Friday, 8 May 2015

material humiliations

that they are all glass, and therefore will suffer no man to come near them; that they are all cork, as light as feathers; others as heavy as lead; some are afraid their heads will fall off their shoulders,

glass delusion   1613

People feared that they were made of glass “and therefore likely to shatter into pieces". 

 anxiety of new materials:

alien implants- bio-telemetry
"subdued by "small earphones" placed behind his ears"

alien implants appear to be ordinary materials such as a shard of glass, a jagged piece of metal, and a carbon fiber. The objects are often found lodged in extremities such as noses, toes, hands and shins.
normal objects picked up during a fall or by walking barefoot often become surrounded by scar tissue.

A US town has rejected plans for solar panels amid fears they would 'suck up all the energy from the sun'

a posthuman collectivity, 

an "I" transformed into the "we" of autonomous agents operating together to make a self.


With the possible exceptions of the wolf, the raven and the crone, no one has a closer mythological connection with malevolence than the smith. One of the archetypes of northern European folklore is Wayland, the divine but evil blacksmith tutored by the trolls. He was maimed (becoming lame, like Hephaestus, the smith-god of the Greeks) and imprisoned by the legendary King Niduth, who forced him to use his magical skills to make trinkets for the court. The vengeful Wayland lured the king’s children into his forge, raped his daughter, killed his sons and turned their skulls into goblets from which the unwitting king drank. Then he fashioned himself a pair of wings and flew away cackling with delight. Throughout northern Europe his unquiet wight is said to haunt the Neolithic burial mounds reputed to be his smithies.
It is almost certainly Wayland who, in another incarnation, surfaces in the Fens of eastern England. There Will the smith, having been granted an extra life by the Devil, accumulated so much evil in his double span that he turned into the ghastly Will o’ the Wisp, the flickering blue flame of burning marsh gas.
There are stories of smiths using their powers to benign ends: St Dunstan, for example, seized the nose of the Devil (who came in the form of a beautiful temptress) in his blacksmith’s tongs. In other English folk tales a young man arrives at a forge and miraculously hammers an old horse into a young one, or an old woman into a lovely girl.
But these tales are far outnumbered by those which equate the smith with evil. Several tell of smiths entering into a pact with the Devil to get fire and the means of smelting metal; indeed it is arguable that the medieval vision of Hell represents the smith in his forge. His anti-Christian associations persisted into the 19th Century (there is still a sanitised version at Gretna Green today), when British couples who could not get the Church to bless their marriage would leap over a blacksmith’s forge together. In some parts of Britain, the introduction of iron tools was resisted for centuries, as farmers believed that the evil they contained would poison the soil.
Strikingly, archaeological evidence suggests that blacksmiths in Europe may, like the Nkunono, have been isolated, physically and culturally, from the remainder of their tribes. Iron Age forges appear to have been built outside the ramparts of settlements; the smiths’ ceramics, by contrast to those of the rest of society, are full of inclusions, suggesting that they did not have access to the same resources.

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