By Dusan I. Bjelic
Examines the background of technological know-how in mild of contemporary theories of sexuality and the physique.
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Additional resources for Galileo's Pendulum: Science, Sexuality, and the Body-Instrument Link
While it was interpreted that a celibate person made the clock of human time stop in his or her heart by abandoning marriage, allowing the person to be “’on the frontier’ of another world,” those who opted for marriage and procreation “sought,” Peter Brown argues, “frantically to soften the somber tick of the clock of death by . . ”19 In both cases, however, the choice for procreation or abstinence rested on one’s interpretation of time. The clock in a monastery or a bedroom, then, was not only symptomatic of modernity, but also of the intricate relation between the conceptualization of time and the regimentation of pleasure.
PA R T O N E Pleasure This page intentionally left blank. ONE Time, Pleasure, and Knowledge A bob attached to a string fixed to a permanent point vibrates until, influenced by gravity, it rests at the lowest position—this short description sums up the plain mechanics of Galileo’s pendulum. Its material austerity was lush in sexuality as much as in mathematics. In the Neoplatonic worldview, the two do not exclude one another. Because of the fusion between pleasure and abstract rules, Galileo’s pendulum resembled the body of a Christian monk.
Margaret C. Jacob, for one, stresses the role of pornography in formulating the “new mechanics” of the seventeenth century. She states: “pornography . . has never been imagined as relevant. ”7 Neoplatonism has, after all, been credited by historians for both the birth of scientific objectivity and the birth of pornography. ”8 In her “Introduction” to I modi, the first erotic book of the Italian Renaissance, Lynne Lawner, like Findlen, links Renaissance erotic literature to a Neoplatonic revival of Greek geometry.
Galileo's Pendulum: Science, Sexuality, and the Body-Instrument Link by Dusan I. Bjelic
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