The power of ideas

The power of great ideas is one of the major sources for the development of mankind. Ideas possess a power that bring us flourishing cultural epochs and at the same time accompanies us through dark, sorrowful phases of development.

The power of ideas

In man the power potential for both is present. In the area of tension of these two impulses a human being can develop through experience, and is able to discover the source beyond these two structures of power. Then begins a becoming of a special kind: a struggle in which the power of habit contends with the power of silence and love, a becoming that calls for ever newer adventures, with the longing for freedom behind it.

Man sees well only with the heart
“Power is effect,” “power is freedom of movement,” is how social philosopher Martin Saar defines power.  It acts as a driving force that has triggered many impulses for development, while preventing others. Power is not tangible and only becomes recognizable in its effects. Its roots remain invisible, indeed are ultimately hidden in the unknowable. There is a way to become aware of this “unknowable” if one comes to rest after many, often painful experiences, and reflectively lets everything that has been, pass by the inner eye, the eye of the heart.

A credo: With technology everything can be healed
Throughout our history, there have always been great personalities who have been influential in the growth and development of humanity. Among them is the philosopher and scientist Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727). He stood for the development of a rational science, which even in times of pandemics such as we are experiencing now, still has the power to reassure people. Part of the credo of today’s science is the certainty that the consequences of the destructive lifestyle of today’s humanity can be countered by its disciplines. The rational mind has developed in the last few centuries through the laws of a science that wants to reach the truth by restricting perception and intuition. It has produced a humanity that is no longer aware of what it means to live in harmony with nature and its creatures.

Isaac Newton was the last of the magicians
When the writings from Isaac Newton’s estate were offered to the University of Cambridge, it showed little interest. It was not until the economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) bought them at an auction at Sotheby’s and studied them that these writings revealed a very different Newton. Keynes discovered the mystical and alchemical leanings of Newton, and described this unknown side of the naturalist in a lecture to the Royal Society in 1942. He stated:

“Newton was not the first of the Age of Reason, but rather the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind to look upon the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual heritage a little less than 10,000 years ago.”

Powerful key figures and formative ideas
Time and again, there are ideas that are formative for an era of humanity. In Newton’s biography, which was characterized by successful scientific work and personal inner turmoil, a peculiar mixture of individual and super-personal power was evident. The super-personal was evident in the idea of a rational human being, for which he played a major role in shaping. “Nothing in the world is so powerful as an idea whose time has come” (Victor Hugo). The new developments, brought forth by individual personalities, are nonetheless not of an individual nature; they interact with a luminous spirit of the times, bringing forth a new flourishing cultural epoch.

Although the idea of the rational mathematical spirit was carried out individually and was overshadowed by the introspective nature of a personality in conflict, the non-individual, spiritual level became visible during Newton’s lifetime. But it came to full blossom only after his death, when, as time passed, his life was viewed in a historical context. While the individual power showed itself in the perpetual struggle with contemporary philosophies and in the struggle for one’s own inner balance, the luminous bright power remained formative beyond the end of his life.

Newton as an alchemist and natural scientist
Newton stood on the threshold of a new age as an alchemist and natural scientist in the modern sense. As a mathematician, he was a champion of rational reason and at the same time, as Keynes describes, the last great magician. Despite his personal difficulties, he placed science on a new foundation, which in our day, is being constantly challenged and reassessed, almost 300 years after his death.

In Newton two faces of power were evident. There is a power that brings forth movement and development from the highest and purest light, and there is a power in which forces of darkness and ignorance of the past are involved. All his life “the unknown Newton” tried to explore both aspects of these forces, as can be seen from his written legacy. But what is remembered of his life is primarily the foundations of a rational science that he layed.

The light and the dark side of power
It is not always easy to decide whether a light or a dark side of power is at work when a new idea comes to life. In Newton’s lifetime, rational science was a powerful idea whose light promised people a better future, a better life. In our present time however, the idea seems to have rather dimmed in view of the many people who have suffered from the negative consequences of its development. Thus, the power of great ideas can perhaps be seen as holographic structures that are wholistic within themselves, and multidimensional according to their higher origins. In our world of four dimensions, it unfolds its changing light and dark nature. It appears in different places at different times as the cause of flourishing cultural epochs, only to cover the same region with darkness and suffering as time passes.

Beyond light and darkness
But what happens when we deal with other dimensions, those realms that lie beyond the limits of this world? Newton must have grappled with this question. He spent his life searching for the philosopher’s stone. The question, how does man grow beyond himself, could also have occupied him. At this point we see how Newton, in seeking to make this a better world, sought inspiration from the spiritual realms. Here power no longer shows itself in the usual light or dark structure.

Now, after a long tiring struggle, as a first step, we learn about the value of letting go of everything, of neither seeking victory nor avoiding defeat. Beyond the polarity of light and darkness, man comes to rest. He listens to the powerful song of silence, which tells the story of his origin. It is about a time when the whole power of creation was neither light nor dark.

This “first power”, the power of the creative, is a pure granting. The light and the dark side of the power became effective only when man heard the words: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods beside me”. The gift arising from silence can draw man inward at a certain point in his development. In listening intently to the one song that arises from silence, he hears the message, “Listen more deeply, perceive Him who is yourself.” Here the power is manifested by the outer man stepping back more and more, becoming more and more the ear that listens to the inner silence, the inner unity. On this level he experiences the power of creation.

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Date: August 21, 2021
Author: Heiko Haase (Germany)
Photo: Sasin Tipchai auf Pixabay CCO

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