Archive for January 18, 2010

Maha

January 18, 2010

The word “machine” or “machination” derives etymologically from the ancient Greek “Makhana,” a term used to convey the quality of “being able” or simply an “ability,” an enabled state. From this connotation, we derive the concepts of mechanic, mechanical or mechanisation – all suggesting a capacity to function or operate. A machine understood in this way is simply any integrated structure, where purpose derives from function. The sanskrit roots of this term, “maha” – meaning “great”, lend our etymology the additional sense of respect our cultural history tends to show for all structures of functional integrity. Watching a single ant forage for food elicits little interest, yet who cannot marvel at the single superorganism we see in hundreds of thousands of insects operating in unison towards single objectives? Truly our ongoing fascination with the machine derives from a very old, perhaps even primal, admiration for structural form and function.   In English, we find the same linguistic roots twisting up through history, sprouting forth the word “magnificance”.

 Welcome to Maha: this section of the Website features some of the creative works, discussions and ideas about writing, programming and the new “screen” arts as initiated in NJIT’s Electronic Writing Classes.