Deus ex machina is commonly translated as ‘god from the machine’. It is a term coined for a plot device whereby seemingly unsolvable plot tangles suddenly resolve themselves as the minutes and pages of books and plays run low. Invariably, this is by means previously unforeseen in the narrative, by the reader and in most cases, by the writer too. This contraption materialises and neatly wraps a transcendent bow about the waving strands of the story, bringing it to a rapid close, pleading silently with you not to ask awkward questions.
In today’s choreographed, mechanical and digitised culture, with its contrivance of solutions and longed for intervention from some hidden, divine and hopeful figure, is there a more apt expression of the current socio-political fen we find ourselves painted into today?
The manufactured agendas, the design of press officers and propagandists; the torch bearing mob-rule of anonymous followers, crushing reasoned debate and conversation; the tortuous distraction of discounts and vouchers, to spend on whatever you want so long as it’s explicitly prescribed; the silenced yet collapsing environment on which reliance is ultimately defined and ignored: none of it correlates with decency, kindness, transparency, generosity.
Are we now so magpied in our outlook to be unable to release ourselves to pursue something better, or can the voice that keeps crying above the screams of the throng, or the silenced journalist calling out through prison bars, or the beaten and determined campaigner standing tall in the face of denial and ridicule, eventually prevail and fill our atmosphere with solution and action? Can there be such a saviour, or is it all too late?
In this context, the term deus ex machina was chosen too for the possible connotations of the translated words, which lead to questions seeking to determine what could be the ‘machine’, and the ‘god’? Is our painting already varnished and complete, with elitist legislators as deity, and a monochrome peasantry as device, or are those rulers a contraption of popular design and utility? Is there a choice between a ‘them’, an ‘us’, or both, and who decides? Indeed, are both bourgeoisie and citizen crushed under the spell and thumb of malevolent monolithic forces sweeping all asunder with printing press and clanging bank vault doors?
We must find the contract we once held with ourselves, our leaders, our commentators and our peers, in asking if the world we exist in allows for us to derive physical solutions today from the now metaphysical histories of yesterday, and for whose benefit? If we do not ask, we become no more than a pawn in a game of media baron faux literature, lost amongst the mire of social shouting matches, chained up in sale queues outside retail monuments and melted to the screens of the next bigonlinebonanza. We have a power larger and wider, deeper and both more and less concentrated than ever before, and underwriting all of these communicative gestures, we continue to have hope.
Deus ex machina herein, then, is an attempt at an exploration of the very broad canvas of Today: Our politics, media, our elites and our hopes don’t hold answers or solutions, but this collection intends to attempt to hold the attention and engage with a few of the magnificent kind, caring, angry people that do still remain in the world, who also baulk at the rampant unfairness and inequality. If this collection forces a single individual to question what is enough for us, and on what side of history is the right place for us to be now, then it might just have been a half of a brush stroke towards a different future.
Deus ex machina is available to buy here on Amazon Kindle for £0.99, or here in multitude of formats on Smashwords and, in the spirit of this new social literary experience and community collaboration, you can determine how much you would like to pay. A proportion of all profit will be donated to charity