Monday, May 03, 2021

Computer woes

From A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Well, Domne, they say your predecessor was fond of gadgets, and it is convenient to be able to write letters in languages you yourself can’t speak.”

“It is? You mean it would be. That contraption — listen, Brother, they claim it thinks. I didn’t believe it at first. Thought, implying rational principle, implying soul. Can the principle of a ‘thinking machine’ — man-made — be a rational soul? Bah! It seemed a thoroughly pagan notion at first. But do you know what?”

“Father?”

“Nothing could be that perverse without premeditation! It must think! It knows good and evil, I tell you, and it chose the latter. Stop that snickering, will you? It’s not funny. The notion isn’t even pagan. Man made the contraption, but he didn’t make its principle. They speak of the vegetative principle as a soul, don’t they? A vegetable soul? And the animal soul? Then the rational human soul, and that’s all they list in the way of incarnate vivifying principles, angels being disembodied. But how do we know the list is comprehensive? Vegetative, animative, rational — and then what else? That’s what else, right there. That thing. And it fell. Get it out of here — But first I’ve got to get a radiogram off to Rome.”

3 comments:

Roy Lofquist said...

With each rereading of "Canticle" I find nuances.

james said...

I also. I was just looking for the quote, but I would up reading the rest.

PenGun said...

Back in the day I kept a fish billy by my computer. I found it was effective in getting those old machines to do things. I suspect connectors were not so good back then. ;)