We can neither love nor pity nor forgive, ...
I'm guilty of using the same expression, especially when someone insists their VW engine converted for flight produces some prodigious amount of power. Pointing out that engines can't lie... but people selling them can... usually gets me an angry message or two from someone insisting their converted VW really does produce a hundred horsepower or more. And the surest proof of that is the fact they own it... because if it didn't produce that amount of power it would mean they had been cheated, which is impossible because they happen to be a physician. Or an airline pilot. Or some wealthy champion of industry. Or whatever.
But such messages also tell me there's a lot of folks out there who have never read Kipling :-)
The Secret of the Machines(MODERN MACHINERY)
| WE WERE taken from the ore-bed and the mine, |
We were melted in the furnace and the pit—
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,
We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.
Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,
And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:
And now if you will set us to our task,
We will serve you four and twenty hours a day!
We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,
We can run and jump and swim and fly and dive,
We can see and hear and count and read and write!
Would you call a friend from half across the world?
You will find the Mauretania at the quay,
Till her captain turns the lever ‘neath his hand,
And the monstrous nine-decked city goes to sea.
Do you wish to make the mountains bare their head
Watch the iron-shouldered rocks lie down and quake
As the thirsty desert-level floods and fills,
And the valley we have dammed becomes a lake.
But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
It will vanish and the stars will shine again,
Because, for all our power and weight and size,
We are nothing more than children of your brain!