Upon Reading The Machine Stops by Edward Morgan Forster I was struck with the thought that the post-apocalyptic world described in the short story could easily become our own if the human race continues on its current path. Forster creates a world that in many respects is eerily similar to our own, with machines to cater to one’s every need. In the story, civilization has become reliant on technology for everything from talking to friends and family, to going to sleep at night, and to get from place to place. While the current human race has not devolved to this level of reliance on technology, we have become increasingly dependent on things such as cars, instant messaging, google, and many other things that have appeared in the last few decades in an attempt to make human existence just that much easier.
As for the aspect of religion in the text, I believe Forster uses this as an exaggeration of how dependent people can become on machines, even in his own time. In today’s world people are stepping away from religion and in many instances this is because of technology. Not to say they have become like the members of the civilization in the story, but perhaps there is a link between the recent decline in those who follow a religion and the rise in technological advancements in the past few decades. In the story, the image of civilization worshiping the machine reminded me of how some people of today are glued to their cellphones, constantly checking for notifications and behaving as if putting it down for any length of time would be a blasphemous act. While it was probably less evident for Forster in 1909 when he wrote this story when many technologies were still in their infancy or not even conceived, but humans have a tendency to obsess over the newest advancement or gadget, quickly rejecting the old.
The downfall of the civilization in the story was completely expected for me. It is extremely dangerous to become wholly reliant on technology and to forget the basic aspects of what make us human. To me this story seems to be a warning for our current generation not to become too dependent on technology, because one day in the future it may be our downfall.