Machines are us.

Our politics looks like society is at war, but actually we live in some of the most peaceful times in human history. It’s impossible to understand that paradox I think if you only look at humans. An example - trains. When trains first came to towns, they didn’t just bring transport and freight. The train linked the people in the town directly to people everywhere else. Goods brought into and taken out of town set up relationships between the people in the town and the producers of the goods. Suddenly a fisherman on the coast had a customer in the bush, and the two now had an ongoing tie between them. Etc. 

I think this is how society is actually held together. Technology isn’t a tool, it’s a complex web of social ties. Here is also the world’s first org chart, which a railway also produced. You can see directly on the chart how those social ties were beginning to be created. All of those people were now connected in an ongoing way, their lives and work were reliant upon each other, and this was just people who worked for the railway, it doesn’t even include the connections into the towns.
Humans can’t be understood by only looking at humans. Non-humans are the main way our lives are held together, not as tools, but as the most social part of our societies. It’s why the hysteria over our politicians is so misguided too, our societies aren’t held together by politics, they’re held together mostly by our machines, which are actually just us. That’s why we have peace even though it looks like we’re at war. Too many people are too connected to each other to allow for war.


Popular posts from this blog

The Morality of a Speed Bump. Latour.

Depression & Ockham's Razor

Something About Size