Go to the top

One machine can replace the labor work of fifty men. But even fifty machines cannot replace the intellectual work of one single man

April 07, 2018

Sriram Athri quotes the above lines to explain the importance of studies. He begins by saying Machines are the creation of man and they were created so that man’s work becomes easier. Machines are created in a way that they can replace the labor work of many men.  For example, it was very difficult for a man to lift up materials while building towers. It took a lot of strength, time and people to do the task. But with the innovation of cranes, the same work was easily done by just one man administrating the crane.  Similarly, plenty of other tasks are become easier because of machines. Take another example, with the use of the typewriter, the bankers had to re-write slips of each and every client. But with the innovation of computer and software, there is a ready format available and only details have to be filled.

Machines have indeed benefitted man a lot but there are still some things that machines can’t do. Basically, machines can do the labor work, but they can never do the intellectual work of a man.

So Sriram Athri says, ‘Learn to do something that cannot be done by anyone else. Focus on studies, learn different things, be sharp. Because if it is the intellect that can take you further. When you do just the labor work,  anyone or any machine can replace you at any point in time.  Today you might be needed to do it. But the innovation of a new machine might take away the work from you Because  One machine can replace the labor work of fifty men. But even fifty machines cannot replace the intellectual work of one single man

Some people argue that they have the strength and thus they don’t need intelligence or need to learn the intellectual work. Their strength is enough for taking them further in life. But in reality, intelligence can fill up the gap of strength but strength can never fulfill the emptiness of intelligence. Let me give you the example from a classic tale:

There was once a heated argument going between a person who had intelligence (Person I) and the person who had the strength (Person S)

S: I have the strength and you have knowledge. Let us shake hands and together rule the world.

I:  I have intelligence. I don’t need you to rule the world.

S: You won’t be able to do certain things unless you have strength and power.

(After arguing for a long time)

I: Fine, I am ready to work with you but first, you need to complete a task to prove what your strength can do, my intelligence cannot.

S: Sure, what is it?

I: Take this piece of cloth and throw it across the compound five meters away. Apply all the strength you have.  If you succeed, we will work together; if you fail then you know the answer.

S: This seems easy.

He tries to throw the cloth with as much force as he can apply but yet the cloth falls only a few centimeters away.

I: Takes a stone and wraps it in cloth and throws away and it easily crosses five meters.

S: realizes what Intelligent person was trying to teach him. What intelligence can do, even the strength cannot!

The above example explains what intelligence can do, can’t be competing. So it is better to focus on studies and be intellectual rather than thinking you can go aro