Johannes Barandun

photo neededIn hmolscience, Johannes Barandun (c.1850-c.1920) was a German-born American free thinker, editor, and philosopher noted for his 1910 article “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small”, wherein he addresses the question of what happens to the anthropomorphic concepts of life, soul, will, mind from matter, or "matter into mind" (as Barandun phrased it), etc., as one scales down the ladder of existence, or great chain of being, along the way citing precursor thinkers, in this area, such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Wilhelm Wundt, Ernst Haeckel, etc., to arrive at near-solution to vexing problems such as the origin of life (e.g. "life began with motion itself", as Barandun put it), the general outline of which, according to Paul Carus, is said to be thematically in the neighborhood of Goethe’s 1813-1830 Aristotle-Leibniz themed soul conversational discussions of his so-called entelechy-monad initial point chemical animation conceptualized theory (see: Goethe on the soul). [1]

Death | Terminology
Barandun, in introducing a closing quote from Lord Byron, equates “death” synonymously to “dissolution from other [well-developed molecules] units”. This, while interesting, in regards to life terminology upgrades, remains blurry, being that Barandun’s conceptual definitions of the terms “elements, chemical atoms, atoms, units, ultimate units, well-developed units, animate atoms, animated molecules, etc., is inconsistent, in some areas, with the modern definitions of atom, molecule, and chemical; to cite the main nonsensical passage: “we know these elements are composed of molecules, and these of chemical atoms—to be carefully distinguished from the atoms of which we shall have to speak on later.” Here, Barandun gives evidence of a rather blurry chemistry terminology conception. While we may excuse some of this terminology confusion to the time, i.e. the electron (J.J. Thomson, 1897) had only recently been discovered and the nucleus (Ernest Rutherford, 1909/1911) was in the midst of discover at the time of writing (see: Particle discovery timeline), other talk is a bit opaque, e.g. he seems to define himself either as a "unit" or a "well-developed molecule", but what he means by "elements being composed of molecules" (above quote) is inconsistent with modern terminology.

In 1910, Barandun was the editor of German periodical Free Thinkers (Friedenker), in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The following are noted quotes;

“Today the most eminent scientists think that these units, or atoms, are likewise formed by numerous minor units which are themselves aggregates of still smaller units, and so forth, down into the infinite depths of the infinitely small, until the ultimate essence is reached, which shows itself as energy, force or will (Schopenhauer's will-to-live), and which in no case can be a mere nothing.”
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 115)

“Thus we reach a much deeper and more worthy idea of life than a shallow materialistic philosophy possibly could. Assuming that each molecule preserves forever the inner (mental) world once acquired, and further assuming that it be at least as indestructible as the chemical atoms are supposed to be; then we would have in the whole universe, as far as it is in motion, an evolution of mental life, or an evolution of matter into mind. Every motion would produce concepts, at least in the molecules participating in it. The whole stellar world might then be regarded as a stupendous factory, where matter is changed into mind. Every motion, every feeling, every thought, would have a lasting importance which would reach far beyond our terrestrial life and perhaps out into eternity. In this connection many a reader will perhaps recall Haeckel’s ‘animated atoms’ (bescelte Atome) or Wundt’s ‘animated will-centers’ (Willenszentren).
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 116)

“It is also easy to be seen that the real origin of life is to be sought deep down in the wonderful small world. Life began with motion itself, as soon as concepts began to be formed in the original molecules. It is thus also easily to be inferred that there is life and motion, yea a species of concept life, even in the molecules composing the hardest stone or metals. Space does not permit us to cite examples here. Chemistry tells wonderful stories about the force of the ‘animated’ atoms. One gram of hydrogen, for instance, could produce sufficient heat to drive a steamer five times over the ocean.”
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 116-17)

“We may safely assume that the ‘changing of matter into mind’ (the production of concepts in the molecules) may have taken place long before our solar system was formed, and will go on taking place indefinitely.”
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 117)

“Suppose all those molecules, from the beginning till now and for all times, could unite and form a higher unity, this higher unity, containing all the animated molecules, would then be a kind of world-spirit or world-soul, the units (molecules) of which would all be in a certain sense individuals with their own independent inner life, and each individual or unit would know, according to its measure of capacity or inner life, all that the others know.”
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 117)

“A well-developed molecule or unit could survey all that had happened during countless ages, seeing it in the molecules then taking part in the process of evolution. Its whole surroundings would be something like a theater with ever changing scenery and actors ever new, and new units would continually arrive from all parts of our universe.”
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 117-18)

“We may also, thinking of the composite nature of the elements (see above), fancy the formation of different elements in different parts of space, which would lead to forms of life wholly incomprehensible to us. But to expound all these ideas, a whole book would be required.”
— Johannes Barandun (1810), “An Excursion into the Infinitely Small” (pg. 118)

1. (a) Carus, Paul. (1907). “Goethe’s Soul-Conception”, The Open Court, 21:745-51.
(b) Barandum, Johannes. (1910). “Excursion Into the Infinitely Small”, The Open Court, 24:114-18.
(c) Carus, Paul. (1910). “Have Atoms Souls?” (pdf), The Open Court, 24:119-22.

Further reading
● Barandun, Johannes. (1887). The early years of John Barandun: the adventurous experiences of Grisons emigrant at the beginning of the 19th century (Die Jugendjahre des Johannes Barandun: die abenteuerlichen Erlebnisse eines Bündner Auswanderers zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts). Publisher.
● Barandun, Johannes. (1888). Pegasus Under the Yoke (Pegasus im Joche). Publisher.

External links
Barandun, J. – WorldCat Identities.

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