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The Earth

THE TOWER CLOCK

a parable (April 4, 1847)

[0.1] On a high tower in a city of that time, a duke had a magnificent clock erected. Since the tower was octagonal, he had a dial made on each of the eight faces that naturally fell between the eight corners, so that everyone could notice and see the hours from all possible points and see for themselves at what time of day it was, minute and second.

[0.2] In addition to the most precise division of time from the hour to the second, the clock also showed the monthly date, the position of the moon and also the position of the other planets, as well as the daily duration of light from the rising to the setting of the sun, and in addition also the four seasons - but of course, all these special astronomical data on separate astronomical dials attached under the main clock dial.

[0.3] In addition to all this clock showed on it's dials, it also had an excellent hour and quarter striking mechanism and a very pure chime mechanism - and for all this extremely complicated artificial mechanism, only one single driving weight; in short, this clock was looking in vain for it's equal anywhere in the whole educated world!

[0.4] But there is nothing wrong with that, nor with the fact that it performed such diverse services so extremely correctly; but that all these very different operations were set into the most appropriate motion by only one and the same driving weight - that was the real miracle of this clock.

[0.5] When a stranger came to this city, he first noticed the clock, and he asked the first person, how many mainsprings and weights this clock had. When he was told: "Only one!", he was completely dumbfounded and incredulous and said: "That is impossible! So many and so different operations and only one driving force? No, no, that's not possible, it's impossible!"

[0.6] Again, another stranger came and looked at the clock and was amazed when it was explained to him what the clock was doing. He thought that each dial must have it's own drive, which would mean that the tower would have to be stuffed with all kinds of different clocks. When it was explained to him, however, that there was only one drive mechanism moving all the hands, he was completely upset, because he thought that they were only joking with him because of his ignorance, and he went away and did not inquire further about this movement.

[0.7] And again another came from a foreign country and admired this clock and asked about the master of it, and he was given the answer: "The master of this clock was a very simple countryman, and it is not certain whether he knew how to read and write!"

[0.8] This correct answer infuriated the stranger so much that he kept quiet about it and soon left, saying that he had not come to be scolded for being such a stupid fool.

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