Carbon and Silicon

We might use as a shorthand for the industrial revolution and the information revolution these two elements. Our lives have indeed been revolutionised but not without cost. Blake and Wordsworth worried about the alienation of man from Nature. The first four lines of a sonnet by Wordsworth are impressive:

The world is too much with us;late and soon
Getting and spending we lay waste our powers
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.

Rilke expressed similar concerns a hundred years later: See then the engine how violently it labours and at the same time how we are weakened. Since its power is given by us, let it, without passion, be driven and serve.

In my poem, Beyond Bronze, I express reservations about the information age:

Now thanks to silicon, we've got Hamlet in binary code, 
and post-apocalypse it could turn up on a machine or
be picked up in space. What will those poor souls make of it?

Now in the days of lockdown, some of us find ourselves with more time to reflect than in years. Will things return to where they were before the pandemic? Will we take care to reconnect with Nature and with other people? Remember the bardic utterance Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.

Published by davidcookpoet

I am a husband, father and grandfather. I retired from a busy working life as an adult psychiatrist in 2014. My interests are in literature, philosophy, modern jazz and horse racing. I might represent those four fields by Shakespeare, Kant, Charlie Parker and Lester Piggott. Like nearly all of us, I can identify a number of formative experiences, one of which was a psychotic episode in my first year as a psychiatrist. This reinforced an already established interest in mystical experience, and a sense of how little human beings know. My intellectual bugbear is reductive materialism, and I am surprised at the lack of moral imagination of those who promulgate such views. It seems to me they need to consider ,perhaps by exposure, just why totalitarianism is so horrific.

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