Brian Crawford
Boulder, Colorado, United States

The Machine of Life

“Our demise began when we put the welfare of industry and mechanized development over our own, ignoring our true need.”

Dear humanity,

This letter is intended for future generations who wonder what has happened to the people who inhabited these massive ruins we called modern cities.

In my times, the earth was a different place: we had only begun to notice the destruction we had brought to it.

Life was still pushing up in abundance all around us, which I imagine is foreign to you now. Many varieties of plants reached towards the sky to receive the sun's nutritional rays while many animals foraged for its fruits. The sun against the blue sky was still a beautiful sight and its warmth felt good against our skin.

I lived in a modern city – an artificial ecosystem as abundant as nature was in many ways: just as trees grew fruit, so did its vast machines, manufacturing industry, grow things – shiny and new, of numerous shapes and sizes and complexities. They bore fruit faster than anything in nature, occupying more space in our cities then we did. These things were created for our pleasure and constantly needed to be replaced by newer versions. Some of these things were of such great sophistication, they shaped who we were (or thought we were). This was called technological progress, or just progress. It was unknown when things began possessing a life of their own.

As much as we reaped the benefits of having these things, we worked for them, in assembly lines, and in front of them, in offices at computers. Eventually the difference between us and them blurred. That is when humanity became productive.

At what point did things go wrong?

It was back when the leaders of the new emerging machinery, manufacturing industry, realized that production far outpaced human’s needs and wants for things. So they started to manufacture human’s desire for things as well. More specifically, they manufactured the hollow feeling of a need to find personal worth in the next-best thing, which in the end never satisfied. Consumption then became the mandate of our new world. Our population exploded as our need for things grew. We became slaves to production and resource extraction from the earth. In the end, we could not sustainability keep feeding the machines that, in turn, kept us alive.

Our demise began when we put the welfare of industry and mechanized development over our own, ignoring our true needs.

Best Regards,