I've been scouring the internet trying to find a science fiction piece I remember reading when I was in elementary school.

It was very short and about how humans will evolve into machines leaving our flesh/physical bodies behind. Then, the machines would eventually wear/rust and the intelligence/consciousness would then leave as a spirit/ghost. The piece was predicting that this would be how humans progress.

I thought it was a popular poem/short story but I can't find it anywhere. I also thought it was authored by Asimov but I couldn't find anything.

I just graduated from college if that gives some perspective. I would say it was between 3rd and 7th grade for me--so it was between 2004-2009 that I had read this piece in school.

  • 1
    You say when you was in school when was that?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 22:51
  • I just graduated from college if that gives some perspective. I would say it was between 3rd and 7th grade for me--so between 2004-2009.
    – Jason
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 22:57
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    This was a common theme in Arthur Clarke's writing. Do you remember anything about the plot? Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 22:59
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    Are you sure this was a standalone work and not an extract from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
    – jwodder
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 23:01
  • 1
    @Jason sounds like you should write an answer to your own question - which is perfectly OK in stack exchange. Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


The piece is an extract from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was not a standalone piece of literature.

The passage I was trying to remember is as follows:

"There were other thinkers, Bowman also found, who held even more exotic views. They did not believe that really advanced beings would possess organic bodies at all. Sooner or later, as their scientific knowledge progressed, they would get rid of the fragile, disease-and-accident-prone homes that Nature had given them, and which doomed them to inevitable death. They would replace their natural bodies as they wore out - or perhaps even before that - by constructions of metal and plastic, and would thus achieve immortality. The brain might linger for a little while as the last remnant of the organic body, directing its mechanical limbs and observing the universe through its electronic senses - senses far finer and subtler than those that blind evolution could ever develop. Even on Earth, the first steps in this direction had been taken. There were millions of men, doomed in earlier ages, who now lived active and happy lives thanks to artificial limbs, kidneys, lungs, and hearts. To this process there could be only one conclusion - however far off it might be. And eventually even the brain might go. As the seat of consciousness, It was not essential; the development of electronic intelligence had proved that. The conflict between mind and machine might be resolved at last in the eternal truce of complete symbiosis. But was even this the end? A few mystically inclined biologists went still further. They speculated, taking their cues from the beliefs of many religions, that mind would eventually free itself from matter. The robot body, like the flesh-and-blood one, would be no more than a steppingstone to something which, long ago, men bad called "spirit." And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be God."

Thank you to @OrganicMarble and @jwodder for helping me find the source.

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