Secret principle

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In terms, secret principle (TR:50) (LH:4) (TL:54) refers to []


The following are related quotes:

“There is a certain secret ‘secret principle’ in nature, by which some things are sociable to certain other things, but unsociable to others.”
Isaac Newton (1679), “Letter to Robert Boyle”; Thims (66AE) paraphrase
“There is a certain secret ‘secret principle’ in nature by which liquors are sociable to some things and unsociable to others. Thus water will not mix with oil but readily with spirit of wine or with salts. [Just as water elects to mix with ethyl alcohol or with salts, so it chooses not to mix with oil, Similarly, water will sink into wood while quicksilver will not, but quicksilver will penetrate and amalgamate with metals, which water will not. Likewise, aqua fortis (nitric acid) will dissolve silver and not gold, while aqua regis (mixed nitric and hydrochloric acid) will dissolve gold and not silver. Nonetheless these rules are not written in stone]. But a liquor which is of itself unsociable to a body may by a mixture of a convenient mediator be made sociable. So molten lead which alone will not mix with copper or with Regulus of Mars, by the addition of tin is made to mix with either.”
Isaac Newton (1679), “Letter to Robert Boyle[1]; bracket part is William Newman (2003) synopsis of letter; compare: Goethe' Elective Affinities] (early views on affinity chemistry)[2]
“The ‘beautiful’, is a manifestation of secret laws of nature, which, but for its apparition, would have forever remained hidden form us.”
Johann Goethe (c.1790), Publication[3]
“My scientific work is motivated by an irresistible longing to understand the secrets of nature and by no other feeling.”
Albert Einstein (1949), “Reply to Letter” (regarding his scientific motivation), Aug 20[4]
Goethe, aged 18, in his draft furnace attic chemical experiments, sought to discern ‘the principle that permeates the whole universe’.”
— Rudolf Steiner (c.1910), Publication[5]


  1. Newman, William R. (2003). Gehennical Fire: the Lives of George Starkey, and American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution (Elective affinity, pgs. 231-34). University of Chicago Press.
  2. Affinity chemistry – Hmolpedia 2020.
  3. Verein, Wiener. (1887). Jahrbuch des Wiener Geothe-Vereins, Volume 1-10 (pg. 11). Publisher.
  4. Einstein, Albert. (1981). Albert Einstein: the Human Side (pg. 18). Princeton University Press.
  5. Steiner, Rudolf. (2000). Nature’s Open Secret: Introductions to Goethe’s Scientific Writings (pg. 7). SteinerBooks.

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