Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Showing posts with label Sir Isaac Newton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sir Isaac Newton. Show all posts

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Awaken the Amnesiacs 10: The World of Machines and the Retired Engineer

Image from 2017's Cicada3301 rabbit hole, an online/real world code-breaking scavenger hunt. Some people believe that the Cicada online games are recruitment puzzles for an unknown organization. Image Source: Youtube.

This blog is named for a phrase written by Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) in his secret journals. In Yahuda MS 1.1, folio 16 recto, Newton wrote: "the holy Prophecies" of the Scripture are nothing else than "histories of things to come." He was using magic and religion to predict the future and the end of the world. The exact passage in his Untitled Treatise on Revelation (held at the National Library of Israel in the Yahuda manuscripts collection, as cited above; you can see the actual document here) reads:
Rules for interpreting the Apocalyps.

"12. The Construction of the Apocalyps after it is once deter {16r} mined must be made the rule of interpretations; And all interpretations rejected which agree not with it. That must not be strained to fit history but such things chosen out of history as are most suitable to that.

13. To interpret sacred Prophecies of the most considerable things & actions of those times to which they are applied. For if it would be weakness in an Historian whilst he writes of obscurer actions to let slip the greater, much less ought this to be supposed in the holy Prophesies which are no other then histories of things to come.

14. To proportion the most notable parts of Prophesy to the most notable parts of history, & the breaches made in a continued series of Prophesy to the changes made in history And to reject those interpretations where the parts and breaches of Prophesy do not thus bear a due proportion to the parts & changes in History. For if Historians divide their histories into Sections Chapters & Books at such periods of time where the less, greater & greatest revolutions begin or end; & to do otherwise would be improper: much more ought we to suppose that the holy Ghost observes this rule accurately in his prophetick dictates, since they are no other then histories of things to come. Thus by the great breaches made between the sixt & seventh seal by interposing the vision of the sealed saints, & between the sixt & seventh Trumpet by interposing the vision of the little book, that prophesy is divided into three cardinal parts, & the middle part subdivided by the little breach between the fourth & fift Trumpet made by interposition of the Angel crying Wo, & all the other seals & trumpets are as it were less sections. And therefore to these breaches & sections, according to the rule, must be adapted periods of time which intercede & disterminate proportional revolutions of history. Again if a Historian should use no proportion in his descriptions but magnify a less thing above a greater or attribute the more courage to the softer of two persons &c.: we {17r} should count it an argument of his unskilfulness. And therefore since the dictates of the Holy-Ghost are histories of things to come, such disproportions are not to be allowed in them. Thus in Daniel's vision of the four Beasts, it would be grosly absurd to interpret, as some Polititians of late have done, the fourth Beast of Antiochus Epiphanes & his successors; since that is described to be the most terrible, dreadfull, strong, & warlike Beast of all the four, & the Prophet dwels far longer upon the description of that then of all the others put together: whereas the kingdom of Antiochus Epiphanes & his successors was both less & weaker & less warlike then any of the three before him.

15. To chose those interpretations which without straining do most respect the church & argue the greatest wisdom & providence of God for preserving her in the truth. As he that would interpret the letters or actions of a very wise states man, so as thence to know the council wherewith they are guided & the designes he is driving on, must consider the main end to which they are directed & suppose they are such as most conduce to that end & argue the greatest wisdom & providence of the States-man in ordering them: so it is in these Prophesies. They are the counsels of God & so the most wise, & fittest for the end to which they are designed: And that end is the benefit of the Church to guide her & preserve her in the truth. For to this end are all the sacred prophesies in both the old and new Testament directed, as they that will consider them may easily perceive. Hence may appear the oversight of some interpreters whose interpretations if they were true would make the Apocalyps of little or no concernment to the Church. Perhaps what follows may be better inserted in the preface.

Yet I meane not that these Prophesies were intended to convert the whole world to the truth. For God is just as well as merciful, & punishes wickednes by hardening the wicked & {18r} visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children. But the designe of them is to try men & convert the best, so that the church may be purer & less mixed with Hypocrites & luke-warm persons. And for this end it is that they are wrapt up in obscurity, & so framed by the wisdom of God that the inconsiderate, the proud, the self-conceited, the presumptuous, the scholist, the sceptic, they whose judgments are ruled by their lusts, their interest, the fashions of the world, their esteem of men, the outward shew of thing or other prejudices, & all they who, of how pregnant natural parts soever they be, yet cannot discern the wisdom of God in the contrivance of the creation: that these men whose hearts are thus hardned in seeing should see & not perceive & in hearing should heare & not understand. For God has declared his intention in these prophesies to be as well that none of the wicked should understand as that the wise should understand, Dan: 12.

And hence I cannot but on this occasion reprove the blindness of a sort of men who although they have neither better nor other grounds for their faith then the Scribes & Pharisees had for their Traditions, yet are so pervers as to call upon other men for such a demonstration of the certainty of faith in the scriptures that a meer naturall man, how wicked soever, who will but read it, may judg of it & perceive the strength of it with as much perspicuity & certainty as he can a demonstration in Euclide. Are not these men like the Scribes & Pharisees who would not attend to the law & the Prophets but required a signe of Christ? Wherefore if Christ thought it just to deny a signe to that wicked & adulterate generation notwithstanding that they were God's own people, & the Catholique Church; much more may God think it just that this generation {19r} should be permitted to dy in their sins, who do not onely like the Scribes neglect but trample upon the law and the Prophets, & endeavour by all possible means to destroy the faith which men have in them, & to make them disregarded. I could wish they would consider how contrary it is to God's purpose that the truth of his religion should be as obvious & perspicuous to all men as a mathematical demonstration. Tis enough that it is able to move the assent of those which he hath chosen; & for the rest who are so incredulous, it is just that they should be permitted to dy in their sins. Here then is the wisdom of God, that he hath so framed the Scriptures as to discern between the good and the bad, that they should be demonstration to the one & foolishness to the other.

And from this consideration may also appear the vanity of those men who regard the splendor of churches & measure them by the external form & constitution. Whereas it is more agreable to God's designe that his church appear contemptible & scandalous to the world to try men. For this end doubtles he suffered the many revoltings of the Iewish Church under the Law, & for the same end was the grand Apostacy to happen under the gospel. Rev . If thou relyest upon the externall form of churches, the Learning of Scholars, the wisdom of statemen or of other men of Education; consider with thy self whither thou wouldest not have adhered to the scribes & Pharisees hadst thou lived in their days, & if this be thy case, then is it no better then theirs, & God may judg thee accordingly, unless thou chance to be on the right side, which as tis great odds may prove otherwise so if it should happen yet it would scarce excuse thy folly although it might something mitigate it.{/19r}{/18r}{/17r}{/16r}"
Newton's occult papers, some of which are now published online, were kept hidden for centuries. When these mysterious diaries resurfaced, about half of them were purchased in 1936 by the economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946); another large portion was collected by Abraham Shalom Yahuda (1877-1951). You can read details about the 1936 Sotheby's auction of Newton's 'Portsmouth Papers' here and here.

Isaac Newton, Untitled Treatise on Revelation, Yahuda MS 1.1, folio 16 recto (National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel). Published online June 2004. Click to enlarge.

It was Keynes who said that Newton “was not the first of the age of reason ... . He was the last of the magicians.” Keynes lectured on Newton in 1942 and 1943, waiting until the very end of his life to reveal this secret dimension of Newton's work. Prior to that, it was not public knowledge at all. The full text of Keynes's 1946 essay on 'Newton, the Man,' is here.

"much more ought we to suppose that the holy Ghost observes this rule accurately in his prophetick dictates, since they are no other then histories of things to come": Isaac Newton, Untitled Treatise on RevelationYahuda MS 1.1, folio 16 recto (National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel). Published online June 2004. Click to enlarge.

Thus, the title suits this blog, which considers present trends in terms of their potential historical significance and imagines their future consequences. However, this blog also has that name to ask its readers to reconsider ideas they take for granted.

The reason we are discussing Newton now is because his papers were kept hidden and not brought to public light at all until the 1990s. They weren't disseminated online until the 2000s. That is a long time for a central piece of information about the Scientific Revolution to be missing. Newton's private papers tell us how he arrived at his scientific breakthroughs, his methods, and his intentions.

Newton's occult works mean, plain as day, that the Scientific Revolution is not, and never was, what we were told it was. On the surface, Enlightenment principles of secularism and rationalism rejected God and mystical and religious ideas as fairy tales. Religion offered an infantile grasp of the world, beyond which we have matured and evolved.

This would be convincing if secularism and rationalism did not bear all the operational marks of a heretical cult, complete with a hard little esoteric nut at the centre, available only to the initiated. The supreme irony that the cult declares itself the ultimate-anti-cult does not make it any less cultish.

In the cult-like anti-cult atmosphere, anomalies sit out in the open and provoke occasional confusion before the rationalist mantras seal everything back up.

Why was the father of modern science also an alchemist and magician? The occult writings are explained away: Newton was an extremely intelligent, curious individual and he lived in times when religion and superstition had not been completely extracted from scientific thought.

Was Newton really the last of the magicians? The post-2008 economic recovery from the Great Recession was managed according to Keynesian principles. Why was Keynes, a famous thinker in modern economics, so fascinated by Newton's esoteric writings? Keynes's Newtonian occult collection is explained away: it was the economist's personal interest. Magic had and has nothing to do with Keynesian economics.

Well, look at the bottom of this post, and read the transcript from the lecture by German philosopher Jürgen Mittelstraß. He describes the occult distinction between macrocosm and microcosm, with its famous magical spell 'as above so below.' Ask yourself if that sounds anything like the distinction between macroeconomics and microeconomics.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Oldest Tree on Earth

A tree in the Methuselah Grove, California, USA. Image Source: Where Cool Things Happen.

Until 2012, the oldest confirmed tree in the world was 'Methuselah,' a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) tree growing high in the White Mountains of eastern California, USA. Methuselah is 4,848 years old. In 2012, a nearby tree of the same species was found to be 5,066 years old (germination in 3050 BCE). As you can see from the video below, hikers can visit the grove where Methuselah and other Great Basin bristlecones live, aged 1,000-5,000 years old, but the wardens will not identify Methuselah or its older relative for fear that the trees may be vandalized.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fifth Dimensional Memory and the Fortress of Solitude

Image Source: engadget.

In the quest to store information permanently, the University of Southampton has developed a memory chip so durable that it will last until after our sun burns out:
Using nanostructured glass, scientists from the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing. ...

Coined as the ‘Superman memory crystal’, as the glass memory has been compared to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, the data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

Professor Peter Kazansky, from the ORC, says: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

The researchers will present their research at the photonics industry's renowned SPIE Photonics West—The International Society for Optical Engineering Conference in San Francisco, USA this week. The invited paper, ‘5D Data Storage by Ultrafast Laser Writing in Glass’ will be presented on Wednesday 17 February [2016]. The team are now looking for industry partners to further develop and commercialise this ground-breaking new technology. Contact Professor Peter Kazansky to find out more. Learn more about the SPIE Photonics West conference and exhibition. Read about the special legacy gift presentation made to UNESCO in celebration of the IYL2015 [International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies 2015].
In a related report from 17 February 2016, Engadget revealed Southampton's curious mixed impulse toward the ultra-new and ever-permanent:
Researchers at the University of Southampton's Optical Research Center announced on Tuesday that they've perfected a technique that can record data in 5 dimensions and keep it safe for billions of years. The method etches data into a thermally stable disc using femtosecond laser bursts. The storage medium itself holds up to 360 TB per disc, can withstand temperatures up to 1000 degrees C and are estimated to last up to 13.8 billion years at room temperature without degrading.

Each file is comprised of three layers of nanoscale dots. The dots' side and orientations, as well as their position within the three standard dimensions, constitute its five dimensions. These dots change the polarization of light travelling through the disc which is read using a microscope and polarizer.

... In the three years since their first demonstration, they've ... recorded the entirety of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Newton's Opticks, Magna Carta and Kings James Bible.

"It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations," Professor Peter Kazansky from the ORC said in a statement. "This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we've learnt will not be forgotten."
To make their research accessible to the public, scientists exploit popular culture and so must not complain when the masses comprehend science with pseudoscientific labels and mystical weirdness. Tagging this memory chip with fifth dimensional capabilities shows the University of Southampton's media-savvy, and they have asked us to respond with one big "quantum wow." Anything in '5D' is incredibly popular right now; it is a pseudoscientific catch phrase, like 2016's anti-ageing creams, which claim to work by altering your DNA. Invoking the fifth dimension in a press release alludes to a gnostic vault up to a supra-spiritual existence. 5D is a loosely-grasped point of perspective, above regular three-dimensional reality and the fourth dimension of spacetime. I have previously alluded to 5D concepts herehere, here and here.

Superman in his polar citadel, the Fortress of Solitude, stocked with memory crystals. Image Source: Superman Homepage.

Southampton's optics researchers do not show much interest in the deeper meaning of durable memory, of what it means to preserve knowledge until after our sun burns out. If they knew anything about the Superman story, they would understand that crystallized memory implies a push beyond the normal human capacity to remember, toward the alienated superhuman, into the moral and physical challenges of permanent isolation.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Counting Down to Hallowe'en: Tarot Cards and the Art of Divination

The High Priestess of the Tarot Illuminati deck (2013). Image Source: The Tarot Review.

Welcome to this year's Hallowe'en Countdown! Be sure to check other blogs participating in this October-long blogathon, here. This year, countdown posts will appear every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the frightful holiday.

Today's post looks at how the tarot deck started with Renaissance social commentary and became a modern occult game which tells your future. During the Renaissance, tarot became less a card game about late medieval life and more a divinatory tool with alchemical symbols. Posing a question to cards is known as cartomancy, a partly rational, partly irrational exploration of the subconscious in relation to objectively- and subjectively-experienced time:
The divinatory meanings of the cards commonly used today are derived mostly from cartomancer Jean-Baptiste Alliette ([1738-1791] also known as Etteilla) and Mlle Marie-Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1776-1843). The belief in the divinatory meaning of the cards is closely associated with a belief in their occult, divine, and mystical properties: a belief constructed in the 18th century by prominent Protestant clerics and freemasons.
With this merger of social, historic and mystical ideas, tarot card games became associated with how an individual life can mesh with the world's larger destiny.

An example of how pre-Masonic alchemical knowledge from the Renaissance was embedded in the earliest tarot decks; this moment of illumination on the left is from the Rosary of the Philosophers (1550), but actually derives from earlier sources and was reproduced in the Sola Busca tarot in 1491 (the Three of Wands, or Clubs, on the right). Image Source: Sola Busca Tarot 1998. 

Illuminatio: the alchemical winged sun (an Egyptian symbol, later represented as variants of the Christian cross, see below) from the Rosary of the Philosophers (1550). "Some of the woodcut images have precedents in earlier (15th century) German alchemical literature, especially in the Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit ([The Book of the Holy Trinity] ca. 1410)." Image Source: Wiki.

"The winged sun is a symbol associated with divinity, royalty and power in the Ancient Near East." 'Winged Sun of Thebes' (from Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity by Samuel Sharpe, 1863). Image Source: Wiki.

Rosicrucian Christian play on the same symbol. Image Source: pinterest.

Comments on the 1912 Cagliostro deck reveal the nuances between famous tarot decks and their different origins and influences: "The deck is based upon the works of Papus (Gérard Anaclet-Vincent Encausse) who was a proponent of the works of Lévi. Qabalistic attributions are also based on Lévi, and the majors are numbered in the continental style. The keywords follow Etteilla. So how to read it? Like a[n occult] Wirth deck." This is the Hermit trump card, one of the major arcana, from the Cagliostro deck. Notice how the wicked are defeated when knowledge is inverted. Image Source: pinterest.

As far as we know, playing cards were likely invented in China in the 9th century; but they are not artifacts which would long survive and probably have an earlier history. Playing cards arrived in Europe, probably from India, in the 14th century. For cards from other regions of the world, such as Indian ganjifa cards, go here, here and here.

When it comes to tarot decks, you can look at the classics or neo-classics: there is the oldest known surviving whole deck, the alchemical Renaissance Sola Busca (circa 1491); reprinted by Wolfgang Mayer in an impressive limited edition in 1998); the Visconti-Sforza (15th century); the Scapini (15th century); the Minchiate (16th century - a larger deck which includes slightly different trumps, the signs of the zodiac, the four elements and four virtues); the Marseilles (16th century); the occult Etteilla (1791); the Classic (1835); the Soprafino (1835); the Rider-Waite (1910); the Cagliostro (1912); the Knapp (1929); the Thoth (1943); or the faux-antique Deck of the Bastard (2013), which reproduces many elements from earlier versions in a deck amateurs can actually use. Or you can look at the latest decks, which I do below the jump.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blue Sunsets in Crimson Skies

A blue Martian sunset in a red sky, photographed by Mars Pathfinder (August 1997). Image Source: NASA via Wiki.

Are you sick of the world's turmoil? Take a fresh perspective and go off world. What does the night sky look from the surface of Mars? Are the constellations different? Does astrology change? Below, see more Martian sunsets and the view of one of the Martian moons, Phobos, from the surface of the Red Planet. The sky on Mars, like the soil or regolith, is orange. At sunset, the sky turns crimson. Sunrises and sunsets are blue. Wiki:
Around sunset and sunrise the Martian sky is pinkish-red in color, but in the vicinity of the setting sun or rising sun it is blue. This is the exact opposite of the situation on Earth. However, during the day the sky is a yellow-brown "butterscotch" color. On Mars, Rayleigh scattering is usually a very small effect. It is believed that the color of the sky is caused by the presence of 1% by volume of magnetite in the dust particles. Twilight lasts a long time after the Sun has set and before it rises, because of all the dust in Mars's atmosphere. At times, the Martian sky takes on a violet color, due to scattering of light by very small water ice particles in clouds.
On Mars, the Earth appears as the 'morning star' and 'evening star,' just the way Venus appears to us before sunrise and sunset. Our planet is the second-brightest object in the Martian night sky. From Mars, you can also see the Terran moon:
An observer on Mars would be able to see the Moon orbiting around the Earth, and this would easily be visible to the naked eye. By contrast, observers on Earth cannot see any other planet's satellites with the naked eye.
The Martian sky at noon is yellow-brown, imaged by Mars Pathfinder (June 1999). Image Source: NASA via Wiki.

Martian sunset at Gusev Crater, photographed by Spirit rover (May 2005). Image Source: NASA via Wiki.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Photo of the Day: Newton in Space

Image Source: Koichi Wakata.

Today's photo was taken and posted on Twitter on 6 February 2014 by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. It is a spaceview from inside the International Space Station, looking at the rest of the station, the edge of earth in the background. The scene is sidelit by the sun; and there is an apple floating in zero gravity past the camera inside the spacecraft.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Plutonium at the Bay of Rainbows

The Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum). Image Source: NASA via Space.com.

Next month, China will launch an unmanned lander mission to the moon, which, if successful, will be the first non-crash landing on the moon since Apollo 17's 1972-1973 manned mission and Russia's unmanned Luna missions from the mid-1970s. Although the International Space Station has contributed invaluably to our knowledge of how to live in outer space, there is a sense now (not least with mythical movies like Apollo 18 - see my posts on that film, here and here) America got sidetracked when she abandoned the moon. Of course that myopic view also excludes NASA's great accomplishments in the exploration of Mars over the past twenty years.
Apollo 17 mission insignia. Image Source: Wiki.

Nevertheless, it was an American flag that was first planted on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Apollo 17 was also the most recent, and sixth, manned mission to the moon. For all Russia's contributions, humans had walked on the moon, and the moon was American! For over a generation, that claim has rested on laurels which lay neglected and undisturbed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Millennial Mysteries: Bizarre Twists, the Lost, the Missing

Plaque at the gate entrance to Disneyland. Image Source: Wiki.

Many people, at some point in their lives, enter a realm bounded by mystery. This is a famous theme in noir and horror movies. David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) explored what would happen if two 'normal,' 'everyday,' 'rational' people veered off into mystery.

Monday, December 31, 2012

On With the Old, On With the New

Image Source: Mama's Empty Nest.

As the world prepares to say farewell to the Mayan 2012 Year of Doom and the Fukushima Year of the Water Dragon and to hope for brighter and better things in 2013, I wonder how to welcome the future while retaining aspects of the past.

That got me thinking about the consistency of old attachments and friendships. The conventional wisdom is that clinging to the past is self-destructive. However, those of us lucky enough to have a person or people walk beside us through all adventures find a thread of continuity in life. They share a past with us and keep that past alive in the ever-changing present. It is the foundation we lay together, constant yet itself also evolving, that provides a thread of stability in a world that speeds to become as unrecognizable as quickly as possible.

Image Source: Super Me via Channel 4.

Even that continuity can be lost. After fellow actor and close friend Peter Cushing died, Christopher Lee remarked:
"I don't want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nuclear Culture 11: Why Cold Fusion Came to CERN

Cold fusion - holding the sun in the palm of your hand. Image Source: Discovery News.

On May 9, American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discussed Fukushima on a popular Californian radio program and claimed that the uranium core of Reactor #2 had completely liquefied while promoting his book, The Physics of the Future. The book predicts an incredible future, filled with remarkable technological gadgets. But Kaku's anticipated Singularity will not happen if we don't solve our energy crisis.

Certainly, public concern about nuclear power plants is intense. But why is a string field theorist talking in the popular media about the downfall of nuclear power? From the way Kaku approached the subject, including his comments on the San Onofre plant in California, it almost sounded as though he implied that that downfall is now an inevitable precondition for the exponential acceleration of tech and culture.

String theory attempts to reconcile General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Does Kaku's statement about Fukushima hint that quantum physicists are now reappraising 20th century nuclear physics and engineering as far as our energy problems are concerned?

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Survival skills muster, scheduled for 25-28 October 2012, Weatherford, Texas, USA. Image Source: ITS Tactical.

WTSHTF stands for 'When The Shit Hits The Fan.' For those who don't take the end of the world to be just a metaphor, a media concept, a nebulously-dated religious prophecy, or a highly unlikely asteroid collision (as predicted in this recent report (Hat tip: Lee Hamilton), about a possible 2040 space event that precedes Sir Isaac Newton's predicted end-of-times by 20 years), there is a whole world of message boards and Internet communities out there. In online lingo, someone who prepares for the end of the world is called a prepper. You can see some prepper forums and other relevant sites here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Survivalist forums anticipate everything from nuclear war to a massive solar storm that would wipe out all our tech devices and conceivably cause earthquakes and floods (although that environmental fear is disputed by scientists). This apocalyptic chatter has exploded online, partly as a reflection of the explosion of the Internet; the Web is there now, after all, and we have to talk about something on it, right?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sir Isaac Newton's Occult Studies Online

Newton's dog accidentally set fire to 20 years' of the great man's work. Image Source: Wiki.

Caption for the above image:  Artist's engraving [by Morel from 1874] of apocryphal story of Newton's pet dog knocking over a candle and setting fire to his papers. Sir Isaac Newton had on his table a pile of papers upon which were written calculations that had taken him twenty years to make. One evening, he left the room for a few minutes, and when he came back he found that his little dog "Diamond" had overturned a candle and set fire to the precious papers, of which nothing was left but a heap of ashes. It was then that he cried, "Oh, Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest what mischief thou hast done!" Story published in The Life of Sir Isaac Newton By David Brewster (1833) and later in St. Nicholas magazine, Vol. 5, No. 4, (February 1878).

Considering they provide the namesake of this blog, it took me awhile to search online for Newton's occult writings about the Philosopher's Stone (the mythical element that would turn lead to gold and provide a means to immortality), the Tarot, astrology, alchemy, magic, and the end of the world. Newton also wrote of Atlantis in his Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms. He concealed these works to avoid criticism. When he died, these papers were considered 'unfit to publish.' When they finally surfaced in 1936 after being kept for centuries in the Earl of Portsmouth's attic, they were auctioned. One of the people who eagerly bought and read Newton's secret writings was John Maynard Keynes - that is food for thought as the world's economic crisis deepens. After reading them, Keynes reportedly said, "Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

History's Most Famous Scientific Articles Online for Free

Galileo's sketches of the moon from the Starry Messenger, 1610. Image Source: Royal Society via BBC.

Some days, I am grateful I am living in the midst of the Technological Revolution. Britain's Royal Society has been publishing scientific papers since 1665 and has now made all its articles from some of history's greatest researchers and thinkers available for free online for the period from 1665 to 1941. The articles come from the Philosophical Transactions, the world's first scientific journal - and the Society has continuously published it ever since. Being able to read this journal at the click of a button is one of the better wonders of our technology. I09 reports:
When it comes to old academic societies, there isn't an organization on Earth that can hold a candle to Britain's Royal Society. Founded all the way back in 1660, The Royal Society has been pumping out peer-reviewed scientific literature since 1665, when the first edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society made its debut.

And today, almost 350 years later, The Royal Society has opened up his historical archive of journals to the public, free of charge.

All told, the fully searchable online archive comprises around 60,000 scientific papers. And while complimentary access is limited to those articles published before 1941, don't let that distract you from the incredible collection of publications included in the archive. ... Isaac Newton's first scientific paper ever? That's there.
See a further report on this at the BBC. In honour of the namesake of this blog, here are Newton's other Royal Society publications, or published commentaries or letters relating to him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blog's First Birthday: Notes on Newton

Godfrey Kneller's portrait of Sir Isaac Newton, aged 46 (1689). Image Source: Wiki.

This blog is one year old today.  It started with this post about Sir Isaac Newton - astronomer, mathematician, physicist and natural philosopher - who hid his analyses of the Bible and esoteric speculations on the end of the world for fear that he would lose face as a scientist. Despite his secrecy, he likely took these arcane musings as seriously as his scientific work.  His theories on religious symbols and occult theories, which he called Histories of Things to Come, were hidden away in a time capsule of sorts.  They did not become publicly available until our own time, that is, ironically, until the era which Newton believed would be affected by his predictions. 

What characterizes an era?  This was a great mind which straddled a time of belief, faith, magic and mysticism on the one hand - and a time of rationalism, empiricism and scientific method on the other.  Newton addressed both traditions with equal attention.  That divided condition resembles our own period, when the Information and Tech Revolutions represent the ultimate triumph of the Age of Rationalism.  It is such a momentous triumph that it threatens to tip us again into a period of mystical awareness.  The uncomfortable tension and overlap between sense and sensibility are everywhere.  The turn of the Millennium is a hybrid between Enlightenment and Romanticism.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read posts here on these subjects, whether they deal with one side of this polarity or the other.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time is Running Out? Time is Multi-Dimensional?

Image by David Hellman for the video game Braid © Microsoft Game Studios and Number None Inc.

Scientists have found that the expanding universe is speeding up at its outer edges, rather than slowing down as would be expected from a cosmos moving outward and away foom the source of the Big Bang.  At first, astronomers and physicists attributed this strange phenomenon to the influence of Dark Matter.  But since Dark Matter is an unknown quantity, cosmologists find themselves turning to quantum physicists, whose research with particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider are trying to find evidence for Dark Matter at the sub-atomic level.  When publicity over the LHC was heating up in 2007, some scientists announced alternate explanations for the accelerating edge of reality.  According to this report from the Telegraph and this article at the New Scientist, one team suggested that time is slowing down and will eventually run out, stopping the entire universe in a single, freeze-frame final moment (Professor José Senovilla, Marc Mars and Raül Vera of the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, and University of Salamanca, Spain).  Another scientist (Itzhak Bars of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles) has suggested that there are two or more dimensions of time.  For an explanation of Two-Time Physics, a theory which has been developing since 1995, go here.  Bars's work is another attempt to explain the Theory of Everything.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Arrow of Time - A Physics Problem Solved by Biologists?

Arrow of Time, by Vladimir Kush.

Yesterday, I blogged about Deepak Chopra's efforts to link problems related to theories of gravity to the Arrow of Time problems in physics.  This kind of speculation on the meaning and direction of time, if locked into the mysteries of how gravity works at macro- and microcosmic levels, will lend itself to debates on aging, consciousness and death - and thus to issues of spirituality and religion.  This is all pretty dicey.  Now enter the biologists.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How is Gravity Related to Time?

There are some strange, strange ideas floating around right now on the edges of quantum physics.  What's brewing is a peculiar and unfortunate marriage of science and religion, all of it hinging on the relationship between gravity and time. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Histories of Things to Come

This blog is named after Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of days, in which he described Histories of Things to Come.

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

Newton's work on the occult and alchemy - the problems of bridging mind and matter - hinged on his perception of time. To unlock the problem of time, he studied the Bible to try to pinpoint the end of the world. He knew that these esoteric and eccentric branches of research would be dismissed and did not publish them. Upon his death in 1727, his occult work was hidden in a locked chest in the home of the Earl of Portsmouth, where it remained until 1936. The contents were then split and auctioned at Sotheby's to two buyers and only recently came to light. A 2003 BBC documentary, Newton: The Dark Heretic, described Newton's predictions about the end of time.