Vonnegut and the Mistake Machines

When someone mentions “The Good Book,” I always assume they are speaking of Slaughterhouse-Five. I think the world would be a kinder, gentler place if we based more of our morality on Vonnegut’s works rather than the books many of us revere. He passed in April of 2007, but I think of him whenever I read or write. Sometimes, I consider what he would have said about things I’m trying to put words to.

Joseph D. Newcomer

Vonnegut probably would have said that people are Mistake Machines. We all make mistakes, and we are as prolific and proficient at making them as we are at making anything else we have ever made. He also may have said that the best Mistake Machines of all are also fantastic Apology Machines because, while we cannot avoid making mistakes, seeing as how we are Mistake Machines, we possess the ability to admit when we are wrong. The best Mistake Machines can avoid continuing to make a particular mistake once they are aware of the mistake they made, and they can right their course through history. Some of their mistakes have also been their greatest achievements, but Mistake Machines find the greatest source of their humanity and their humility in their own apologies.

Apology Machines make the best kind of Mistake Machines… the best kind of people.

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8 Comments

  1. I’m a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut, have read most of his books. Slaughterhouse Five was my favorite—so far. I alway like when Kilgore Trout enters the story—makes for some interesting reading.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me also. His voice is unique, to me, standing outside of the ordinary. Have you read any books by Christopher Moore? He isn’t another Vonnegut, but has his own comic style I find enjoyable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “A Dirty Job” is the first book I read of his, and is my favorite. Second would be “Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.”
          He wrote three using the same character, Pocket. They are “Fool,” The Serpent of Venice,”and “Shakespeare for Squirrels.” I enjoyed them all, plus others of his I have read. I’ve yet to read one I didn’t like.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed his play on sexual themes while collating them with overaching techno-social retrofuturist narratives on space-time physics. I mean an alien species called Booblings 😂😂 … then the idea of putting male sperm in a big rocket in the hope of “hitting something”.

    More to the point, mistake machines is a great idea indeed. Especially if they apologise less over time.

    Way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

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