Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To Unlock Our Hearts Once More

A philosopher of the kitchen table once said of Babbage’s calculating machine, “What a satire, by the way, is that machine on the mere mathematician! A Frankenstein monster, a thing without brains and without heart, too stupid to make a blunder; which turns out results like a corn-sheller, and never grows any wiser or better, though it grind a thousand bushels of them!”

But of what do we attribute to human genius, and our constitutional compact to glorify ourselves? And of our assigning an expedient neutrality to the other inhabitants of our terrestrial globe?

One might point to language as the difference.

Yet the verbs, nouns and adjectives, which we might refer to as our wit and character, are only signifiers of a peculiar intervenience in our innermost history, subject to the same natural laws as the tulip bulb that breaks forth from the ground and becomes a crescendo of wondrous colors.

If we become deaf to the difference between the rational and irrational utterances issued from ourselves, and blind to the genius of the tulip (its look, sound, smell, taste and feel), it will also be impossible for us to tell the difference between man and our Frankenstein monster.

Let us not forget the origins of the noun: which is related to the Latin verb gigno, genui, genitus, "to bring into being, create, produce."

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