the violence of the machine

Posted on July 12, 2017


I AM what I AM.

I AM a man of peace and justice.

I AM a man of equality and community.

Trying to live a life of integrity and simplicity.

I AM what I AM.

This is my identity.


How does a man of peace

Live while being swallowed up

By the violence of the machine?

A machine of our own making.

A machine that by its own nature

Must carry on and on and on

With us being good little cogs

In the machine.

The machine must work

as it casts out the outcasts

Sprewing the broken

and the misfits.


Into the margins go

The poor and downtrodden

The battered and the bruised

The tattered and the torn

The shattered and shocked;

Occupying the fringes of society.

A sort of landfill of people

Invisible and voiceless

Because they are

Useless to the machine.


The military industrial complex

Devours goods and services

Making the rich richer

While the powerful send

The young and the strong

To their deaths;

Torn from their mothers’ arms,

Erased from the face of the earth.


The educational industrial complex

Herds the masses through

Factories of rote learning.

Drugging the misfits and

Prodding youth like cattle through

Gates NOT of their own choosing;

Teaching kids to be good little cogs in the machine

As they drop out before they even get started.


The medical industrial complex

Delivers health care through drugs

Treating symptoms rather than causes.

Making big bucks for the

Pharmaceutical industrial complex

And the healthcare industrial complexk

Leaving Americans

With the cost of losing both

our money and our health.


The consumer industrial complex

Playing on the weaknesses

And addictions of the people

The cogs in the machine.

Seducing them into believing

They have no intrinsic value.

Seducing them into believing

That our “things” define us

That our “things” give us value;

Although every “thing”

will be left behind

When we die


The automotive industrial complex

An integral part of the

Consumer industrial complex

Has taught us all our lives

That we need to invest

In the worst investment

Of our lives. A car.

But “the car I drive defines me

And my self image,” we are told,

While robbing our children of their planet


Mindlessly, cities and countrysides

Are designed around our dependence

On our automobiles.

Could I survive without it?

Could I survive without the rat race it creates?

Or do I need it so I can participate

in that rat race

Of our own making?


Three months ago

I found myself waking up

While being swallowed up

By the violence of the machine.

Working full time and part time

STRESS was raising havoc

With my health.


My mental health tanked by depression


My physical health tanked

By high blood pressure

By high blood sugar

By weight gain

Due to STRESS.


But I had to keep working

Maintaining my rat race

So I could afford my car

So I could afford health insurance

So I could participate in the machine.


Wait a minute!

Destroy my health for the sake of

having health insurance?

So I could fix what I was breaking?

But it was STRESS that was taking me out!

It was not having time to destress

And to breathe and to walk.


So I quit my full time job

It paid terrible anyway.

And through the healthcare exchange

I found a health plan that cost less than what

My employer was taking out of my check

For health insurance!


Then my car blew its head gasket

Kind of like what I had been doing to myself.

It truly was a great favor

Because it yanked me out of the rat race

It slowed me down so I could destress

Busing, biking, and walking

And low and behold

I’m getting more healthy day by day.

Maybe my car breaking down

saved my life…

Maybe quitting my job

saved my life…

Maybe my American Dream

was killing me…


I discovered that one of the best places

To experience the violence of the machine

Without participating in it

Is sitting at a bus stop

So close to the road

I could feel the wind

In the wake of each car

I could hear the violent pounding

Of wheels on brick.


Participating in the rat race

Does not allow us to observe it.

It is like asking the fish,

“How’s the water?”

And the fish answering,

“What water?”


Sitting there observing the rats

In the rat race.

Mindlessly, frantically,

rushing… rushing…. rushing

Rushing around…

For what?

Good question…

For what?


According to a Sufi guide:

“When we rush around,

We lose things.

When we slow down,

Things come to us.”


We bury ourselves

in the bubble

of our sweet machine.

Impervious to others,

to anything outside our bubble

Impervious to the breeze and the sun.


Freeing myself of my machine

Or rather my machine freeing me

From itself gave me life in a whole new way.


I sit, waiting, observing, listening

To the violence of the rat race

Racing down the road to nowhere.

Learning to wait is one of the

first lessons of leaving the rat race,

Letting go of convenience, speed,

And the stress of being a racing rat;

Turning toward health and wellness.


It goes on and on…

The entertainment industrial complex

The technological industrial complex

The justice industrial complex

The incarceration industrial complex

The government industrial complex

The manufacturing industrial complex.


These machines of our own making

Destroy and dehumanize

Stripping us of the essence

Of being human.


Who am I? (my identity)

Why am I here? (my purpose)

What am I going to do about it? (my mission)