The teaching about the art of war is embodied in the war machines that look like men. The name terminator points both to killing & to reaching the end, which may mean death as well. But the word robot comes from labor. Together, they describe bleakly war. Those who do not think their good requires the death of others do not need the arts of war; those who are not habituated to such thoughts & to the suffering required to habituate the body to endurance & the military virtues cannot understand war.
Technology shows even us how much science & hence knowledge is required for war. War is far from irrational. That people learn to wage it, that some do it better than others, & more successfully, that they teach others to do it & train armies & command them: all these things go far to prove that the human beings can acquire knowledge of war.
The teaching about men is more startling. The boy’s mother went crazy & ended up in an insane asylum. She failed to destroy the robot factory; she is sometimes hysterical & lost her son. Rescued, she tells her son that he is too important to risk his life. I wonder how far a general could get telling his troops that their lives can be lost, but not his. And yet what army would have soul without a general? This woman plays father to her boy, badly. She thinks the robot can play father better.
The boy has one discussion with the robot, when he learns it follows his orders. He tells a war machine to stop killing; it asks why. The boy does not know; he tells it to trust him. To make sure the robot will obey the order, he asks him to swear. It answers unmoved. The boy says that the human beings fear death & this is why they cry. It answers unmoved. God & soul are the opposite of science.
It is an obvious think to remark: poetry can no more take the part of science than science can concoct likely stories. Poetry is partisan: it argues for moral control over science, exercised by men taught by poets. Above all, poetry always seems to emphasize the importance of that part of the world that belongs to us. From the point of view of poetry, objectivity is a defect, a form of incompetence or blindness. Scientific misunderstanding of the particular humanity of the human beings which poetry alone reveals & educates leads to the delusion that deeds & speeches eventually become the same. That the real becomes the rational. Poetry creates likely stories & therefore defends us from this terror.