Monday, 25 July 2016

glaubengeist or calling doctor bombay

Via Strange Company’s weekly link amalgamation, comes an interesting look into the rebellious character of early Renaissance Swiss alchemist and physician Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim—better known by the handle Paracelsus (for surpassing Aulis Cornelius Celsus, the heretofore authoritative source on anatomy and medicine from Ancient Rome), whose unflagging disdain for convention and endless curiosity places his genius up there with his less well traveled (engaged as a field surgeon) but better-known contemporaries Copernicus and da Vinci.
Though criticised by the establishment for rough-manners, constant drunkenness and sacrilege, Paracelsus’ scientific approach that held no deference to past experts (scholastics) and experimentation brought about the discovery of toxicology when most alchemists—not to mention gold- and silversmiths, were content to douse themselves with lethal doses of poisons and the concept of the Glaubengeist: not that the agents of disease were purely of a psychical nature nor that contagion was telepathic but rather invasive entities. Glaubengeister were distinct from the pathogens, germs that Paracelsus believed caused and spread most ailments as notion of a sickness, mania or panic having psychosomatic, restricting the idea of moods and humours to only in specific cases and to specific individuals, and not demonic possession. Carl Jung famously, centuries later, incorporated Paracelsus’ occult alchemic flow-charts and symbols into his own work in the field of psychoanalysis, believing that dialectic encoded the experience of the shared and idiomatic unconsciousness.