Paracelsus

Paracelsus nsIn existographies, Paracelsus (1493-1541) (IQ:175|#235) (Cattell 1000:553) [RGM:255|1,500+] (Murray 4000:5|M) (Gottlieb 1000:108) (GCE:25) [CR:72] was a Swiss physician-chemist noted for his early formulations of chemical affinity (Geoffroy's first law of affinity) and for his 1524 combination of Aristotle’s circa 350 BC four element theory with Geber’s circa 790 three principles. [1]

Goethe | Faust
It is know that Goethe, by age 18, had already begun studying Paracelsus (see: Goethe and chemistry). Knowledge of God, for Paracelsus, depended upon knowledge of nature. [7] This Paracelsian logic, or equivalently Spinozian-like logic, would, naturally enough, have attracted Goethe.

“The beginning of wisdom is the beginning of supernatural power.”
— Paracelsus (c.1530) [6]

Moreover, a number of scholars, e.g. Andrew Weeks (ΡΊ), surmise that Goethe drew on Paracelsus as a model for his character Faust, and or that overtime many of the historical attributes of Paracelsus attached themselves to the legend and persona of original Dr. Johann Faust. [7]

Human
Paracelsus, being a devout Christian, albeit who aimed at a physical science reinterpretation, like an early Pierre Teilhard so to speak, held the following views about what constitutes a person: [6]

“Besides the visible body, man has an invisible one. The former comes from the Limbus, the latter is made from the breath of God. As a breath is like nothing in our estimation, likewise this spiritual body is like nothing to our external senses. This invisible body is the one which is spoke of as constituting our corporeal form on the day of the resurrection.”

“Man has two spirits, a divine and a terrestrial spirit. The former is from the breath of God; the latter from the elements of the air and the fire. He ought to live according to the life of the divine spirit and not according to that of the animal.”

Here we see Paracelsus employing, in unwritten citation, the clay creation myth model of humans.

Paracelsus also stated his view that he considered Moses to have been a physicist and the Hebrews but ignorant people.

Gas | Coining
The etymology of the word “gas” stems from Paracelsus’ used of the word khaos, in the occult sense of "proper elements of spirits" or "ultra-rarified water". [4]

Life | Fire

On the topic of life, Paracelsus equated fire and life, in the logic that fire is life, and that whatever secrets fire truly bears the seed of life. [2]

Sulphur | Terra Pinguis → Phlogiston → Caloric → Entropy
In 1524, Paracelsus adopted Aristotle’s four element theory, but reasoned that they appeared in bodies as Geber’s three principles. Paracelsus saw these principles as fundamental, and justified them by recourse to the description of how wood burns in fire. Mercury included the cohesive principle, so that when it left in smoke the wood fell apart. Smoke represented the volatility (the mercury principle), the heat-giving flames represented flammability (sulphur), and the remnant ash represented solidity (salt). [3]

In 1669, German physician and chemist Johann Becher updated Paracelsus’ sulphur model of how things burn with a terra pinguis model of combustion, wherein terra pinguis was considered as the fatty, oily material substance of bodies that gives things the property of combustion.

In 1703, German chemist and physician Georg Stahl, one of Becher’s students, updated the terra pinguis model of with a phlogiston model of combustion. The deficiencies of this theory, as shown by experiment in later decades, led French chemist Antoine Lavoisier in the 1780s to develop the caloric theory of combustion. The deficiencies of this theory led German physicist Rudolf Clausius in the 1850s to develop an entropy model replacement for caloric and heat, which in turn gave birth to the science of thermodynamics (1865). [1]

Quotes | On
The following are quotes about Paracelsus:

“The writings of Paracelsus are especially distinguished by the short and concise manner in which his thoughts are expressed. In this regard they may be compared to some of the writings of Thales, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, and Hippocrates. There is no ambiguity in his expressions, and if we follow the roads which he indicated, progressing at the same time along the path of physical science, we shall find the richest of treasures buried at the places that he pointed out with his magic wand.”
— Franz Hartmann (1896), The Life and the Doctrines of Paracelsus

Quotes | By
The following are noted quotes:

“He who knows nothing, loves nothing. He who can do nothing understands nothing. He who understands nothing is worthless. But he who understands also love, notices, sees. The more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater the love. Anyone who imagines that all fruit ripen at the same time as the strawberries knows nothing about grapes.”
— Paracelsus (c.1530), quoted by Erich Fromm [5]

See also
● Entropy formulations

References
1. Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two) (Paracelsus, pgs. 383, 426; Section: Heat and Affinity, pgs. 426-36) (preview), (Google books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
2. (a) Bachelard, Gaston. (1938). The Psychoanalysis of Fire (pg. 73). Librairie Gallimard.
(b) Fernández-Galiano, Luis and Carino, Gina (translator) (2000). Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy (pg. 266). MIT Press.
3. Strathern, Paul. (200). Mendeleyev’s Dream – the Quest for the Elements. New York: Berkley Books.
4. Gas – Online Etymology Dictionary.
5. Fromm, Erich. (1956). The Art of Loving. Bloomsbury, 2000.
6. (a) Paracelsus. (c.1530). Paramir (i. 8.).
(b) Paracelsus. (c.1530). De Lunaticos.
(c) Hartmann, Franz. (1887). The Life of (breath of God, pgs. 86, 196). Publisher, 1896.
7. Brown, Jane K. (1986). Goethe’s Faust: the German Tragedy (pg. 72). Cornell University Press.

Further reading
● Ball, Philip. (2006). The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science. MacMillan.

External links
● Paracelsus – Wikipedia.

TDics icon ns

More pages