The Influence of Archetypal Ideas on the Scientific Theories of Kepler

  • Wolfgang Pauli


It is my pleasant duty to express my warmest thanks to all those who have given me assistance and encouragement in the writing and publication of this essay.


Scientific Theory Regular Polygon Human Soul Natural Thing Corporeal World 
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  1. 1.
    The chief writings of Kepler are: Mysterium cosmographicum (Tübingen, 1 st edition, 1596; 2nd edition, 1621). Ad Vitellionem paralipomena, quibus astronomiae pars optica traditur (Frankfort on the Main, 1604). De stella nova in pede serpentarii (Prague, 1606). De motibus stellae Martis (Prague, 1609). Tertius interveniens (Frankfort on the Main, 1610). Dioptrice (Augsburg, 1611). Harmonices mundi (in five books, Augsburg, 1619). Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae (Linz and Frankfort on the Main, 1618–21). It should be noted that Newton’s chief work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, appeared in 1687.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Principia. Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Joannis Kepleri Astronomi Opera omnia, ed. by Ch. Frisch (8 volums, Frankfort on the Main and Erlangen, 1858 ff.), Volume I, pp. 122 f. “Dei triuni imago in sphaerica superficie, Patris scilicet in centro, Filii in superficie, Spiritus in aequalitate σχέσεω,ζ inter punctum et ambitum.”Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Harmonices mundi, Book V (Frisch, Vol. V, p. 223).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    L.c., Book IV (Frisch, V, p. 224).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    De stella nova, Chapter IX (Frisch, II, p. 642 f.). “…geometriae vestigia in mundo expressa, sic ut geometria sit quidam quasi mundi archetypus.”Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Letter of Kepler to Hegulontius (Frisch, I, p. 372). “Nobis constat, creatum mundum et quantum factum; geometricae figurae (h. e. quantitativae) sunt entia rationis. Ratio aeterna. Ergo figurae geometricae sunt aeternae, nempe ab aeterno verum erat in mente Dei, lateris tetragonici quadratum, e. gr., esse dimidium de quadrato diametri. Ergo quanta sunt mundi archetypus.”Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Apologia contra Fludd (Frisch, V, p. 429). “…in mente divina, cujus exemplar hic est humana, characterem rerum geometricarum inde ab ortu hominis ex archetypo suo retinens.”Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Book IV, 1, commenting on Proclus (Frisch, V, p. 219).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    “De configurationibus harmonis” (pp. 222 ff.).Google Scholar
  11. 11 Harmonices mundi, Book IV (Frisch, V, p. 223). “Comune enim habent harmoniae sen-siles cum archetypalibus, quod terminos requirant eorumque comparationem, ipsius animae energiam; in hac comparatione utrarumque essentia consistit.”Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    Ad Vitellionem paralipomena, pp. 6–7. Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    De stella nova, Chapter XXVIII (Frisch, II, p. 719). Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Epistola ad Maestlinum (Frisch, I, p. 11). Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    According to the psychology of Jung the psychological processes that accompany an enlargement of consciousness can be represented as the coming into being of a new centre embracing conscious as well as inconscious contents (called “self” by Jung). These “centring” processes are always characterized by the symbolical pictures of the mandala and the rotating movement. In Chinese texts the latter is very vividly termed “circulation of light.” In an attempt to apply these results of analytical psychology to the phase of intellectual history known as the rise of classical mechanics in the seventeenth century (which is most closely connected with the heliocentric idea), we should bear in mind that the attention of the scientists who helped to found classical mechanics was directed only outward. It is therefore to be expected that the above mentioned inner centring processes, together with the appropriate images, would be projected outward. Indeed we can observe, in Kepler’s views specifically, that the planetary system with the sun as centre became the bearer of the mandala-picture, the earth being related to the sun as the ego to the more embracing “self.” It appears that in this way the heliocentric theory received, in the mind of its adherents, an injection of strongly emotional content stemming from the unconscious. Perhaps the projection of the above mentioned symbolical image of the inner rotating movement onto the external rotation of the heavenly bodies contributed to the investment of this external rotation with an absolute validity that went beyond empirical experience. An additional argument for this opinion is that in Newton the ideas of absolute space and absolute time entered even into his theological views.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    The conception of the earth as a living being with a soul is already present in late antiquity. See on this point: Cicero: De natura deorum, II, 83; Ovid: Metamorphoses, XV, 342; Seneca: Quaestiones naturales, VI, 16, 1; Plotinus, IV, 4. See also the article “Plotinus” by H.R Schwyzer in A. Pauly, G. Wissowa, W. Kroll: Real-Encyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (1951 edn.), XI, cols. 471–592. Note especially col. 578, where the idea of the animation of the earth is traced back to Poseidonius. Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Frisch, V, p. 440.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Book IV (Frisch, V, p. 258).Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Mysterium cosmographicum (Frisch, I, p. 133): “In Caput nonum notae autoris” (in the second edition of the book). 22 Tertius interveniens, No. 40. Google Scholar
  21. 23.
    L.c., No. 42.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    L.c., No. 65.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    Book IV (Frisch, V, p. 256).Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    Tertius interveniens, No. 107.Google Scholar
  25. 27.
    Harmonices mundi, Book IV, Proposition VI (Frisch, V, p. 238).Google Scholar
  26. 28.
    De stella nova, Chapter 28 (Frisch, II, p. 719). Google Scholar
  27. 29.
    On this point, cf. also the negative result of the statistical experiment described by C. G. Jung in Chapter 2 of his contribution to The Interpretation of Nature and Psyche. Google Scholar
  28. 30.
    Frisch, V, pp. 328–334.Google Scholar
  29. 31.
    Francfort on the Main, 1621 (called the Discursus analyticus). Google Scholar
  30. 32.
    Frisch, V, pp. 413–468.Google Scholar
  31. 33.
    Francfort on the Main, 1622.Google Scholar
  32. 34.
    This agrees with the Tsimtsun (Withdrawal) theory of the Cabalist Isaac Luria (1539— 1572; lived in Safad, Palestine). Cf. Gershom Scholem: Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York, 1946), the seventh lecture. It seems to me that this mystical doctrine must be regarded as one of the attempts to harmonize the Aristotelian and alchemical idea of the increatum of the prima materia, which Fludd also accepts in its essentials, with the Biblical doctrine. The idea that matter existed from all eternity is also specifically advocated by the Italian philosopher Giacomo Zabarella (1532–1589).Google Scholar
  33. 35.
    Frisch, V, p. 334.Google Scholar
  34. 36.
    Demonstratio quaedam analytica, p. 5. Google Scholar
  35. 37.
    L. c., p. 12. Google Scholar
  36. 38.
    L. c., p. 13. Google Scholar
  37. 39.
    res naturata: the actually existing natural object.Google Scholar
  38. 40.
    Kepler “puzzles out” (ausklügeln), Fludd “beholds” (schauen).Google Scholar
  39. 41.
    The actus interiores are the creative impulses occurring in “nature herself” (ipsa natura); the motus exteriores, resulting from these impulses, are the physical events occurring in “the created things” (res naturata). Google Scholar
  40. 42.
    minimo: for a small price.Google Scholar
  41. 43.
    Fludd, Discursus analyticus, p. 36. Google Scholar
  42. 44.
    Frisch, V, p. 424.Google Scholar
  43. 45.
    Replicatio, p. 27, on Franciscus Georges Venetus: Google Scholar
  44. 46.
    Apologia (Frisch, V, p. 460). Google Scholar
  45. 47.
    On the history of this instrument cf. G. Boffito: Gli strumenti della scienza e la scienza degli strumenti (Florence, 1929), where reference is made (Pl. 66) to an illustration and description of the “weather-glass” in Giuseppe Biancani’s Sphaera Mundi (Bologna, 1620), p. 111, and also to Galileo’s similar instrument called a “thermoscope” (Pl. 115). — I owe this bibliographical information to the kindness of Professor Panofsky. zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  46. 48.
    R. Fludd: Philosophia Moysaica, Gouda, 1637, I, 1, 2 fol. altera.Google Scholar
  47. 49.
    R. Fludd: Philosophia Moysaica, fol. 27 v. (I, III).Google Scholar
  48. 50.
    The controversy between these two definitions of beauty plays an important role particularly in the Renaissance, where Ficino took his stand entirely on the side of Plotinus. Google Scholar
  49. 51.
    In so far as scientific thought, based on the co-operation of experiment and theory, is a combination of thinking and sensation, its opposite pole can be more precisely expressed by the term “intuitive feeling.” On Plotinus cf. also Schopenhauer, Fragmente zur Geschichte der Philosophie, 7: “Neuplatoniker” (in the Parerga und Paralipomena, ed. by R. von Koeber, Berlin, 1891).Google Scholar
  50. 52.
    This is in harmony with the older alchemical texts according to which only the totality of all four elements makes it possible to produce the quinta essentia and the lapis, that is, the actual transmutation. Further remarks on the symbolism of the numbers three and four will be found in Appendix III.Google Scholar
  51. 53.
    As modern parallels to this tendency toward unity and wholeness, cf. especially Jung’s study of synchronicity, and his essay, “The Spirit of Psychology,” in Spirit and Nature (Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, 1; New York, 1954; London, 1955).Google Scholar
  52. 55.
    Literally: “are the termini”, viz., determinants.Google Scholar
  53. 56.
    I designate the parts of the syllogism by A, B, C. A is what Fludd later calls maior, the major premise, the more general statement; B is minor, the minor premise, the more specific statement; C is the conclusion.Google Scholar
  54. 57.
    See the letter quoted in footnote 45.Google Scholar
  55. 58.
    continuatae: united, brought into continuous connection.Google Scholar
  56. 59.
    A statement repeated many times by Fludd. This quotation comes from St. Bonaventura: In Sententias, I, d. 37, pars 1, a. 1, q. 1; but parallels abound in medieval literature. The source, it appears, is the pseudo-Hermetic Liber XXIV Philosophorum (12th century; see D. Mahnke: Unendliche Sphäre und Allmittelpunkt, Halle, 1937).Google Scholar
  57. 60.
    Measurable size.Google Scholar
  58. 61.
    A non-quantitative magnitude.Google Scholar
  59. 62.
    nihilominus: nevertheless, notwithstanding.Google Scholar
  60. 63.
    Scotus Eriugena: “Finis enim totius motus est principium sui; non enim alio fine terminatur nisi suo principio a quo incipit moνeri.”Google Scholar
  61. 64.
    Scotus Eriugena: “Ita rerum omnium causa omnia, quae ex se sunt, ad se ipsum reducit, sine ullo sui motu, sed sola suae pulchritudinis virtute.”Google Scholar
  62. 65.
    In the Renaissance Platonism of Leone Ebreo and Marsilio Ficino the circle appears specifically as the circulus amorosus. According to these authors the bliss of love lies in the fact that the lovers insert themselves into the cyclical current pervading the cosmos. The conception of love is broad enough to include both the desire for knowledge as amor intellectualis dei and the ecstatic states of the religious prophets as amor coelestis. For the alchemical parallels to this circulus amorosus, cf. the series of pictures in Jung’s “Psychology of the Transference” (in The Practice of Psychotherapy, New York and London, 1954); and figure 131 in his Psychology and Alchemy (New York and London, 1953), which corresponds to the beginning of this circle.Google Scholar
  63. 66.
    It was Professor Markus Fierz who called my attention to this point.Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

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  • Wolfgang Pauli

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