Arthur Koestler. The Sleepwalkers. A History of Man's changing vision of the Universe. With an Introduction by. Herbert Butterfield. 1. Awakening. We can add to. medical-site.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe is a book by Arthur . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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PDF | The essay discusses the many intellectual faces of Arthur Koestler, Sleepwalkers, Toulmin writes: “ the author made no attempt to. Sleep walkers by Arthur Koestler, , Grosset & Dunlap edition, in English. An extraordinary history of humanity's changing vision of the universe. In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile.
The First Repercussions. The Delayed Effect. Decline of a Family. Orphic Purge. The Perfect Solids. Contents of the Mysterium. Back to Pythagoras. The Cosmic Cup. Limbering Up. Waiting for Tycho. The Quest for Precision. The New Star. Prelude to the Meeting.
The Gravity of Fate. The Inheritor. Astronomia Nova. Opening Gambits. The First Assault. The Eight Minutes Arc. The Wrong Law. The Second Law. The First Law. Some Conclusions. The Pitfalls of Gravity. Matter and Mind I. Publishing Difficulties. Reception of Astronomia Nova. The Great News. A Digression on Mythography. Youth of Galileo. The Church and the Copernican System. Early Quarrels. The Impact of the Telescope. The Battle of the Satellites.
The Shield Bear- er. The Parting of the Orbits. The Witch Trial. Harmonice Mundi. The Third Law. The Ultimate Paradox. Tabulae Rudolphinae. The Tension Snaps. Lunar Nightmare. The End. Galileo's Triumph. The Sunspots. The Shifting of the Burden. The Denunciation. The Refusal to Compromise. The "Secret Weapon". The Decree of the Holy Office. The Injunc- tion. The Tides. The Comets. Dangerous Adulation. The Dialogue.
The Imprimatur. The Trial. What is "Weight"? The Magnetic Confusion. Enter Gravity. The Final Synthesis. The Pitfalls of Mental Evolution. Separations and Reintegrations. Some Patterns of Discov- ery. Mystic and Savant.
The Fatal Estrangement. The Vanishing Act. The Conservatism of Modern Science. From Hierarchy to Continuum. The Ultimate Decision. Sections of history are liable to be transformed or, even where not transformed, great- ly vivified by an imagination that comes, sweeping like a searchlight, from outside the historical profession itself.
Old hunches are then confirmed by fresh applications of the ev- idence or by unexpected correlations between sources. New matter emerges because things are joined together which it had not occurred to one to see in juxtaposition. New details are elicited, difficult details become relevant, because of a fresh turn that the argu- ment has taken. We are constantly finding that we have been reading too much modernity into a man like Copernicus, or have merely been selecting from Kepler and plucking out of their context certain things which have a modern ring; or, in a similar manner, we have been anachro- nistic in our treatment of the mind and life of Galileo.
The present author carries this par- ticular process further, picks up many loose ends, and gives the whole subject a number of unexpected ramifications. Looking not only at the scientific achievements but at the work- ing-methods behind them, and at a good deal of private correspondence, he has illuminat- ed great thinkers, putting them back into their age, and yet not making them meaningless not leaving us with anomalies and odds-and-ends of antiquated thought, but tracing the unity, recovering the texture and showing us the plausibility and the self-consistency of the underlying mind.
It is particularly useful for English readers that Mr. Koestler has concentrated on some of the aspects of the story that have been neglected, and has paid great attention to Kepler, who most required exposition and most called for historical imagination. History is not to be judged by negatives; and those of us who differ from Mr.
Koestler in respect of some of the outer frame-work of his ideas or who do not follow him in certain details, can hardly fail to catch the light which not only modifies and enlivens the picture but brings out new facts, or makes dead ones dance before our eyes.
It will be surprising if even those who are familiar with this subject do not often feel that here is a shower of rain where every drop has caught a gleam. I use this outmoded expression because the term "Science", which has come to replace it in more recent times, does not carry the same rich and universal associations which "Natural Philosophy" carried in the seventeenth century, in the days when Kepler wrote his Harmony of the World and Galileo his Message from the Stars.
Those men who created the upheaval which we now call the "Scientific Rev- olution" called it by a quite different name: the "New Philosophy".
The revolution in tech- nology which their discoveries triggered off was an unexpected by-product; their aim was not the conquest of Nature, but the understanding of Nature. Yet their cosmic quest de- stroyed the mediaeval vision of an immutable social order in a walled-in universe together with its fixed hierarchy of moral values, and transformed the European landscape, society, culture, habits and general outlook, as thoroughly as if a new species had arisen on this planet.
This mutation of the European mind in the seventeenth century is merely the latest exam- ple of the impact of the "Sciences" on the "Humanities" of the inquiry into the nature of Nature on the inquiry into the nature of Man. It also illustrates the wrongheadedness of erecting academic and social barriers between the two; a fact which is at last beginning to gain recognition, nearly half a millennium after the Renaissance discovered the uomo uni- versale.
Another result of this fragmentation is that there exist Histories of Science, which tell one at what date the mechanical clock or the law of inertia made their first appearance, and Histories of Astronomy which inform one that the precession of the equinoxes was dis- covered by Hipparchus of Alexandria; but, surprisingly, there exists to my knowledge no modern History of Cosmology, no comprehensive survey of man's changing vision of the universe which encloses him.
The above explains what this book is aiming at, and what it is trying to avoid. It is not a history of astronomy, though astronomy comes in where it is needed to bring the vision into sharper focus; and, though aimed at the general reader, it is not a book of "popular science" but a personal and speculative account of a controversial subject.
It opens with the Babylonians and ends with Newton, because we still live in an essentially Newtonian uni- verse; the cosmology of Einstein is as yet in a fluid state, and it is too early to assess its in- fluence on culture.
To keep the vast subject within manageable limits, I could attempt only an outline. It is sketchy in parts, detailed in others, because selection and emphasis of the material was guided by my interest in certain specific questions, which are the leitmotifs of the book, and which I must briefly set out here.
Firstly, there are the twin threads of Science and Religion, starting with the undistinguish- able unity of the mystic and the savant in the Pythagorean Brotherhood, falling apart and reuniting again, now tied up in knots, now running on parallel courses, and ending in the polite and deadly "divided house of faith and reason" of our day, where, on both sides, symbols have hardened into dogmas, and the common source of inspiration is lost from view.
A study of the evolution of cosmic awareness in the past may help to find out whether a new departure is at least conceivable, and on what lines.
Secondly, I have been interested, for a long time, in the psychological process of discovery 2 as the most concise manifestation of man's creative faculty and in that converse process that blinds him towards truths which, once perceived by a seer, become so heartbreaking- ly obvious.
Now this blackout shutter operates not only in the minds of the "ignorant and superstitious masses" as Galileo called them, but is even more strikingly evident in Gali- leo's own, and in other geniuses like Aristotle, Ptolemy or Kepler. It looks as if, while part of their spirit was asking for more light, another part had been crying out for more dark- ness.
The History of Science is a relative newcomer on the scene, and the biographers of its Cromwells and Napoleons are as yet little concerned with psychology; their heroes are mostly represented as reasoning-machines on austere marble pedestals, in a manner long outdated in the mellower branches of historiography probably on the assumption that in the case of a Philosopher of Nature, unlike that of a statesman or conqueror, character and personality are irrelevant.
Yet all cosmological systems, from the Pythagoreans to Coper- nicus, Descartes and Eddington, reflect the unconscious prejudices, the philosophical or even political bias of their authors; and from physics to physiology, no branch of Science, ancient or modern, can boast freedom from metaphysical bias of one kind or another.
The progress of Science is generally regarded as a kind of clean, rational advance along a straight ascending line; in fact it has followed a zig-zag course, at times almost more be- wildering than the evolution of political thought. The history of cosmic theories, in partic- ular, may without exaggeration be called a history of collective obsessions and controlled schizophrenias; and the manner in which some of the most important individual discover- ies were arrived at reminds one more of a sleepwalker's performance than an electronic brain's.
Thus, in taking down Copernicus or Galileo from the pedestal on which science- mythography has placed them, my motive was not to "debunk", but to inquire into the ob- scure workings of the creative mind. Yet I shall not be sorry if, as an accidental by-product, the inquiry helps to counteract the legend that Science is a purely rational pursuit, that the Scientist is a more "level-headed" and "dispassionate" type than others and should there- fore be given a leading part in world affairs ; or that he is able to provide for himself and his contemporaries, a rational substitute for ethical insights derived from other sources.
It was my ambition to make a difficult subject accessible to the general reader, but stu- dents familiar with it will, I hope, nevertheless find some new information in these pages. This refers mainly to Johannes Kepler, whose works, diaries and correspondence have so far not been accessible to the English reader; nor does a serious English biography exist.
Yet Kepler is one of the few geniuses who enables one to follow, step by step, the tortuous path that led him to his discoveries, and to get a really intimate glimpse, as in a slow- motion film, of the creative act. He accordingly occupies a key-position in the narrative.
Copernicus' magnum opus, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, also had to wait until for a first English translation which perhaps explains certain curious misun- derstandings about his work, shared by practically all authorities who have written on the subject, and which I have tried to rectify. The general reader is advised not to bother about the Notes at the end of the book; on the other hand, the reader with a scientific education is asked to forbear with explanations which might seem an insult to his intelligence.
So long as in our educational system a state of cold war is maintained between the Sciences and the Humanities, this predicament can- not be avoided. One significant step towards ending this cold war was Professor Herbert Butterfield Ori- gins of Modern Science, first published in Apart from the work's profundity and excel- lence per se, I was much impressed by the fact that the Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge should venture into mediaeval Science and undertake such a gulf-bridging task.
Perhaps this age of specialists is in need of creative trespassers. It was this shared conviction which made me ask Professor Butterfield for the favour of a short Introduction to another trespassing venture. Marjorie Grene for her help on mediaeval Latin sources and various other problems; to Professor Zdenek Kopal, University of Manchester, for his critical reading of the text; to Professor Alexandre Koyr, cole des Hautes tudes, Sorbonne, and Professor Ernst Zinner, Bamberg, for in- formation quoted in the Notes; to Professor Michael Polanyi for his sympathetic interest and encouragement; lastly to Miss Cynthia Jefferies for her unending patient labours on the typescript and galleys.
Awakening WE can add to our knowledge, but we cannot subtract from it.
When I try to see the Uni- verse as a Babylonian saw it around B. At the age of about four I had what I felt to be a satisfactory understanding of God and the world. I remember an occasion when my father pointed his finger at the white ceiling, which was decorated with a frieze of dancing figures, and explained that God was up there, watching me.
I immediately became convinced that the dancers were God and henceforth addressed my prayers to them, asking for their protection against the terrors of day and night. Much in the same manner, I like to imagine, did the luminous figures on the dark ceiling of the world appear as living divinities to Babylonians and Egyptians.
The Twins, the Bear, the Serpent were as familiar to them as my fluted dancers to me; they were thought to be not very far away, and they held power of life and death, harvest and rain. The world of the Babylonians, Egyptians and Hebrews was an oyster, with water under- neath, and more water overhead, supported by the solid firmament.
It was of moderate dimensions, and as safely closed in on all sides as a cot in the nursery or a babe in the womb. The Babylonians' oyster was round, the earth was a hollow mountain, placed in its centre, floating on the waters of the deep; above it was a solid dome, covered by the upper waters. The upper waters seeped through the dome as rain, and the lower waters rose in fountains and springs. Sun, moon and stars progressed in a slow dance across the dome, entering the scene through doors in the East and vanishing through doors in the West.
The universe of the Egyptians was a more rectangular oyster or box; the earth was its floor, the sky was either a cow whose feet rested on the four corners of the earth, or a woman supporting herself on her elbows and knees; later, a vaulted metal lid.
Around the inner walls of the box, on a kind of elevated gallery, flowed a river on which the sun and moon gods sailed their barques, entering and vanishing through various stage doors. The fixed stars were lamps, suspended from the vault, or carried by other gods. The planets sailed their own boats along canals originating in the Milky Way, the celestial twin of the Nile.
Towards the fifteenth of each month, the moon god was attacked by a ferocious sow, and devoured in a fortnight of agony; then he was re-born again. Sometimes the sow swal- lowed him whole, causing a lunar eclipse; sometimes a serpent swallowed the sun, caus- ing a solar eclipse.
But these tragedies were, like those in a dream, both real and not; inside his box or womb, the dreamer felt fairly safe. This feeling of safety was derived from the discovery that, in spite of the tumultuous pri- vate lives of the sun and moon gods, their appearances and movements remained utterly dependable and predictable.
They brought night and day, the seasons and the rain, har- vest and sowing time, in regular cycles.
The mother leaning over the cradle is an unpre- dictable goddess; but her feeding breast can be depended on to appear when needed. The dreaming mind may go through wild adventures, it may travel through Olympus and Tartarus, but the pulse of the dreamer has a regular beat that can be counted. The first to learn counting the pulse of the stars were the Babylonians. Some six thousand years ago, when the human mind was still half asleep, Chaldean priests were standing on watch-towers, scanning the stars, making maps and time-tables of their motions.
Clay tablets dating from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, around B. Their observations became amazingly precise: they computed the length of the year with a deviation of less than 1. Thus at the very beginning of this long journey, Science emerges in the shape of Janus, the double-faced god, guardian of doors and gates: the face in front alert and ob- servant, while the other, dreamy and glassy-eyed, stares in the opposite direction. The most fascinating objects in the sky from both points of view were the planets, or vagabond stars.
Only seven of these existed among the thousands of lights suspended from the firmament. All other stars remained stationary, fixed in the pattern of the firmament, revolving once a day round the earth-mountain, but never changing their places in the pattern.
The seven vagabond stars revolved with them, but at the same time they had a motion of their own, like flies wandering over the surface of a spinning globe. Yet they did not wander all across the sky: their movements were confined to a narrow lane, or belt, which was looped around the firmament at an angle of about twenty-three degrees to the equator.
This belt the Zodiac was divided into twelve sec- tions, and each section was named after a constellation of fixed stars in the neighbour- hood. The Zodiac was the lovers' lane in the skies, along which the planets ambled. The passing of a planet through one of the sections had a double significance: it yielded figures for the observer's time-table, and symbolic messages of the mythological drama played out behind the scenes.
Astrology and Astronomy remain to this day complementary fields of vision of Janus sapiens. At the beginning, Greek cosmology moved much on the same lines Homer's world is another, more colourful oyster, a float- ing disc surrounded by Okeanus. But about the time when the texts of the Odyssey and Iliad became consolidated in their final version, a new development started in Ionia on the Aegean coast. The sixth pre-Christian century the miraculous century of Buddha, Confu- cius and Lo-Tse, of the Ionian philosophers and Pythagoras was a turning point for the human species.
A March breeze seemed to blow across this planet from China to Samos, stirring man into awareness, like the breath in Adam's nostrils. In the Ionian school of phi- losophy, rational thought was emerging from the mythological dream-world.
It was the beginning of the great adventure: the Promethean quest for natural explanations and ra- tional causes, which, within the next two thousand years, would transform the species more radically than the previous two hundred thousand had done. Thales of Miletos, who brought abstract geometry to Greece, and predicted an eclipse of the sun, believed, like Homer, that the earth was a circular disc floating on water, but he did not stop there; discarding the explanations of mythology, he asked the revolutionary question out of what basic raw material, and by what process of nature, the universe was formed.
His answer was, that the basic stuff or element must be water, because all things are born from moisture, including air, which is water evaporated.
Others taught that the prime material was not water, but air or fire; however, their answers were less important than the fact that they were learning to ask a new type of question, which was addressed not to an oracle, but to dumb nature. It was a wildly exhilarating game; to appreciate it, one must again travel back along one's own private time-track to the fantasies of early ad- olescence when the brain, intoxicated with its newly discovered powers, let speculation run riot.
His universe is no longer a closed box, but infi- nite in extension and duration. The raw material is none of the familiar forms of matter, but a substance without definite properties except for being indestructible and everlasting.
Out of this stuff all things are developed, and into it they return; before this our world, in- finite multitudes of other universes have already existed, and been dissolved again into the amorphous mass. The earth is a cylindrical column, surrounded by air; it floats upright in the centre of the universe without support or anything to stand on, yet it does not fall because, being in the centre, it has no preferred direction towards which to lean; if it did, this would disturb the symmetry and balance of the whole.
The spherical heavens enclose the atmosphere "like the bark of a tree", and there are several layers of this enclosure to ac- commodate the various stellar objects. But these are not what they seem, and are not "ob- jects" at all. The sun is merely a hole in the rim of a huge wheel. The rim is filled with fire, and as it turns round the earth, so does the hole in it a puncture in a gigantic tyre filled with flames.
For the moon we are given a similar explanation; its phases are due to recur- rent partial stoppages of the puncture, and so are the eclipses. The stars are pin-holes in a dark fabric through which we glimpse the cosmic fire filling the space between two layers of "bark".
It is not easy to see how the whole thing works, but it is the first approach to a mechanical model of the universe. The boat of the sun god is replaced by the wheels of a clockwork. Yet the machinery looks as if it had been dreamed up by a surrealist painter; the punc- tured fire-wheels are certainly closer to Picasso than to Newton.
As we move along past other cosmologies, we shall get this impression over and again. The system of Anaximenes, who was an associate of Anaximander, is less inspired; but he seems to have been the originator of the important idea that the stars are attached "like nails" to a transparent sphere of crystalline material, which turns round the earth "like a hat round the head". It sounded so plausible and convincing, that the crystal spheres were to dominate cosmology until the beginning of modern times.
The Ionian philosophers' home was Miletos in Asia Minor; but there existed rival schools in the Greek towns of Southern Italy, and rival theories within each school. The founder of the Eleatic school, Xenophanes of Kolophon, is a sceptic who wrote poetry to the age of ninety-two, and sounds as if he had served as a model for the author of Ecclesiastes: "From earth are all things and to earth all things return.
From earth and water come all of us No man hath certainly known, nor shall certainly know, that which he saith about the gods and about all things; for, be that which he saith ever so perfect, yet does he not know it; all things are matters of opinion Men imagine gods to be born, and to have clothes and voices and shapes like theirs Yea, the gods of the Ethiopians are black and flat-nosed, the gods of the Thraci- ans are red-haired and blue-eyed Yea, if oxen and horses and lions had hands, and could shape with their hands images as men do, horses would fashion their gods as horses, and oxen as oxen Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the gods all things that are a shame and a disgrace among men, theft, adultery, de- ceit, and other lawless acts He abideth ever in the same place motionless His cosmology reflects his philosophical temper; it is radically different from the Ionians'.
His earth is not a float- ing disc, or column, but is "rooted in the infinite". The sun and the stars have neither sub- stance nor permanence, they are merely cloudy exhalations of the earth which have caught fire. The stars are burnt out at dawn, and in the evening a new set of stars is formed from new exhalations. Similarly, a new sun is born every morning from the crowding together of sparks. The moon is a compressed, luminous cloud, which dissolves in a month; then a new cloud starts forming.
Over different regions of the earth, there are different suns and moons, all cloudy illusions. In this manner do the earliest rational theories of the Universe betray the bias and temper- ament of their makers. It is generally believed that with the progress of scientific method, the theories became more objective and reliable. Whether this belief is justified, we shall see. But propos of Xenophanes we may note that two thousand years later Galileo also in- sisted on regarding comets as atmospheric illusions for purely personal reasons, and against the evidence of his telescope.
Neither the cosmology of Anaxagoras, nor of Xenophanes, gained a considerable follow- ing. Every philosopher of the period seems to have had his own theory regarding the na- ture of the universe around him. To quote Professor Burnet, "no sooner did an Ionian phi- losopher learn half a dozen geometrical propositions and hear that the phenomena of the heavens recur in cycles than he set to work to look for law everywhere in nature and with an audacity amounting to hybris to construct a system of the universe.
The sixth century scene evokes the image of an orchestra expectantly tuning up, each player absorbed in his own instrument only, deaf to the caterwaulings of the others. Then there is a dramatic silence, the conductor enters the stage, raps three times with his baton, and harmony emerges from the chaos. The maestro is Pythagoras of Samos, whose influ- ence on the ideas, and thereby on the destiny, of the human race was probably greater than that of any single man before or after him.
It is worth quoting Koestler in full on this point, to allow the reader to notice his following three striking errors. The backwoodsmen were out at once in full cry, swinging their stone axes.
But in this they were no match for Galileo, whose specialty was the study of experimental results; and even in their own field of constructing ingenious arguments they were hopelessly outclassed for once, Galileo had in fact all their arguments, strengthening these, adding others that had not occurred to them, and then demolishing the whole structure with his own demonstrations and proofs. This praise is reminiscent of the tragedy of Nijinsky who was hurt by public enthusiasm for his jumps; he wanted to be appreciated as a dancer and not as an acrobat.
Drake admires Galileo as an acrobat-polemicist rather than as a teacher of critical thinking. Fahle, pp. Google Scholar 2. Wolfson sees a continuity of method from Antiquity to date [a p. The scholastic methods, so characteristic of the Middle Ages, can be traced to the Talmud, Philo, early commentators on Aristotle, and Aristotle himself. The scholastic method is the critical method as employed elsewhere, in Antiquity or in modem science and scholarship, but with the proviso that the fundamental tenets remain unchallenged plus the technique of inventing ad-hoc hypotheses in order to protect them.
The criticism of the fundamental tenets was offered by the mystic irrationalists who thus entrenched the identification of rationalism with Aristotelianism. Moreover, since the content of their criticism was identical with and borrowed from parts of the Aristotelian commentaries, what distinguished them was their method: by forbidding ad-hoc ripostes they turned innocuous flashes of debates into deadly hits.
This may explain why the principle of simplicity was of such great methodological import and mystical excitement at the same time and violating it was so sinful. The peak of the mystic criticism is achieved by Al Ghazali and Crescas [Wolfson, a pp.
Crescas, however, being a Jew and thus an adherent to the commandment to study the Law , finds a limited role for reason. The fact that criticism rises in the Renaissance together with mystic irrational cabbalism or Pythagoreanism or Neo-Platonism e.
Google Scholar Agassi, J. Fascimile reprint, Wesleyan U. Boston Studies, II first edition , London, Google Scholar Burtt, E.