Hallowed Hollowness

From “Hallowed Hollowness: On Machines and Modernity”:

“The modern man of science wonders to himself, “If I were to arrange things thus-and-so, how would y then be?” But what the scientist fails to see is that this is just the manipulation of what is arbitrary [eigenmächtig], rearrangement of labels chosen for their aesthetic charm and not for their isomorphism with any True Reality. The scientist also fails to see that the demarcation of the parameters within which and the isolation of principles according to which the manipulation is done is also the result of the willful, wistful thinking….There is no untempered observation of anything. The scientist has confused creation for discovery and the first stage of understanding for the denouement of investigation. By itself, this might not cause for concern…. Wherever there has been humanity, there has been both hubris and diversion, and modern science counts as both: arrogant, blinkered speculation not recognized as such, and idle artistic recreation dressed up as The Most Valuable Human Activity…. Hubris alone and diversion alone are not terrible: human beings cannot function with the humility, intellectual and moral, that is actually demanded of them, and one cannot take life seriously all the time without making oneself an alien to others….What is bothersome is something born of modern science: the idolization of machines. The idolizers exclaim with exuberant pride, “If bundle of gears and metal were thus-and-so, then y can be the way I want it to be!” No longer is he just a scientist taking himself to be understanding what is; he is now taking himself to be useful. The pinnacle of human achievement is just something that can do some mundane task for somebody. A man need’s a suit: the sewing machine delivers a suit a week. A man needs to get to his mother’s funeral: the train gets him there before her body goes cold. A man needs a maid: the mechanical dust-sweeper does the job better…. Human minds have been squashed by the tyranny of Purpose.”

1 Comment

  1. Some claim that Neil Young got the title for this song from Meingast:


    My life is changing
    in so many ways
    I don’t know who
    to trust anymore
    There’s a shadow running
    thru my days
    Like a beggar going
    from door to door.

    I was thinking that
    maybe I’d get a maid
    Find a place nearby
    for her to stay.
    Just someone
    to keep my house clean,
    Fix my meals and go away.

    A maid. A man needs a maid.
    A maid.

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