Poem of the Day: "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace"



I chose this because of a fantastic BBC documentary series I've been watching by the same name, which essentially traces the democratizing effects of networks and systems from Ayn Rand's thought through Silicon Valley's network utopians and then back through nature itself.

I've been reading a lot of Brautigan over the past year, but this is a different beast. Rather than his typical humorous anti-poetry, here he expresses sentiments that might have inspired Philip K. Dick dystopia.

It sums up the political theory driving the whole series: that computer systems will replace so-called governance as the guidance for ordered society, but only if man can create computer networks as free, open and structured as ecological systems.

I honestly wonder if some BBC producer read this poem and then created a documentary series to illustrate it.

"All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace"
by Richard Brautigan

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.

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