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Burke was born in Dublin , Ireland. It remains unclear whether this is the same Richard Burke who converted from Catholicism. Burke adhered to his father's faith and remained a practising Anglican throughout his life, unlike his sister Juliana who was brought up as and remained a Roman Catholic. Omer , near Calais , France; and of harbouring secret Catholic sympathies at a time when membership of the Catholic Church would disqualify him from public office see Penal Laws in Ireland. As Burke told Frances Crewe :.

B—was twice at Paris, he never happened to go through the Town of St. After being elected to the House of Commons , Burke was required to take the oath of allegiance and abjuration , the oath of supremacy and declare against transubstantiation. According to the historian J. Clark , this was in an age "before 'Celtic nationalism' sought to make Irishness and Englishness incompatible". As a child, Burke sometimes spent time away from the unhealthy air of Dublin with his mother's family in the Blackwater Valley in County Cork.

In , Burke started at Trinity College Dublin , a Protestant establishment which up until did not permit Catholics to take degrees. The minutes of the meetings of Burke's Club remain in the collection of the Historical Society. Burke graduated from Trinity in Burke's father wanted him to read Law and with this in mind he went to London in , where he entered the Middle Temple , before soon giving up legal study to travel in Continental Europe.

After eschewing the Law, he pursued a livelihood through writing. The late Lord Bolingbroke 's Letters on the Study and Use of History was published in and his collected works appeared in Burke imitated Bolingbroke's style and ideas in a reductio ad absurdum of his arguments for atheistic rationalism in order to demonstrate their absurdity. Burke claimed that Bolingbroke's arguments against revealed religion could apply to all social and civil institutions as well.

Some reviewers failed to notice the ironic nature of the book which led to Burke stating in the preface to the second edition that it was a satire. Richard Hurd believed that Burke's imitation was near-perfect and that this defeated his purpose, arguing that an ironist "should take care by a constant exaggeration to make the ridicule shine through the Imitation. Whereas this Vindication is everywhere enforc'd, not only in the language, and on the principles of L.

It was his only purely philosophical work and when asked by Sir Joshua Reynolds and French Laurence to expand it thirty years later, Burke replied that he was no longer fit for abstract speculation Burke had written it before he was nineteen years of age. On 25 February , Burke signed a contract with Robert Dodsley to write a "history of England from the time of Julius Caesar to the end of the reign of Queen Anne", its length being eighty quarto sheets pages , nearly , words. It was to be submitted for publication by Christmas Young did not value Burke's history and claimed that it was "demonstrably a translation from the French".

During the year following that contract, Burke founded with Dodsley the influential Annual Register , a publication in which various authors evaluated the international political events of the previous year. Christopher Nugent , [35] a Catholic physician who had provided him with medical treatment at Bath. Their son Richard was born on 9 February while an elder son, Christopher, died in infancy. Burke also helped raise a ward , Edmund Nagle later Admiral Sir Edmund Nagle , the son of a maternal cousin orphaned in When Hamilton was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland , Burke accompanied him to Dublin as his private secretary , a position he held for three years.

I Drink Therefore I Am

In , Burke became private secretary to the liberal Whig politician Charles, Marquess of Rockingham , then Prime Minister of Great Britain , who remained Burke's close friend and associate until his untimely death in Rockingham also introduced Burke as a Freemason. After Burke delivered his maiden speech , William Pitt the Elder said he had "spoken in such a manner as to stop the mouths of all Europe" and that the Commons should congratulate itself on acquiring such a Member.

The first great subject Burke addressed was the controversy with the American colonies which soon developed into war and ultimate separation. Surveying the finances of France, Burke predicts "some extraordinary convulsion in that whole system". During the same year, with mostly borrowed money, Burke purchased Gregories , a acre 2. Although the estate included saleable assets such as art works by Titian , Gregories proved a heavy financial burden in the following decades and Burke was never able to repay its purchase price in full. His speeches and writings, having made him famous, led to the suggestion that he was the author of the Letters of Junius.

At about this time, Burke joined the circle of leading intellectuals and artists in London of whom Samuel Johnson was the central luminary. Edward Gibbon described Burke as "the most eloquent and rational madman that I ever knew". Burke took a leading role in the debate regarding the constitutional limits to the executive authority of the King. He argued strongly against unrestrained royal power and for the role of political parties in maintaining a principled opposition capable of preventing abuses, either by the monarch, or by specific factions within the government.

His most important publication in this regard was his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents of 23 April Party divisions, "whether operating for good or evil, are things inseparable from free government". During , Burke wrote a bill that would have given juries the right to determine what was libel , if passed.

Burke spoke in favour of the bill, but it was opposed by some, including Charles James Fox , not becoming law. When introducing his own bill in in opposition, Fox repeated almost verbatim the text of Burke's bill without acknowledgement. He saw it as "the first very great breach in the modern political system of Europe" and as upsetting the balance of power in Europe. On 4 November , Burke was elected Member for Bristol , at the time "England's second city" and a large constituency with a genuine electoral contest. The platform on which he was elected included the Speech to the Electors of Bristol , [53] a remarkable disclaimer of the constituent-imperative form of democracy, for which he substituted his statement of the "representative mandate" form.

In May , Burke supported a parliamentary motion revising restrictions on Irish trade. His constituents, citizens of the great trading city of Bristol, urged Burke to oppose free trade with Ireland. Burke resisted their protestations and said: "If, from this conduct, I shall forfeit their suffrages at an ensuing election, it will stand on record an example to future representatives of the Commons of England, that one man at least had dared to resist the desires of his constituents when his judgment assured him they were wrong".

Burke published Two Letters to Gentlemen of Bristol on the Bills relative to the Trade of Ireland in which he espoused "some of the chief principles of commerce; such as the advantage of free intercourse between all parts of the same kingdom, [ Burke also supported the attempts of Sir George Savile to repeal some of the penal laws against Catholics. This support for unpopular causes, notably free trade with Ireland and Catholic emancipation , led to Burke losing his seat in For the remainder of his parliamentary career, Burke represented Malton , another pocket borough under the Marquess of Rockingham 's patronage.

Burke expressed his support for the grievances of the American Thirteen Colonies under the government of King George III and his appointed representatives. On 19 April , Burke made a speech, " On American Taxation " published in January , on a motion to repeal the tea duty :. Again and again, revert to your old principles—seek peace and ensue it; leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself.

I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. Do not burthen them with taxes But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question.

They will cast your sovereignty in your face. No body of men will be argued into slavery. On 22 March , Burke delivered in the House of Common a speech published during May on reconciliation with America. Burke appealed for peace as preferable to civil war and reminded the House of Commons of America's growing population, its industry and its wealth.

He warned against the notion that the Americans would back down in the face of force since most Americans were of British descent:. The people are Protestants, [ These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government—they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another, that these two things may exist without any mutual relation—the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and everything hastens to decay and dissolution.

As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil.

They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. Burke prized peace with America above all else, pleading with the House of Commons to remember that the interest by way of money received from the American colonies was far more attractive than any sense of putting the colonists in their place:. The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war, not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations, not peace to arise out of universal discord.

It is peace sought in the spirit of peace, and laid in principles purely pacific. Burke was not merely presenting a peace agreement to Parliament, but rather he stepped forward with four reasons against using force, carefully reasoned. He laid out his objections in an orderly manner, focusing on one before moving to the next. His first concern was that the use of force would have to be temporary and that the uprisings and objections to British governance in Colonial America would not be. Second, Burke worried about the uncertainty surrounding whether Britain would win a conflict in America.

The American colonists could always retreat into the mountains, but the land they left behind would most likely be unusable, whether by accident or design. The fourth and final reason to avoid the use of force was experience as the British had never attempted to rein in an unruly colony by force and they did not know if it could be done, let alone accomplished thousands of miles away from home.

It was not temporary force, uncertainty, impairment, or even experience that Burke cited as the number one reason for avoiding war with the American colonies. Rather, it was the character of the American people themselves: "In this character of Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole. Had they been passed, the effect of these resolutions can never be known. Unfortunately, Burke delivered this speech just less than a month before the explosive conflict at Concord and Lexington.

Among the reasons this speech was so greatly admired was its passage on Lord Bathurst — in which Burke describes an angel in prophesying to Bathurst the future greatness of England and also of America: "Young man, There is America—which at this day serves little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, shew itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world".

The administration of Lord North — tried to defeat the colonist rebellion by military force. British and American forces clashed in and in came the American Declaration of Independence. Burke was appalled by celebrations in Britain of the defeat of the Americans at New York and Pennsylvania. He claimed the English national character was being changed by this authoritarianism.

I am satisfied, that within a few years there has been a great Change in the National Character. We seem no longer that eager, inquisitive, jealous, fiery people, which we have been formerly". In Burke's view, the British government was fighting "the American English" "our English Brethren in the Colonies" , with a Germanic king employing "the hireling sword of German boors and vassals" to destroy the English liberties of the colonists. Still less do I wish success to injustice, oppression and absurdity". During the Gordon Riots in , Burke became a target of hostility and his home was placed under armed guard by the military.

The fall of North led to Rockingham being recalled to power in March Rockingham's unexpected death in July and replacement with Shelburne as Prime Minister put an end to his administration after only a few months, but Burke did manage to introduce two Acts.

The Paymaster General Act ended the post as a lucrative sinecure. Previously, Paymasters had been able to draw on money from HM Treasury at their discretion. Instead, now they were required to put the money they had requested to withdraw from the Treasury into the Bank of England, from where it was to be withdrawn for specific purposes. The Treasury would receive monthly statements of the Paymaster's balance at the Bank. This Act was repealed by Shelburne's administration, but the Act that replaced it repeated verbatim almost the whole text of the Burke Act.

However, he managed to abolish offices in the royal household and civil administration. In February , Burke resumed the post of Paymaster of the Forces when Shelburne's government fell and was replaced by a coalition headed by North that included Charles James Fox. That coalition fell in and was succeeded by the long Tory administration of William Pitt the Younger which lasted until Accordingly, having supported Fox and North, Burke was in opposition for the remainder of his political life.

In , Burke's Speech to the Electors at Bristol at the Conclusion of the Poll was noted for its defence of the principles of representative government against the notion that elected officials should merely be delegates:. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living.

These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. Political scientist Hanna Pitkin points out that Burke linked the interest of the district with the proper behaviour of its elected official, explaining: "Burke conceives of broad, relatively fixed interest, few in number and clearly defined, of which any group or locality has just one.

These interests are largely economic or associated with particular localities whose livelihood they characterize, in his over-all prosperity they involve". Burke was a leading sceptic with respect to democracy. While admitting that theoretically in some cases it might be desirable, he insisted a democratic government in Britain in his day would not only be inept, but also oppressive. He opposed democracy for three basic reasons. First, government required a degree of intelligence and breadth of knowledge of the sort that occurred rarely among the common people.

Second, he thought that if they had the vote, common people had dangerous and angry passions that could be aroused easily by demagogues, fearing that the authoritarian impulses that could be empowered by these passions would undermine cherished traditions and established religion, leading to violence and confiscation of property. Third, Burke warned that democracy would create a tyranny over unpopular minorities , who needed the protection of the upper classes. For years, Burke pursued impeachment efforts against Warren Hastings , formerly Governor-General of Bengal, that resulted in the trial during His interaction with the British dominion of India began well before Hastings' impeachment trial.

For two decades prior to the impeachment, Parliament had dealt with the Indian issue. This trial was the pinnacle of years of unrest and deliberation. This committee was charged "to investigate alleged injustices in Bengal, the war with Hyder Ali, and other Indian difficulties". Both committee reports were written by Burke. Among other purposes, the reports conveyed to the Indian princes that Britain would not wage war on them, along with demanding that the East India Company should recall Hastings. This was Burke's first call for substantive change regarding imperial practices. When addressing the whole House of Commons regarding the committee report, Burke described the Indian issue as one that "began 'in commerce' but 'ended in empire'".

In the province of the Carnatic , the Indians had constructed a system of reservoirs to make the soil fertile in a naturally dry region, and centred their society on the husbandry of water:. These are the monuments of real kings, who were the fathers of their people; testators to a posterity which they embraced as their own. These are the grand sepulchres built by ambition; but by the ambition of an insatiable benevolence, which, not contented with reigning in the dispensation of happiness during the contracted term of human life, had strained, with all the reachings and graspings of a vivacious mind, to extend the dominion of their bounty beyond the limits of nature, and to perpetuate themselves through generations of generations, the guardians, the protectors, the nourishers of mankind.

Burke held that the advent of British dominion, in particular the conduct of the East India Company, had destroyed much that was good in these traditions and that as a consequence of this and the lack of new customs to replace them the Indians were suffering.

He set about establishing a set of British expectations, whose moral foundation would in his opinion warrant the empire. The impeachment in Westminster Hall which did not begin until 14 February would be the "first major public discursive event of its kind in England", [77] bringing the morality and duty of imperialism to the forefront of public perception. Burke was already known for his eloquent rhetorical skills and his involvement in the trial only enhanced its popularity and significance.

Initially, Burke did not condemn the French Revolution. In a letter of 9 August , he wrote: "England gazing with astonishment at a French struggle for Liberty and not knowing whether to blame or to applaud! The thing indeed, though I thought I saw something like it in progress for several years, has still something in it paradoxical and Mysterious.

The spirit it is impossible not to admire; but the old Parisian ferocity has broken out in a shocking manner". In a letter to his son Richard Burke dated 10 October, he said: "This day I heard from Laurence who has sent me papers confirming the portentous state of France—where the Elements which compose Human Society seem all to be dissolved, and a world of Monsters to be produced in the place of it—where Mirabeau presides as the Grand Anarch; and the late Grand Monarch makes a figure as ridiculous as pitiable".


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Burke replied that any critical language of it by him should be taken "as no more than the expression of doubt", but he added: "You may have subverted Monarchy, but not recover'd freedom". Burke's first public condemnation of the Revolution occurred on the debate in Parliament on the army estimates on 9 February provoked by praise of the Revolution by Pitt and Fox:. Since the House had been prorogued in the summer much work was done in France.

The French had shewn themselves the ablest architects of ruin that had hitherto existed in the world. In that very short space of time they had completely pulled down to the ground, their monarchy; their church; their nobility; their law; their revenue; their army; their navy; their commerce; their arts; and their manufactures. In this sermon, Price espoused the philosophy of universal " Rights of Men ". Price argued that love of our country "does not imply any conviction of the superior value of it to other countries, or any particular preference of its laws and constitution of government". A debate between Price and Burke ensued that was "the classic moment at which two fundamentally different conceptions of national identity were presented to the English public".

Immediately after reading Price's sermon, Burke wrote a draft of what eventually became Reflections on the Revolution in France. On 1 November, he finally published the Reflections and it was an immediate best-seller. The French translation ran to ten printings by June The second spirit is crystalline and sweet.

The third is a tingeing spirit separated from the others before mentioned. True philosophers seek for these three natural properties in arsenic with a view to the perfect projection of the wise men But those barbers who practise surgery seek after that sweet and crystalline nature separated from the tingeing spirit for use in the cure of wounds, buboes, carbuncles, anthrax, and other similar ulcers which are not curable save by gentle means. As for that tingeing spirit, however, unless the pure be separated from the impure in it, the fixed from the volatile, and the secret tincture from the combustible, it will not in any way succeed according to your wish for projection on Mercury, Venus, or any other imperfect metal.

All philosophers have hidden this arcanum as a most excellent mystery. This tingeing spirit, separated from the other two as above, you must join to the spirit of Luna, and digest them together for the space of thirty-two days, or until they have assumed a new body. After it has, on the fortieth natural day, been kindled into flame by the heat of the sun, the spirit appears in a bright whiteness, and is endued with a perfect tingeing arcanum. Then it is at length fit for projection, namely, one part of it upon sixteen parts of an imperfect body, according to the sharpness of the preparation.

From thence appears shining and most excellent Luna, as though it had been dug from the bowels of the earth. Vitriol is a very noble mineral among the rest, and was held always in highest estimation by philosophers, because the Most High God has adorned it with wonderful gifts. They have veiled its arcanum in enigmatical figures like the following: "Thou shalt go to the inner parts of the earth, and by rectification thou shalt find the occult stone, a true medicine".

By the earth they understood the Vitriol itself; and by the inner parts of the earth its sweetness and redness, because in the occult part of the Vitriol lies hid a subtle, noble, and most fragrant juice, and a pure oil. The method of its production is not to be approached by calcination or by distillation. For it must not be deprived on any account of its green colour. If it were, it would at the same time lose its arcanum and its power. Indeed, it should be observed at this point that minerals, and also vegetables and other like things which shew greenness without, contain within themselves an oil red like blood, which is their arcanum.

Hence it is clear that the distillations of the druggists are useless, vain, foolish, and of no value, because these people do not know how to extract the bloodlike redness from vegetables. Nature herself is wise, and turns all the waters of vegetables to a lemon colour, and after that into an oil which is very red like blood.

The reason why this is so slowly accomplished arises from the too great haste of the ignorant operators who distil it, which causes the greenness to be consumed.

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They have not learnt to strengthen Nature with their own powers, which is the mode whereby that noble green colour ought to be rectified into redness of itself. An example of this is white wine digesting itself into a lemon colour; and in process of time the green colour of the grape is of itself turned into the red which underlies the coerulean. The greenness therefore of the vegetables and minerals being lost by the incapacity of the operators, the essence also and spirit of the oil and of the balsam, which is noblest among arcana, will also perish. Vitriol contains within itself many muddy and viscous imperfections.

Therefore its greenness 13 must be often extracted with water, and rectified until it puts off all the impurities of earth. When all these rectifications are finished, take care above all that the matter shall not be exposed to the sun, for this turns its greenness pale, and at the same time absorbs the arcanum. Let it be kept covered up in a warm stove so that no dust may defile it. Afterwards let it be digested in a closed glass vessel for the space of several months, or until different colours and deep redness shew themselves.

Still you must not suppose that by this process the redness is sufficiently fixed. This is now the true and best rectification of its tincture, from which the blessed oil is to be extracted. From this tincture, which is carefully enclosed in a glass vessel, an alembic afterwards placed on it and luted so that no spirit may escape, the spirit of this oil must be extracted by distillation over a mild and slow fire. This oil is much pleasanter and sweeter than any aromatic balsam of the drugsellers, being entirely free from all acridity There will subside in tha bottom of the cucurbite some very white earth, shining and glittering like snow.

This keep, and protect from all dust. This same earth is altogether separated from its redness. Thereupon follows the greatest arcanum, that is to say, the Supercelestial Marriage of the Soul, consummately prepared and washed by the blood of the lamb, with its own splendid, shining, and purified body. This is the true supercelestial marriage by which life is prolonged to the last and predestined day. In this way, then, the soul and spirit of the Vitriol, which are its blood, are joined with its purified body, that they may be for eternity inseparable. Take, therefore, this our foliated earth in a glass phial.

Into it pour gradually its own oil. The body will receive and embrace its soul; since the body is affected with extreme desire for the soul, and the soul is most perfectly delighted with the embrace of the body.

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Place this conjunction in a furnace of arcana, and keep it there for forty days. When these have expired you will have a most absolute oil of wondrous perfection, in which Mercury and any other of the imperfect metals are turned into gold. Now let us turn our attention to its multiplication. Take the corporal Mercury, in the proportion of two parts; pour it over three parts, equal in weight, of the aforesaid oil, and let them remain together for forty days.

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By this proportion of weight and this order the multiplication becomes infinite. Antimony is the true bath of gold. Philosophers call it the examiner and the stilanx. Poets say that in this bath Vulcan washed Phoebus, and purified him from all dirt and imperfection. It is produced from the purest and noblest Mercury and Sulphur, under the genus of vitriol, in metallic form and brightness.

Take, therefore, of Antimony, the very best of its kind, as much as you will. Dissolve this in its own aquafortis, and throw it into cold water, adding a little of the crocus of Mars, so that it may sink to the bottom of the vessel as a sediment, for otherwise it does not throw off its dregs. After it has been dissolved in this way it will have acquired supreme beauty. Let it be placed in a glass vessel, closely fastened on all sides with a very thick lute, or else in a stone bocia, and mix with it some calcined tutia, sublimated to the perfect degree of fire.

It must be carefully guarded from liquefying, because with too great heat it breaks the glass. From one pound of this Antimony a sublimation is made, perfected for a space of two days. Place this sublimated substance in a phial that it may touch the water with its third part, in a luted vessel, so that the spirit may not escape. Then at length on the tenth day let it be gradually increased. For with too great heat the glass vessels are broken, and sometimes even the furnace goes to pieces. While the vapour is ascending different colours appear.

Let the fire be moderated until a red matter is seen. Afterwards dissolve in very sharp Acetum, and throw away the dregs. Let the Acetum be abstracted and let it be again dissolved in common distilled water. This again must be abstracted, and the sediment distilled with a very strong fire in a glass vessel closely shut. The whole body of the Antimony will ascend as a very red oil, like the colour of a ruby, and will flow into the receiver, drop by drop, with a most fragrant smell and a very sweet taste This is the supreme arcanum of the philosophers in Antimony, which they account most highly among the arcana of oils.

Let the spirit be abstracted several times, and an equal number of times let it be dissolved again. Let the last solution be kept with the spirit of wine, and circulated for a month. Afterwards let the volatile gold and the spirit of wine be distilled three or four times by means of an alembic, so that it may flow down into the receiver and be brought to its supreme essence.

To half an ounce of this dissolved gold let one ounce of the Oil of Antimony be added. This oil embraces it in the heat of the bath, so that it does not easily let it go, even if the spirit of wine be extracted. In this way you will have the supreme mystery and arcanum of Nature, to which scarcely any equal can be assigned in the nature of things. Let these two oils in combination be shut up together in a phial after the manner described, hung on a tripod for a philosophical month, and warmed with a very gentle fire; although, if the fire be regulated in dire proportion this operation is concluded in thirty-one days, and brought to perfection.

By this, Mercury and any other imperfect metals acquire the perfection of gold. No precise weight can be assigned in this work of projection, though the tincture itself may be extracted from a certain subject, in a defined proportion, and with fitting appliances. For instance, that Medicine tinges sometimes thirty, forty, occasionally even sixty, eighty, or a hundred parts of the imperfect metal. So, then, the whole business hinges chiefly on the purification of the Medicine and the industry of the operator, and, next, on the greater; or lesser cleanliness and purity of the imperfect body taken in hand.

For instance, one Venus is more pure than another; and hence it happens that no one fixed weight can be specified in projection. This alone is worth noting, that if the operator happens to have taken too much of the tincture, he can correct this mistake by adding more of the imperfect metal. But if there be too much of the subject, so that the powers of the tincture are weakened, this error is easily remedied by a cineritium, or by cementations, or by ablutions in crude Antimony. Take of Venus, wrought into small plates, as much as you will, ten, twenty, or forty pounds.

Let these be incrusted with a pulse made of arsenic and calcined tartar, and calcined in their own vessel for twenty-four hours. Then at length let the Venus be pulverised, washed, and thoroughly purified. Let the calcination with ablution be repeated three or four times. In this way it is purged and purified from its thick greenness and from its own impure sulphur.

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You will have to be on your guard against calcinations made with common sulphur. For whatever is good in the metal is spoilt thereby, and what is bad becomes worse. To ten marks of this purged Venus add one of pure Luna. But in order that the work of the Medicine may be accelerated by projection, and may more easily penetrate the imperfect body, and drive out all portions which are opposed to the nature of Luna, this is accomplished by means of a perfect ferment.

For the work is defiled by means of an impure Sulphur, so that a cloud is stretched out over the surface of the transmuted substance, or the metal is mixed with the loppings of the Sulphur and may be cast away therewith. But if a projection of a red stone is to be made, with a view to a red transmutation, it must first fall on gold, afterwards on silver, or on some other metal thoroughly purified, as we have directed above.

From thence arises the most perfect gold. After the mortification of vegetables, they are transmuted, by the concurrence of two minerals, such as Sulphur and Salt, into a mineral nature, so that at length they themselves become perfect minerals. So it is that in the mineral burrows and caves of the earth, vegetables are found which, in the long succession of time, and by the continuous heat of sulphur, put off the vegetable nature and assume that of the mineral.

This happens, for the most part, where the appropriate nutriment is taken away from vegetables of this kind, so that they are afterwards compelled to derive their nourishment from the sulphur and salts of the earth, until what was before vegetable passes over into a perfect mineral. From this mineral state, too, sometimes a perfect metallic essence arises, and this happens by the progress of one degree into another. The matter of this, as certain writers have mentioned, is above all else difficult to discover and abstruse to understand. For this, before all things else, a consideration of principles is absolutely necessary; and also of the manner in which Nature proceeds from imperfection to the end of perfection.

Now, for this consideration it is well to have it thoroughly understood from the first that all things created by Nature consist of three primal elements, namely, natural Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt in combination, so that in some substances they are volatile, in others fixed. Wherever corporal Salt is mixed with spiritual Mercury and animated Sulphur into one body, then Nature begins to work, in those subterranean places which serve for her vessels, by means of a separating fire. By this the thick and impure Sulphur is separated from the pure, the earth is segregated from the Salt, and the clouds from the Mercury, while those purer parts are preserved, which Nature again welds together into a pure geogamic body.

This operation is esteemed by the Magi as a mixture and conjunction by the uniting of three constituents, body, soul, and spirit. When this union is completed there results from it a pure Mercury. Now if this, when flowing down through its subterranean passages and veins, meets with a chaotic Sulphur, the Mercury is coagulated by it according to the condition of the Sulphur. It is, however, still volatile, so that scarcely in a hundred years is it transformed into a metal. Hence arose the vulgar idea that Mercury and Sulphur are the matter of the metals, as is certainly reported by miners.

It is not, however, common Mercury and common Sulphur which are the matter of the metals, but the Mercury and the Sulphur of the philosophers are incorporated and inborn in perfect metals, and in the forms of them, so that they never fly from the fire, nor are they depraved by the force of the corruption caused by the elements.

It is true that by the dissolution of this natural mixture our Mercury is subdued, as all the philosophers say. Under this form of words our Mercury comes to be drawn from perfect bodies and from the forces of the earthly planets. This is what Hermes asserts in the following terms: "The Sun and the Moon are the roots of this Art". The Son of Hamuel says that the Stone of the philosophers is water coagulated, namely, in Sol and Luna. From this it is clearer than the sun that the material of the Stone is nothing else but Sol and Luna.

This is confirmed by the fact that like produces like.


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We know that there are only two Stones, the white and the red. There are also two matters of the Stone, Sol and Luna, formed together in a proper marriage, both natural and artificial.

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Now, as we see that the man or the woman, without the seed of both, cannot generate, in the same way our man, Sol, and his wife, Luna, cannot conceive or do an thing in the way of generation, without the seed and sperm of both. Hence the philosophers gathered that a third thing was necessary, namely, the animated seed of both, the man and the woman, without which they judged that the whole of their work was fruitless and in vain.

Such a sperm is Mercury, which, by the natural conjunction of both bodies Sol and Luna, receives their nature into itself in union. Then at length, and not before, the work is fit for congress, ingress, and generation; by the masculine and feminine power and virtue. Hence the philosophers have said that this same Mercury is composed of body, spirit, and soul, and that it has assumed the nature and property of all elements. Therefore, with their most powerful genius and intellect, they asserted their Stone to be animal. They even called it their Adam, who carries his own invisible Eve hidden in his body, from that moment in which they were united by the power of the Supreme God, the Maker of all creatures.

For this reason it may be said that the Mercury of the Philosophers is none other than their most abstruse, compounded Mercury, and not the common Mercury. So then they have wisely said to the sages that there is in Mercury whatever wise men seek. Almadir, the philosopher, says: "We extract our Mercury from one perfect body and two perfect natural conditions incorporated together, which indeed puts forth externally its perfection, whereby it is able to resist the fire, so that its internal imperfection may be protected by the external perfections".

By this passage of the sagacious philosopher is understood the Adamic matter, the limbus of the microcosm 16 , and the homogeneous, unique matter of the philosophers. The sayings of these men, which we have before mentioned, are simply golden, and ever to be held in the highest esteem, because they contain nothing superfluous or without force.

Our Mercury, therefore, is the same which contains in itself all the perfections, force, and virtues of the Sun, which also runs through all the streets and houses of all the planets, and in its own rebirth has acquired the force of things above and things below; to the marriage of which it is to be compared, as is clear from the whiteness and the redness combined in it. What Nature principally requires is that its own philosophic man should be brought into a mercurial substance, so that it may be born into the philosophic Stone. Moreover, it should be remarked that those common preparations of Geber, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Rupescissa, Polydorus, and such men, are nothing more than some particular solutions, sublimations, and calcinations, having no reference to our universal substance, which needs only the most secret fire of the philosophers.

Let the fire and Azoth therefore suffice for you. From the fact that the philosophers make mention of certain preparations, such as putrefaction, distillation, sublimation, calcination, coagulation, dealbation, rubification, ceration, fixation, and the like, you should understand that in their universal substance, Nature herself fulfils all the operations in the matter spoken of, and not the operator, only in a philosophical vessel, and with a similar fire, but not common fire. The white and the red spring from one root without any intermediary.

It is dissolved by itself, it copulates by itself, grows white, grows red, is made crocus-coloured and black by itself, marries itself and conceives in itself. It is therefore to be decocted, to be baked, to be fused; it ascends, and it descends. All these operations are a single operation and produced by the fire alone. Still, some philosophers, nevertheless, have, by a highly graduated essence of wine, dissolved the body of Sol, and rendered it volatile, so that it should ascend through an alembic, thinking that this is the true volatile matter of the philosophers, though it is not so.

And although it be no contemptible arcanum to reduce this perfect metallic body into a volatile, spiritual substance, yet they are wrong in their separation of the elements. This process of the monks, such as Lully, Richard of England, Rupescissa, and the rest, is erroneous. For although one element may, in a certain sense, be separated from another, yet, nevertheless, every element separated in this way can again be separated into another element, but these elements cannot afterwards by circulation in a pelican, or by distillation, be again brought back into one; but they always remain a certain volatile matter, and aurum potabile, as they themselves call it.

She alone knows her own operations and the weights of the elements, the separations, rectifications, and copulations of which she brings about without the aid of any operator or manual artifice, provided only the matter be contained in the secret fire and in its proper occult vessel. The separation of the elements, therefore, is impossible by man.

It may appear to take place, but it is not true, whatever may be said by Raymond Lully, and of that famous English golden work which he is falsely supposed to have accomplished. Nature herself has within herself the proper separator, who again joins together what he has put asunder, without the aid of man. She knows best the proportion of every element, which man does not know, however miseading writers romance in their frivolous and false recipes about this volatile gold. This is the opinion of the philosophers, that when they have put their matter into the more secret fire, and when with a moderated philosophical heat it is cherished on every side, beginning to pass into corruption, it grows black.

The ascent and descent thereof they term distillation, ascension, and descension. The exsiccation they call coagulation; and the dealbation they call calcination; while because it becomes fluid and soft in the heat they make mention of ceration. When it ceases to ascend and remains liquid at the bottom, they say fixation is present.

In this manner it is the terms of philosophical operations are to bc understood, and not otherwise. Sham philosophers have misunderstood the occult and secret philosophic vessel, and worse is that which is said by Aristoteles the Alchemist not the famous Greek Academic Philosopher , giving it out that the matter is to be decocted in a triple vessel.

Worst of all is that which is said by another, namely, that the matter in its first separation and first degree requires a metallic vessel; in its second degree of coagulation and dealbation of its earth a glass vessel; and in the third degree, for fixation, an earthen vessel. Nevertheless, hereby the philosophers understand one vessel alone in all the operations up to the perfection of the red stone. Since, then, our matter is our root for the white and the red, necessarily our vessel must be so fashioned that the matter in it may be governed by the heavenly bodies.

For invisible celestial influences and the impressions of the stars are in the very first degree necessary for the work: Otherwise it would be impossible for the Oriental, Chaldean, and Egyptian stone to be realised. By this Anaxagoras knew the powers of the whole firmament, and foretold that a great stone would descend from heaven to earth, which actually happened after his death. To the Cabalists our vessel is perfectly well known, because it must be made according to a truly geometrical proportion and measure, and from a definite quadrature of the circle, so that the spirit and the soul of our matter, separated from their body, may be able to raise this vessel with themselves in proportion to the altitude of heaven.

It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is spoken as to make us think him credible.

We believe good men more fully and more readily than others. This is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided. The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else. He who will not economize will have to agonize. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.


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Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has. When you are laboring for others, let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself. Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.

After I'm dead, I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one. Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks. Haste in every business brings failures.