Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Deus ex Machina

All the machines say,
we’re ok
” -- Grace Slick, All The Machines

The machines do everything today; they make our coffee, take us to work, entertain us, and occupy our time … there was a time when we controlled the mechanisms, these days, it seems, they control us. And yet, we seem only too happy to do the bidding of our new gods…

Have you noticed the horde of zombie-like minions shuffling the city sidewalks or the malls? The iPod faithful; attached to headphones, attached to ears while the eyes of the devoted stare blankly.

Have you seen the slack jawed pilgrims staring at their cell phones wondering who called, who left a text message. Have you seen them come to life when a real call comes through? For a few moments, they fill with emotion and talk; all the while they might walk right into you and ignore you, but that’s because you are not the important thing, it’s that disembodied voice, that spirit of Verizon who is all powerful.

Have you witnessed children and their devotion to the video game? Hour after hour is spent with the joystick in hand, eyes fixed on the carnage playing out on the screen…the child will be hypnotized by The Sega or the Nintendo or the Game Cube or the many other deities that seduce the faithful with bright colors and flashy graphics.

Myself, I worship the remote control. The all seeing, all knowing, all singing, all dancing magic wand that gives me hundreds of stations of mindless entertainment, right-wing news, and inane religious broadcasting. I love the remote. No need to get up and adjust anything, the remote, great god that it is, does it all and it sees the future! Yes it tells what’s on, what’s coming on and what you might have missed…

Lately I fear the gods might be angry:

This morning when I woke up, I found one of the gods failing me; Honeywell The Great God of Heat was blowing icy today. It seems that his sacred hearth was not being tended as need be. I was mortified and prayed and cried out to Honeywell and had to eventually call on a high-priest to come and make offerings.

Later on when I sat at the computer, Microsoft, god of the Windows saw fit to shut down while in the middle of an email.

In my car, Pioneer, The Goddess of Music felt it was time to reject my offerings. I was listening to a mix-cd and half way through the disc, it switched off and the cd popped out. I shoved it back in and it popped out. “Why have ye forsaken me?” I shouted at the in- dash deity.

That is what happens, I suppose, when we turn to power-driven things and make them objects of worship, eventually they unwind, or break down, or freeze up, or cool off, or over heat ; and like Apollo and Zeus before them, they will one day be added to the trash heap of divinity.

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