The scientific definition of a machine is any device that transmits or modifies energy. In common usage, the meaning is restricted to devices having rigid moving parts that perform or assist in performing some work. Machines normally require some energy source ("input") and always accomplish some sort of work ("output"). Devices with no rigid moving parts are commonly considered tools, or simply devices, not machines.
People have used mechanisms to amplify their abilities since before written records were available. Generally these devices decrease the amount of force required to do a given amount of work, alter the direction of the force, or transform one form of motion or energy into another. Modern power tools, automated machine tools, and human-operated power machinery are tools that are also machines. Machines used to transform heat or other energy into mechanical energy are known as engines.
From a Unification perspective, we can make the following points:
- A machine can be considered an extension of the human body. It enables us to perform tasks that would be physically and/or mentally challenging, doing them repetitively and at higher efficiency and productivity than humanly possible. In this manner, a machine reduces the energy and labor that humans would have to invest, and makes it possible to accomplish tasks that would seem well beyond the capabilities of the human body acting by itself. In this manner, machines free us of the drudgery of work and make it possible for us to spend more time with family and friends, and to develop our internal values of pursuing truth, beauty, and goodness.
- The invention and manufacture of machines is a manifestation of human intelligence, creativity, and responsible action. These attributes are linked to the human spiritual dimension and are far superior to the attributes of any other species that we know of. These attributes also reflect God's intelligence, creativity, and responsible efforts for the sake of His creation.
- A machine is not simply an external structure but it is designed and operates according to certain invisible scientific principles, guided by the designer and operator. Unification Thought points out that every entity has complementary internal and external aspects, and both need to work together for the entity to function properly. In the case of human beings, we have an invisible spirit as well as a visible physical body, and both need to work in harmony for us to achieve lasting happiness in our lives.
- The fields of science and engineering have led to a wide variety of machines used for many different tasks, contributing to amazing advances in our way of life. Thus these efforts serve the greater good of humanity. In Unification Thought terminology, these pursuits "serve the purpose of the whole."
- On the other hand, machines have also been designed and made to destroy people's lives and their property. This type of activity indicates our separation from God's heart of love for all humanity, and from our ignorance or denial of the fact that we are one global family under God's love. Unification Thought instructs us to make every effort to restore our relationship with God, so that we can understand and express His love more fully in our lives.
- By designing, manufacturing, and using machines for everyone's benefit, people can exert stewardship over the created world. This corresponds to what Unification Thought calls the fulfillment of God's Third Great Blessing to humanity.
- By using machines for the sake of the greater good, we reflect the nature of the Creator, who is committed to living for the benefit of all of creation. In this manner, we develop generosity of spirit and grow in our ability to bring God's love to others. In addition, we can create the climate in which others can experience and express God's love as well, and we can create an environment of peace and happiness in our world.