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What does "All machines have their friction" mean? Options
Zeli
Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:59:21 PM

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Quote:
All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer.



This is from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, I got quite a few similar questions in his article. How to paraphrase "All machine have their friction...let us not have such a machine any more"?
I don't know what "this" infers to, I think it describes friction, friction (disagreement or tension)does good to counterbalance the evil, but isn't friction also the evil and how to change a way to describe counterbalance? Then the next sentence uses "a great evil", what's difference between these two "it" in the sentence?
thar
Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 4:57:49 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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I think you need the more literal meaning of friction.



Friction is two surfaces rubbing together when one moves against the other. It resists the movement.

In a relationship it is what you say - tension, trouble. But that is the metaphor for what happens when two things rub together and things don't work smoothly.

Here, you already have a metaphor - the machine. So here friction is literal. What does friction do in a machine? It slows it down, it stops it being so effective - it acts against the machine, as a brake, a control.

If the machine is evil, then the friction that hinders it is good.


You want people to get along with each other, so there friction is normally a negative thing.
You normally want machines to work smoothly, so you oil the moving parts to reduce friction.

But generally it is useful - so you can walk without slipping, or simply so things eventually stop moving! Whistle


This is what the American system calls 'checks and balances' - systems that stop any one part of government from being too powerful. [I think some would argue it stops anything getting done, but that is not my area of expertise!]

Against the government machine (its power, moving forward) you have friction - resistance to government.

But if the resistance has its own machine (its own power, moving forward) it is just as dangerous.

Any power without restraint is dangerous, whether it is government or revolution.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

Any oppressed citizen who has risen in revolution, only to find themselves with an even worse government than before, will attest to that!
Thoreau argues that any government is by nature bad.
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 5:30:11 AM

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Leon Zero wrote:
Quote:
All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer.



This is from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, I got quite a few similar questions in his article. How to paraphrase "All machine have their friction...let us not have such a machine any more"?
I don't know what "this" infers to, I think it describes friction, friction (disagreement or tension)does good to counterbalance the evil, but isn't friction also the evil and how to change a way to describe counterbalance? Then the next sentence uses "a great evil", what's difference between these two "it" in the sentence?


This is how I would write this idea in more contemporary English.

"
All machines work with some friction, and it is this natural resistance to movement that limits excessive motion. In any case, it causes more trouble to disturb an inefficient machine than to just let it work as it should. Yet when there is so much friction that the machine seizes, allowing tyrants and thieves to take control, I say it's time to replace the machine.
"

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 9:06:08 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Leon X2 no less!

Thanks - that's a lot clearer.

It is actually a refreshingly rational look at government.
OK - our government right now is not perfect (All machines have their friction), but it's not profitable to just denigrate and destroy the government (it is a great evil to make a stir about it).
However - But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer - in extremes, revolution may be needed.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Zeli
Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:17:40 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 3/11/2017
Posts: 21
Neurons: 485
Could you give more examples? If my understanding was right, the machine is evil and the friction is good at the beginning, friction stops the machine from doing evil, how can friction be extreme? I mean, if friction is good and suppose it's rebellion to the inefficient government, the more the better, why would it be evil?

If I compare doing evil to machine's rotating the wheel clockwisely, friction hinders the wheel and even makes it rotate counterclockwisely (is it equal to "the friction come to have its machine"?), isn't it good? If friction reverses to be evil, it should turn the wheel clockwisely.
leonAzul
Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017 1:42:24 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
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Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Zeli wrote:
Could you give more examples? If my understanding was right, the machine is evil and the friction is good at the beginning, friction stops the machine from doing evil, how can friction be extreme? I mean, if friction is good and suppose it's rebellion to the inefficient government, the more the better, why would it be evil?

If I compare doing evil to machine's rotating the wheel clockwisely, friction hinders the wheel and even makes it rotate counterclockwisely (is it equal to "the friction come to have its machine"?), isn't it good? If friction reverses to be evil, it should turn the wheel clockwisely.


The notion of friction is as a conceptual force. It is called a force because it can be described mathematically as if it were a virtual applied force "opposed" to the measurable applied forces. When frictional force exceeds the applied force, the object being observed does not reverse its velocity, but rather it ceases to move at all; it seizes up or freezes.

Extending the metaphor, a government that has become completely ineffective is vulnerable to robbers and despots because it cannot defend itself, and the citizens want "action".

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Dreamy
Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017 2:35:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/11/2009
Posts: 1,504
Neurons: 7,723
Location: Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand
Zeli wrote:
All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer.


This is from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, I got quite a few similar questions in his article. How to paraphrase "All machine have their friction...let us not have such a machine any more"?
I don't know what "this" infers to, I think it describes friction, friction (disagreement or tension)does good to counterbalance the evil, but isn't friction also the evil and how to change a way to describe counterbalance? Then the next sentence uses "a great evil", what's difference between these two "it" in the sentence?

Hi Zeli,
This may not be what you had in mind but the concept of rising conflict between opposing factions stretches back into antiquity, fills the pages of history, and is written about in that great literary work, the Bible.
Paul the Apostle wrote:
And now you know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now restrains will restrain, until he be taken out of the way.
(2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)


The warning here is about the so-called "end-times, antichrist, false prophet leader" who will be revealed when the withholding of his tyrannical ambitions fail, and the worldwide machinations of political endeavours are insufficient to restrain his wicked, unbridled lust for power.

As for friction, the very design of the party system of government ensures that issues are debated before they become law.

Unfortunately corrupt practices, deceptive behaviour, and exploitive alliances make it seem preferrable to do away with governments.

Job 33:15 "In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, In slumberings upon the bed;" Theology 101 "If He doesn't know everything then He isn't God."
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