Humans: The Sex Organs of the Machine World
“The medium is the message.” - McLuhan
Every medium extends human senses. When McLuhan talks about media, he is not just referring to popular media (i.e., the TV, the radio, the newspaper, etc), but all types of media - cars, paper, etc.
According to McLuhan, the media is more important than any message it could output.
The radio transmit the messages you hear. The automobile changes how one’s body moves from place to place. Media does the work in shaping our bodies in various ways.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
He also thinks we have become the ‘sex organs’ of the machine world. Yep, the sex organs. Technology has become both useful and inhibitory to human life. Humans perpetuate the creation of technology, pushing it ever forward for the betterment of human life. Thus, humans act as the reproductive ‘sex organs’ of the technology world.
Sex organs of the machine world? Technology taking over the world that humans left to shit?
The Matrix trilogy is the first thing that came to my mind when I heard “sex organs of the machine world.” For those who haven’t seen this great saga (highly recommend it), here is a quick [SPOILER ALERT] plot summary: (special thanks to Wiki)
In the dystopia the series depicts, Earth is dominated by sentient machines, who have turned on humans and forced them into slavery. At one point, humans believed they could wipe out the machines by “scorching the sky,” as they thought solar energy to be the life source of the machines. However, the machines devised a way to extract the bioelectricity and thermal energy from the human body by growing humans in pods connected by cybernetic implants to an artificial reality called the Matrix, which keeps their minds under control.
The virtual reality world simulated by the Matrix resembles human civilization around the turn of the 21st century (this time period was chosen because it is supposedly the pinnacle of human civilization). The majority of the films and games of the Matrix franchise take place in a vast unnamed megacity, although it is not the only city within the Matrix, as other familiar locations are mentioned and visited by the characters during the trilogy and the Animatrix. As this environment is practically indistinguishable from reality, except when a slight green tinge appears (becoming more prominent as the series continues), the majority of humans connected to the Matrix are unaware of its true nature. Most of the central characters in the series know that it is not “real” and as a result can partially bend the simulation’s physical laws in order to perform superhuman feats within the simulation.
GAH…. SUPER COOL!
Ahem.. sorry, my nerd was showing.
Anyways, many connections can be made between McLuhan’s hypothesis of humans as sex organs to machines and the Matrix trilogy. The neural-active simulation of the Matrix is created by technology to serve (and cage) humans in a false reality. Ironcially, humans were the ones that furthered technology to this turning point of the created to the dominator. Thus, humans become subservient to technology, becoming the food to fuel the machines… literally. In The Matrix, humans are grown in forests of pods and plugged in to the Matrix, a complex simulation of reality. These humans feed the machines through the harvesting of their blood/bodies after death. In relation to McLuhan’s statement then, humans are the ‘sex organs’ of this machine world, enabling it to reproduce and create the Matrix.
Visit deoxy.org/media/McLuhan#The_LawsOfMedia for more information on McLuhan, and browse the net for tons of interesting info on The Matrix Trilogy.