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Tools and machines
"All the world's a machine, And the men and women merely operators."
Our embodiment determines the possibilities of activity. We may channel our will through our hands, for instance, as circumscribed by their specific form—and our attributes, particularly our aptitude in their use. Beyond this, there is the hand tool. These alter the shape of hands, are taken into our embodiment and determine it; hence the old saying about hammers, nails, etc. And there are also power tools, those which extend our strength further by integrating an alternative source of energy.
But where in all this is the machine? We find here an altogether different relation between man and his artefacts, as compared to those discussed thus far:
The worker’s activity, limited to a mere abstraction, is determined and regulated on all sides by the movement of the machinery. The knowledge that obliges the inanimate parts of the machine, through their construction, to work appropriately as an automaton, does not exist in the consciousness of the worker, but acts upon him through the machine as an alien force, as the power of the machine itself.
With this the ‘tool,’ if it can be called that, does not extend man; it is no mere modification or addition that we find here. Instead man is subsumed by the machine, becomes a mere aspect of its functioning—and a minor one, at that. And more, men are made to direct themselves through channels as determined by the nature of its mechanism. By this repetition, day by day, playing the part of a part of the machine, thus they become more and more machine-like.