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Author Topic: A L C H E M Y  (Read 1382 times)
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2007, 10:48:24 pm »

                             I S A A C   N E W T O N   -   T H E   A L C H E M I S T


Sir Isaac Newton, the famous seventeenth-century mathematician and scientist, though not generally known as an alchemist, practiced the art with a passion. Though he wrote over a million words on the subject, after his death in 1727, the Royal Society deemed that they were "not fit to be printed." The papers were rediscovered in the middle of the twentieth century and most scholars now concede that Newton was first and foremost an alchemist.  It is also becoming obvious that the inspiration for Newton's laws of light and theory of gravity came from his alche- mical work. 

If one looks carefully, in the light of alchemical knowledge, at the definitive biography, Sir Isaac Newton by J.W.V. Sullivan, it is quite easy to realize the alchemical theories from which he was working. Sir Arthur Eddington, in reviewing this book, says: "The science in which Newton seems to have been chiefly interested, and on which he spent most of his time was Alchemy. He read widely and made innumerable experiments, entirely without fruit so far as we know." One of his servants records: "He very rarely went to bed until two or three of the clock, sometimes not till five or six, lying about four or five hours, especially at springtime or autumn, at which time he used to employ about six weeks in his laboratory, the fire scarce going out night or day. What his aim might be, I was unable to penetrate into."
                                                                                                                                                        The answer is that Newton's experiments were concerned with nothing more or less than Alchemy. (from Alchemy    Rediscovered and Restored by A. Cockren)

As a practicing Alchemist, Newton spent days locked up in his laboratory, and not a few have suggested that he finally succeeded in transmuting lead into gold. Perhaps that explains one of the oddest things about his life. At the height of his career, instead of accepting a professorship at Cambridge, he was appointed Director of the Mint with the responsibility of securing and accounting for England's repository of gold.

In fact, Newton -- the revered founder of modern science and the mechanistic universe -- also ranks as one of the greatest spiritual alchemists of all time. In his The Religion of Isaac Newton (Oxford 1974), F.E. Manuel concluded: "The more Newton's theological and alchemical, chronological and mythological work is examined as a whole corpus, set by the side of his science, the more apparent it becomes that in his moments of grandeur he saw himself as the last of the interpreters of God's will in actions, living on the fulfillment of times."
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 09:17:30 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2007, 10:50:46 pm »

ISAAC NEWTON - THE ALCHEMIST                                                                         continued

The Hermetic Tradition

This view has become more accepted in recent years, as more of Newton's private papers and alchemical treatises are being reexamined. "Like all European Alchemists from the Dark Ages to the beginning of the scientific era and beyond," states Michael White in Isaac Newton:The Last Sorcerer (Addison Wesley 1997), "Newton was motivated by a deep-rooted commitment to the notion that alchemical wisdom extended back to ancient times. The Hermetic tradition -- the body of alchemical knowledge -- was believed to have originated in the mists of time and to have been given to humanity through supernatural agents." 

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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2007, 10:52:28 pm »

ISAAC NEWTON-THE ALCHEMIST                                                                      continued

Newton's Translation of the Emerald Tablet

"It is true without lying, certain and most true. That which is Below is like that which is Above and that which is Above is like that which is Below to do the miracles of the Only Thing. And as all things have been and arose from One by the mediation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation. The Sun is its father; the Moon its mother; the Wind hath carried it in its belly; the Earth is its nurse. The father of all perfection in the whole world is here. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into Earth. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the gross, sweetly with great industry. It ascends from the Earth to the Heavens and again it descends to the Earth and receives the force of things superior and inferior. By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world and thereby all obscurity shall fly from you. Its force is above all force, for it vanquishes every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing. So was the world created. From this are and do come admirable adaptations, whereof the process is here in this. Hence am I called Hermes Trismegistus, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished and ended."  
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2007, 10:54:33 pm »

ISAAC NEWTON-THE ALCHEMIST                                                                    continued

Newton on Keeping Alchemy Secret

Isaac Newton wrote fellow alchemist Robert Boyle a letter urging him to keep "high silence" in publicly discussing the Principles of Alchemy. "Because the way by the Mercurial principle may be impregnated has been thought fit to be concealed by others that have know it," Newton wrote, "and therefore may possibly be an inlet to something more noble that is not to be communicated without immense damage to the world if there be any verity in [the warning of the] Hermetic writers. There are other things besides the transmutation of metals which none but they understand."

According to B.J.T. Dobbs in "The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy" (Cambridge University Press, 1984), "The fact that Newton never published a work on Alchemy cannot be taken to mean that he knew he had failed  [at the Great Work]. On the contrary, it probably means that he had enough success to think that he might be on the track of something of fundamental importance and so had good reason for keeping his 'high silence,' even though there is nothing to indicate that he himself was searching for that mysterious "inlet to something more noble."   
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« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2007, 10:59:28 pm »

ISAAC NEWTON-THE ALCHEMIST                                                                       continued

For two centuries after his death in 1727, Isaac Newton was hailed as the Supreme Scientist, a Monarch of the Age of Reason and the Initiator of the Scientific and the Industrial Revolutions, of Modernity itself.

 On one popular list of the hundred most influential people in history, Newton placed No. 2, behind Mohammed but ahead of Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                           

But In 1936 an interesting lot came on the block at Sotheby's in London containing a cache of writings by Newton -- journals and personal notebooks deemed to be "of no scientific value." The winning bidder was the economist John Maynard Keynes. After perusing his purchase, Keynes delivered a somewhat shocking lecture to the Royal Society Club in 1942, on the tercentenary of Newton's birth. "Newton was not the first of the age of reason," Keynes announced:   "He was the Last of the Magicians."

This was meant quite literally, as was a statement expressed by the poet Wordsworth that Newton had a mind "forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone." For the "Secret Writings" made it clear that during the crucial part of Newton's scientific career -- the two decades between his discovery of the Law of Gravity and the publication of his masterwork, the "Principia Mathematica" -- his consuming passion was Alchemy. Bunkered in his solitary live-in lab at the edge of the fens near Cambridge, Newton indulged in occult literature and strove to cook up the legendary "Philosopher's Stone" that would convert base metals into gold.

And a penchant for the occult was not Newton's only quirk. He is reported to have laughed just once in his life-when someone asked him what use he saw in Euclid. He took to decorating his rooms in crimson. He stuck a knife behind his eyeball to induce optical effects, nearly blinding himself. He was a Catholic-hating Puritan who secretly subscribed to the Arian Heresy, which denied the Divinity of Christ.                                                           

Newton was also given to endless feuding. He seems to have had only two romantic attachments, both with younger males, and suffered a paranoiac breakdown after the second came to rupture.

The key to Newton's Theory of Gravity was the idea that one body could attract another across empty space. To Newton's great contemporaries, Descartes and Leibniz, this notion was medieval and magical; they subscribed exclusively to "mechanical" explanations, in which bodies influenced one another only by a direct series of pushes and pulls.

Grand as it was, Newton's "Principia" left a few loose ends in the Celestial Scheme. These loose ends though were soon knit together by the so-called Newton of France, Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827). In fact, it took Laplace five thick volumes of "Celestial Mechanics" to show that the mutual gravitational tugging among the planets would not cause the solar system to crack up, as Newton feared. When he gave a couple of these volumes to his friend Napoleon shortly before the latter's Coup d'Etat, the future emperor promised to read them "in the first six months I have free."

Napoleon did glance through the volumes, for he later asked Laplace just where God fit into the perfected Newtonian system. "I had no need of that hypothesis," Laplace famously replied.


Source: The Wall Street Journal Bookshelf, February 19, 1998 pg. A20
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 09:29:27 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2007, 01:50:19 pm »


An alchemist was a person versed in the art of alchemy, an ancient branch of natural philosophy that eventually evolved into chemistry and pharmacology. Alchemy flourished in the Islamic world during the Middle Ages, and then in Europe from the 13th to the 18th centuries. We know the names and doings of a large number of alchemists, thanks to the numerous alchemical manuscript and books that survived; some of those names are listed below. It must be kept in mind however that the vast majority of old alchemists, being self-taught and more bent on experimenting than writing, have left no trace in history.

Middle East

Geber / Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815)
Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (864-930)
Avicenna - Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (985-1037)

Classical and Roman Empire

Plato (ca. 360 BC)
Olympiodorus of Thebes (ca. 400)
Albertus Magnus (1193-1280)
Roger Bacon (1220- 1292)
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Arnald of Villanova (1240-1311)
Nicolas Flamel (1330-1418) - 5 Files
Basil Valentine (supposed 15th cent.) The 12 Keys - 2 Files
Georg Agricola (1494-1555)
Paracelsus (1493-1541]
Valentin Weigel (1533-1588) - 2 Files
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)
John Dee (1527-1608)
Edward Kelley (1555-1595)
Jacob Bohmen (1575 - 1624)
Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605)
Michal Sedziwoj (1566-1636)
Jan Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644)
Robert Boyle (1626-1691)
John Mayow (1641-1679)
Isaac Newton (1642 -1727) - 2 Files
Count Alessandro de Cagliostro (1743-1795)
Count of Saint Germain (18th Century)
Demosthenes - The Alchemist God
Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre The Archeometre (1842-1909)
Carl Jung


« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 11:56:28 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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