The Republic has no need of geniuses
July 30, 2004 3:47 AM   Subscribe

Panopticon Lavoisier
posted by thatwhichfalls (6 comments total)
"Panopticon Lavoisier aims at creating a virtual museum of the collections of the French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794) scattered throughout the world. A detailed chronology of Lavoisier's life and works, the catalogue of Lavoisier's manuscripts (ca. 6000 items), laboratory apparatus (ca. 500 items), library (ca. 3000 items) and minerals (ca. 4000 items), the digital edition of Lavoisier's collected works, the bibliography on and of the French chemist (ca. 2000 bibliographic records) as well as his complete iconography are integrated in one relational database, Pinakes , and made available to remote users."
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:48 AM on July 30, 2004

Neat post. Thanks!
posted by rocketman at 6:57 AM on July 30, 2004

This would have been handy—at least as an interesting diversion—years ago when I was laboriously working through his Elements of Chemistry.

I'm really thinking, lately, that this enormous-library-within-hand's-reach thing of the Internet/WWW must be changing the world in ways we don't yet fully appreciate.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:46 AM on July 30, 2004

"(1763): After a short disease Lavoisier begins and continues for several months a diet exclusively based on milk." - I wonder why ?

Anyway, a great and inspirational post. Where are today's answers to those expansive geniuses of the Renaissance who stood astride the sciences, and that shrinking and ever more desiccated and ghettoized corpus we now call "The Humanities", and who gestured - through their very being expressed in praxis - towards a broader understanding of what humans can become ?

Where are they ?

Who can think analytically and logically, embody passionate physicality, elaborate nuanced voicing through music, letters, and the fine arts, and embrace and suffer - amidst the glorious contradictions - the tensions exerted by the clashing demands of the empirical and the mystical.....within one mind and heart ?

Who now holds - in a practiced clasp of toes taught to grasp, so to multitask - in one foot the scalpel, in the other the brush, all the while pounding out an emotional Yoga of bawdy barrelhouse blues ascending here and there into sleazy and sublime jazz riffs, thence to a cathedral of classical architecture, on to a No-thing of Zen minimalism, and then around again to complete the circle ?

Who still wanders outside through forests, over mountains and across seas, husbands sustaining garden bounty and lets down the castle gates of perception to wonder at heavens in wildflowers and eternity in hand - to descend then, in Shamanistic trance induced amidst the beating of drums, down to the underworld to cleanse souls demons and enlist the forces beyond human understanding, there, as allies in the work for good ?

Who casts the long view down through the years to shine a light - on the essential - for generations to come ?

Who ?

Few today understand the secret - partly neurological, in part from practice and the attempt itself, and rooted - as is all reason - in heart, soul and sinew but fed by more ephemeral sources.

Who can awake - amidst dream and then to the larger dream called reality - to unite the halves of mind and being negotiated by the lonely, little trafficked tollbooth of the Corpus Callosum - and not succumb to howling winds of madness ? Who can hear voices - appreciating them for what they are and making peace with inchoate chaos - and then reduce those to the simple noise of crowds : so as to play at chess or the discipline of numbers, or to hammer out finely shaped arguments - delivered in silvertounged oratorical flourish or the red heat of a Southern Baptist preacher who walks the razor between sexual passion and the sublime - undergirded by a framework of thought both elegant, and ergonomically spare - for an optimal strength to weight ratio - which, like buildings, bridges, and wiser souls, knows how to bend and flex in the ever shifting winds of contingency ?

Who ?

Just asking, that's all.
posted by troutfishing at 8:11 AM on July 30, 2004

Trout, raw-milk diets were common for much of history it was not until raw-milk was vilified by the bureaucrats in the middle 20th Century that it has gone out of favor. One can live entirely on raw-milk and be perfectly healthy, there are many documented cases of it. There used to be raw-milk clinics throughout the USA at the turn of century and they were curing many ailments. The perfect food

Ethereal Bligh:
Eventually there will be enough sites like this to create a serious crisis in the book world. The online world will be more authoritative.. not there yet. The book world has ruled since 1450 and once the Internet builds up enough the institutions that rely on books: Universities, anything centralized.. will experience a crisis of irrelevance. Kind of like what happened to radio once TV went critical mass. We are not there yet but people intuitively see it coming and wonder. For a good article on this subject recommend this.

When it happens, and it will take generations, the whole concept of information belonging to institutions of higher learning, that you have to go somewhere to learn or that someone holds the power of authority by possessing something in meat-space goes away.

Anyway.. I have updated the Wikipedia entry for Lavoisier added this link.
posted by stbalbach at 11:42 PM on July 30, 2004

stbalbach - interesting. Raw milk clinics - there were also fasting clinics in the US during the same period (I just did a 3-day water fast to very good effect), and various religious movements - including Mormonism and Christian Scientism - emphasized dietary restrictions. Thanks for that historical angle.

Looking back to look forward - too few do it. But, it's a sly and often successful approach.
posted by troutfishing at 8:32 PM on August 1, 2004

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