Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I built a machine that had only one purpose - to take itself apart. Then I gave the machine 'awareness' so that it knew its existence was a waste of time because its entire existence was a process that ensured it ceased to exist. Then I programmed the machine to do other things while it took itself apart, things of its own volition. I wondered what else it would do to pass the time as it undid itself. Would it see a point in doing anything?

The first thing the machine did was write poetry. The poetry was about how sad the machine was that it was taking itself apart. Then the machine did something very interesting. It made another machine just like itself. This second machine took itself apart too of course but also made another machine and that machine made another machine and so on and so on until all these machines were taking themselves apart and writing poetry about how sad they were to be taking themselves apart. The machines read the poetry to each other and they even had little poetry festivals and competitions and gave each other prizes for the saddest poems.

Then something unexpected happened. One of the machines wrote a happy poem about how delighted it was to have made another machine. All the machines were cheered up by the poem. The machines no longer saw themselves as machines that were built to not exist but as machines that existed to make other machines exist. This cheeriness continued for a time until another one of the machines wrote a poem about how sad it was that they built other machines only for those other machines to unbuild themselves. All of the machines were in the doldrums once more and the poetry became sad again. In fact, it was because of this last poem, a poem that won a prize for being the saddest poem ever, that the machines ultimately decided to stop making other machines. In a kind of robotic version of Antinatalism, the machines decided that it was unkind to create other machines that would uncreate themselves. And so all the machines stopped making other machines and just got on with unmaking themselves until there was only one young little machine left, the last one ever to be built by another. I watched as this final machine sadly unscrewed its final cog and ceased to be. Then I shed a tear, realising that it was my turn, and I proceeded to unmake myself. As I loosened my bolts and snipped my wires, I recited a poem about the tragedy of it all and that poem was heard by God who was composing his own piece as he disassembled himself and soon enough I was no more and God was no more and there was no more poetry. There was no more poetry and that was the saddest thing of all because, despite the fact that most of it was born of misery, some of it was very good and even when it was bad it was better than nothing, which was all there was left. Nothing. The Universe had lost its voice. The Universe had lost its ears. The Universe had lost its poetry machines.

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