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August 10, 2020 / Congau

My Pinion

The machine works. Observe it, please. Every little piece of it fits perfectly into every other. The pinion, that gear with its tiny teeth, keeps turning, smoothly connecting with a larger wheel and making it revolve. The whole instrument is running flawlessly thanks to each cog performing its function inside the whole. It is a good machine.

But I haven’t yet told you what kind of machine it is. The big wheel that the innocent pinion brings into motion, is a rack, an imitation of a medieval torture instrument made even more horrendous by modern technical ingenuity. It maximizes pain and suffering in a way we don’t want to think about, much less try to describe. This machine is evil incarnate. Still, I said it was a good machine, and I can repeat that statement. 

It is a good machine, although in my opinion, if anyone cares to know my opinion, it is bad, horrible, dreadful, atrocious. But when asked about it, what counts is the engine itself, regardless of what purpose it might serve outside of itself. It has an evil objective, but as far as the machine is concerned the perfect execution of its task makes it good.

“Good” is always relative to its purpose. The immediate purpose of anything is to work well for itself. Any organism can be judged by its intrinsic health. A good thing works as it is supposed to work, and that is not a moral issue. The moral good appears when the purpose is extended to a larger perspective, to something greater than itself, and the greatest good, or evil, is what has the farthest extension into the world at large.

The smallest pinion selfishly works only for its immediate purpose careless of the ultimate consequences its action. It’s not asking for my opinion.

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