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❚ technology ❚ culture ✱ Oscar Wilde

the slavery of the machine

It is mentally and morally injurious to man to do anything in which he does not find pleasure. It is impossible to sweep the streets with mental, moral, or physical dignity. To sweep it with joy would be appalling. Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt … All work of that kind, all unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery

The Greeks were quite right that civilisation requires slaves, that unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralising. The future of the world depends on the slavery of the machine.