Sympathies Influences and Causes

Let us now try to assess the possible status of the doctrine of sympathies and influences in the general frame of contemporary science. The mechanistic conception, even when it accepted chance and irreversibility, only considered individual processes one at a time it had the truth of a description of the Adagio of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony considering one melodic line and one instrument at a time. It grasped something of reality and of its structure, but it missed, as it were, the orchestra...

Rhythm and Timbre in the Music of the Pulsars

Rather surprisingly, in 1967, centuries after the Music of the Stars had been relegated to the attic of obsolete fantastic notions, the discovery of pulsating stars, or pulsars, brought back to the stage features of processes in the universe that are akin to music. Pulsars send radio-wave signals at extremely regular intervals, between 1 30th of a second and 4 seconds. Their pulses, when received through a suitably tuned radio receiver, appear like bursts of very low frequencies (a few tens of...

Alchemy as Science

In order to proceed we should perhaps first answer another question what was really alchemy What were the alchemists looking for No clear-cut definition, as far as I know, is available, the more so as the secrets of the alchemical art were jealously guarded by those who had discovered them. Nevertheless, as should be clear from what we have already pointed out, enough is known to make a critical assessment possible. In every field of knowledge apt to qualify as a scientific discipline three...

Index of Names

Aristotle, 33-35, 52, 68, 72, 89, 91, 98, Augustine of Hippo, 175, 212, 235, 264, Bertalanffy, L. von, 15-6, 98, 205, 313, Del Re, G., 43, 69, 149, 226, 228, 265 Del Re, R., 263 Descartes, R., 9, 221-22, 245, 257, 331, 333, 361 Dewey, J., 10, 193, 337 Donne, J., 9 Eccles, J. C., 60, 97, 245, 328-29, 331, 333, 335, 342 Eddington, A. S., 92, 108, 158, 177, 297 Edison, T. A., 269, 271 Eigen, M., 65, 137-39 Einstein, A., 5, 34, 67, 89, 92-93, 148, 176-79, 265, 273, 347, 351, 365, 372, 379, 381, 391...

The Spirit of Alchemy

The considerations presented so far can be summarized as follows alchemy had a genuinely scientific interest in nature, which might partly explain its appeal for Albertus Magnus, Newton, and other men of the same caliber however, that aspect was so strictly combined with a particular view of the relation between the scientist and his experimental operations that one may well wonder if those great scientists would have been so attracted by alchemy had it been simply a collection of how-to...

Meta Scientific Principles and Beliefs

Mayer's principle is a quantitative law directly used in scientific research. But man, whether doing science or not, must rely on principles of other kinds. One such principle is the principle of unity of nature, which goes back to the beginning of history, and has been fully recovered by the new science reviewed in this book. It is meta-scientific meta is Greek for beyond because (i) it also applies to aspects of reality not covered by scientific theories, (ii) it is not a law establishing a...

Of Astronomy and Astrology

What the Dance image points to is, first of all, the existence of a general common pattern of change to which all objects, systems, and organisms conform. Wirth rightly says that this is a very ancient view. In fact, since the dawn of humanity, the sun was recognized as the heavenly object that determined day and night, and was somehow associated with the seasons and with the length of the year. The moon's periodic vanishing matched important cycles on earth fishermen must have realized quite...

The Divided Triangle Symbol of

Let us now turn to those symbols outside science which are associated with the most mysterious aspect of human nature our mythopoeic, mystical drives, which reveal the irrepressible feeling that a spiritual reality exists with which we share part of our existence. Madeleine Davy, in the book mentioned above, discusses many such symbols, most of them to be found in the medieval cathedrals of central Europe, for example, the cathedral of Reims. On one of those symbols, perhaps the simplest one,...

The Story of Rama

A dream about the relationship between man's understanding and the course of things in the universe was told by a British writer in a book which, despite interludes which are clearly concessions to the supposed tastes of today's readers, reveals a genuine poetical inspiration. One day in the near future, the astronomers of the solar system detect Rama, a mysterious asteroid from outer space approaching the sun at a speed just below that of light. Initially only the astronomers are interested in...

Fields and the Space Time Continuum

The anthropic principle expresses the unity of the universe with reference to the appearance of life. A completely different approach to that same notion was discovered much earlier by modern science with Einstein's general relativity and unified field theory, which in turn had its roots in the discovery of the electromagnetic field by James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1869).17 Although the notion of field has an intuitive quality, so much so that even many healers speak of cosmic energy fields and the...

The Mind as Intellect

Intelligence, will, and self-consciousness are usually assigned to that part of the soul which is called mind. A number of thinkers identify it with the intellect, the Greek vo j (nous). Within that view, we can give it the following tentative definition The word mind designates an immaterial object, which behaves as a system performing the functions which constitute the capacity, such as is found in human beings, 13. A great novelist's perception of this is the leitmotif of H. Hesse's...

Kircher the Wood and the Trees

From what we have seen so far, the active aspects of correspondences that are influences and sympathies might contain at least a grain of truth if, as MacDonald emphasizes in the epigraph to this chapter, they are associated with emotions aroused in a living being by the sight or contact of an object or a material. But if we go further, and consider inanimate objects, we find at least three difficulties the apparent arbitrariness of the associations, a large measure of confusion between...

Father Marin Mersenne and the Harmony of the World

The idea that things are somehow present in one another was essential to the rather confused theories of magic. This is why, despite the limitations of mechanism, one should take sides, as it were, with Father Mersenne, in his dispute in favor of mechanism with the Oxonian Rosicrucian Robert Fludd (1574-1637). Mersenne did believe in the harmony and hence the unity of the universe, but for him the latter implied coherence only inasmuch as it was the necessary consequence of the unitary design...

New Image of the World

Our ideas about the nature of the physical world have been dramatically affected by the latest advances of science. A central place is being taken by new notions, particularly biological evolution, emergence of order, deterministic chaos, the genetic code. As a result, a new conception of the world is taking shape, and promises to be extremely interesting, for it points to a direction opposing the ubiquitous specialization of our age indeed, it suggests the possibility of fitting together such...