Coming to our senses – Quotes

  • Berman, M. (1990). Coming to Our Senses (Bantam ed edition). New York: Bantam.
  1. Science and magic are hardly identical, to be sure, but both have a strong manipulative component, and it is in this sense that magic came to serve as the midwife of modern science. Page 222
  2. The Italian model is thus one for the loosening of one system of rationality by and involvement in magical and somatic awareness, only to result in a congealing of that awareness into a new system of rationality; specifically, a new science. Page 223
  3. And hermetic practice and philosophy, the mind becomes what it contemplates; hence, by this magical means, that “man-microcosm becomes universal-microcosm and as a result is brought closer to the creator.” p228
  4. Modern science, again, is the shell of this insight, with, however, the notion of a descent of celestial influence strongly present as well. In brief, it is the ideology of hermetic soul travel with the esoteric or somatic court left out. Page 228
  5. Somatic techniques that catapulted man to the status of a God, using Kabbalah and “natural magic” to control his destiny and, ultimately, the destiny of the world. Page 229
  6. While it is not possible to discuss any of these men in detail, a brief survey of their work is necessary in order to trace the evolution and eventual fate of the ascent/descent doctrine and the whole question of soul travel as it got transmuted from direct experience to mathematical a mechanical analogy. p229
  7. In Galileo’s hands, Copernicanism was a springboard to a new philosophy, one that integrated mathematics with sense experience and it also eliminated God from the world. p.236
  8. This macrocosm/microcosm tie was the traditional link between music and ascent, and it is a notion that runs at least from the Pythagoras through the Renaissance, typically carry Napoleonic and sometimes heretical overtones. Page 237
  9. The preoccupation of 17th-century scientists with music was, perhaps even unconsciously, and attempt to figure out whether miracles were still possible. 238
  10. The answer leg in future science; mechanism would succeed where Greek occultism has failed. p243
  11. Attali sees music as anticipatory of a new political and economic structures, and any given age; it’s code predicts the coming ideology and social organization. And the goal of tonal music, he says, is to make people believe in that consensual representation of the world, “to stamp upon the spectators the faith that there is a harmony in order,” to “itch in their minds image of the ultimate social cohesion, achieved through commercial exchange and the process of rational knowledge.” p 246
  12. The heaven/earth gap, however, is really the Nemo, the Self/Other gap, and much of modern science is an attempt to make the (emotional) world forever safe by providing a “reliable” – I. E., Non-somatic – bridge, or ladder of ascent.” p 248
  13. The most important characteristic of the Italian model is the acquisition of an insight by playing around with the ascent tradition, and then the betraying of that experience by translating the insight obtained into rational or mechanical terms. p 248
  14. In general, the mind/body split that we live with, and individually suffer from, today is a direct legacy of this two – step process, i.e., using and occult or somatic insight to dislodge an old system, and then reacting with fear to that very tool that made this possible, dropping it like a hot potato, and electing a new system in place of the old one, a system who is very existence depends on the metaphysical inside now being rejected. The modern period represents, then, a tremendous betrayal and rechanneling of somatic energy, of which witch burnings are only the outward manifestation, tip of the iceberg. Page 249
  15. Context is much more significant than content and shaping the spiritual/political history of the west. Page 252