Re: The Book of the Machines (Butler): Introduction
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 08:38:30 EDT

In a message dated 99-08-22 19:10:31 EDT, (Joseph C Fineman) wrote:

> I am posting separately a remarkable early application of Darwinian
> ideas to the evolution of machines, which seems not to have attracted
> the attention of this company. It comprises three chapters of
> _Erewhon_, a cheerfully satirical utopia published by Samuel Butler
> (1835-1902) in 1872. In their original form they had been published
> as articles in a New Zealand newspaper from 1860 to 1864 -- just after
> the _Origin of Species_ appeared & Butler read it!

"Remarkable" is right! Historians of cybernetics should definitely have this brought to their attention -- it's a truly amazing passage. I read Erehwon 25 years ago or so and, while this material may well have left an unconscious imprint on me, I did not recall it at all.

This should DEFINITELY be in the "extropian canon" of predecessor works.

     Greg Burch     <>----<>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                      -- Thomas Huxley