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i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

For the Love of Machines

February 22, 2005

Henry Adams sensed the impending doom that the new technology in the 1900's presented to American society. Adams didn't understand the new technology, but he certainly felt the force thereof. He recognized the inherent power in the "occult mechanism" of the new science: "Before the end, one began to pray to it; inherited instinct taught the natural expression of man before silent and infinite force."

I find the comparison between religion and technology to be interesting - humanity always has to be worshipping something, right? The religious instinct is innate. Adams writes, "The forces were interchangeable if not reversible, but he could see only an absolute fiat in electricity as in faith." The phrase "absolute fiat" seems a bit oxymoronic - a fiat is an arbitrary order or decree. So the power of electricity is absolute but arbitrary. Hmm.

Adams writes: "The force of the Virgin was still felt at Lourdes, and seeemd to be as potent as X-rays; but in America neither Venus nor Virgin ever had value as force - at most as sentiment. No American had ever been truly afraid of either." In other words, the feminine aspects of divinity had never held much force in American culture. Interestingly, the Spanish and French words for "Machine" are feminine in both languages.

Moira at 04:57 PM :: Comments (2) :: ::
Comments:

I just saw the design! Love it! I'm a sap for stripes.

Posted by: Neha at February 23, 2005 07:44 AM

Thanks, Neha! Glad you approve! I think the stripes are totally cute. :c)

Posted by: moira at February 23, 2005 10:33 AM
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