Download Toward the Radical Center: A Karel Capek Reader by Peter Kussi, Arthur Miller PDF

By Peter Kussi, Arthur Miller

Capek's top performs, tales, and columns take us from the social contributions of clumsy humans to dramatic meditations on mortality and dedication. The Reader contains a new and, eventually, whole English translation of R.U.R., the play that brought the literary robot.

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Example text

Robots love nothing, not even themselves. And defiance? I don’t know; only rarely, every now and again— HELENA: What? HALLEMEIER: Nothing special. Occasionally they go crazy somehow. Something like epilepsy, you know? We call it Robotic Palsy. All of a sudden one of them goes and breaks whatever it has in its hand, stops working, gnashes its teeth — and we have to send it to the stamping-mill. Evidently a breakdown of the organism. DOMIN: A flaw in production. HELENA: No, no, that’s a soul! FABRY: You think a soul begins with a gnashing of teeth?

HELENA: I don’t understand. BUSMAN: Lord, Miss Glory. What this means is that we’ve 58 cut the cost of labor. Why even with fodder a Robot costs only three-quarters of a cent an hour. It’s really funny, Miss, how factories all over are going belly-up unless they’ve bought Robots to cut production costs. HELENA: Yes, and human workers are getting sacked. BUSMAN: Haha, that goes without saying. But in the meantime we’ve dropped five-hundred thousand tropical Robots on the Argentine pampas to tend the wheat.

We must introduce suffering. HELENA: Why— why— If you won’t give them souls, why do you want to give them pain? DR. GALL: For industrial reasons, Miss Glory. The Robots sometimes damage themselves because nothing hurts them. They stick their hands into machines, break their fingers, smash their heads, it’s all the same to them. We must give them pain; it’s a built-in safeguard against damage. HELENA: Will they be happier when they can feel pain? DR. GALL: On the contrary. But they will be technically more perfect.

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