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February 19, 2013

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace


I'd like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.
I like to think
     (right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
     (it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

-- -- by Richard Brautigan

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 19, 2013 9:48 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say


To relinquish all responsibility to 'thinking' machines and to vomit up the Apple from the Tree of Knowledge.

Odds are, this poet is a liberal.

Posted by: cond0011 at February 19, 2013 10:17 AM

No., The poet was stoned and is now dead.

Posted by: vanderleun at February 19, 2013 10:37 AM

In my youth in the late 60's and early 70's I enjoyed "Trout Fishing In America". I have often wondered, if I were to read it again, what my reaction would be.

I suspect that since I have become a man and put away childish things I would want to reach back across the years and slap myself upside the head.

Posted by: Tom Spence at February 19, 2013 10:58 AM

Back in the early eighties I briefly met Brautigan near his home in Paradise Valley Mt. I had been a big fan in college, but I distinctly got the impression that he wasn't firing on all eight cylinders, as it were. My good friend, who lived across the Yellowstone river from him confirmed my suspicions. She had attended some of his parties just prior to his suicide and had more than one interesting tail to tell.

Posted by: stuart at February 19, 2013 1:29 PM

Suicide. Sorry about that, Gerard.

I didn't know.

Posted by: Cond0011 at February 19, 2013 7:02 PM

I was fond of Brautigan's work back in the hippie days, and this poem in particular. I suspect Tom Spence above is right about putting away childish things...

But machines of loving grace? We got 'em! Take Google's self-driving car that does a better job of staying on the road and not hitting things than you or I could do. Where I live, 3 kids died over the last year in separate accidents that were quaintly termed "lane departures" - someone wasn't paying attention and went off the road to the right or
left, into a maple tree or on-coming traffic. They could have used a little watching over.

I wouldn't call them 'thinking machines' since they are based on a probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence but they fit the bill for machines of loving grace.

Posted by: SteveS at February 19, 2013 7:56 PM

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