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The Machine Stops

por E. M. Forster

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The Machine Stops is a short science fiction story. It describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual lives in isolation in a 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Most humans welcome this development, as they are skeptical and fearful of first-hand experience. People forget that humans created the Machine, and treat it as a mystical entity whose needs supersede their own. Those who do not accept the deity of the Machine are viewed as 'unmechanical' and are threatened with "Homelessness". Eventually, the Machine apocalyptically collapses, and the civilization of the Machine comes to an end.… (mais)
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This Jovian Press 2016 had few typos and was a good printing overall. The short story wasn’t perhaps one of literature’s greatest efforts but as a sci fi written just before wwi, I must say it was quiet insightful and some few sections of text summed up well man’s growing dependence on technology both physically and culturally. One example being “ We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops-but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds-but not to our goal. “. I would say that this book should be more wide read for its thought provoking benefits. ( )
  Daniel_M_Oz | Dec 30, 2023 |
"You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other. "I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but not everything."

“Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives is the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralyzed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops - but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds - but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die.”

“Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man's feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is lovable and desirable and strong.” ( )
  Moshepit20 | Dec 27, 2023 |
On the surface, this seems like a fairly straightforward and typical dystopian cautionary tale, but if you consider it's original publication date, then this is a truly visionary story. ( )
  serru | Oct 6, 2022 |
This story from 1909 brought to mind an interview between JG Ballard and Carol Orr from 1974:

BALLARD: … It’s quite obvious that nothing is going to exist at all that doesn’t serve some sort of imaginative role in the future. It won’t simply be because we won’t notice its existence – just as we don’t notice a piece of furniture unless it happens also to be an aesthetic object, if it conforms to various visual conventions of the day.

We tend to assume that people want to be together in a kind of renaissance city if you like, imaginatively speaking, strolling in the evening across a crowded piazza. I don’t think people want to be together, I think they want to be alone. People are together in a traffic jam or in a crowded elevator in a department store, or on airlines. That’s togetherness. People don’t want to be together in a physical sense, in an actual running crowd on a pavement. People want to be alone. They want to be alone and watch television.

ORR: I don’t.

BALLARD: Most people do, actually.

ORR: I don’t want to be in a traffic jam, but I don’t want to be alone on a dune, either.

BALLARD: No, I didn’t suggest that you should be. But I’m saying that you probably have more privacy in your life than you realise. One lives in a world where, even if one’s apartment or hotel room tends to be small, one tends to be the only occupant of it. One is not living in something like an eighteenth- or nineteenth-century city where it was, metaphorically speaking, like a crowded noisy tenement, where we knew every neighbour, where we were surrounded by relations of many generations, in an intimate sort of social context made up of hundreds of people. This isn’t the case.

Most of us lead comparatively isolated lives. ‘Being alone on a dune’ is probably a better description of how you actually lead your life than you realise, compared with the life you would have lived fifty years ago, or 150 years ago, where you would have been surrounded in a large tenement or a large dwelling in an overcrowded city, say. If you think of a medieval town, well, probably every inhabitant knew every other inhabitant intimately, or at least knew something of them. One’s not living in that world any more.

The city or the town or the suburb or the street – these are places of considerable isolation. People like it that way, too. They don’t want to know all their neighbours. This is just a small example where the conventional appeal of the good life needs to be looked at again. I don’t think people would want to have the sort of life that was lived 100 years ago or 200 years ago.
( )
  ortgard | Sep 22, 2022 |
Um conto incrível, astuto e bem desenvolvido. Em 1908, Foster escreveu sobre uma humanidade abandonada às ideias em abrigos subterrâneos de reclusão sustentável com um sistema global de gerenciamento eficiente. Mas nem tudo é ideia, entendida mais como informação, a incorporação nos trazendo um idealismo de máquina, aqui algo impessoal, conectado, internético, como o formigueiro de flusser, de um humano em fluxo de imagens. Mas e a superfície da Terra? E a decadência da Máquina, seu colapso? E com ele uma espécie de sonho de uma humanidade livre da prisão da carne, mas presa à mesquinharia do mecânico. ( )
  henrique_iwao | Aug 30, 2022 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
E. M. Forsterautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Klett, ElizabethNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.
It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it.
First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element--direct observation.
No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence.
...and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole.
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The Machine Stops is a short science fiction story. It describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual lives in isolation in a 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Most humans welcome this development, as they are skeptical and fearful of first-hand experience. People forget that humans created the Machine, and treat it as a mystical entity whose needs supersede their own. Those who do not accept the deity of the Machine are viewed as 'unmechanical' and are threatened with "Homelessness". Eventually, the Machine apocalyptically collapses, and the civilization of the Machine comes to an end.

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