When Johnny Carson was younger he was wilder. I used to run home from elementary school to watch him host Who Do You Trust. When I noticed his domestication on The Tonight Show I moved on to Soupy Sales. Similarly, later in life, I found myself disappointed with Murray’s vision. I lost trust in it and moved on to Gary Snyder.
David Watson felt the same way:
Murray Bookchin argued that the technological revolutions brought about by capitalism were creating “the objective quantitative basis for a world without class rule, exploitation, toil, or material want.” Once “bourgeois control of technology” was abolished, computerized robot networks made up of “self-regulating control mechanisms” such as “thermocouples, photoelectric cells, X-ray machines, video cameras and radar transmitters,” even a new “electronic ‘mind’ for coordinating, evaluating most routine industrial operations [AI]” would produce a surfeit of goods with a minimum of toil. Basic principles of efficiency “can be applied virtually to every area of mass manufacture,” he enthused. With this global network up and running, “Free communities would stand at the end of a cybernated assembly line with baskets to cart the goods home.” Who would do the work? Robots. And who would build the robots? Robots. It seemed to be robots all the way down.
When Gary Snyder was starting out in the Zen monastery in Japan he tried to suggest improvements through labor- and time-saving techniques. A monk told him not to bother. Since everything they were doing was a form of mindfulness practice, “We don’t want to do things any better or any faster, because that’s not the point — the point is that you live the whole life.”
I trust I made the right decisions going with Soupy and with Gary.