Athanasius Kircher

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In existographies, Athanasius Kircher (353-275 BE) (1602-1680 ACM) (IQ:180|#198) (ID:2.31|78) (RGM:517|1,350+) (PR:2,986|65AE / philosopher:169) (CR:30) (LH:11) (TL:41) was German theologian, Egyptologist, physicist, philosopher, aka "Incredible German" (Germanus Incredibilis), noted for []



In 1641, Kircher was present at the Gasparo Berti test of the "nature abhors a vacuum" experiment, wherein Aristotle' vacuum disbelief motto was overthrown. Presumably, the visual of watching this experiment being performed, thus overthrowing centuries of verbalism-based arguments, is the basis for the following reflective quote:

“It follows from this that all science is empty, deceptive, and pointless unless it is supported by experiment. What inconsistencies otherwise successful and perceptive scholars bring forth without its help! It is experimentation that dissolves all doubts, reconciles difficulties, is a unique teacher of the truth, furnishes a torch in darkness and instructs us how to determine the true causes of things by disentangling knotty problems.”
— Athanasius Kircher (1631), Ars Magnetica (pg. 570); cited by Otto Guericke (1672) in New Magdeburg Experiments (pg. xvii)

In 1667, Kircher, in his The Nature of the Magnetic Universe: with Psychological Discussions, outlined a magnetic cosmology, according to which magnetism governed the movements of everything, animate and inanimate.

Art of Knowing

The frontispiece of Kircher's 1669 Art of Knowledge, which reads: "Nothing is more beautiful than to know all" (in Greek), at the base inscription.

In 1669, Kircher published The Great Art of Knowing (Ars Magna Sciendi), which is one of the first proto-encyclopedias:

Art of Science (Kircher, 1669).png

The title here refers to the allegory of wisdom, conceptualized by the goddess Sophia, pointing to the universal alphabet of knowledge from which on can, according to the combinatorial laws of Ramon Llull, infer the key to understanding the cosmos.[1] The ancient Greek inscription, at the base of the pedestal[2], says:

Nothing is better than to know all.”
— Athanasius Kircher (1669), The Great Art of Knowing (frontispiece, pg. #)[3]

In 2001, Daniel Stolzenberg, published an English translation as The Great Art of Knowing: The Baroque Encyclopedia of Athanasius Kircher.


Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Kircher:

“Nothing is indeed nothing. Nothing is not something; [it is] not this or that or another being, but it is no being. Nothing is nowhere, neither in the mind, nor in the nature of things, nor in the intelligible or sensible world; [it is] not in god, nor beyond god in any creatures. Any whatever being exists; any whatever something exists; all full things have being. Nothing [however] is superfluous; a vacuum is nothing; nothing is empty; nothing is banished from the universe.”
— Athanasius Kircher (1656), Ecstatic Celestial Journey (pg. 434); cited by Edward Grant (1981) in Much Ado About Nothing (pg. 396)

End matter


  1. A Hectic Life (Kircher Exhibit] –
  2. Kennedy, Gerry; Churchill, Rob. (2006). The Voynich Manuscript: the Mysterious Code That has Defied Interpretation (pg. #). Simon & Schuster.
  3. Kircher, Athanasius. (1669). The Great Art of Knowledge (Ars Magna Sciendi, Sive Combinatoria) (frontispiece, pg. #). Stanford, 2001.

Further reading

  • Findlen, Paula. (2004). Athanasius Kircher: the Last Man Who Knew Everything. Publisher.

External links

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