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Robert Fludd's illustration of man as the microcosm within the universal macrocosm. Fludd states that "Man is a whole world of its own, called microcosm for it displays a miniature pattern of all the parts of the universe. Thus the head is related to the Empyreal, the chest to the ethereal heaven and the belly to the elementary substance."[1]
Macrocosm and Microcosm from Tobias Schutz 'Harmonia macrocosmi cum microcosmi' (1654)
By looking down, I see up. Part of a pair of illustrations in Tycho Brahe's Astronomiæ instauratæ Mechanica depicting his understanding of the connection between macrocosm and microcosm.[citation needed]
By looking up, I see down.

Macrocosm and microcosm refers to a vision of cosmos where the part (microcosm) reflects the whole (macrocosm) and vice versa. It is a feature "present in all esoteric schools of thinking", according to scholar Pierre A. Riffard.[2] It is closely associated with Hermeticism and underlies practices such as astrology, alchemy and sacred geometry with its premise of "As Above, So Below".[3]

Today, the concept of microcosm has been dominated by sociology to mean a small group of individuals whose behavior is typical of a larger social body encompassing it. A microcosm can be seen as a special kind of epitome. Conversely, a macrocosm is a social body made of smaller compounds. In physics, scale invariance describes the same phenomenon, although the universe as a whole is not physically scale invariant according to the modern understanding. However, scale invariance does appear in some physical systems, such as electrical breakdown.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Robert Fludd in Utriusque Cosmic Historia, II; quoted by Pierre A. Riffard in Dictionnaire de l’ésotérisme, Paris: Payot, 1983, 34.
  2. ^ Pierre A. Riffard, Dictionnaire de l’ésotérisme, Paris: Payot, 1983, 34.
  3. ^ Antoine Faivre, Access to Western esotericism, State University of New York Press, 1994, 10-11.
  1. Republic, Plato, trans. By B. Jowett M.A., Vintage Books, NY. § 435, pg 151

BibliographyEdit

  • Theories of Macrocosms and Microcosms in the History of Philosophy, G. P. Conger, NY, 1922, which includes a survey of critical discussions up to 1922.

External linksEdit