Contrasting Living Beings with Machines

Charleston Belle Epoch RefinementMany authors have compared a living being with a machine to show the contrast between an organic society and an individualistic or mechanistic society.

Indeed, compare the two. A living being grows and develops at its own speed according to its own inner dynamism and force that comes from the life of each cell. A machine is inert, operates at a determined speed, and always needs an external force or motor to make each piece move or act. Because they are part of the living organism, individual members or organs grow, change, and continually renew themselves in union with it. A severed arm, for example, cannot long survive separated from the whole body. In contrast, spare parts can exist outside the machine and be used interchangeably with others. No machine part can renew itself from within the mechanism; defective parts must be replaced.

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To apply this to social terms: In an organic society, a person is treated as an integral part of society; in a mechanistic society the individual is an interchangeable cog in an organization.

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