Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians. — John Maynard Keynes
A quick visit to wikipedia reveals the following little-known speculations about Isaac Newton’s beliefs:
- Newton believed that Pythagoras (582BC – 507 BC) must have known about Gravity, and even toyed with the idea of including margin notes attesting it.
- Newton, for that reason, did not use his “fluxions,” but rather geometric proofs which he thought would have been more accessible to geometers of Pythagoras’s era.
- Newton also believed that the Hebrews before the Great Flood knew of the atomic structure of matter.
Clearly Newton must have been insane to believe that a man living 2,000 years before the time of Newton himself was capable of finding gravity, a concept unheard of before Newton. He must have been insane to believe that even before that a group of people had information on the atomic structure of matter.
Or was he? The ‘wisdom from the past’ cliche firmly believed by mystics, occultists and alternative thinkers alike is not a new phenomenon. Many people today believe that the ground-breaking news that science throws our way in the fields of quantum physics, microbiology, cosmology and consciousness studies have been long accounted for and fully explained by some mystical and philosophical systems that have been with us for more than just mere centuries. People point at inexplicable behaviour of quantum particles and their inaccountability by current scientific beliefs. Those who readily (but nevertheless informedly) jump to conclusions talk of the interconnectedness of all things, about meta-universes, or multi-dimensional realities. Maybe reality really is a dream as some mystics believe.
It is always shocking when scientists find out that the ground-breaking research being done today only reveals information that has been available to some other, ‘less-developed’ cultures. The astronomical knowledge of the Mayans, the engineering expertise of numerous cultures – native Americans, Egyptians and those preceding them, the knowledge that many indigenous people have of human consciousness – whether we look at shamanism, inexplicable knowledge of natural remedies that is almost as complex as modern pharmacology – the list goes on forever, my knowledge doesn’t – and I was starting to feel smug. Sorry. It is no surprise that we have a lot to learn from other cultures. It is a surprise when it takes centuries of meticulous research and numerous changes in the scientific paradigm to come to a conclusion that is so close to the views that were only reserved for religion and mysticism. Well, we aren’t there yet – and quite probably never will be. But the possibility is there and there is no harm in being intrigued and amused by it.
The most interesting resource that I have been presented with as regards to modern science pointing in the direction of old mystical knowledge is Ervin Laszlo’s (nomination for Nobel prize) Science and the Akashic Field: An integral theory of everything. Do not be discouraged by the title – this book has been very interesting even in the face of the long-term growth of my scepticism and my inability to deal with most literature requiring an ‘open-mind’ (ie. literature lacking any logic, common sense, or good writing and requiring a humongous amount of gullibility). This book does not suffer from any deficiencies: it is logical, smart (almost too smart for me), interesting beyond belief and entertaining as it is written to be understood.