Some people assume that, because I question some of the assumptions of this or that “medical expert” that I am somehow “anti-science.” I take great umbrage at such a charge. When people tell me to “follow the science,” my response is to tell them to “follow the scientists,” which often is synonymous with “follow the money.” Recent scientific history is absolutely crummy with compromised scientists pushing compromised science in the grand cabal that is the governmental-military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex. I think some of the same people assume that, since I often write about spirituality, mysticism, and poetry that I am somehow not interested in science. Nothing could be further from the truth! First of all, most of the subjects of my first book, Literature and the Encounter with God in Post-Reformation England—John Dee, Sir Kenelm Digby, and Henry and Thomas Vaughan—were scientists or physicians. I also have a chapter on the seventeenth-century scientist and physician Robert Fludd in The Submerged Reality. I start off Transfiguration with a chapter entitled “A Delicate Empiricism: Goethe, Sophiology, and the Possibilities of a Catholic Science.” I also wrote the entry on Paracelsus for the forthcoming 4th edition of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Religion. One of my sons is a scientist (which, by the way, blows up that “homeschool kids can’t do science” canard). In addition, I am a practicing biodynamic farmer, and farming is one of the oldest scientific methods known to us. So there.
I love science, because I love Natura. That’s rather a fundamental sophiological position, and one I have held to for a long, long time.
I’ve learned more than a few things about science from my scholarly and academic careers. First of all: it’s politics, stupid. This was as true in the seventeenth century as it is now. Science may be neutral, but scientists aren’t. Envy, greed, lust, gluttony, pride, sloth, and wrath haunt the hard sciences as much as any other domain of human endeavor. And there isn’t a vaccine for it. Of course, not all scientists act out of the Seven Deadly Sins; but, if they don’t, they have colleagues or enemies who do. It is unavoidable. Don’t believe me? Ask people who lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic, or those whose loved ones listened to the bogus research suggesting smoking, aspertame, and glyphosates are healthy and safe and now suffer for it. Follow the scientists.
The thing that has most disturbed me during this pandemic is how “scientists” have stigmatized actual health and healthy practices—like interacting with other human beings by way of touch and embrace, breathing fresh air, and spending time in the sun. We’ve been condemned to a Zoom version of Hell. I still see people walking alone, outside, wearing masks without anyone within hundreds of feet from them. This makes no sense, and it has nothing to do with science. Of course, we know these things are also psychologically damaging (we’ve all seen the statistics) and psychological states invariably affect one’s health.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I have often wondered what would have happened had the Paracelsian and Rosicrucian natural philosophers and physicians won the day against the scientific materialism which arose in the seventeenth century and which has employed a method of exploitation and conquest of Natura ever since. The first commitment of the agreement of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross in the Fama Fraternitatis (1614), for example, promises “That none of them should profess any other thing then to cure the sick, and that gratis.” Likewise, the last article listed in the enrollment for Christian’s membership in The Order of the Golden Stone in The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (1617) is “That you shall not be willing to live longer than God will have you.” That is, that one shall not utilize artificial means—whether medical or magical—to prolong existence beyond the point of life. I think we have been trained to fear two things during this pandemic: illness and death. If you don’t believe me, fake sneeze next time you’re in line at the grocery store. Thirteen months ago no one would bat an eye. Now they run (not walk) for the hand sanitizer.
But even more than their common sense approach to things, the Rosicrucian and Paracelsian physicians looked to the supersensible worlds as well as to the aspect of Natura present to the senses in order to facilitate healing. Nature spoke to them in the language of divinity; and Divinity spoke to them through Nature. This idea permeates the writing of Thomas Vaughan, Robert Fludd, and Paracelsus and shines in the poetry of Henry Vaughan, as can be seen in these lines from “Regeneration”:
With that, some cryed, Away; straight I
Obey’d, and led
Full east, a faire, fresh field could spy
Some call’d it, Jacobs Bed;
A Virgin-soile, which no
Rude feet ere trod.
Where (since he slept there,) only go
Prophets, and Friends of God.
What would happen if medicine and the natural sciences had taken this path instead of the one they followed? Goethe tried to right the ship, but he was all but ignored. Still, their legacy lives on in the thousands of homeopaths, naturopaths, Anthroposophic MDs, and others who draw not only on current medical knowledge but on the spiritual healing traditions of indigenous peoples and folk medicine—people the AMA, the CDC, the WHO and others try to suppress, while they uphold The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and pharmaceutical giants as benefactors of humanity (despite their dismal records). The inheritors of Paracelsian and Rosicrucian medicine, on the other hand, are interested in the art of healing. But the real money is in sickness. As Thomas Vaughan writes in his preface to The Fame & Confession of the Fraternity of the R.C. (1652): “We plainly see, that if the least Disease invades Us, the School-men have not one Notion that is so much a charm, as to cure Us: and why then should we imbrace a Philosophie of meer words, when it is evident enough, that we cannot live but by Works. Let us not for shame be so stupid any more.”
So, one year into this strange experiment in...in what?—I can’t say “health”—where do we find ourselves? Are we any wiser?
Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at email@example.com See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Garden.