This is the book of The Origins Of Man



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[Translator’s note: the Mishnah is the codification of Jewish oral law]

[Translator’s note re. “sefirot”, hochmah” and “binah”: these are terms used in the Kabbalah and known generally in their Hebrew forms, even among English speaking persons]


Third Chapter


“In the beginning God created the heavens”, and did not explain, and where is the explanation? It is as follows: He “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain” (Isai. 40, verse 22); “...and the earth”, and did not explain, and where is the explanation? It is as follows: because of snow he said the existence of the earth [like] mud solidifying etc. (see Job, chapter 37, verse 6 and chapter 38, verse 38)

Unto the goal desired of us, to lay the cornerstone to our method of reduction, at which we hinted in the previous chapters we shall add unto in order to strengthen the well founded idea — according to our thinking — in the present chapter and we shall say: though many secrets of the forces of nature have been discovered in our generation, and with a strong hand wise men have put theory into practice, nevertheless much remains to be discovered, which for scientists remains a secret and a mystery. For instance we feel heat and we see light, and even though we can devise stratagems to discover heat and light, science by itself is still in the dark concerning the above-mentioned two [matters]. We have paid great attention to the forces of nature, the results of heat and light, where their rays turn back, and how we can gather them as one and separate them and reinstate them back to their former state, but the hand of human research has not yet found the strength to come face to face before the essence of heat and light (ueber dem Wesen dem Lichtes und der Waerme); that the hidden forces of nature are a quality which cannot be separated from the essence of their carriers, is a conclusion we cannot decide upon from heat and light as understood.

And if in a single survey we should look upon that which we have discovered, our understanding will not even then rise and into our hand be given a measuring rod [or “criterion”] to measure the paucity [or “dearth”] of our attainment. Let us take for the target of our inquiry, a grain of sand which a man may trample beneath his heel, and let us look at it, and we shall see in this grain of sand a marvellous building magnificently constructed in the sanctuary of which are imprisoned and dwell hidden and different forces. Not easily will we be able to pulverise or separate into pieces the grain of sand, for its fundamental particles (die Atome) strongly bind themselves to each other and hold it together, and the force of attraction [between them] acts strongly because of their proximity to each other. The grain lays itself bare to the warmth of the day, and thereupon will be seen the force of repulsion acting between it and its neighbour. The force of attraction which acts in the vicinity of the grain of sand, and attracts [things] from a distance unto it, is tested and examined since it is similar to the force of attraction which pertains to the earth, and is the same for all the limitless heavenly bodies in their forces. And after we discover and find that not only does iron possess magnetism, but that upon all things whatsoever is imprinted the force of magnetism, we shall decide, that along with the rest of the secret forces, magnetism also lies in the grain of sand. A grain of sand is visible to our eyes: the electric light kindles its fire within it, it is also seen that it is a compound body (ein chemisch zusammengesetzer Körper). And [even] when we have found from the smallest grain of sand [that] it is in every thing that is around us, a dwelling place for all the hidden forces which are sensitive to our examination as a result of their action, even then we do not know the essence of the universe — .

We shall not desire with this to return to the questions and doubts that have asked [and troubled the minds of] philosophers from generation to generation: What is force? What is matter in which force dwells? Is there existence of force separate from [that of matter]? Or is there in reality no matter, only forces which act upon our senses which make us feel that there is matter? Questions such as these will take us far from the boundaries of our inquiry, for we well know that like them [i.e., like the philosophers] we shall be led astray in vain, and the consciousness of man has not yet reached the solution to these questions, yet one notable question we shall wish to exclude from the rest of the questions asked of us: Are all the different forces to which we are sensitive (as we have noted above) are they in fact different from each other, or are they but “awakenings” and they awaken us to recognise them for they all emerged from a single great force which includes [them] all, and which is not known to us?

Even though we do not possess in our hands a clear and sufficient answer to reply to this question, yet the signs and portents which we have seen in the firmament of science, will tell us that in truth the different forces do emerge from a single great force.

The force of attraction between fundamental particles is very similar to the force of attraction which is in metals, the force of attraction in metals is made visible and is known according to the laws of attraction in a lodestone [or “magnet”]. The force of the lodestone can be brought into existence [lit. “given birth”] by means of electricity, and the source of all the revelations of chemistry is, according to those surmises close to the truth, electricity — and all these sights show us one force existing in everything that exists, and this raises the subject in the scale [or “ladder”] of the science of nature upon which will climb all those who would climb thereupon in the generation, and according to the testimony of the celebrated scientist Bernstein (may his light shine!) according to whose principles [or “foundations”] we supported the beginning of this our article — we shall exalt the researcher Pohl who with the greatness of his diligence and the fineness of his study showed all that electro-magnetism is the source of the force which moves heavenly bodies.

The sublime [or “exalted”] study which has risen in our generation to the highest rung of the ladder of the science of nature, and to which all researchers and scientists in the field have lifted up their eyes, is the study of the book of creation which was also heard from the mouths of our forefathers of blessed memory who according to our opinion walked upon the path of the spirit of the science of nature — and if they did not discover in their days the secret of atoms, of electricity and of chemistry — nevertheless looked far ahead and grasped the truths founded in the world of reality, in which shall be united the ideas of the first and of the last. The force of attraction which is in the grain of sand — which those of blessed memory called by the name “dok” the atomic force, the magnetic force are results of the father-force electricity which unites and sets into motion the inferior and unknown and un-thought-of “dok”, this force unites the heavens and the exalted and eternal hosts; thus thought also our wise men and in this manner applied [it] to give meaning to the book of creation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and what is the meaning [of this]? As follows: it is extended as “dok” in the heavens. The extending of the heavens and the secret of their unity [or “harmony”] is none other than the extending of atoms in this “dok” which we can observe and of which we can make use; “...and the earth”, and what is the meaning [or this]? As follows: in the solidifying of the earth into a solid and this explains more clearly the expression of his lips regarding the connection of the “dok” and the grain of sand, and the final outcome prove how clods of earth stuck together —.
[Translator’s note: the term “dok” is used in the quotation at the head of this chapter, and signifies something like “curtain”, “fine-ness” or “thin-ness”, and is used poetically for signifying “the heavens”; but its full meaning cannot be adequately rendered into English]

[Translator’s note: the word “dok” comes from a similar Hebrew root as the Hebrew word for “sticking together”, and the author seems to be making use of this similarity to prove his point, which however cannot be proven in the same manner in the English language]

The sublime study mentioned above, teaches us to search for and find the one uniting force which will be found only through the study of nature and not through the deviant [or “perverse”, “aberrant”] way which was followed by many generations who only with the diligence of their debate, and the keenness of their intellect, philosophers, “philosophised” for themselves a path to arrive at the secret of the world, of the universe and all that in them exists. Were a man to desire to pass before us that which the great philosophers have begun to do from the time of Aristotle to Hegel to enable us to understand natural science, we should see a chain of a multitude of follies, errors, mistakes dressed up in the garb of science. When they went astray by the way of the philosophers in their desire to demonstrate that the seven planets unite the seven colours and the seven sounds, then they, the wise ones of wealth, forsake [and] crossed the sea in their [attempting to] “gild the lily” [lit: “in their enriching of wealth and setting a crown thereupon”] — which no doubt have their roots in ancient astronomy — were these layers-down of numbers to rise from their graves and recognise the changes between their stars and ours, they would be ashamed and would have to admit that there is no straight, sure and trustworthy road for the researcher and the inquirer save that of the science of nature, for only along that path can we hope to [attain] light. But we too have admit, that we too cannot yet attain [knowledge of] nature in its entirety, for there exist in the real world things which cannot be understood by human senses and only a small part of nature lends itself to be known and become clear to us through our senses. And who knows how many hundreds and thousands of years will pass and men will stand before this gate closed and locked up and having no opening — though we do have to thank very much the years of the century in which we are living, in which the sun of science has come out to spread its glow upon many generations which [hitherto] walked in darkness, and we shall leave our sons to inherit even more than what was bequeathed to us by philosophers of generations past. Therefore we too in this our writing shall desire to profit from [this] enlightened period, and after we have mentioned all these [things], the reader will observe that it is impossible with the help of man’s senses to attain in an absolute way [an understanding of] what the world is, what the soul is, and what is revelation by tsimtsum, and therefore we have laid our cornerstone for all the observations which we observe, and all that our teaching teaches us is the value of the dearth [or “paucity”] of our attainments and not at all in an absolute way.


[Translator’s note: Tsimtsum, which literally means "contraction", is the Kabbalistic doctrine explaining how God contracts Himself to make room for the universe]

And for the sake of establishing for the reader the truth of our words herein expressed we shall bring out one example from the [entire] collection of nature’s secrets, with the help of which we shall make an analogy with the rest according to the method of reduction (im System der Beschraenkung) and this is the secret of the force of electricity which is found and discovered in thunder and lightning, as a result of different currents of air moving one against its neighbour, [whence] comes into being a layer of air possessing electric force, what I wish to say is, one layer of air receives [a] positive electric charge and the layer which lies next to it, negative. If the air is very humid, the electrical charges cancel each other and nothing visible issues therefrom, and therefore during moist and cold periods, thunder is almost never heard and lightning almost never seen. Not so the case if between the charged layers of air (or between cloud layers) there is a third layer of air which is dry, in which case the two electrical charges get separated, and the charges increase, in the one layer the positive charge and in the other layer the negative charge, and gradually the two clouds get closer together, each being attracted by its neighbour, and the closer they get to each other the greater the electricity, the layer of dry air between the two narrows and gets smaller until it is very thin indeed, and the two electric forces unite in a flash of fire which leaps over, and in a twinkling of an eye is born an illuminating [flash of] lightning, and rolling thunder is heard. In this manner lightning will not set alight the earth below, only spit [the arrows of its] quiver between two clouds, which by the force of attraction are concentrated thickly together (durch die Anziehung sich verdichten) and they bring down to the earth the object [lit., “target”] of their vigour —


[Translator’s note: tsimtsum, which literally means “contraction”, is the Kabbalistic doctrine explaining how God contracts Himself to make room for the universe]

And when deep investigation brought about the clear knowledge that lightning is born of electricity which causes it to come into being in the air at times when far-flung winds join forces, and in the pressing together of their sides one against its neighbour rub layers of air and bring forth electricity in its free state, then did the wise researcher in natural sciences Franklin dare the strength of his spirit to try whether he could succeed in divert the spark of electricity to whosoever might desire [it], if he could succeed in paving a path to the spark of lightning which emerges from the clouds of the sky by means of an electrical machine, and command it “go along this path!” — he said and [so] it was, he commanded and [so] it stood!

Franklin the researcher and inquirer into the marvels of the science of nature improved [man’s knowledge] of the foundation of this secret more than all the keen philosophers. Thousands of years passed without [our] knowing the principal force hidden in the treasures of nature and what did their inferences and conclusions profit us? And men like Franklin, inventors and teachers of the true ways of the secret forces of nature admit and answer with full mouth that the way of creation is still hidden from them, even as a matter of fact electricity by means of which they said to themselves they could find the key to solve the riddles of the world, even [about it] they admit that they have not found its essence and inner reality even though we observe and feel the activity of the globe itself which in its entirety is an electrical machine telling man its tales — nevertheless there is no one who knows and can say upon what its essence is founded, even though the wise of heart who inquire into nature answer and tell us: the length and breadth of action of electricity is limitless, indeed it is the entire universe, yet before us lies a great secret, for which only the science (of nature) will pave a circle [or “will resolve”], and it, even science itself, stands before the gate and it is not in its power to conduct the general survey of everything that is done along [even] one of its paths.

Though in general, if it is desired to limit and concentrate our knowledge, we get a sentence [or “theory”] closest to a decision in this manner: Every mass and every thing in the real world possesses a force of attraction which attracts its fellow mass. The force increases with the size of the object, and this force unites and complements the calculated number of atoms in the object and thus it is for every mass.

When we are convinced hereby that a ball of lead possess a force of attraction which emerges into action by means of a pendulum (Pendel-vorrichtung), all according to its size and weight, then this force appertains to the earth and the heavenly bodies [too]. And regarding the truth of this action there is no doubt in natural science. Let us imagine in our minds a space empty of all heavenly bodies, whether earth, sun, moon, stars or planets, and let us [further] imagine that in all this vast empty space only two atoms exist, tens of millions of parsangs distant from each other, even then between these two atoms a force of attraction exists. But this force will be very weak, because the weight of these two atoms is almost beyond measurement, and because the force of attraction decreases proportionally to the square of the distance: and yet very gradually the two will come nearer each other, and even if it takes tens of millions of years, [eventually] they will come together and become one object.

And if there are many atoms in the universe the law of movement and coming together applies to all of them and thus it may be said of them that from them are born the heavenly bodies, which we see with our eyes, the sun and the moon and all the [heavenly] host.

From a general result such as this, the inquirer may broaden his limits unto the beginning of creation, or at least unto the heavenly bodies, for truly it is not right nor fitting for the spirit of man to penetrate further, to reach the mists wherein lies the secret of God. And if it is also said that the heavenly bodies come into existence as a result of tiny atoms which the force of attraction caused to adhere together and become as one, even then science does not profit [from it] very much, for ultimately the question stands [before us]: How and in what manner did the atoms themselves come into existence? and how do they come by this force of attraction?

The man who does not desire to be led astray in vain in his soul, will admit, that the solutions that have been offered by the science of nature have not succeeded to calm the heart of the questioner; questions such as these are not within the jurisdiction of natural science, they are above its limits and total knowledge is [available] only on the path of the system of reduction, and natural science [may] decide that one master force rules over the entire universe, but with this arises the question whether this ruling force (der waltende Geist) lies within nature, or is above it? That is, does the entire universe act according to eternal forces which appertain to its inseparable foundations [or “principles”], or according to a single force which stands outside the partition of the foundations [or “principles”], and according to its commands rules the forces in the entire universe? And to this question too we shall be able to answer only with the help of the system of reduction for in nature is known only one ruling force. The stars move according to established laws, but we do not know unto what; even if the acute human mind is able to calculate and measure the movement of the stars, and formulate for it a law, yet this law is only [applicable to] two bodies — as the discovery of the law of gravitation and movement by the researcher Newton is known — but the movement of three bodies, which by reason of the force of one changes the movement of the two [others], and which itself changes its movement by reason of the other two, the accurate calculation of this movement has not been possible for the keenest and finest human mind and this riddle is known in natural science as the “Three-Body Problem” (das Problem der drei Koerper), which our eyes see for nature solves it daily with regard to the relationship between the sun, the moon and the earth, added to which is the change in the movement of stars without number as a result of the three. From this we judge that even to these riddles to which in nature itself are found solutions, we do not possess a criterion to measure the one [single] spirit which rules and commands the rules and laws in any one of its tens of millions of its ways — even though we dare in our souls to inquire of its ways on high and borne above nature. But in this rises up the spirit of man and his stature grows even unto the height of heavenly bodies for he understands and observes his existence and that of his fellow-man — for the [heavenly] bodies mentioned above are without understanding, and only according to their laws are they compelled to move and stand still.

The attainments of the human spirit are thought of as nothing in comparison with the spirit that rules in nature; however in comparison with nature which lacks understanding, like a creating instrument appears the human spirit and its knowledge is great and exalted. And in this we human beings may marvel, that without us nature would neither know nor recognise its own existence and reality, and only after we were born did nature attain, even though we were born in its lap, its [own] degree [or “exalted position”] as a result of our knowledge, and not only is the case, as the great researcher Bernstein has suggested, that man is a necessary member of nature, but that he is the most necessary member [of all] and he renders complete [or “renders perfect”] all of nature.

And now after we have come to this idea, that man is the choicest [part of] nature, and by his creation the rest of creation attained self-knowledge, now let us stand by this saying and set our eye to an examination of the results of man, the improvement in his character and traits, which he deserved [or “to which he laid claim”] from his having burst forth from the womb that created him, consciousness and feeling, inclination and desire, freedom of knowledge, and freedom of spirit, which are gifts given unto man tens of millions of years ago, this inquiry and this knowledge will be for us the door to learn and to understand the meaning of creation according to the Torah of Moses our Great Teacher, which is our intention in particular —

That which we have called “awakening”, which the Germans call “Energie”, we do not find in lifeless nature (der todten Natur) nor even in plants is it known or found; only among animals who possess life with nerves (nervenleben) and in man who lives a life of the spirit which is linked to the action of nerves which spread out from the brain, only among them can we find the essence of feeling and consciousness — .
[Translator’s note: the original in Hebrewfor the word translated as “awakening” is hit'orerut, which literally translated means “awakening”, “animation”, “excitement” and probably refers here to “consciousness”; this term appears frequently in the paragraphs that follow]

Regarding forces of lifeless nature such as that in the chemical and electrical magnet, which exhibits to us attraction and repulsion, combination and separation to the point that sparks of fire accompanied by tumultuous sounds are obtained therefrom, even so there does not rule in them the essence of “consciousness” which is seen in animals. Among animals we observe that their running about [or “movement”] over long distances is an outcome of consciousness, among man it is noted that his walking and movement is according to [his] will. If the brain of a man is preoccupied with an idea, the consciousness of his body rises, and even without his will he may hurry along on his way, and if the idea is swept away from him and he is satisfied in it he [may] suddenly stand still and not continue walking. From all this it is seen by us that will is in the brain and it causes consciousness to be awakened in the nerves. The brain evokes consciousness and desires action in great and heightened measure, and when the will imparts to the nerves of a limb a large [amount of] consciousness [or “energy” — see note above] to lift and carry a heavy load, greater than their power [to do so], then the brain imparts to itself a measure of consciousness, in the thinking researcher and the poet — to lift up his ideas on the wings of heightened thought, for this is the power of consciousness, to increase and carry at times the action of man and the power of his thought to a very high level indeed.

From this we arrive at the theory [or “generalisation”]: that the large brain which is in man, which is not only the seat of thought but also the seat of self-consciousness (der Sitz dem Bewusstseins), is also the general force appertaining to the principle of [or “the measure of” — the word is ambiguous] consciousness.

Many researchers in nature think that the thoughts of man indeed change according to the quality of [his] food, and even if we cannot so decree in absolute terms, yet nevertheless the wise men of our generation are agreed that better foods exert a considerable action on the brain and impart to it a greater capacity towards consciousness — .

And when we have noted that the large brain of man is the seat in high degree [of that] which surrounds man with the sensation of consciousness, then it will be more easy for us to prove on the [same] level that the brain is that which enriches the life of man in the highest degree even by the awakening of thought, even though these principles do not have a foundation in thoughts and ideas, and they are known [by] the feelings of inclination and aversion [or “likes and dislikes”] (Neigungen und Abneigungen). As a result of these feelings a man will train himself and behave and conduct [himself] a great deal more [suitably] than he would [otherwise] conduct [himself] according to his ideas. For instance the desire for wealth and riches is greater than all others, if we ask a very wealthy and old man, Why do you run after profit, and bring yourself [to walk] upon dangerous paths [or, “take great risks”], think of the value of your wealth and [of] your years, would you not be satisfied to spend your days in peace and quiet! And if the man answers you honestly, [he will say], It is not my thinking and my intellect that inclines towards pursuing [wealth] and acquiring [it], but a desire which I do not understand [which] rules within me, [and] which takes away from me moments of rest, and I have been under its control all my life. These feelings reside in the heart of every man and mankind has brought forth, and will bring forth, every deed and enterprise on account of them, and only by means of these feelings differing in their goals, has been brought forth the improvement in the perfection of man in the world of deeds, and therefore natural science has ascribed to them a great advantage, as we shall see in this chapter.

These paired traits which hang upon man throughout his life, have a parallel in the growth of plants (mit der Triebkraft der Pflanze) and the natural tendency (instinkt) of animals, even though man is exalted in his inclinations [or “instincts”], for which his will and his spirit pave a pathway. And his inclinations [can be] divided into three kinds or types. The inner machine: digestion, nutrition, circulation of blood, exchange of matter [or “metabolism”] (Stoffwechsel) in these things man resembles the plant, [since they] perform their functions without his knowledge or will. And with the beast he may be equated, for like it he with his senses takes in everything that is and exists in the world of reality. But he also rises above these two types [of living things] in his spiritual life for he [can] construct in his imagination a chain of different forms, and solve riddles of the visions of nature, dominate nature and put it in the palms of his hands, and this ability accrues [lit., “comes”] to him even after the two first [mentioned] abilities, gradually reaching this level. Man reaches the higher rungs of the ladder of perfection only because of inclination and aversion which bind together the spirit and the will, which is not the case in the animal and the plant which are compelled, and [that] without [their] knowledge, to do that which their instincts and tendencies compel them to do. And this will be seen clearly by means of this example: Attachment to life is not known among plants, and animals know or desire life, but in man attachment to life is the strongest and is felt in him as a sublime desire and he knows and recognises his desire for life, and all his actions are aimed only at the goal of life. And although in his instincts man is even raised and borne above the plant and the animal, yet in that spirit there is strength and power to crush under its feet even the perfected instincts which reside in the heart of man. The spirit rules over all, and the man of spirit will at the [proper] time sacrifice even his instinct of life-preservation in the attempt to strengthen the voice of his spirit and to show unto all the truth that in him lies, and from this we see that that which we call spiritual or of the spirit, has the power not only to pave a path towards the instincts but even to upturn them and to choose death over life — .

Natural science has increased its signs in our generation to show that the source and foundation of the instincts of man, are not within the members of the body, as believed our wise men of old: that love, hate, pity, worry reside in the heart, anger issues from the liver and wrath in the gall bladder is found — only [that] the instincts have the power to act upon the working of the heart, and all the nerves are connected to one principal source which is the brain. And this too has become clear that the main members [of the body] also reflect upon the brain, and awaken images and likenesses [lit., “pictures”] which rest in the bosom of slumber. The seat of the instincts is in the brain and the beginnings of their actions is recognised in the principal members [of the body].

The improvement and perfection of the instincts rises step by step, from the level of the plant to the animal and from the animal to the human. The child in the beginning days of his life is at the level of the plant, and is somewhat less than the animal, for the [human] infant sucks whatever is given to his mouth even if it does not quench his thirst, [compared to] the calf which upon being born walks straight to its mother’s teats and sucks at that which is proper for him to suck. And after not too much time he [the child] rises step by step and reaches the measure of natural instinct, and after not too great a time he becomes perfected and conscious of his spirituality, and the child rises and reaches the perfection of his instincts. It is hard to distinguish between these two states [lit., “cleavings”], between the time of the natural instinct of the child and the time of ripening of the instinct, for they both come as one during his sucking from his mother’s breasts, and soon to that is added [lit., “joined”] the love of his parents, and after that the love of mankind in general, which is the ladder of perfection [or “evolution”] in self-knowledge. The first year in the life of the child upon the earth is full of many and great changes in human nature and in it are perfected the values and orders of instincts which prepare man to walk at the head of all life on earth.

All these which we saw regarding instincts and regarding that which we call spiritual, emerges from the hemisphere of the large brain, and according to the opinion of science in our generation there is no doubt that the power of thought (Denkkraft) resides in the large brain, and according to its size and quantity the idea has grown, and the wise men of our generation have laid [a] cornerstone to inquire about the construction of the skull of the brain and tried to find in it all of man’s talents and traits.
Translator’s note: Re. the following words in the footnote: Burdach [this word is unclear: it is a German word written in Hebrew characters] von Beue [again unclear, for the same reason] und leben dem Gehirns [again unclear]; [then two words that are completely indecipherable, most of the obscurity arising from the small print of the footnote, which is very badly reproduced in the photocopy, which is on page 21 of the original

If the large brain is in the state of perfection and improvement, then it is easy to relate to it spiritual ability in overflowing measure; researchers and doctors of medicine have tested this [hypothesis] in different tests and this rule has emerged clearly [therefrom]. And these tests testify unto the development of man, from the elite of animal life to human life, and even the characteristics of the forehead.2



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