Revolutionaries of the Soul: Reflections on Magicians, Philosophers, and Occultists

By Gary Lachman

Explorers of occult mysteries and the perimeters of awareness swap the way in which we view not just the character of truth, but additionally our inner most experience of self. Insightful writer Gary Lachman offers punchy, enlightening, and interesting biographies of a few of the main influential esoteric luminaries in contemporary background. His sixteen matters contain Swedish mystical scientist Emanuel Swedenborg; H. P. Blavatsky, Russian cofounder of the Theosophical Society; Austrian thinker Rudolf Steiner, who encouraged the Waldorf institution of schooling; Swiss visionary C. G. Jung, founding father of intensity psychology; infamous English ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley; Russian esotericist P. D. Ouspensky, explicator of Gurdjieff's early works; and British psychic artist Dion Fortune, who was once influential within the glossy revival of magical arts.

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The Europe Swedenborg used to be purpose on conquering was once awakening to a appreciate mechanized marvels, equivalent to Jacques de Vaucason’s flute-playing android and mechanical excreting duck, and Wolfgang von Kempelen’s mechanical chess-playing Turk. Philip James de Loutherberg, Swedenborg’s pal and later the acquaintance of William Blake, could turn into well-known for the lights and sound results he created for David Garrick’s theater in Drury Lane. besides the fact that, none of Swedenborg’s principles acquired past his mind's eye: real to shape, his father mislaid all the drawings and calculations for his machines. In January 1716 Swedenborg went to paintings with Polhem, staying with him for 3 years, placing his mechanical ability to nice use. In 1717 the Swedish king Karl XII commissioned Polhem to construct a dry dock at Karlskrona; Swedenborg met the king and, at Polhem’s request, Karl XII appointed Swedenborg a different assessor on Sweden’s Board of Mines. different very important initiatives Swedenborg tackled have been the locks at the Trollhättan Canal, linking Stockholm with the North Sea; Sweden’s first salt works; and a extraordinary feat of engineering, during which Swedenborg controlled to maneuver the king’s military a few fifteen miles throughout land so as to defeat the Norwegians at Fredrikshald. In 1718 Karl XII died from a bullet to the top through the siege—it’s doubtful even if the shot got here from a Norwegian or a Swedish gun—and with the king’s loss of life, Swedenborg’s occupation as an engineer, and his organization with Polhem, ended. Swedenborg’s genuine ardour, his “ruling love” as he could later name it, was once for anything greater than invention and utilized technological know-how. He used to be passionate about the large questions: the that means of existence, the constitution of the cosmos, the place infinity ended. His paintings as assessor of mines appears like anything of a canopy. After leaving Polhem, Swedenborg took up his duties as a member of the Swedish nutrition. In 1719 the recent queen, Ulrika Eleonora, ennobled the households of Sweden’s bishops (this was once whilst the Swedbergs grew to become Swedenborgs) and Emanuel took his seat in the home of Nobles. He contributed very important papers on a couple of matters, fulfilled his tasks as a statesman, and used to be an exemplary assessor, yet his center and brain lay somewhere else. In 1734, while he was once forty-six, Swedenborg released his first significant clinical paintings, a three-volume opus entitled The Mineral state. components and 3 have been technical mineralogical treatises, facing the mining of iron and copper. half one, the foundations of average issues, or The Principia, was once dedicated to extra metaphysical ambitions. right here Swedenborg provided a conception concerning the nature of the universe. He additionally explored the query of ways the finite, actual global can originate in an unlimited, immaterial resource, that's, God. This used to be the start of Swedenborg’s lengthy quest to discover a systematic evidence of the soul. Swedenborg observed the constraints of the hot technological know-how emerging out of the paintings of Newton and Descartes. Newtonian technological know-how used to be content material to formulate legislation out of the facts provided to the senses, yet Swedenborg was resolute to get in the back of sensory phenomena with a view to arrive at their explanations.

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