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 Ruminant Fates of Man

Everyone makes a difference, much of it is done unintentionally. The results are as equally horrifying as those we supposedly learned from. Judge evil by the desired outcomes, but don’t dismiss the wrong done when done absentmindedly, even if the probable eventualities have not or not yet been reached.  We labored under the false pretense [...]