The Human Machine

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Robert Ringer


It’s a simple but important truth that abstract concepts such as universal principles, human nature, and philosophical insights are constants.  From Plato to Will Durant … from Epictetus to the Dalai Lama … from Montaigne to Eric Hoffer … the rules of life never change.  In a world of chaos and madness, it’s nice to know there are certitudes that not even the ACLU can eradicate.

All this came to mind when I was reading The Human Machine, a book written nearly a hundred years ago by Arnold Bennett.  By the “Human Machine,” Bennett was referring to that part of a person that consists of brain and muscle.

The brain intellectualizes, conceptualizes, and gives orders to the muscles.  It has the power to override instincts.  But the brain and the ego are not the same thing.  Bennett believed that “your brain is the servant of the ego.”

In an ongoing effort to strip mankind of any remaining vestiges of a connection to a Conscious Universal Power Source, researchers have long been trying to show that abstracts such as the ego and the soul are nothing more than physical aspects of the brain.  Their objective is to move the ego and soul out from under the umbrella of metaphysics and fit them neatly into the Human Machine.

It was of great interest to me that a hundred years ago Arnold Bennett was addressing many of the same issues I have been writing about over the past four decades.  It’s not all that surprising, however, given the fact that the foundational principles of life never change.

Bennett wisely cautioned readers to base their actions on this universe rather than some ideal universe they might conjure up in their minds.  As I put it in one of my earlier books, the degree of complications in a person’s life corresponds to the degree to which he dwells on the way he thinks the world ought to be rather than the way it actually is.

In other words, reality is what it is, and it’s up to us to discover it.  Our perception of reality may or may not have any connection to reality itself.  This strikes at the very heart of liberalism, an ideology based purely on fantasy rather than fact.

But liberalism aside, all of us are guilt of overriding fact with fiction from time to time.  For example, we sometimes go to great lengths to convince ourselves that we are victims.  In truth, however, in the vast majority of cases our bad outcomes can be traced to our own actions — or lack of action.

Those who never get this become unconscious participants in the Blame Game, blaming events, conditions, or other individuals for their bad results.  It’s a dangerous game to play because it can become an excuse for failure.

What I’m talking about here is a psychological delusion known as transference — the act of looking to others, or to “uncontrollable” circumstances, for the source of one’s problems.  When you insist that something is not your fault, what you are unwittingly saying is that you cannot change your situation because you have no control over it.

The most common targets of transference are the droves of dreadful people who continually cross our paths — the liars, the self-righteous, the rude, the petty, and, worst of all, the hypocrites.  After all, aren’t they at fault for any friction that interferes with the way our Human Machine performs?

The answer is no.  As much as we may wish to believe that those people are the cause of our problems, they are not.  They merely provide us with an excuse for the bad results of our own faulty judgment.

Even when you suffer as a result of someone else’s dishonesty, you do yourself no favor by blaming your bad consequences on his actions.  There’s a difference between engaging in transference (blame) and trying to analyze the reason you incurred the problem.

There is always a reason for a bad consequence, but a reason is far different from an excuse.  An excuse is nothing but a clever way to escape accountability.  The fact that someone was dishonest with you could be a legitimate reason why you were harmed, but it is not a valid excuse for abusing your own Machine.

What I mean by this is that if you allow someone else’s nefarious actions to affect your thinking — if you focus on retribution against the owner of a defective Human Machine — you create an enormous amount of friction in your Human Machine.  Why?  Because you are the master of your thoughts, and it is your thoughts that either abuse your Machine or keep it operating smoothly.

The reason you are the master of your thoughts is because they are formulated in your mind, and no one can enter your mind and wreak havoc on it without your permission.  Which means that no human being can force you to be stressed, angry, or convinced you’re a victim.  These things bring about a debilitating mind-set, because they separate you from your common sense and dignity, which in turn makes it possible for mental anarchy to reign supreme in your brain.

Even when we’re not angry at someone else, we often cause friction in our Human Machines by making the mistake of trying to control others.  Bennett gave excellent advice regarding this mistake when he pointed out that we are not in charge of the universe; we are only in charge of ourselves.  Again, attempting to control the lives of others is another hallmark of liberalism and the cause of so much of the frustration and anger we see in those on the Radical Left.

Remember this reality the next time you think about meddling in someone else’s Human Machine.  Learn to leave things alone that are none of your business.  As Arnold Bennett put it, the art of peaceful living lies in “keeping the peace, the whole peace, and nothing but the peace with those in your life.”

A good motto to live by is:  When there is friction in your Human Machine, the fault always lies within.  When all is said and done, the only thing you can really control is your own mind — which in itself is no small task.  But if you work hard at becoming adept at this task, you will be amazed by how smoothly your Human Machine functions.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

33 responses to “The Human Machine”

  1. Robby Bonfire says:

    Liberalism, besides being based in fantasy, is also based upon the usurping of power via the most unconscionable and intimidating means they can implement. So that here we have fantasy-based/control freak/power mongers all around us micro-managing our lives.

    I went to a mall today (Watertown, NY), and it might just as well have been the 4th of July. No Merry Christmas banner, no caroling over the P.A. system, no Santa Claus for the children to visit with, and of course – no Christmas tree, and no decorations. All there was was a "holiday schedule" of store hours displayed.

    What I want to know is, is it ILLEGAL now for stores now to acknowledge Christmas? What would happen to a mall or a retail store if Christmas decorations and all kinds of celebratory Christmas references were part of the shopping experience at this time of year? Would some D.A. go after them for "discrimination" violations?

    I remember as a child, as a member of my school's choir, one day each Christmas season we would gather in the balcony overlooking Wanamaker's retail store in Philadelphia, and sing Christmas carols on behalf of the shoppers in the store, and we were much appreciated for doing so.

    Why have we ALLOWED these Christian-hating heathens to make "offensive" the public celebrating of our most joyful time of the year? We are we allowing these rats to push our cultural and religious beliefs over a cliff, all in the name of "political correctness." The Muslim culture is now praised throughout out educational system, while our American heritage and Christian beliefs are buried in the rubble of their all out assault upon this nation. God help us, I say – or does that "offend" someone here?

    • William Stoutamire says:

      Robby, I completely concur with your statements. As much as 3 years ago I read several different polls that stated roughly 20% of the population "had no belief" we're Atheists. That is the problem, as the great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reflected on what happened to Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, "the people forgot God". The same is true in America today, the people (not everyone of course but a significant percentage of the population) has abandoned God.

      • Jim Hallett says:

        What you both are pointing out is how the Cultural Marxists have taken over control of most of what goes on in Amerika, so the complete downfall and destruction of the Western Civilization principles that made us great are disappearing, and we will be left with an angry, soulless, socialist police state. Very sad, indeed. Great stores, like Wanamakers, are also on the way out as people prefer discount outlets with lots of cheap crap from Asia. Perhaps, a trip to Switzerland would recreate the magic of Christmas, but such a trip is not cheap.

    • Jay says:

      "The ugly truth that they don't want you to say out loud, is that history has winners and losers. The Progressive Left wants to turn Western countries into the only developed civilisations in the history of human society, that shit on their own accomplishments in favor of vastly inferior civilisations, for no apparent reason" – Milo Yiannopoulos.

      • Robby Bonfire says:

        One idea as to why we "sympathize" with downtrodden nations is the enormous profit accruing to banks for brokering foreign aid. You think our banks went broke doling out aid under the Marshall Plan?

        Years ago I read in U.S. News and World Report that the Chase Manhattan Bank, as it was known at the time, received a 15% commission on all foreign aid sent overseas. That was David Rockefeller's bank, by the way.

        When something doesn't make sense, we may assume it does make sense from an ulterior financial gain standpoint.

  2. Will says:

    Thank you Robert! I am a 31 year old outside salesmen in Tallahassee, FL and read your posts weekly. I also have read two of your books. God bless and Merry Christmas!
    -Will, Tallahsssee, FL

  3. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    Remember, YOU/I/WE can celebrate Christmas! NOBODY can disallow us! I now live in the hot Philippines and I have my Christmas Tree UP and lit UP! And, I love looking at it every evening after dark. Something about what the tree seems to emanate, or, my response to it! Associations & Memories flood in! To hell with the Bah Humbuggers! Celebrate Christmas how and if you want! Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! NEW year. Time to begin again and do what we can with whatever TIME is left us!

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Where in the Philippines do you live, Richard? I just read an article in my December issue of International Living about the town of Tagaytay on Luzon, and it sounded pretty attractive (less heat and humidity that is the norm in SE Asia), and the place is only an hour from Manila for those big city needs (medical, shopping, culture, etc.). MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, and glad you continue to enjoy your time away from the socialist police state of Amerika!

  4. TheLookOut says:

    Thanks again RJR, your message is as usual right on the mark.
    The "Blame Game" is the Leftist go to weapon of choice. These
    humanity destroyers will never, never relent. The friction they
    sow lights the fire that keeps the ill informed ignorant of their own
    God given rights.

  5. Jean says:

    "…psychological delusion known as transference — the act of looking to others, or to “uncontrollable” circumstances, for the source of one’s problems. When you insist that something is not your fault, what you are unwittingly saying is that you cannot change your situation because you have no control over it…."

    In short, this offers credence to the statement that liberalism – or leftism, which is more accurate – is a mental disorder.

  6. Richard Head says:

    Bravo, Mr. Ringer!

    May the CUPS continue to be with you.

    Hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday season, sir!


    Richard "D.I.C.K." Head

  7. Laurie Campbell says:

    Blaming others is okay when they're liberals, right?

    • Gordon says:

      Only if you are willing to sink to their level and become like them. I understand the temptation, but please, don't go there!

  8. Rick D'Amico says:

    Just downloaded "The Human Machine" by Arnold Bennett to my Kindle,(no charge!) Thanks Robert you've always been an inspiration to me since I first read "Winning Through Intimidation" many years ago when I was starting out in life. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  9. William David Allen says:

    Another excellent piece Robert. I also downloaded the book. Thanks for the recommendation. Responsibility and liberty are two sides of the same coin; we must shoulder the one to enjoy the other. While I am an atheist I think the advice to "remove the log from your own eye before attempting to remove the splinter from your neighbor's" is sage. Introspectively considering the realities of ourselves (the good, the bad & the ugly) is the first step. Then we can try and make those improvements to ourselves of which we are capable. Finally, we will set a good example and perhaps have the opportunity of removing the splinter of another thru gentle persuasion. Thanks for your contribution to the dialogue.

  10. Shane says:

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I would like to recommend any book written by Orison Swett Marden books, many of which can be downloaded on Amazon free of charge.

  11. larajf says:

    Thanks! I look forward to reading another good book.

    I wish more people would realize that it's not "white privilege" but rather people taking responsibility for their own success. Many people of every color, race, creed, whatever achieve enormous success by taking responsibility. (sure, some don't…some get lucky…but they don't achieve true success if they're always looking over their shoulder)

  12. Jim Hallett says:

    Great article, and the last paragraph summarizes the beauty of taking personal responsibility for EVERYTHING that shows up in one's life. Since I am an anarcho-libertarian and support the "Commit No Aggression" principle, I am always amazed at how much misery most people invite into their lives because they want someone or something to be different than it is, and they want to coerce that person or circumstance to change. Liberals (the phony "progressive" ones that is) are masters of such faulty thinking, but many "conservatives" also fall prey to such delusions. I will download the Arnold Bennett book, as once again, it is another example of some of the greatest writing coming from works that are 100 years or more old, proving that true wisdom never goes out of fashion.

  13. Larry says:

    How can I apply this to getting ripped off by auto mechanics?

    I had a coolant leak and took it to a shop that didn't fix the issue the first time. They charged me more (almost double the first estimate) after they finally did fix it even though they should have fixed it the first time. They then broke something else so I had to take it somewhere else to fix it. What was supposed to cost approx $400 ended up costing over one thousand. I've been stewing knowing that I have been ripped off (and this is not the first time).

    I cannot change how these people do business but I am out $600+ and I'm not 100% sure the leak has been taken care of. I have taken action to recoup some of that money but am disgusted with the whole experience.

  14. sam239 says:

    Thanks as always to Professor Ringer!!! As a writer I admire his style – one thing that always stands out to me is his "kickers", the last one or two sentences that close off the post with a bang. His kickers are concise, never waste a word, encapsulate the article, and have a flashy style that truly closes off with a "kick." Marvelous!

    • Rick G. says:

      Robert Ringer is absolutely amazing, isn't he? Anytime you need a do-it-yourself guide to living your life at its best, it is in Robert Ringer's books.

  15. LACENE says:


  16. LaCene says:

    Randy and Ringer say it is my "thoughts'"

  17. John E. Gabor says:

    Larry and Lacene: please read the article again…

  18. Rick G. says:

    How true, how true, how true. I definitely need to check this book out!

  19. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Angedur says:

    I always thought ego and vanity are choices.
    More a function of status.
    I wear my hair as a bootcamp haircut and no longer have tv, the great influencer of such nonesense of vanity and fashion. I get some stange looks some times, but what is anyones business how I choose to look. And madison ave and Hollyweird can burn in hell for thinking they a right to decide for the peeps.

  21. Angedur says:

    In a few instances a person might be slandered or defamed when some peeps go out of their way to make you look bad.
    Why such evil exists, probably is a result of ego, vanity and arrogance.
    I guess if some people want to be obdurate nigla about it, then I guess they are allowing themselves to be pig headed and fussy about such trifles and not much can done about it, then remove yourself from such vile vermin.
    Have norwegian roots and nigla means to fuss about trifles. If this has any orher meaning of some peeps being a crybaby and a whiner, it is purely coincidental and I have nary a clue of any such hidden meanings.

  22. line correct says:

    Well people must think about this topic and decide what they need and what they want for real. Thus the is destined for this aims. Best wishes!

  23. To be sincere the information is new to me, so I should read more and then decide. Have a nice day.

  24. Excellent post, Here very interesting content I found.