The Machine Stops……….

I have just read E.M. Forster’s short story  – The Machine Stops – written in 1909     

Given that my computer has been behaving a little erratically and almost seemed to stop yesterday….(computer doctor coming today) – I am moved to write about my own relationship with The Machine that seems to dominate our lives.

First, a brief outline of The Machine Stops…..

‘Set in a post apocalyptic world where most people are living underground because the surface is uninhabitable, we see that people are completely reliant upon a giant machine to provide their every need.

All bodily and spiritual needs are met by the omnipotent, global machine. 

The story revolves around a Mother and Son….a Mother who is completely sucked in by The Machine and a son who starts to question. 

Finally, The Machine apocalyptically collapses, bringing civilisation down with it. 

It is realised that Humankind’s connection to the natural world is what truly matters.’

Detail from large oil on canvas….


I was reminded when reading this short story, just how dependent we have all become, myself included on The Machine.

I feel fortunate to have grown up at a time when there was no hint of the technology we use today.    In other words I spent a great part of my life learning to live without all the technological trappings. 

However, having said that, I felt a great pang of horror at the thought of my machine not working!:) I clearly have a strong relationship with it…….

As long as I understand that the machine is a tool in my life, and not my life, then I will continue to enjoy.

One of the beauties of magical hummingbirds, is that they live free of all these trappings….and therefore can teach us a great deal.


A Bientôt

9 thoughts on “The Machine Stops……….

  1. Gill McGrath

    Hope your machine will come back fine!
    Sadly I appear greatly reliant on my machine….. mostly because I like to’ shop groceries’ on it… It seems like disaster to actually have to go to Tesco (or any supermarket) in the event of the computer giving up.
    It was a surprise to me (when I stated to get groceries this way) just how much I hated the actual shopping thing… walking round a store! I have a dodgy connection wire on my ‘machine’ which means it needs a simple bit of reviving from time to time ( taking the battery off and putting it back and pressing the on off to settle the static until the light comes on and everything working again!) but this puts me into a crazy panic- until the light comes on- thinking I have l lost everything- and worse that I might have to end up going to the shops again! (its made me very good at filing and backing up on an external drive though…. just in case the machine decides not to come back next time…….!)

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Gil – I also hate to shop……in fact there’s nothing pleasant about it as far as I am concerned….however, having said that, now that I live in greater London, I have very handy food markets close by which I quite enjoy…however, everything else I purchase is done through the internet, including my art supplies, and given that I live on the third floor of a three story block of flats, with steps outside, this also means that everything is delivered to my door. Eureka:)
      The machine seems to have fixed itself…but I know that there is still an underlying problem. Computer doctor was unable to come yesterday and hopes to come later today to give a general check up….I hope.
      Meanwhile, enjoy another glorious day. Janet:)

      1. Gill McGrath

        Isn’t it just the way .. an underlying problem ( very off putting) …. waiting for help ( not knowing quite when)….. Ah well. Hang on the weather still looks as if its staying nice for a while. Spring helps! Gill 🙂 xxx

  2. snowbird

    Hope all is restored soon! We do become dependant on our tools without realising it….I can’t imagine what it would be like without the internet now, it seems to have replaced many things like telephone books etc….yes, we have to keep a sharp eye on our attachment levels! I love the tiger and hummer. Gorgeous!xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Dina…When I really sit down and think about all the things that the computer has replaced it’s positively amazing…and a little big scary, because if the whole kit and caboodle suddenly went down…..many people would have to learn to live in a very different way…..a lot of which might be extremely positive.
      Have a wonderful day in your garden with the animals….:)xxx


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