Frasi di William Crookes

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William Crookes

Data di nascita: 17. Giugno 1832
Data di morte: 4. Aprile 1919

Pubblicità

Sir William Crookes è stato un chimico e fisico britannico e presidente della Society for Psychical Research dal 1896 al 1897.

Frasi William Crookes

„Röntgen has familiarized us with an order of vibrations of extreme minuteness compared with the smallest waves with which we have hitherto been acquainted, and of dimensions comparable with the distances between the centers of the atoms of which the material universe is built up; and there is no reason to suppose that we have here reached the limit of frequency.“

— William Crookes
Context: The structure of brain and nerves being similar, it is conceivable there may be present masses of such nerve coherers in the brain whose special function it may be to receive impulses brought from without through the connecting sequence of ether waves of appropriate order of magnitude. Röntgen has familiarized us with an order of vibrations of extreme minuteness compared with the smallest waves with which we have hitherto been acquainted, and of dimensions comparable with the distances between the centers of the atoms of which the material universe is built up; and there is no reason to suppose that we have here reached the limit of frequency. It is known that the action of thought is accompanied by certain molecular movements in the brain, and here we have physical vibrations capable, from their extreme minuteness, of acting direct on individual molecules, while their rapidity approaches that of the internal and external movements of the atoms themselves. Confirmation of telepathic phenomena is afforded by many converging experiments and by many spontaneous occurrences only thus intelligible. The most varied proof, perhaps, is drawn from analysis of the subconscious workings of the mind, when these, whether by accident or design, are brought into conscious survey. … This is not the place for details, but the vis medicatrix thus evoked, as it were, from the depths of the organism, is of good omen for the upward evolution of mankind.

„Most students of nature sooner or later pass through a process of writing off a large percentage of their supposed capital of knowledge as a merely illusory asset. As we trace more accurately certain familiar sequences of phenomena we begin to realize how closely these sequences, or laws, as we call them, are hemmed round by still other laws of which we can form no notion.“

— William Crookes
Context: The most helpful quality which has aided me in psychical problems and has made me lucky in physical discoveries (sometimes of rather unexpected kinds) has simply been my knowledge — my vital knowledge, if I may so term it — of my own ignorance. Most students of nature sooner or later pass through a process of writing off a large percentage of their supposed capital of knowledge as a merely illusory asset. As we trace more accurately certain familiar sequences of phenomena we begin to realize how closely these sequences, or laws, as we call them, are hemmed round by still other laws of which we can form no notion. With myself this writing off of illusory assets has gone rather far and the cobweb of supposed knowledge has been pinched (as some one has phrased) into a particularly small pill.

Pubblicità

„In every form of research there must be a beginning. We own to much that is tentative, much that may turn out erroneous. But it is thus, and thus only, that each science in turn takes its stand. I venture to assert that both in actual careful record of new and important facts, and in suggestiveness, our society's work and publications will form no unworthy preface to a profounder science both of man, of nature, and of "worlds not realized" than this planet has yet known.“

— William Crookes
Context: I see no good reason why any man of scientific mind should shut his eyes to our work or deliberately stand aloof from it. Our Proceedings are, of course, not exactly parallel to the Proceedings of a society dealing with a long-established branch of science. In every form of research there must be a beginning. We own to much that is tentative, much that may turn out erroneous. But it is thus, and thus only, that each science in turn takes its stand. I venture to assert that both in actual careful record of new and important facts, and in suggestiveness, our society's work and publications will form no unworthy preface to a profounder science both of man, of nature, and of "worlds not realized" than this planet has yet known.

„In these last sentences I have intentionally used words of wide signification — have spoken of guidance along ordered paths. It is wisdom to be vague here, for we absolutely can not say whether or when any diversion may be introduced into the existing system of earthly forces by an external power.“

— William Crookes
Context: Molecular movements strictly obey the law of conservation of energy, but what we call "law" is simply an expression of the direction along which a form of energy acts, not the form of energy itself. We may explain molecular and molar motions, and discover all the physical laws of motion, but we shall be far as ever from a solution of the vastly more important question as to what form of will and intellect is behind the motions of molecules, guiding and constraining them in definite directions along predetermined paths. What is the determining cause in the background? What combination of will and intellect outside our physical laws guides the fortuitous concourse of atoms along ordered paths culminating in the material world in which we live? In these last sentences I have intentionally used words of wide signification — have spoken of guidance along ordered paths. It is wisdom to be vague here, for we absolutely can not say whether or when any diversion may be introduced into the existing system of earthly forces by an external power.

„By such an hypothesis no physical laws are violated; neither is it necessary to invoke what is commonly called the supernatural.“

— William Crookes
Context: These rays, as generated in the vacuum tube, are not homogeneous, but consist of bundles of different wave-lengths, analogous to what would be differences of colour could we see them as light. Some pass easily through flesh, but are partially arrested by bone, while others pass with almost equal facility through bone and flesh. It seems to me that in these rays we may have a possible mode of transmitting intelligence which, with a few reasonable postulates, may supply a key to much that is obscure in psychical research. Let it be assumed that these rays, or rays even of higher frequency, can pass into the brain and act on some nervous center there. Let it be conceived that the brain contains a center which uses these rays as the vocal chords use sound vibrations (both being under the command of intelligence), and sends them out, with the velocity of light, to impinge on the receiving ganglion of another brain. In this way some, at least, of the phenomena of telepathy, and the transmission of intelligence from one sensitive to another through long distances, seem to come into the domain of law and can be grasped. A sensitive may be one who possesses the telepathic transmitting or receiving ganglion in an advanced state of development, or who, by constant practice, is rendered more sensitive to these high-frequency waves. Experience seems to show that the receiving and the transmitting ganglions are not equally developed; one may be active, while the other, like the pineal eye in man, may be only vestigial. By such an hypothesis no physical laws are violated; neither is it necessary to invoke what is commonly called the supernatural.

„On the other hand, our highest types of beauty are those which would be common under decreased gravitation.
The "daughter of the gods, divinely tall," and the leaping athlete, please us by the slight triumph over the earthward pull which their stature or spring implies.“

— William Crookes
Context: It is curious that the popular conceptions of evil and malignant beings are of the type that would be produced by increased gravitation — toads, reptiles, and noisome creeping things — while the arch fiend himself is represented as perhaps the ultimate form which could be assumed by a thinking brain and its necessary machinery were the power of gravitation to be increased to the highest point compatible with existence — a serpent crawling along the ground. On the other hand, our highest types of beauty are those which would be common under decreased gravitation. The "daughter of the gods, divinely tall," and the leaping athlete, please us by the slight triumph over the earthward pull which their stature or spring implies.

„An omnipotent being could rule the course of this world in such a way that none of us should discover the hidden springs of action.“

— William Crookes
Context: An omnipotent being could rule the course of this world in such a way that none of us should discover the hidden springs of action. He need not make the sun stand still upon Gibeon. He could do all that he wanted by the expenditure of infinitesimal diverting force upon ultra-microscopic modifications of the human germ.

„I can do which I like, and whichever way I decide, no more energy is developed in the fall of the weight. I strike a match; I can use it to light a cigarette or to set fire to a house. I write a telegram; it may be simply to say I shall be late for dinner, or it may produce fluctuations on the stock exchange that will ruin thousands. In these cases the actual force required in striking the match or in writing the telegram is governed by the law or conservation of energy; but the vastly more momentous part, which determines the words I use or the material I ignite, is beyond such a law.“

— William Crookes
Context: The clock runs down. I lift the weight by exerting the proper amount of energy, and in this action the law of conservation of energy is strictly obeyed. But now I have the choice of either letting the weight fall free in a fraction of a second, or, constrained by the wheelwork, in twenty-four hours. I can do which I like, and whichever way I decide, no more energy is developed in the fall of the weight. I strike a match; I can use it to light a cigarette or to set fire to a house. I write a telegram; it may be simply to say I shall be late for dinner, or it may produce fluctuations on the stock exchange that will ruin thousands. In these cases the actual force required in striking the match or in writing the telegram is governed by the law or conservation of energy; but the vastly more momentous part, which determines the words I use or the material I ignite, is beyond such a law. It is probable that no expenditure of energy need be used in the determination of direction one way more than another. Intelligence and free will here come into play, and these mystic forces are outside the law of conservation of energy as understood by physicists.

Pubblicità

„It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense — that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.“

— William Crookes
Context: No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those who honored me with the invitation to become your president. Perhaps among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly. … To ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice — an act of cowardice I feel no temptation to commit. To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to do but to go straight on; "to explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper his reason; "to follow the light wherever it may lead, even should it at times resemble a will-o'-the-wisp. I have nothing to retract. I adhere to my already published statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I regret only a certain crudity in those early expositions which, no doubt justly, militated against their acceptance by the scientific world. My own knowledge at that time scarcely extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new to science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own sober senses and, better still, by automatic record. I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand at the singular point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find himself in infinitesimal and inexplicable contact with a plane of existence not his own. I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of something like coherence among the strange elusive phenomena; of something like continuity between those unexplained forces and laws already known. This advance is largely due to the labors of another association, of which I have also this year the honor to be president — the Society for Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of science I should choose a starting point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense — that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.

„To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science.“

— William Crookes
Context: No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those who honored me with the invitation to become your president. Perhaps among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly. … To ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice — an act of cowardice I feel no temptation to commit. To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to do but to go straight on; "to explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper his reason; "to follow the light wherever it may lead, even should it at times resemble a will-o'-the-wisp. I have nothing to retract. I adhere to my already published statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I regret only a certain crudity in those early expositions which, no doubt justly, militated against their acceptance by the scientific world. My own knowledge at that time scarcely extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new to science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own sober senses and, better still, by automatic record. I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand at the singular point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find himself in infinitesimal and inexplicable contact with a plane of existence not his own. I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of something like coherence among the strange elusive phenomena; of something like continuity between those unexplained forces and laws already known. This advance is largely due to the labors of another association, of which I have also this year the honor to be president — the Society for Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of science I should choose a starting point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense — that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.

„May not our boasted knowledge be simply conditioned by accidental environments, and thus be liable to a large element of subjectivity hitherto unsuspected and scarcely possible to eliminate?“

— William Crookes
Context: If a possible — nay, reasonable — variation in only one of the forces conditioning the human race, that of gravitation, could so modify our outward form, appearance, and proportions as to make us to all intents and purposes a different race of beings; if mere differences of size can cause some of the most simple facts in chemistry and physics to take so widely different a guise; if beings microscopically small and prodigiously large would simply as such be subject to the hallucinations I have pointed out, and to others I might enlarge upon, is it not possible that we, in turn, though occupying, as it seems to us, the golden mean, may also by the mere virtue of our size and weight fall into misinterpretations of phenomena from which we should escape were we or the globe we inhabit either larger or smaller, heavier or lighter? May not our boasted knowledge be simply conditioned by accidental environments, and thus be liable to a large element of subjectivity hitherto unsuspected and scarcely possible to eliminate?

„We say, with truth, that energy is transformed but not destroyed, and that whenever we can trace the transformation we find it quantitatively exact. So far as our very rough exactness goes, this is true for inorganic matter and for mechanical forces. But it is only inferentially true for organized matter and for vital forces.“

— William Crookes
Context: I am impelled to one further reflection, dealing with the conservation of energy. We say, with truth, that energy is transformed but not destroyed, and that whenever we can trace the transformation we find it quantitatively exact. So far as our very rough exactness goes, this is true for inorganic matter and for mechanical forces. But it is only inferentially true for organized matter and for vital forces. We can not express life in terms of heat or of motion. And thus it happens that just when the exact transformation of energy will be most interesting to watch, we can not really tell whether any fresh energy has been introduced into the system or not. Let us consider this a little more closely.

Pubblicità

„It is equally difficult, hemmed in and bound round as we are by materialistic ideas, to think of intelligence, thought, and will existing without form or matter and untrammeled by gravitation or space.“

— William Crookes
Context: Popular imagination presupposes spiritual beings to be utterly independent of gravitation, while retaining shapes and proportions which gravitation originally determined, and only gravitation seems likely to maintain. When and if spiritual beings make themselves visible either to our bodily eyes or to our inward vision, their object would be thwarted were they not to appear in a recognizable form; so that their appearance would take the shape of the body and clothing to which we have been accustomed. Materiality, form, and space, I am constrained to believe, are temporary conditions of our present existence. It is difficult to conceive the idea of a spiritual being having a body like ours, conditioned by the exact gravitating force exerted by the earth, and with organs which presuppose the need for food and necessity for the removal of waste products. It is equally difficult, hemmed in and bound round as we are by materialistic ideas, to think of intelligence, thought, and will existing without form or matter and untrammeled by gravitation or space.

„I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand at the singular point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find himself in infinitesimal and inexplicable contact with a plane of existence not his own.“

— William Crookes
Context: No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those who honored me with the invitation to become your president. Perhaps among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly. … To ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice — an act of cowardice I feel no temptation to commit. To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to do but to go straight on; "to explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper his reason; "to follow the light wherever it may lead, even should it at times resemble a will-o'-the-wisp. I have nothing to retract. I adhere to my already published statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I regret only a certain crudity in those early expositions which, no doubt justly, militated against their acceptance by the scientific world. My own knowledge at that time scarcely extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new to science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own sober senses and, better still, by automatic record. I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand at the singular point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find himself in infinitesimal and inexplicable contact with a plane of existence not his own. I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of something like coherence among the strange elusive phenomena; of something like continuity between those unexplained forces and laws already known. This advance is largely due to the labors of another association, of which I have also this year the honor to be president — the Society for Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of science I should choose a starting point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense — that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.

„The human creature represents the most perfect thinking and acting machine yet evolved on this earth, developing through countless ages in strict harmony with the surrounding conditions of temperature, atmosphere, light, and gravitation.“

— William Crookes
Context: The human creature represents the most perfect thinking and acting machine yet evolved on this earth, developing through countless ages in strict harmony with the surrounding conditions of temperature, atmosphere, light, and gravitation. The profound modifications in the human frame, which any important alteration in either of these factors would occasion, are strangely unconsidered. It is true there have been questionings as to the effects that might be occasioned by changes in temperature and atmospheric composition, but possible variations in gravitation seem almost to have escaped notice. The human body, which long experience and habit have taught us to consider in its highest development as the perfection of beauty and grace — "formed in the image of God " — is entirely conditioned by the strength of gravitation on this globe. So far as has been possible to ascertain, the intensity of gravity has not varied appreciably within those geologic ages covering the existence of animated thinking beings.

„Here we use the vibrations of the material molecules of the atmosphere to transmit intelligence from one brain to another.“

— William Crookes
Context: Ordinarily we communicate intelligence to each other by speech. I first call up in my own brain a picture of a scene I wish to describe, and then, by means of an orderly transmission of wave vibrations set in motion by my vocal chords through the material atmosphere, a corresponding picture is implanted in the brain of anyone whose ear is capable of receiving such vibrations. If the scene I wish to impress on the brain of the recipient is of a complicated character, or if the picture of it in my own brain is not definite, the transmission will be more or less imperfect; but if I wish to get my audience to picture to themselves some very simple object, such as a triangle or a circle, the transmission of ideas will be well-nigh perfect, and equally clear to the brains of both transmitter and recipient. Here we use the vibrations of the material molecules of the atmosphere to transmit intelligence from one brain to another.

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