isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“When, centuries before our era, the Hindu Bramaheupto affirmed that the starry sphere was immovable, and that the daily rising and setting of stars confirms the motion of the earth upon its axis; and when Aristarchus of Samos, born 267 years B.C., and the Pythagorean philosopher Nicete, the Syracusan, Maintained the same, what was the credit given to their theories until the days of Copernicus and Galileo? And the system of these two princes of science – a system which has revolutionized the whole world – how long will it be allowed to remain as a complete and undisturbed whole?

Have we not, at the present moment, in Germany, a learned savant, a Professor Schoepfer, who, in his public lectures at Berlin, tries to demonstrate, 1, that the earth is immovable; 2, the sun is but a little bigger than it seems; and 3, that Tycho-Brahe was perfectly right and Galileo perfectly wrong? And what was Tycho-Brahe’s theory? Why, that the earth stands immovable in the centre of the universe, and that around it, as around its centre, the whole of the celestial vault gravitates every twenty-four hours; and finally, that the sun and moon, apart from this motion, proceed on curved lines peculiar to themselves, while Mercury, with the rest of the planets, describes an epicycloid.

We certainly have no intention to lose time nor devote space to either combating or supporting this new theory, which suspiciously resembles the old ones of Aristotle and even the Venerable Bede. We will leave the learned army of modern Academicians to “wash their family linen among themselves”, to use an expression of the great Napoleon.

But we will, nevertheless, avail ourselves of such a good opportunity as this defection affords, to demand once more of science her diploma or patents of infallibility. Alas! Are these, then, the results of her boasted progress?

It was hardly more than yesterday when, upon the strength of facts within our own observation, and corroborated by the testimony of a multitude of witnesses, we timidly ventured the assertion that tables, mediums, and Hindu fakirs were occasionally levitated. And when we added that, if such a phenomenon should happen but once in a century, “without a visible mechanical cause, then that rising is a manifestation of a natural law of which our scientists are yet ignorant”, we were called “iconoclastic”, and charged, in our turn, by the newspapers, with ignorance of the law of gravitation.

Iconoclastic or not, we never thought of charging science with denying the rotation of the earth on its axis, or its revolution around the sun. Those two lamps, at least, in the beacon of the Academy, we thought would be kept trimmed and burning to the end of time. But lo! here comes a Berlin professor and crushes our last hopes that Science should prove herself exact in some one particular. The cycle is truly at its lowest point, and a new era is begun. The earth stands still, and Joshua is vindicated!”

H. P. Blavatsky

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