Man, Machines, and Progress (Blog 4 of 8)

The Egoist


Volume 1

Mon. Feb 2nd 1914

Author Unknown

This magazine is properly named, but maybe a little too on the nose. In man, machines, and progress, the author mentions several interesting points about progress and machines. He’s frustrated that clinging to names means having an identity that is hard to dispel. This can give a person or technology immunity from being questioned. He’s more for the individualist/collectivist depending upon his mood or paragraph. He equates physical labor as a bad thing, and that only the lower class engages in it. I can understand why he would be against abusive conditions at work or long hours, but not hard work itself. 

He questions how to escape this class. He argues that people should not be tools of technology but use it for their own ends. This sounds nice, not having practical application is the necessity for this to happen. Technology then was in its infancy, and not so easy for the average person to use. He makes the assertion that some people are always born as tools, which is kind of hard to swallow, it is a very pessimistic view. There were many more abusive working conditions at this time, and it would have been a good place to mention it and voice to place for a change. I do appreciate it when he mentions alternatives, but he does not suggest any himself. On page 4B he insults the lower classes and says they can’t create a system to free themselves and would not appreciate it even if they had one, which is contradictory to what he was talking about before. He seems to have a very low opinion of people in poverty. It’s always easy to point out a problem, but it’s not so easy to come up with solutions. In a lot of these articles, I pick up an arrogance and a snideness that bothers me sometimes. These people are highly intelligent but can be incredibly harsh.