The Sphere Also Gazes Into You...

Pursue understanding. Deconstruct systems in order to taste building blocks. Happiness waits else/everywhere. And the heart(h). Do spheres not pull at each other?
Moby-Dick, Forward

Read the Printed Word!
Photobucket
Recent Tweets @snagamat
Posts I Like
Who I Follow

King Mu of Zhou is entertained by a woman playing the guzheng. King Mu of Zhou, also known as Mu Wang, fifth sovereign of the Zhou dynasty of China reigned 976 B.C.E. - 922 B.C.E.

Why do we care about King Mu of Zhou in the midst of our robot week?

In ancient China, a curious account on automata is found in the Lie Zi text, written in the 3rd century BC. Within it there is a description of a much earlier encounter between King Mu of Zhou (1023-957 BC) and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an ‘artificer’. The latter proudly presented the king with a life-size, human-shaped figure of his mechanical handiwork.

The king stared at the figure in astonishment. It walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for a live human being. The artificer touched its chin, and it began singing, perfectly in tune. He touched its hand, and it began posturing, keeping perfect time…As the performance was drawing to an end, the robot winked its eye and made advances to the ladies in attendance, whereupon the king became incensed and would have had Yen Shih [Yan Shi] executed on the spot had not the latter, in mortal fear, instantly taken the robot to pieces to let him see what it really was. And, indeed, it turned out to be only a construction of leather, wood, glue and lacquer, variously coloured white, black, red and blue. Examining it closely, the king found all the internal organs complete—liver, gall, heart, lungs, spleen, kidneys, stomach and intestines; and over these again, muscles, bones and limbs with their joints, skin, teeth and hair, all of them artificial…The king tried the effect of taking away the heart, and found that the mouth could no longer speak; he took away the liver and the eyes could no longer see; he took away the kidneys and the legs lost their power of locomotion. The king was delighted.

(Needham, Joseph (1991). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 2, History of Scientific Thought. Cambridge University Press.)

  1. hoomanao posted this