Tainted Knowledge

But I would rejoice in it more
 If I knew more clearly what
We wanted the knowledge for.
                                      WH Auden

If the process of knowing was
Prompted by the Devil
And injuriously contrived
Should the Security Council ban it?
Declare only Robots can scan it,
Do the knowing and be constructed
To do it Right? Then who would
Make the Robots with sufficient insight?

What must be done about Invention?
About Imagination?  About generations
Of restless youth?  Who dance to
Sir John Davies tune?

To leave
their first disordered combating
    And in a dance such measure to observe
    As all the world their motion should preserve

Knowing is quite innocent,
The planets circling, the comets in their path;
Atoms have no motive, intent upon their dance.
Like unsuspecting Twitter on the Internet
Cluttered with Ponsi schemes and abuses
A robot’s knowing can’t hope to circumvent

Let the robots record the data;
Let the process of knowing
Be the consequence of engaging
In the dance.

L. Fullington

Sir John Davies (1569-1626)
 from Orchestra

WH Auden (1907-1973)  
from After Reading A Child’s Guide to Physics

If you've anything to say about this poem, L. Fullington would be pleased to hear it.

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