For more than 4,000 years, people searched for the philosopher's stone, which, supposedly, could turn ordinary metals into gold. How this obsession began, to which thousands of known and unknown persons devoted their entire lives and whether their colossal effort was completely futile ...
It was 1924, Hitler, who after his failed coup in Munich encountered mild judges, dictated his book 'Mein Kampf' at fort Landsberg. His ally in the coup, General Erih Ludendorf, who was acquitted at that same trial thanks to his flamboyant name, has other concerns that sea him. The National Socialist Party, temporarily deprived of its führer, is surviving the crisis, and above all it is missing - money before Ludendorf, who irrevocably tied himself to Hitler and his now-wavered cohorts, the question arises - where to find the much-needed money and in the amount they needed?
Then the news comes to his ears that a certain Mr. Tauzend from Munich has managed to turn less valuable metals into gold. Ludendorf immediately takes the necessary measures, animates a whole range of leading German industrialists and establishes an action society that, in the utmost secrecy, is to produce gold. Thousands of actions have been sold out and countless shareholders are feverishly waiting for the vast wealth that Mr. Tauzend and General Lundedorf will provide them with. One year goes by, two more years pass, but - there's no gold. The Precious Metal Company goes bankrupt, the shareholders are left empty-handed, and Mr. Tauzend goes to court, which sentenced him to four years in prison on February 5, 1931 for fraud.
Thus ended one of the last attempts to revive the skill about which Fridrih the Great once told his Minister of Finance fon Horst: 'Making gold is a kind of disease, which often seems to be cured by common sense, but then it unexpectedly returns again and becomes a real epidemic'. The 'disease' that Fridrih the Great speaks of and which, starting in the VI century was known as alchemy, is an ancient origin. But what does that mean - ancient origin? How old is it, exactly? And what do the alchemists themselves have to say about that?
Already here they begin their first difficulties, because alchemists are not unique about this fundamental issue. The word alchemy is undoubtedly an Arabic origin, because 'al' is nothing more than one Arabic prefix. However, alchemist skills had been vacant for many centuries before the Arabs began to deal with it.
Therefore, the open question remains: How old is the alchemy, during what period of human history did it originate and where? Some alchemists considered Ostri for their forefather, while others were more inclined to opt for the biblical King Solomon. Why Solomona? Well, first of all because the Bible says that he was very well versed in all the magical skills, and secondly, because it says there was so much gold in his kingdom that the silver wasn't even appreciated.
This explanation leaves one dilemma. The Bible itself claims that Solomon supplied gold in huge quantities from the legendary land of Ofir, where he sent his ships every year. But representatives of 'Solomon Theory' have been sworn in to disenfranchise this objection. According to them, Solomon's ships really went to Ofir, but gold was never brought from that country, on the contrary, the ships embarked on a journey with gold already loaded. They took him to Ofir, then just brought him back.
What's all this for? The answer came from the Arab alchemist Geber. The devotees, that is, the gold producers, he explained, kept their skill in strict secrecy, because to reveal this great secret would mean corrupting the whole world. Because if the secret ceased to be a secret, everyone could make gold according to their needs. That's why Solomon played smurd and sent his ships on a seemingly pointless trip to Ofir.
However, among the alchemists there were smelt spirits that went much further back in time and made the notion that the first alchemist was no one other than Adam himself, the progenitor of all people. According to them, Adam was banished from heaven because he lost knowledge of the transmutation of simple metals into gold - a skill that people later had to rediscover. In doing so, the whisaks go beyond the question why Adam, who was neither engaged in trade (and would he trade skim, if he and Eve were the only ones on Earth?), nor possess palaces or any jewelry, would produce gold in huge quantities.
So much for the alchemists who obviously can't help us get to the root of truth. And what do historians have to say? They do not refer to Adam or Noah, but they themselves reach far back, until the beginning of the human, more precisely, Egyptian civilization, which very early on mastered the skill of making metal alloys. Over time, this skill was joined by the production of glass, emajl, jewelry and various colors, as well as the processing of precious stones. True, all this was not the general good of all Egyptians, but the privilege of the priests, who kept the precious secret for themselves and obliged their disciples, future members of the priesthood caste, to silence. Egyptian legends sailed these first generations of metallurgists in the legendary personality of Hermes Trismegistos (in translation - Three Times greatest), referred to by all subsequent devotees. For this reason, alchemy in the Middle Ages was often labeled 'hermetic writings'. And yet these metallurgists were not alchemists in the truest sense of the word. So who was it?
To answer this question, one must jump a little during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305). According to ancient historians, Diocletian ordered all ancient Egyptian writings on the production of gold and silver to be burned. What could have led him to make a move like this? Might he not have belonged to that notorious type of titanium that at different times and in all parts of the world ordered the entire libraries to be burned? History would presumably answer in the affirmative to this question that some of the writings that the alchemists of the time managed to save, have not remained preserved until this day. These files are stored in the libraries of Lyden, Venice and Paris.
What are these files talking about? Among other things, in their coded language, there is talk of how a man can forge gold and silver. In doing so, quite concrete recipes for this are given. Thus, for example, in one place that could have been deciphered, it is indicated that man can use arsenic to change the color of various metals. Likewise, we learn from them that copper with a primemium (sulfur yellowness) can take on the color of gold. All in all, there is no doubt in the middle of precise recipes for forgery of precious metals. In ancient Egypt, they used them, apparently to forge jewelry made of gold and silver, and later in Rome, state money. Also, it was not missed to explain how cheovek can stuff ordinary glass beads so that they look like real precious stones. Now we know - alchemy began as a skill of forgery, and the first alchemists were blacksmiths of fake money. Still, we need to think about the next thing. In official ancient Egyptian metallurgy - if we can call it at all, there were strictly prescribed methods for making various metal alloys that, as already said, passed from generation to generation, with the strictest obligation to keep a secret. Thus, a tradition was created that could no longer be destroyed from the inside and that got in the way of every progress for forgers.
However, forgers, because the name access to priestly secrets was denied, had to take completely new paths. They had to experiment, they had to be ingenious, they had to get rid of tradition. They invented various tools - chemical bottles, retorts, melting furnaces - many of which can still be found in chemical laboratories in an unchanged state. They produced alloys that priests - metallurgicals could not even dream of. Their dilavalence would have already led to revolutionary fear in the field of chemistry if they had not, by force of opportunity, had to keep their knowledge to themselves.
Let's just take one example - in order for some Roman gold coin to be falsified, the secret of its composition had to be deciphered the most. This required methods that, two thousand years later, allowed the emergence of modern chemistry. And yet, Roman forgers could, at best, record their experiences with a secret, coded letter, which even other forgers often could not decipher. And so they left in the following generations a number of innocuous technological procedures, a mystic shrouded tongue and, above all, a legend that they managed to discover the secret of transmutation. Transmutation - a breathtaking word that has led to a real gold rush in Europe from the end of the Middle Ages. Mystics and hardies, romantics and impostors, princes and kings, and even a few Roman popes, have dedicated their entire lives to creating a 'philosopher's stone' by which, apparently, any metal could be turned into gold and silver. There are authentic reports that even from the smelters of wealthy peasants smoke was wriggling day and night, because they too went in search of the philosopher's stone.
There would be rumors over and over again that this or that had worked out to get its hands on a promised land where gold could be made by human hand, and then hundreds of other alchemist believers would rush to this lucky man to draw a big secret from him, even if he lived on the other side of Europe. Some of them sold their entire possessions and became real beggars later. The Princes put the bad torments of the unfortunate alchemists to pluck from them knowledge that they didn't even possess.
Why did the alchemists believe that skilled gold production was possible? What name gave rise to such hopes and how were they trying to reach their goal? A partial reason, no doubt, was their lack of knowledge of chemistry. The historian Pliny the Elder reports, for example, an experiment performed at the behest of the very greedy Roman Emperor Caligula. A large amount of arsenic was melted, with one lump of first-class gold obtained. It's just that there was so little of it that it couldn't even cover the cost of the experiment. But wasn't that a good start? So that's what he's doing! The alchemists resonated just like that and talked about it to their children, only to encourage them to continue in that direction one day. But, during emperor Caligula's experiment, there was no transmutation at all, even in small quantities. What little gold was eventually in hand was simply already contained in a pile of arsenic! Insufficient knowledge of chemistry, however, was not the only reason people believed in the possibility of transmutation. The second reason was related to folosophy, and above all to the notion of the world's later alchemists.
What did that philosophy look like? Alchemists were pantheists in the holy spirit, in the Holy Spirit, who are present everywhere and permeate everything. Because of the tag, there couldn't have been any dead matter for them. Likewise, for them, metals were not dead, but possessed soul, character, spiritual abilities and were noted, as everything that lives, in constant growth. And realizing that everything was constantly growing meant for alchemists to move from one lower to one higher state. In other words, it meant that gold, more noble than all metals, had not been gold since then, but had become gold over time. Jr, under the ground, there was a mysterious process of solving and changing. Iron became lead, lead became mercury, mercury silver, and silver, in the end - gold. But if it was a natural flow of things, what bothered people to get involved and speed it up? Because they didn't act against Nature, they were just helping her.
One of the greatest and most famous alchemists of the European Middle Ages, Rajmondus Lulus (1235-1316), who claimed to possess the 'philosopher's stone', once said: 'Give me the ocean of mercury and I will turn it into gold'. Most alchemists who allegedly possessed a 'philosopher's stone' claimed to have it in powder form. By adding a few grains of powder to some less valuable metal, this one turned to gold, and if a little less powder was added, only silver was obtained.
What happened in individual alchemist laboratories was never accurately determined. Because, on the one hand, alchemists described their experiences in allegories, which were already barely understood for others, and on the other hand, each alchemist worked according to his own method. The only thing we can say for sure is that these labs have worked really hard. If one procedure had no success, it moved on to another. Even sea salt was used for their experiments for a while. And yet, it was all for nothing. Is it really futile? Because with alchemists, about what wasp happened to the sons in one fable of the genic poet Esopo. In this fable, an old man on his deathbed tells his sons that he buried a jackass full of money in the vineyard. If they look for him, they'll be able to get rich. Just after their father closed his eyes, the sons grabbed shovels and repeatedly dug through the entire vineyard. They didn't find the gold, but thanks to their value, the vineyard gave birth so well the next year that the sons really became rich.
A small inventory of discoveries that alchemists so say accidentally made, and which today make up a solid component of chemistry, will show that their painstaking efforts, at least for other parts of humanity, were not in vain. Here are
some: ■ Arab alchemists found a whole new method of distillation and got the first pure alcohol.
■ Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus), who lived approximately from 1200 to 1280, was the first to produce potash - potassium carbonate, and also described chemical compounds cinober and lead white.
■ German nun Bertold Švarac (circa 1380) is credited with finding gunpowder.
■ Leonard Turnajser (1531-1596) invented many drugs
in his laboratory ■ Paracelzus (1493-1541) was the first to know the chemical and physical basics of life and enabled the emergence of modern medicine and biology.
■ Johan Baptist van Helmont (1577-1644) introduced the term 'gas' for invisible substances. ■ Johan Fridreih Betger (1682-1719) was the first European to
produce porcelain Already this list, which could still continue with many other examples, shows that alchemists laid the foundation on which modern chemistry was later upgraded.
Without them, they wouldn't become possible planes, cloud eaters, or even a bigger part of our wards. This did not exhaust the merits of the alchemists. because, already Paracelzus has pointed them out on a new path. He was the first doctor (of course an alchemist) to use chemical substances for medicinal purposes and treat syphilis using mercury. He advised other alchemists to no longer search for gold, or 'philosopher's stone', but instead to search for one elixir of life, which will ensure that youth is sustained or even acquired, that all diseases are cured and indebtedness is achieved.
Paracelzus followers once again turned to the Bible, that is, Methuselah and Noah and other debt-payers and asked - what secret did this allow them to live for hundreds of years? It must have been the same elixir they were searching for so feverishly now. Because, with that elixir, the alchemists resonated, a man could have lived even a thousand years. It is understood, the fact of the substances they produced for this purpose, the alchemists of the new school could only try it on humans and there is no doubt that many of their 'experimental guinea pigs', and certainly some alchemists - paid for these experiments with their heads. But it was also sigrun that chemistry on this new path was gaining more and more access to medicine.
The starting material for witch gold is alive and that's where the alchemists were right! Mercury differs from gold in that it has more than one proton and one to three neutrons in its atomic nucleus. The simple thought is: these components must be removed from the atomic nucleus of mercury. Atomic physicists apply the following method: in the cyclotron, an easy atomic nucleus is accelerated almost to the speed of light, for example, a guide (protons) or a heavy hydrogen (deuterons). When these 'cursors' hit mercury atoms at the right angle, they can penetrate through the electronic shell and eject individual components from the nuclei. According to the law of probability, a limited amount of gold is also created. Atomic physicists, therefore, have achieved the thousand-year dream of an alchemist, but this skill of making gold remains, nevertheless, only one scientific curiosity. Only the costs for the development, construction and operation of one elemental particle accelerator rise to a huge figure, and so little gold is obtained that a man cannot even see it with the naked eye. Natural gold obtained from ore is incomparably cheaper.
As for the alchemist's dream of transmutation, he arrived halfway through his realization. Today it is really possible to use radioactivity to make witch gold. If it can't be produced in larger quantities, then it's only because the technological process is too expensive, so the whole thing just isn't worth it. Does this mean that today's modern physicists can be declared the followers of ancient alchemists? The answer is No! Why not? Because modern physicists and chemists are just watchers, that is, movers, who personally, during their experiments, remain so to speak outside. In contrast, alchemists - at least the orthodox ones, who are sincerely devoted to their work, blended in with their experiment. It was ennobled to be not only a less valuable metal, but it was to be refined and their soul, their inner Self, their whole being. And if one thing didn't work, if the Philosopher's Stone wasn't found, then, after all, at least there was a wise man left.
Alchemist Bernard de Treves, who was born in Padua, Italy, can serve as the best example of this. For more than thirty years, he spent searching for the 'philosopher's stone'. He kept his entire symous estate a passion for it. On his deathbed, he declared: 'I have not discovered the Philosopher's Stone, but I have deciphered the secret of pleasure, and now I can die, because I have no regrets'.
Today, alchemy, like the skill of making gold, is dead. But the will of her birth parents, old Egyptian forgers, lives on - in chemistry, in physics, in medicine, in all areas of scientific. Because it's. To try, to experiment, never to settle for what has been achieved and always to explore further. Without this principle, no science can be imagined, nor can the further progress of mankind! (Secrets, 1989)