Academic journal article Chicago Review

Loose Leaf. Biomechanical Almanac

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Loose Leaf. Biomechanical Almanac

Article excerpt

That a thing has as many sides as there are perspectives on it, and not the other way round, this we know. Here all metaphors lie in ambush. A bathtub, for instance, like a submarine, is a displaced womb, a metal casing with the invisible label: Rebirth. Even a treadmill, seen from different angles, is each time something different. For the hamster, a kind of pleasure machine, a rotating ladder of life; for the engineer, a mechanism for the release of muscle power; for the philosopher, perhaps a caricature of illusory perpetual motion. Or Pavlov's dog... Everybody knows that Pavlov was simply trying to examine the central nervous system of higher animals. One day, a dog stood in the contraption, and its saliva was funneled into a measuring device. Is it by accident that Bechterev first lectured on reflexology in 1917, the year of the October Revolution in Russia? Ten years later, the term collective reflexology is bandied about. The laboratory Pavlov dreamed of was a new structure with absolutely soundproof rooms.

In the tower of silence, the instincts of the social animal are replaced by conditioning.

It was Lenin's personal decision, during the civil war, to allow double food rations to Pavlov and his wife. …

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