thinking is dangerous

Arendt VIII

One more after this

One thing is certain: the continuous automatic process of manufacturing has not only done away with the "unwarranted assumption" that "human hands guided by human brains represent the optimum efficiency," but with the much more important assumption that the things of the world around us should depend upon human design and be built in accordance with human standards of either utility or beauty. In place of both utility and beauty, which are standards of the world, we have come to design products that still fulfill certain "basic functions," but whose shape will be primarily determined by the operation of the machine. The "basic functions" are of course the function of the animal's life process, since no other function is basically necessary, but the product itself- not only its variations but even the "total change to a new product"- will depend entirely upon the capacity of the machine.

To design objects for the operational capacity of the machine instead of designing machines for the production of certain objects would indeed be the exact reversal of the means-ends category, if this category still made any sense. But even the most general end, the release of manpower, that was usually assigned to machines, is now thought to be a secondary and obsolete aim, inadequate to and limiting potential "startling increases in efficiency." As matters stand today, it has become as senseless to describe the world of machines in terms of means and ends as it has always been senseless to ask nature if she produced the seed to produce the tree or the tree to produce the seed. By the same token, it is quite probably that the continuous process pursuant to the channeling of nature's never-ending process into the human world, though it may very well destroy the world qua world as human artifice, will as reliably and limitlessly provide the species man-kind with the necessities of life as nature herself did before men erected their artificial home on earth and set up a barrier between themselves and nature.
09:50 :: :: eripsa :: permalink