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World Machine

From the mechanist perspective, the causal system of nature appears as a World Machine we inhabit, of which our bodies are mere parts, subject to its mechanics. Nature controls us even internally through the body’s genetic conditioning. Though we attempt to get outside nature and re-create it literally as machines we can control, the more this project succeeds, ironically, the more the human world as a whole actually becomes an engulfing machine. While mechanism is the instrument and symbol of human empowerment, it is also the greatest threat to democratic distribution of power—and ultimately, perhaps, to human hegemony on the planet. In one sense, mechanism is the means to become as the gods, even to create artificial persons; in another sense, it is the nemesis of the ideals of freedom, personhood, and transcendence the gods personify. The reason behind the separation from nature may be to create heaven on earth, but life in an environment that has become a literal machine promises to be a new kind of hell.

RELATED TAGS: [world machine, philosophy of mechanism, genetic determinism, recreating nature, human hegemony, artificial person/environment, rule by (of) machine]

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