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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The Unconditional Conditioning

Unconditional love is for your children, your partner, your pets, hell, your favorite sports team, and, yes, even yourself. It’s not for your leaders, politicians, or your misguided ideas that you are somehow superior or more deserving than any other person. Many relationships require conditions and none are served well by blind, reckless abandon.