Before we delve into the substantives of the above, a heuristic definition is in order. By the beast, we usually mean the collective human mass undifferentiated by privileges of a particular social formation. For example a serf in the middle ages, say in Europe, would qualify as a member of the beast while a knighted feudal lord would not! We admit, our usual idiosyncratic way of defining things might not necessarily coincide with original early users (Thomas Jefferson, et al.) In the contemporary context for instance, a typical beast might well be a fully employed debt serf (middle class), while a hedge fund boss, top investment banker, etc. would be masters, i.e., not belonging to the class of the beast! Most importantly, the beast is a breathing/living animal on two (hoofs.) So far so easy!
‘The machine’, (again in our usage) is a systemically constructed networks/apparatus, which stands guard protecting protractedly developed privileges of a given social order. This bodyguard (not always in human form) of privileges is always under the guidance of collective entrenched interests (directly or indirectly)! There are major differences between the ‘beast’ and the ‘machine.’ The machine, besides being (mostly) a non-human entity has the ultimate objective of protecting derived capital at all cost, even if it means the complete elimination of life on earth. As human beings, it is only natural to be abhorred by such ludicrous statement, but the machine, as a machine, is not one prone to feeble human sentiments, hence keeps on marching on! Welcome to the endgame of the modern world system, where insanity rules!
In order to protect derived privileges, the machine must keep an eye on the beast and make sure it remains docile and unperturbed. To this end, the beast is systemically/intentionally deprived of all (almost) capacity to take matters on its own hands, lest it asserts itself. By thinking and tinkering around its own initiatives, the machine reckons, the beast might end up questioning its unenviable predicament in the scheme of things. To guard against such tendencies, the machine forces the prevailing oppressive peace, painstakingly established by accumulated capital throughout the ages. Because of this daunting mission of the machine, it is endowed with a formidable built-in violence in its mechanical-looking nature! Obviously the machine became an effective force of control only after the advent of modern technology, mostly ICT. The rest as they is history!
The prevailing privileged establishment, (the 1% of global humanity), which is quite malicious and manipulative always tries to mish mash/confuse the above two entities. In regards to the machine, it bestows an impression of creatures’ weakness, susceptibility, limited life span, etc., on this finely tuned evil incarnate! Remember the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower of the USA warned us all about? Today that machine not only comprises of the military-industrial complex, but is rather more like a long string starting out with the military-industrial-banking-media-… complex. By any measure, this is a formidable array of adversaries! Look at the global surveillance system, at times coordinated and functioning like a finely tuned Swiss clock, to use the proverbial example. Recent revelations by members of the beast, (notable amongst them; Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, Assange, Greenwald, etc.,) has awakened the herd to the reality in which it actually exists. We believe this rude awakening (of the beast) will ultimately have serious ramifications as far as the stability of the modern world system is concerned.
To cite examples, particularly to those souls who have a hard time reading between the lines; (like the majority of our graduates from the mills) the NSA (National Security Agency of the USA) and GCHQ of UK (Government Communications Headquarters) fall under the category of the machine, while the Occupy Movements characterize the increasing restlessness of the ‘beast.’ Recently we have seen confrontations taking place between the two all over the world. The Occupy Movement, (almost completely) relying on the new informatics, was sabotaged out of its streets existence by the formidable machine and it is only now the reality is daunting on the movement! Whether we like it or not, this multifarious sophisticated machine has unwanted sordid omnipotence over our whole lives.
From the look of it, the ‘beast’ and the ‘machine’ are on a decidedly collisional course! Here is a thumb rule. The more ‘undeveloped’ a society, the more the institutions of the beast and the less the institutions of the machine. On the other hand, in a more ‘sophisticated/advanced’ society the machine dominates over the organic institutions of the beast. The most a peripheral country might have is a police force and (probably) a very rudimentary intelligence/surveillance apparatus, to beef up its so-called national security. An industrialized country would have all sorts of institutions that continuously control/police/spy the population in all aspects of social existence. In the old days we used to profess; in developing countries (including ours) once you are outside the range of the AK 47, you are home free, while in developed countries, you are under control/surveillance (thanks to increased ICT, etc.,) from cribs to crutches! As a result, real freedom resided in Africa (though its politics was mostly run by thugs) rather than in the cosmopolitans of the West (run by inorganic capital)!
In 1975, after the Watergate cover-up, Senator Frank Church warned about the National Security Agency: “I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.” Here is a recent statement from the young hero of liberty: “… I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” – Edward Snowden. Good Day!