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Home > Bibliography > Bibliography: Machinisme et philosophie (1938)

"Aristotle declares that slavery would cease to be necessary if only the shuttles and plectrums could set themselves going on their own. The idea accords admirably with his definition of the slave as animated instrument….By the same token, the ancient poet Pherecydes of Syros had told how the Dactyls, after building a new house for Zeus had fashioned for him male and female servants as well. We are in the realm of fable…. Yet before three centuries have passed, an Anthology poet, Antiphilos of Byzantium, offers a response to Aristotle by singing of the invention of the water mill, which liberates women from the arduous task of grinding: ‘Spare the hand that grinds the corn, O miller girles, and softly sleep. Let Chanticleer announce the morn in vain! Demeter has commanded that the girls’ work be done by Nymphs, and now they skip lightly over the wheels, so that the shaken axles revolve with their spokes and pull round the load of revolving stones. Let us live the life of our fathers, and let us rest from work and enjoy the gifts that Demeter sends us." p697


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