By Tom Brown
The knowledge and beliefs of alchemy and astrology are ignored scorned and ridiculed as superstition and are termed pseodosciences. The fact is modern science in principle is also as much religion. Originating in the ancient civilisations of recorded history, alchemy's roots date from back around 6000 years, with study of the night sky and astrology a bit older.
The field of modern chemistry is very recent. We could take it from the discovery of the atomic nature of matter and the periodic table thus making the beginnings about three centuries ago. As for astronomy one could take the start as the manufacture of the first optical telescopes, precision measuring instruments, basic mechanics and calculus as traditionally considered part of physics. That would also mean around three hundred years.
The relatively recent rapid advance in the study of natural sciences is partly due to the developent of mathematics and computers as powerful tools in all exact science and quantitative work, as well as the press and widely published academic research and ease of availability of masses of reliable information. Perhaps not surprisingly the fact is that much of the laboratory equipment and methods of past ages are still the same. In a sense these pseodosciences or pre-sciences share a lot with those currently. We should not ourselves be guilty of total ignorance. We should not throw out the baby with the bathwater!
Considering science and religion, philosophy and mysticism, in the rituals practiced as such and making of potions and magic spells, often appearances of activities and methodology of chemical laboratory experiments are much the same. Related business contributes too, such as maintaining the workshop and keeping detailed notes. On the surface these really do not look too different.
Of course homeopathy as well as other traditional remedies and healing practices are related.
Most of the pharmaceuticals in use today first came from nature and from biological life, plants fungi and others. The very origins of medicine are very far earlier even. The medicine man herb doctors and traditional healers are mistrusted and feared. I feel the ignorance is partly on our side. The fact is that by far most modern medicines were first of plant origin. We all know how terribly expensive prescription medicines are. Good name, trusted, big business big bucks. The mob.
The natural sciences as physics and chemistry can be seen to be in essence philosophy, as pursuit of truth, and each has unique beliefs and rituals, weaknesses and history.
Although these pseudo-sciences are ignored and discredited by almost all, there must exist a treasure of knowledge and many long forgotten discoveries and lost insights in 6000 years as opposed to 300. Many of these are actually being rediscovered even now, some being found purely by accident. Of course modern research methods, experiments and evaluating of results, and better theories bring us always to deeper and deeper levels of understanding and truth.
Who knows you might discover a goldmine!
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance- that principle is contempt before prior investigation."