paint-brush
PHILOSOPHICAL DELUSIONSby@charlesmackay

PHILOSOPHICAL DELUSIONS

by Charles Mackay4mAugust 12th, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Dissatisfaction with his lot seems to be the characteristic of man in all ages and climates. So far, however, from being an evil, as at first might be supposed, it has been the great civiliser of our race; and has tended, more than anything else, to raise us above the condition of the brutes. But the same discontent which has been the source of all improvement, has been the parent of no small progeny of follies and absurdities; to trace these latter is the object of the present volume. Vast as the subject appears, it is easily reducible within such limits as will make it comprehensive without being wearisome, and render its study both instructive and amusing. Three causes especially have excited our discontent; and, by impelling us to seek for remedies for the irremediable, have bewildered us in a maze of madness and error. These are death, toil, and ignorance of the future—the doom of man upon this sphere, and for which he shows his antipathy by his love of life, his longing for abundance, and his craving curiosity to pierce the secrets of the days to come. The first has led many to imagine that they might find means to avoid death, or, failing in this, that they might, nevertheless, so prolong existence as to reckon it by centuries instead of units. From this sprang the search, so long continued and still pursued, for the elixir vitae, or water of life, which has led thousands to pretend to it and millions to believe in it. From the second sprang the absurd search for the philosopher's stone, which was to create plenty by changing all metals into gold; and from the third, the false sciences of astrology, divination, and their divisions of necromancy, chiromancy, augury, with all their train of signs, portents, and omens.
featured image - PHILOSOPHICAL DELUSIONS
Charles Mackay HackerNoon profile picture
Charles Mackay

Charles Mackay

@charlesmackay

Mackay engaged in journalism in London: in 1834 he was an occasional contributor to The Sun.

L O A D I N G
. . . comments & more!

About Author

Charles Mackay HackerNoon profile picture
Charles Mackay@charlesmackay
Mackay engaged in journalism in London: in 1834 he was an occasional contributor to The Sun.

TOPICS

THIS ARTICLE WAS FEATURED IN...

Permanent on Arweave
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story in a terminal
 Terminal
Read this story w/o Javascript
Read this story w/o Javascript
 Lite