Tribute to Uebersax

The following rough notes are a tribute to the magnificent writings of John Uebersax on the topic of Western Platonism:

12th century: 1104 Venice Arsenal was built.
1127 Seljuk-Crusader war ended (thus keeping Europe open to scientific and occult ideas from the East).
The Byzantine Empire illumined European civilization.

Various Muslims practiced Platonism, as explained by the Luminous Uebersax:

13th century: 1209 Cathar Crusade was conducted.
Pietro d’Abano was alive and contributing.
The Templars were operating.

The Byzantine Empire illumined European civilization.

14th century:
1314 – Jacques de Molay was martyred, which marked the end of the Templars as such.
1315- Ramon Llull died.
1320 – The New Arsenal was built in Venice.
1378 – The Western Schism ushered in an era of French antipopes.

The Byzantine Empire illumined European civilization.

15th century:

Great men lived and worked: Ficino, Cusanus, Leonardo da Vinci, Trithemius, Machiavelli, Pico Della Mirandola, Savonarola.

1453 – The Byzantine Empire finally fell in battle.

16th century:

1517 – Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door.

Giordano Bruno and Agrippa wrote their books.

Obscurantism was an enemy of occultism.

John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609)

17th century:

The Fama Fraternitatis was published.
Descartes, Isaac Newton, and Swedenborg lived and worked.
Various Christians practiced esoteric Platonism, as explained by John Uebersax:

Isaac Newton ( 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727 )

18th century:
George Berkeley ( 12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753)
Swedenborg died.
Emanuel Swedenborg ( 29 January 1688; died 29 March 1772)
Voltaire, Blake, and Mesmer lived.
Witch hunts and vampire rumors plagued Europe (Colin Wilson would claim that this was due to frustrated imagination; others would claim this was due to operative psychic abilities).

In 1775, Mesmer was invited to give his opinion before the Munich Academy of Sciences on the exorcisms carried out by Johann Joseph Gassner, a priest and healer, and also a Swabian. Mesmer said that while Gassner was sincere in his beliefs, his cures were because he possessed a high degree of animal magnetism.

The USA and France had revolutions.
Lots of Frenchmen wrote about interplanetary voyages, but these don’t count as real sci-fi, because academic critics say so.

Emerson was a Platonist, as explained by John Uebersax:

19th century:


Quimby attended one of Poyen’s lectures in 1838, and immediately began plying the mesmerist with questions about the nature of animal magnetism and its powers. Poyen admitted that with proper training, anyone could become adept at administering hypnotism. Quimby left his job as watchmaker and followed Poyen’s tour of New England for the subsequent two years (1838–1840), until he became proficient at applying mesmeric hypnotism himself.

the 19th-century American seer Andrew Jackson Davis, who would become known as the “John the Baptist of Modern Spiritualism,” combined these two ideologies, claiming that Swedenborg’s spirit spoke to him during a series of mesmeric trances. Davis recorded the content of these messages and in 1847 published them in a voluminous tome titled The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind. “It is a truth,” he asserted, predicting the rise of Spiritualism, “that spirits commune with one another while one is in the body and the other in the higher spheres…all the world will hail with delight the ushering in of that era when the interiors of men will be opened, and the spiritual communication will be established.” Davis believed his prediction materialized a year later, on the very day the Fox sisters first channeled spirits in their bedroom. “About daylight this morning,” he confided to his diary, “a warm breathing passed over my face and I heard a voice, tender and strong, saying ‘Brother, the good work has begun—behold, a living demonstration is born.’”

Nikola Tesla invented lots of cool stuff.
Theosophy invented the modern New Age movement.
The English G.D. invented modern occultism.
Mary Shelley wrote the first real sci-fi, because academic critics say so.

This entire enterprise was inspired by the Platonism pages of John Uebersax, who is a luminous scholar and dispeller-of-darkness.

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