No Cornucopia Machines For Us

Science-fictional utopias from Wells and Forster to Banks and Reynolds have assumed that machines, variously imagined, would lead to shorter work and a population devoted to self-realisation, whatever that is. There are three hiccups with this notion: one, the great majority does not want self-realisation, only immediate gratification. Two, the utopia imagines a whole planet as a single community, working for its common wealth, rather than Us working for Them, which is the only truth of a predatory enslaving species. Three, getting our surplus product and keeping us unthinkingly busy is not all that They want from Us; our masters will want the pleasure of watching us work and suffer. As Tertullian said, the chief delight of the blessed in heaven – and SF utopias are obviously a rewrite of heaven – will be beholding the torments of the damned. No SF future not based on this truth, however gosh-wow its technologies, deserves to be taken seriously for a second. Cornucopia machines may one day exist, but not for the likes of you and me.

Posted on August 13, 2009 at 09:44 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: CULTURAL ODDS AND ENDS, Reflections On SF

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