Tuesday, 9 June 2015

theogony or keep a lid on it

I had forgotten that even with not counting Bobo, the Olympian blacksmith Hephæstus was also the original robotic engineer, as the always interesting BLDGBlog points out in an excellent gloss reflecting on advances in the discipline and navigation that has many leads to follow.
Looking a little deeper into these Homeric references to automata, like the roving, tireless tripods and mechanical guard dogs that served on an unending security detail, I realised that Hephæstus’ other masterwork, in collaboration with sister Athena and under instruction of his father, Zeus, was the first mortal Woman, as company for the lowly creature called Man. Pandora was her name but she was not some clumsy fembot that bumbled into some pithos and released all evils into the world. Rather, according to Zeus’ instructions, Pandora (meaning “all gifts”) was meant to be Man’s punishment for having accepted the stolen goods from Prometheus (technology, for the flame was taken from Hephæstus’ own forge), fashioned of the clay of the earth but imbued with charms from each of the gods, beauty, wisdom, craftiness as well as long-suffering guile and unquenchable curiosity. Accounts vary, it seems, but somehow it was arranged to have Pandora and that infamous vessel in the same room, and all hell broke loose, except for Hope, which Pandora managed to trap before it too escaped into the now less than pristine ecology.