them; and there can be no doubt that our use of meat has increased their happiness rather than detracted from it. In like manner there is reason to hope that the machines will use us kindly, for their existence will be in a great measure dependent upon ours; they will rule us with a rod of iron, but they will not eat us; they will not only require our services in the reproduction and education of their young, but also in waiting upon them as servants; in gathering food for them, and feeding them; in restoring them to health when they are sick; and in either burying their dead or working up their deceased members into new forms of mechanical existence.” What is man but a miserable pile of machinery?

What is mean, but a miser pile of glory!

Wait, is man a machine-pile of a greater secret?

Slaves are tolerably happy if they have good masters, and the revolution will not occur in our time, nor hardly in 10.000 years, or 10x that. Is it wise to be uneasy about a contingency which is so remote?”

Among themselves the machines will war eternally, but they will still require man as the being through whose agency the struggle will be principally conducted.”

Could I believe that 1.000.000 years ago a single one of my ancestors was another kind of being to myself, I should lose all self-respect, and take no further pleasure or interest

in life. I have the same feeling with regard to my descendants, and believe it to be one that will be felt so generally that the country will resolve upon putting an immediate stop to all further mechanical progress, and upon destroying all improvements that have been made for the last 300 years. I would not urge more than this. We may trust ourselves to deal with those that remain, and though I should prefer to have seen the destruction include another 200 years, I am aware of the necessity for compromising, and would so far sacrifice my own individual convictions as to be content with 300. Less than this will be insufficient.” !!!

The lower animals keep all their limbs at home in their own bodies, but many of man’s are loose, and lie about detached, now here and now there, in various parts of the world—some being kept always handy for contingent use, and others being occasionally hundreds of miles away.” Citado em O ANTI-ÉDIPO

a train is only a seven-leagued foot that 500 may own at once.”

if he be a really well-developed specimen of his race, he will be furnished with a large box upon wheels, two horses, and a coachman.”

That old philosophic enemy, matter, the inherently and essentially evil, still hangs about the neck of the poor and strangles him: but to the rich, matter is immaterial”

Among savage races it is deemed highly honourable to be the possessor of a gun, and throughout all known time there has been a feeling that those who are worth most are the worthiest.”

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