Paracelsus and the Renaissance Relationship, Contribution to the RenaissanceJune 27, 2021
The real innovation of the Renaissance period was in the field of science. In this period, great people who can be described as both scientists and philosophers such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo have grown, and many other thinkers who have contributed to the idea of science on the theoretical plane.
Paracelsus (1493-1541) is a Swiss-German thinker, physician and chemist who lived in the early Renaissance. In the field of natural philosophy, he started from the Neo-Platonist basis and his views moved away from the scientific basis and gained mystical dimensions. At a time when natural science is just beginning to stir, such an approach is hardly surprising. In the late Middle Ages, William of Ockham’s defense of nominalism and his proposition of the theory of double truth seemed to separate theology from philosophy. In this separation, no distinction was made between science and philosophy. For Paracelsus, too, philosophy was nothing but the knowledge of nature, and therefore, in the name of philosophy, he introduced a metaphysics with supernatural powers.
According to him, nature is alive and full of divine powers and spirits. Although each type of being has its own spirit, nature as a whole has a general and inclusive spirit or power focus. Paracelsus calls it “vulcanus”. In order to know nature fully, besides knowing everything with its own essence and spirit, it is necessary to know a vulcanus, that is, the general essence of nature. While nature is a macrocosm, man is a microcosm within it. For this reason, people can better understand nature based on themselves. The way to understand human is through medical science; a doctor who learns the forces of nature in the human body will find them again in the macrocosm, that is, in nature; In this way, he will have known the nature with its beneficial and harmful elements. For this, it is necessary not to be afraid of nature, on the contrary, to integrate with it, to hear it, to live it and to act. In this way, it may be possible to understand nature. Man has ‘archeus’ as his special soul. It means a kind of human spirit or life force. In order to know a person very well, it is necessary to discover and know this life force very well.
A man’s integrity depends on the unhindered functioning of his archeus; The disease is that Archeus is attached to an alien power. Therefore, he should cure the disease not by opposing forces, but by strengthening the essence of man. A sick organ can only be helped with a substance made from it. A successful physician should first of all know how to distinguish between good and bad spirits (geister) in nature, learn to support the good and fight the bad. The way to do this is nothing but some mysterious-magical processes. Also, since there is a universe spirit (vulcanus) in everything, there must also be a universal medicine that will cure all diseases. This is that ‘stone’ that all the sages seek but have yet to find. Paracelsus also made many chemistry experiments in order to find this stone, and in the meantime, he reached some positive results such as illuminating some basic aspects of chemistry. But these are of course nothing more than coincidences.
According to Paracelsus, although each type of being has a spirit of its own, the universe as a whole also has a spirit, and this spirit is called vulcanus.
According to Paracelsus, every human has a life force called the archaeus. Health is the unhindered functioning of the archaeus, disease is its attachment to a foreign power.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook