Ab’s New Year Levee

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1 thought on “Ab’s New Year Levee

  1. smj

    the narrative says the alchemist franciscan monk, roger bacon (doctor mirabilis), wrote something to the effect that “theories supplied by reason should be verified by sensory data, aided by instruments, and corroborated by trustworthy witnesses” in his ‘opus majus’ way back in the 1300s. the narrative also says sir karl popper gave all the clever philosophical types his empirical falsification theory 700 fuckin years later…


    …roger the alchemist also made a brazen-headed automaton we’re told…

    “The heads were then ascribed to several of the major figures of the 12th- & 13th-century Renaissance, who introduced Europe to Arabian editions of Aristotelian logic and science, as well as the Muslims’ own work on mathematics, optics, and astronomy. These included Robert Grosseteste, Albertus Magnus, and most famously Roger Bacon. Grosseteste was said to have constructed “an hed of bras to… make it for to telle of suche thinges as befelle” over the course of seven years but then lost it through 30 seconds’ neglect. Its relics were supposedly held in a vault under Lincoln College. Reports that Albertus Magnus had a head with a human voice and breath and “a certain reasoning process” bestowed by a cacodemon eventually gave way to stories that he had built an entire automaton who was so overly talkative that his student Thomas Aquinas destroyed it for continually interrupting his train of thought. Bacon, with the help of a Friar Bungy or Bungay, was said to have spent seven years building one of the devices in order to discover whether it would be possible to render Britain impregnable by ringing it with a wall of brass. They only succeeded in their work once they compelled the assistance of a demon. Like Grosseteste before them, however, they were said to have missed the decisive moment, either from forgetfulness or exhaustion. Having missed it, the head either collapsed or exploded or was scrapped as useless.”



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