i've just realised Stan is actually Gradgrind from the novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens and he is a mouthpiece for the same Totalising Techno-Optimism that was endemic to the Age of Industry.
"He’s afraid of the way the glass will fall – soon – it will be a spectacle: the fall of a crystal palace. But coming down in total blackout, without one glint of light, only great invisible crashing."The first section of Notes from Underground is about this too. The Crystal Palace which is the human ant hill.