Puzzling It Out
Homo divinus had loosened the reign with the Age of Reason Pivot. Animal magnetism was part of that jumbled mess that was being sorted through during the height of the Age of Reason. The initial few hammer blows against the static dogmatic world by Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, and the rest had now broken holes in the wall and many of Natures Secrets were giving way to homo sapien observation and logic.
All the various pursuits of knowledge which The Powers That Be (TPTB) drove underground and out of proper society came out of the shadows and started vying for acceptability like bootleggers when Prohibition ended. Astrology led the way, going legit by legally changing its name to Astronomy and putting on a respectable suit rather than a fancy robe with stars and piping. Next, Alchemy became chemistry, going from dark smoky towers, caves, and dungeons to bright shiny laboratories. Next on the list was Electromagnetism.
Time to Go Legit
Unlike Astronomy and Chemistry, Electromagnetism had no immediate precursor, pulling from many different pursuits of knowledge, from Light to Elan Vital. Starting from a chaotic muck put Electromagnetism well behind spinning its wheels trying to get some momentum going.
Franz Mesmer was one of the many who were exploring the various aspects of electromagnetism, especially its interactions with living beings (that’s a harder approach than trying to deal with inanimate objects, which are MUCH less disagreeable and unruly). Franz became a doctor able to treat homo sapiens by writing a dissertation about how the tides produced by the Sun, Moon, and planets impacted the body and health, so it wasn’t a stretch for him to switch from gravity affecting the body to electromagnetism doing so.
Franz tested his theories by having his patients drink solutions high in iron, and low and behold, they felt something when Franz passed magnets over them (likely that had something to do with all the iron they drank). Franz also happened to be a great showman, so he was able to focus his patients’ attention and belief, hypnotizing (though it wasn’t called that yet) them and activating their Placebo Effect
(which is 30% of ALL medical care). Unfortunately for Franz, he had a WHOLE LOT of Effects going on and he did a lot of false attribution. His motives were not bad, but his execution was flawed.
Franz soon noticed that the iron and magnets were much less needed than HE was, so he started to think that HE had special magnetic powers (i.e. he was an “animal magnet”). At this point, Franz had moved past science and well into “cult of personality”.
Hypnotism NOT Mesmerism
Hypnotism was a retrenching, a fall back to a more easily defended position after Franz had Mesmerism push the front far enough to secure the Hypnotism its forward base. Hypnotism was little but rebranded Animal Magnetism/Mesmerism with some less outlandish claims removed. The new Hypnotists proclaimed profusely “THAT Mesmerism stuff is bogus, Hypnotism is the real thing.” The sacrifice made for Hypnotism’s credibility was being considered ONLY a mental phenomenon, nothing physical involved.
This is the compromise that is usually come to when irrefutable evidence exists which The Powers That Be find cumbersome. Inconvenient evidence is repackaged in a benign format which is kept on the fringes of respectability, but not shown the door. This allows that annoying inconvenience to be manageable and not fester into a greater problem.
Franz was wrestling with the totality of being, that which is greater than the “sum of the parts” so to speak, from the subjective aspects of it. The essence of the Age of Reason was NOT the Holism Mesmer championed, but Reductionism with its recipe of dissect and identify. Franz making the mistakes and false attributions he did opened the way for the objective alternative to win acceptance over the subjectivity Franz had championed.
This resulted in a pulling apart in society of the objective from the subjective. The objective in Astronomy, Chemistry, and Electromagnetism were ENORMOUS demonstrable successes, but they utterly failed to explain the subjective realm in any way but reflection. Command of the objective realm was mastered at the cost of even recognizing the subjective existed any more.
The Door Is Ajar
James Clerk Maxwell was the scientist who championed the objective cause and brought home Electromagnetic Theory, just like Newton brought home the Theory of Gravity, and Einstein brought home Special and General Relativity. Max was a great synthesizer, bringing all the various ideas and experiments together into one beautiful package.
The problem with Max’s theory was that he wrote it in a new mathematical language, quarterions that very few people understood (they were still using the old partial differential equation approach). People had been bugging Max to rewrite his theories in the old style, and after decades of resisting, he started translating his ideas to a foreign mathematical language from the native one in which he wrote them.
Unfortunately for Max, he discovered that he had stomach cancer and died mid-project at 48 (the EXACT same age that his mother died of stomach cancer, which smells strongly of homo divinus involvement). With Max unable to complete the desperately needed translation of his work (dead will do that), Max’s chief rivals stepped in to do the job. They took Max’s 20 quarterion equations with 20 variables into FOUR partial differential equations (needless to say, some things were “lost in translation”).
For the last 150 years, science has been using neutered equations to understand Reality. Scientists have been thinking in less than HALF the dimensions contained in Max’s Laws of Electromagnetism. Science has found wonders exploring the limited amount of the window Max’s equations opened to homo sapiens. Homo divinus only knows what we will find when we explore the REST of what Max saw.
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