Transcribed from Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some

Western Machine technology is the spirit of death made to look like life. It makes life seem easier, comfortable, cozy, but the price we pay includes the dehumanization of the self. To sleep in a cozy home, a good bed and eat great, chemically produced food you must rhyme your life with speed, rapid motion and time. The clock tells you everything and keeps you busy enough to forget that there could be another way of living your life. It has made the natural way of living look primitive, full of famine, disease, ignorance and poverty so that we can appreciate our enslavement to the Machine and, further, make those who are not enslaved by it feel sorry for themselves.

The Machine has made itself look beautiful by making other ways of life that have existed for tens of thousands of years look silly, shameful and uncivilized. But the truth is that the Machine must eliminate every alternative to itself and focus every attention on itself because it knows that its purpose is not to give life, but to suck the energy out of it. We have therefore come to the point where it is not possible to think of life outside of the context created by the Machine, from the traditional viewpoint.

I still remember the first time I took one of my elders into the city of Ouagadougou and he beheld a multistoried building. T he poor man was so shocked that he was speechless for a while. When he finally spoke, he said, “Whoever did this has some serious problems.” Obviously the old man had never seen power displayed in public before.

Wherever there is technology, there is a general degeneration of the spiritual. This is because the Machine is the specter of the Spirit, and in such a state, it does not serve because it can’t serve. It needs servants. It is like having an elephant in your home as a pet. Would the energy spent to find 200 pounds of food every day compensate for what you get out of it? Anyone whose genius is wrapped up in this kind of effort must devote his life to it.

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