Natural Machines

A number of years ago, I got into a cocktail-party argument (or its boho-pomo equivalent, since we were in San Francisco in the 1980s) with someone who decried the “unnaturalness” of spaceflight. Her thesis, IIRC, was that humans were somehow apart from and opposed to Nature, as evidenced by the fact that “we make stuff instead of using what’s already there.” I asked, “What about beavewr dams and birds’ nests?” She got mad and found another people-knot. Would but that I could have steered her!

2 comments for “Natural Machines

  1. 2008.02.24 at 1416

    Next Nature certainly has a fascinating perspective challenging some of our assumption, but I often approach nature with awe — whereas their perspective seems one of man dominating nature. Maybe I’m missing something.

    I’m not a primitivist who harkens back to the past before the industrial revoltion (well, not solely), yet at the same time, I think we need moments to approach the more-than-human world with minimal technology to better realize our place in the universe.

    • 2008.01.27 at 1611

      Ah – but who said explorers are wise? This post came from something Ann & I glimpsed on TV — somebody dying in some bottom-of-the-crevasse fashion, and us wondering whether or not that last view was worth the price of admission…

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