Category Archives: The Machine Stops

People’s Choice Posts #1: The Machine Stops

As you know, throughout the semester, I am going to be choosing a “featured post” (or “posts”) for each blog assignment, to highlight examples of successful blogs. But … what I might find compelling or well-done in a blog post might not be the same thing as your peers do. Enter “People’s Choice Posts,” which allow the students to read and honor awesome writing by their classmates (or themselves!). This also helps to bring student voices into the course more fully, as each students’ blogs because required reading for the course.

Here’s how it will work. Read through your classmates’ reading response blogs on “The Machine Stops” and choose your favorite post. You can choose a post for any reason, but you always must clearly articulate your rationale for choosing it (e.g., why did you find it interesting, compelling, likeable, provocative, etc.?). This rationale can refer to content, style, creativity, etc. If, after reading everyone’s posts, you strongly feel that your post is your “favorite,” you can always vote for yourself, but you need to provide a rationale for doingso.

In order to register your vote for this week’s “People’s Choice,” “leave a reply” to this post, and in your comment, provide your chosen post, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it. Provide the title and author of the chosen post, along with a link to the post you are citing (please provide the link in the same comment: don’t make a separate one with just the link). Citing is really important (in this case, citing your classmate!), and this is a way of giving credit to other sources and putting yourself in dialogue with them.

Comments/votes are mandatory, should be made no later than Tuesday, 9/11, at 2:30pm: the person with the most votes will earn the coveted “People’s Choice” honor for this round of posts! I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose, and why.

The Machine Stops Blog #1

The machine stops by E.M Foster  has a very complex beginning. During the first page of the reading  it is not known if Vashti is disabled or not, but as story goes on it known that she is a lecturer. She has a son whom name is Kuno.  Both being very intelligent, but with completely different perspectives of life. One being extremely disobedient with the idea of the “Machine”, as for the mom being very careful of the way she speaks about the machine

The “Machine” is essentially the most powerful. It has extinguished all religions, and has created a religion, acclaiming itself a “GOD” People rely a lot in the progression the machine has given them.For example in (pg3) it states “there were buttons and switches everywhere- buttons to call for food for music, for clothing”.  I can compare this to this generation, with the use of technology. A lot of the younger generation are less socially active and active at that, to the point where  food delivery is brought to your home. Online shopping has given our society an opportunity to shop without stepping out of your house. A lot of similarities are seen in the story as is now.                                                                                                                                                In the story it details how people think alike, and people like Kuno are seen as rebellious for thinking otherwise. In pg 9, (It was supposed that no one but the god could exist above their summits. How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!!!!) Her praise of the machine is what upsets her son. Thus her disowning him for his way of thinking. This can be similar to the way of thinking of Colin Kaepernick. His way of protesting the system has brought an outrage in  White America.

I believe this story has a lot truth, and similarities to today. A lot of people are being brainwashed into believing stuff, and thinking inside the same mold. Although technology has helped us progress a lot, it has also taken us back in a way socially.

Class Discussion #2: The Machine Stops

We are continuing our  class discussion of “The Machine Stops” online over the coming week. The goal is to have good virtual discussion here to help us all think critically about this short story. Therefore, your comments need not be very long, and there are a number of ways to approach/contribute to this discussion. For example, you can:

  • provide a quote/citation and a few sentences of explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question
  • raise questions
  • complicate issues
  • extend discussions
  • analyze a character, or setting, etc.
  • discuss central conflicts/values/themes (especially in relation to the Science Fiction Framework)
  • make connections to contemporary society (a lot of you mentioned parallels to our own society/lives in your blogs)
  • anything else you believe would add value to the discussion of this text

The goal in all cases is to provide specific examples from the text (quotes/citations) with discussion/analysis and some connection to a larger point.  In you are discussing outside sources (e.g., contemporary/personal examples), though, make sure to discuss them in relation to the original source text (the Forster short story), and how that particular adaptation or contemporary parallel helps us to understand (or complicate) certain aspects of the story.

You should make your at least one comment (just hit “reply,” either to my original post or to another comment on it) by Monday, 9/10. Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least one more comments in response by Wednesday 9/12. Of course, more comments (and extending the conversation beyond the 12th) is always welcome, and you should make sure to return to the Class Discussion even after you made your required comments to check in, see what has been added since you posted, and continue being engaged with what’s happening.

Reading Response

In the text,” The Machine Stops”, there are two different characters named Vashti, Kuno’s mother, and Kuno, Vashti’s son,  that have a different perspective on a way to life. Kuno is more of the direct one where he enjoys someone’s physical company rather than Vashti and how she likes to communicate through a Machine. The author made sure to portray a sensation of separation between them two to show what technology can make of someone.

In the starting point of the text, Kuno requests that Vashti pays a visit to him since he has not seen his own mom for quite some time now. His mom denies the request because she feel as if she should not have to travel to her son and enjoy the physical company, while the ‘Machine’ exists and can just see him through this Machine. As of today,society rely on technological advances to become their 3rd hand which is what is occurring with Vashti and the Machine that is deterring Kuno from seeing his mom in person. Throughout the text, Vashti encounters a problem with having direct experience with others because she never physically talk to anyone in person before. Vashti is shown to be more explicit and Kuno is an implicit type of guy for the simple fact that Vashti have no remorse in telling Kuno she does not care too much for the physical pleasure.

Technology as a whole can change the way people take a look on life due to its features and how society has consumed it to do everything from social to business aspects. It takes away the nature of wanting to spend quality time with someone in person regardless of who they are. It creates a sense of cognitive estrangement between people after a while. The author stated,” You talk as if a god had made the Machine.” cried the other. “ I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything”( The Machine Stops, page 2). The author is illustrating Kuno’ s frustration with Vashti’s obsession with the Machine and believes that this Machine is a technological advancement that came from God. Kuno wants his mom to understand that depending on technology to do everything for her will not last for too long. The best form of communication is to meet and the only way them two can meet is if Vashti boards the Airship.

Towards the middle of the story, Kuno’s mother finally takes the chance to go meet with her son and gets on the Airship with other passengers she never met. Vashti realized once she arrived to Kuno’s room that she should have came to see her son sooner when she was notified as to why it was so important that she come see him. Kuno was facing homelessness due to him going to the ‘Outside’ which is the surface of Earth. All he wanted to do was see what is life like on the outside of his world where people do not know what it is like outside of the dark world. That is exactly where cognitive estrangement comes into place in the text.

 

Reading Response #1: The Machine Stops

In the short science fiction story The Machine Stops by E.M Forster, the characters act very different in most situations when  compared to the people from our world. For example, in this dystopian period, people never touched one another. No one was allowed to even save someone from dying. This became a law of sorts after the Machine took over. I wonder how the inhabitants of this world showed affection to one another if they could not touch each other. How do people bear children? I am also curious to hear if this extends to everyone in the community or just civilians. For example, what about doctors and law enforcement? This law or custom is shown in page 9 when a woman was touched and saved by accident.

In addition, reading the relationship between a mother and son makes me wonder how they grew up together. The mother doesn’t seem to care that much about what happens to her son, or at least she doesn’t show her feelings very well. It appears as if she places her duty to the Machine above anyone else. Speaking of which, what made the son, Kuno, want to fight against the Machine? Why was he one of the few to break out of the Machine’s grasp and rebel against it?

Forster shows another difference in the way people act in page 8 of the story as he states, “people were almost exactly alike all over the world.” The story does not go into detail in how the inhabitants are all the same, but the author seems to refer to their form of speech. Because they have lived underground their entire lives, it does make sense for the inhabitants to speak and act the same. For example, living in such a confined structure would probably eliminate any dialects and different languages.  In addition to speech, they would most likely hold very similar beliefs, morals and fashion among others.

I believe that whoever is in charge of the citizens of this world make it a primary objective for everyone to be the same. This isn’t difficult to believe because If they made an effort to control the birth and death rate, why not the personalities of their citizens as well? Controlling their own people’s personalities would allow the one in charge to stay in power for a long time because they can easily eliminate any potential rebels that could be a threat to the Machine. Besides, living in a closed area makes it very easy to control others ( you can tell them where they can go, what they can do, etc.).

Controlling people’s personalities and beliefs reminds me of the video game series Fallout, where people live in underground vaults from birth to death. This series takes place in a similar world as it is also set in a dystopian future. In addition, most of the surface area is difficult to live in because of the nuclear blasts (which results in the use radiation suits). In Fallout, there are various vaults scattered throughout the world, and each vault has different living conditions set in place in order to experiment on the people living in them. For example, one vault may be filled with only aggressive people, one gender or be void of literature. Overall, Fallout and The Machine Stops are similar because they are both set in a world where people live underground and are controlled heavily in what they do and how they act.

The Machine Stops

”The Machine Stops” is a story written by the E. M. Forster. The stories time period takes place years into the future where the earth has become an abandoned wasteland and all its natural resources gone. Leaving the earth to perish and ruins. LIfe in the future takes place far underground and life is ruled and controlled by a machine.

When reading the first paragraph or two you begin to wonder if Vashti sick and in a mechanical wheelchair who is also teaching a class, but when you read on there is a better understanding of what is going on. When receiving what is to be believed a phone call from her son Kuno there is a sense of realization that it’s the future. The interesting thing is when Kuno starts talking about calling saying she is either busy or isolated you get an eerie feeling about how society has evolved.

The story hits you with a realization of how life could be in the future for humanity. when I continue reading you realize how much society has evolved and what has become of society. The way they live in a room, where everything is a click away literally to take a  bath, you throw a book and it has gone to give lectures and communicate with life is all in one place. The whole idea is kind of scary where is the scene of adventure what happened to exploring and discovering new thing. when reading that they kill babies that are to grow and have the sense of being athletic is not an option or a question.

When Kuno asks his mother to visit him she has a sense of fear. The understanding that she doesn’t like to leave her room is unsettling. To be scared of going through a tunnel that you have not been through since you gave birth is outrageous. There is fear of the unknown, but there should not be fear of going to visit your son because when traveling and seeing the real sky gives you no ideas or interesting things to talk about. How is it the future is meant to be the turning point if everyone is so secluded and to themselves.

The interesting was when reading this i thought of the movie Walli. Where all of civilization is gone and the earth is left in ruins. All that is left on earth is a robot that collects nicknacks.The only difference between the movie and the story is that instead of the story taking place in space like the movie it takes place underground. Both worlds are surrounded by technology that runs there lives.Within the movie and the story there are characters that begin to understand and wonder what life would be on the surface of the earth.

When Koun tells his Vashti that he is to become homeless for searching and exploring to find ways to get to the surface of the earth. Without the means of going through the system to go to the surface of the earth and basically is faced with death because he is curious to see what the surface is like is sad.In all life should not evolve in such a way that there is no longing to see and explore new things and machinery should not have control of what you can and can not do.

 

 

 

Reading Response 1: The Machine Stops PB

Reading the Machine Stops by E.M. Forster I picked up on a lot of similarities within our civilization. “The Machine” as it is called in the story embodies I believe, God. It replaces all religion and becomes a religion. Throughout the story you can see countless examples where characters in the story praise and pray to the book for answers, etc.. “She whirled around, praying to be saved from this, at any rate, kissing the Book, pressing button after button”. (Forster, pg.  25) In what I believe are one of Vashti last moments you can see the amount belief in “The Machine” even after knowing that the machine itself had be rendered useless, powerless.

This story really coincides a lot with what is going on earth now. Technology for the better has improved our efficiency as humans and with the combination of science has improved our life spans and will continue to in the long run. As technology continues to develop and better itself. But a downside to technology is the heavy dependence on it, we see it was heavily illustrated by Forster in “The Machine Stops”. Today in society especially in the youth, technology plays a big role in our lives. The need of better cellphones and laptops, etc. increase by the year and the smarter and advance they become the more dependent we become as Users. As we saw in the story “The Machine” the members of that civilization depended heavily on the machine and we saw that clearly following Vashti and her journey to her son. We also learned that they were forced underground due to rapid decay of the earth a fault on to fall on us the human race.

In the past few years I questioned the facts on global warming and their reality. I thought as a young kid that it was all fake and some sort of political fiction to get people to vote or cause paranoia with in society. But these past few years as I matured and really opened my mind I have seen the harm we all have caused this earth. And this story maybe fiction but it is more of far off reality our future generations may live in. Especially if we continue to harm our earth and not come to face with the consequences before they arrive.

From the beginning of the story to the end we see the heavy dependence this civilization held towards the machine. Again I relate this to our current civilization and our heavy dependence on technology and heavy connection to it as it if were religious. But I do not blame our advances cause we will continue to try and better ourselves for generations to come. But we must do it in a way where we as a race don’t lose ourselves and lose connections with those who we love. And especially do it in a way where we can conserve our planet and pass down those teachings so that we can leave a home to generations to come. “The Machine Stops” By E.M. Forster to me was another eye opener to where my civilization is headed if no actions are taken by a majority of us. I admit it was an entertaining read but it also impacted me for the better.

 

 

Reading Response #1- The Machine Stops: Blog Post

“The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster, tells the story of a future where human civilization seems to rely on a ‘machine’ to help them function and survive. People have seemed to rely on the ‘machine’ because Earth has become a wasteland. In this future, there are these rooms that have all these buttons that relay a function. Forster writes, “There were buttons and switches everywhere– buttons to call for food for music, for clothing” (pg.3). In these rooms, there was some sort of screen or panel that can be used for communication. In all, the ‘machine’ had eliminated human contact. It seems that since human contact has been eliminated, people have become distant and obnoxious when meeting face to face.

Apparently, the ‘machine’ was built to advance human civilization. The ‘machine’ was there to create a better future for mankind. People worshipped the ‘machine’ since there was no religion. It was as if God was no more and that the ‘machine’ had become the highest being. The ‘machine’ had its own type of bible. People would turn to the book if they were faced with any situations. Forster writes, “This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency” (pg.4). So because there was no longer any type of religion people worshipped the ‘machine’.

The two protagonists, Vashti and her son Kuno. Vashti was more receptive to the ‘machine’. She believed it was mankind’s greatest creation. Kuno, on the other hand, disliked the machine. Kuno had lived on the northern hemisphere, separated from his mother. The ‘machine’ had created separate rooms for families. Forster states, ” “Parents, duties of,” said the book of the Machine, “cease at the moment of birth” (pg.6). It is insane that a machine built by humans would think that the separation of families will help the human civilization survive. Forster states, “People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine” (pg.9).  Since the invention of the ‘machine’, people have become isolated from one another because of the separate rooms they would live in.

Kuno wants his mother to visit him and have a face to face conversation. At first, Vashti does not want to do it because she hates the idea of space travel. You would think that a mother would want to see her son but no that’s not the case. She eventually agrees to visit him. Her journey is an uneventful one. She dislikes the sun and the people she meets. She learns the Kuno is being threatened with Homelessness. Forster says, “Homelessness means death. The victim is exposed to the air, which kills him”(pg.10). This suggests that if a person would disobey the machine in any kind of way then a person is sent to the surface of the Earth to die. Later, Kuno explains to his mother that he has been to the surface of the Earth and has survived. So probably, the committee or whoever is in charge of the ‘machine’ thinks that those that choose to disobey the rule of the ‘machine’ will be banished to live on Earth.

Forster notes, “We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralyzed our bodies and our wills, now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops–but not on our line. The Machine proceeds–but not to our goal” (pg.150. In this quote, Kuno gives his mother a taste of the truth. The ‘machine’ is destroying mankind and no one seems to notice.

Ultimately, this text has provided me with a visualization of what Earth could become. Our people are already relying on technology to advance us into the future. As humans, we must decide where the line is drawn. We must not let technology get the better of us and separate us. For we are the creators and that is how it is meant to be. Nothing more–nothing less.

Blog 1: The Machine Stops

The story The Machine Stops is an amazing story written by E. M. Forster. The story takes place in the far future where Earth has become a barren wasteland. By that time, humans have retreated deep down into the underground, relying on the function of a gigantic apparatus known as Machine for all their needs and survival. Through this text, Forster seems to warn us the danger of over-reliance on technology for it can lead to the downfall of humanity as it can cause the deterioration of human mentally, socially, and physically .

Humans have pride themselves on their creativity, their knowledge, and their daringness to take chances and challenge the unknown. It is admirable that the characters of the story is able to create the omnipotent Machine, but it is this same Machine that murdered their inspirational mind and their adventurous soul.  Humans no longer centralize their wits on discovery and creativity, for they thought the Machine is perfect; instead,  they “concentrate [themselves] upon problems that she [is] certain of solving.” All the while that humans thought they are advancing, they do not realize that they are building towering walls around their minds and restricting themselves to the known. The goal is to make progress, not perfection, for things end or are lost the moment that something is perfected or completed.

Not only does the Machine caused limitations to humans mentally, it also cause physical isolation between people. The Machine has instruction manual for everything. People no longer leave their rooms for anything for everything is provided; as a result, face-to-face social activities are dying. Even the interactions between parents and children is limited for “‘[p]arents, duties of,’ said the book of the Machine, ‘ cease at the moment of birth.” The relationship between the mother, Vashti, and her son, Kuno, is an example. Despite the plate that allows them to communicate, Vashti still feels lonely in her room. Humans are social creatures and a part of what we do is physically interacting with others. Physical interactions are needed to deepen or solidify the bonds that exist between us. Furthermore, it is also a form of comfort, for we know that their is someone that is within reachable distance; otherwise, no matter how bright or how colorful the screen is, people are still alone and lonely, for in the end, it is still one person in the room.

Physical health not only relies on health food, but also exercise. The Machine provides the humans with everything that they will need, from sleep, to food, to communication, and everything else in between. This cause the humans to be slothful and and inactive; as a result, the human body is deteriorating due to the long periods of unused. In the story, people is not able to hold a book, walk, or hold out their hands for a long period of time. The “muscles…had failed [them].” Furthermore, the situation is made worse when the more physically fit children are killed and only the genes of the deteriorated are passed on. As this continues, humans will no be no more than “swaddled lump of flesh[es],” useless and unfit for survival  without the existence of the Machine.

Over-reliance on technology eventually lead to the downfall of the characters in Forster’s book, and it may be ours too if we do not heed its warning. Machine exist to better service humans and not to limit us. It is okay to rely on technology for support, but people must remember that the first and foremost is us; in other words, we are the foundations, and we need to evolve along with the technologies in order to better control it.

Reading Response 1: The Machine Stops

The “Machine Stops” was a little hard to get into as it started in the middle of story but over time, the entire situation unfolded making it more understandable.  Earth was considered uninhabitable, a desolate wasteland almost akin to a desert, and people were forced to live underground with the help of technology called “The Machine.”  As the story goes on there are several signs that the Machine is not some ordinary appliance such as its capabilities, how people treat it, and how it treats the people.

The Machine first appears as a piece of technology with a multitude of capabilities.  It plays music for people, can move people across the room without forcing them to get up, and acts as a communication device for people.  But as the story progresses, it becomes more obvious that it’s not just a tool that makes people’s lives more convenient. It decides where people live, housing them in hexagonal rooms, creates artificial air and lighting for people, several things which aid people in living underground.  It might have seemed like a utopia to the people but it was clear that they were too dependent on this Machine. They practically became incompetent since the Machine took care of their every need. When the Machine began to fail, they didn’t know how to fix it, leading to the death of many.

Even before the re-establishment of religion was implemented into the story, there were indications that people already worshipped the Machine.  When the Book of the Machine was introduced and Vashti was on the airship, she clung to it tightly along with other passengers on board. The next sign was when the airship attendant stated “How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine”and their comment was quickly repeated by Vashti and another fellow passenger.  Even the quiet hum of the Machine was enough to comfort people in times of distress. People don’t treat their computer like a god but in this story, it was evident that the Machine was viewed like one. It wasn’t taken for granted, at least, not until the later half of the story after it started failing which roused complaints from the people.  Although people treated it like a sentient being, in the end it was just a machine, one that failed to function after being overused.

As for the Machine’s interaction with the people, it initially appears to be somewhat of a caretaker to the people but it’s also possible that it wasn’t so amicable.  It constantly catered to people’s needs, such as whipping out a bed for them when needed or raising a platform to pick up a dropped item. When one of the protagonists, Kuno, finds his way to the surface illegally, the Machine deploys a robot called The Mending Apparatus to go find and recapture him.  The Mending Apparatus even kills a woman that attempted to help Kuno. It began to look like the Machine actually cared little for human life and simply wished to keep people under its rule. Other signs are not allowing Kuno to adopt children because he’s athletic and rebellious, qualities which would cause a lot of trouble for the Machine.  People often mistreat machines in real life, so the idea of a machine wanting to keep humanity under its thumb isn’t too far fetched. The real reason it didn’t annihilate humankind is possibly because it knew that it needed someone to fix it, only to realize near the end, the knowledge of repairing technology was lost forever.

On a side note, while I was reading this, the whole concept reminded me of a movie that came out two years ago called 10 Cloverfield Lane, a science fiction psychological horror film.  It involves many of the same ideas that were found in this story, an Earth that’s considered dangerous on the surface, people being forced to live underground, and even an escape to the surface through a ventilation shaft.  The biggest difference is that 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Earth is uninhabitable because (Spoiler Alert) it got invaded by aliens that try to kidnap or kill humans on sight.