What is a Human Being

and what are our Relations to the Natural and Mechanical?

Posted by Mattias Axell on September 6, 2015

What have I Done Today?

Worked on the project application at the library again for some hours. I observed and It's a truly astounding space representing how

Saw the documentary "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" by the British filmmaker Adam Curtis.

Finished listening to the podcast "The Humans & The Machine" which is about the human species and our relationship to the machine, the mechanistic functions in society. The series is done by Erik Schüldt & Per Johansson.

Dining with friends and having existential conversation about what it is to be human.

I like to think (it has to be!) of a cybernetic ecology where we are free of our labors and joined back to nature, returned to our mammal brothers and sisters, and all watched over by machines of loving grace - All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Richard Brautigan (1967)

IBM Electronic Data Processing Machine

What Tools have I Used?

  • S.W.O.T.

What Surprised Me?

That my excitement for writing the project application has stagnated in time with questioning what I want to do. Now is really the time to go into a structured process of Theory U to discover who I am and what my task is to do.

How I have had a very strong feeling of empowerment through mechanization, technology and computerization in my life so far. I have only had a few revalating thoughts of what it has done to me as a human being before. Now I feel that my use needs to be more conscious although I do think I am already on the path toward that.

Women man America's machines in a west coast airplane factory...05/1942

Quote of the Week</h2>
“It is fashionable to suggest that cyberspace is some island of the blessed where people are free to indulge and express their individuality. This is not right. I have seen many people spill out their emotions – their guts – online and I did so myself until I started to see that I had commodified myself. Commodification means that you turn something into a product which has a money value. In the 19th century, commodities were made in factories by workers who were mostly exploited. But I created my interior thoughts as commodities for the corporations that owned the board I was posting to, like CompuServe or AOL. And that commodity was then sold on to other consumer entities as entertainment. Cyberspace is a black hole, it absorbs energy and personality and then re-presents it as an emotional spectacle. It is done by businesses that commodify human interaction and emotion. And we are getting lost in the spectacle.” – Pandora’s Vox: On Community in Cyberspace.” by Carmen Hermosillo a.k.a. ‘humdog’ (1994)

What has Changed?

My thoughts on our relationship to machines and computers as a human species. Who controls who? Who is in power of who? Who gains from this in the end? For a long while it has been the ones advocating and pushing us in the direction of mechanization and computerization.

The thoughts questioning if I am working towards is making a sustainable intervention in the system creating change with value and meaning. I really want to support it wiht theory, I feel there is a good time that I can take time to read "Leverage Points" by Donella Meadows.

What are my Next Action Steps

- Getting feedback on the application. - Finishing the application! - Planning the coming week. Lathe operator machining parts for transport planes at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, Texas  (LOC)

Photographs by The Commons.