August 5, 2007

The gemetron

Filed under: Humor — ubikcan @ 6:07 pm

The gemetron is an ancient Greek device for measuring the earth. Mentioned in ancient Greek texts, no one knows its precise function, but a clue is afforded by its etymology: “ge” (earth) and “metron” (measure). Thus the device could be said to take the measure of the earth.

Martin Heidegger, in his lectures, discusses this device and warns us that it was neither simple nor straightforward:

This measure-taking not only takes the measure of the earth, ge, and accordingly it is no mere geo-metry. Just as little does it ever take the measure of heaven, ourauos, for itself. Measure-taking is no science. Measure-taking gauges the between, which brings the two, heaven and earth, to one another. (In Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 219).

Here Heidegger clearly hints that the device could be used to measure the heavens and the “between” ie the way from earth to the heavens (stars). But he warns this is no mere star-map:

This measure-taking is in itself an authentic measure-taking, no mere gauging with ready-made measuring rods for the making of maps (p. 224).

We are left to conclude that if it was not a map or a tool for the making of maps, then it must have been the way itself. Was the gemetron a communication device? Heidegger clearly thinks so. He quotes the poet:

For the lightnings
Are the wrath of a god. The more something
Is invisible, the more it yields to what’s alien.

What remains alien to the god [explicates Heidegger], the sight of the sky–this is what is familiar to man…the poet calls, in the sights of the sky, that which in its very self-disclosure causes the appearance of that which conceals itself, and indeed as that which conceals itself. In the familiar appearances, the poet calls the alien… (p. 223).

The poet calls the alien in the “sights of the sky” from the familiar places (earth). When it is used, it causes lightnings like “the wrath of a god” (great energies must have been required). The gemetron was clearly a communication device!

It now looks as if this device has been found. Known as the “Antikythera mechanism” it was discovered near the island of Antikthera in 1900 by Greek divers and dated to about 150BC. Here is a scan of its interior:

This find throws out all we know about the ancients. We now know they had technology capable of calling the alien (obviously not literally aliens, but the other, the person on the other end) “in the sky” ie somebody elsewhere.

Who were the Greeks calling? We can’t say for sure. But wasn’t it around then that Atlantis disappeared?
Note for th0se who miss the humor tag: this is my weird sense of humor. However, the quotes from Holderlin/Heidegger are real, as is the Antikythera mechanism.

1 Comment »

  1. […] year at about this time I posted an entry riffing on the so-called “Antikythera Mechanism” a device that was found in 1900 by […]

    Pingback by Ancient Greek computer decyphered « ubikcan — July 30, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

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