A modern interpretation of Robert Fludd's symbolic illustrations

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Date
2015-10-03
Authors
Diotallevi, Dante
Keyword
Alchemy , History of Science , Johannes Kepler , 17th Century , Synchronicity , Robert Fludd
Abstract
This thesis defends the worldview and reasoning of Robert Fludd through a detailed examination of his illustrations. I am continuing the work of Wolfgang Pauli, who wrote on Fludd’s polemic with Johannes Kepler. Diving into this fascinating event in the history of science, my contribution is a more detailed analysis of the mathematical dimension, particularly of arithmetic and the concept of number. I begin by giving the context of Fludd’s systematic philosophy. Following this is Fludd’s macrocosmic thesis of how the divine presence manifests in the external world. From this basis comes Fludd’s microcosmic thesis of how the divine presence manifests in the human being. Both theses have the same formal structure, which I have identified as a theoretical logistic. In contrast, Kepler pursued a practical logistic that led to formulation of his three astronomical laws. Each kind of logistic uses formal structures for different purposes, either for predicting regular patterns in sensible objects or for expressing subjective opinions and beliefs. The latter method has an ambiguous relationship with natural science since it relies on the idea acausal meaning. In the conclusion, I discuss this concept as it was articulated by Carl Jung. Combining this with Pauli’s historical thesis, I argue that the objectivity of scientific knowledge depends on both causal and acausal forms of meaning. While the causal is a conscious form of rational ordering (of light), the acausal is decidedly non-rational, hidden and unconscious (of dark). It is this darker side of the human being that the scientific worldview of the West has left unreconciled. In Fludd’s system, there is the potential for what Pauli called a ‘correction of earlier one-sidedness’, which Jung compared to the Eastern concept of Tao. I aim to demonstrate that unified meaning must include the acausal just as absolute systematicity must include the unsystematic.
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