Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Metaphors in Johann Bessler’s Apologia Poetica, Chapter XLVI

There is an intriguing passage in Apologia Poetica which has been the subject of much debate.  Most of the book is written rhyming couplets, suggesting poetry, but this passage has a more poetic feel not so obvious elsewhere. Bessler uses metaphors for the informatio he dangles in front of us. What follows is my take on Johann Bessler’s intention in writing this confusing but fascinating piece. Original translation in black, my comments in blue under each sentence.

Apologia Poetica, chapter XLVI

1. “Should anyone wish to  speculate about the truth, let him just ponder on the rich pageantry of words which I now cause to shower down upon him!
Bessler is saying that what ever you may have heard the truth can be found in what follows.

2. Let a Gartner be no breaker of fences, even if a Wagner leaves ruts in the road..
Bessler is suggesting that Gartner and Wagner must not be allowed to ruin his work. His wheel is like  a garden or a road -  a finished and working facility that his two enemies want to wreck.

3. For greed is an evil plant.
The word ‘wurzel’ also means ‘root’.  So the sentence should read ‘greed is the root of evil’. According to Wikipedia this phrase was the origin of the modern saying ‘money is the root of evil’, and was associated with the early Jews and Christians. I believe Bessler is saying that Gartner and Wagner act through greed and avarice and envy.

4.  An anvil receives many blows.
The following sentences are designed to convey information about his wheel.  So firstly an anvil receives many blows, which in the context of what follows, suggests that a heavy weight is applied with additional force – gravity plus the smith’s arm strength

5.  A driver drives.
The drives steers or guides a force, so it is not passive but it is not providing force so much as guiding its use.

6.  A runner runs.
A runner runs using his own power, not some external source.

7.  The seer sees. The buyer buys.
A seer sees, (passive) The buyer buys (active)  Examples of passive and active processes.

8.  The rain drips down. Snow falls.
Effect of gravity or heaviness on rain and snow.

9.  The shotgun shoots. The bow twangs.
A physical production of force other than through gravity

10.  A great fat herd of fat, lazy, plump horses wanders aimlessly. 
Unguided and unaffected directly by gravity, just fat and heavy. weights hanging.

11.  The flail would rather be with the thresher than with the scholar.
The flail is forced downwards but ‘prefers’ to fly/bounce back up again. The word for ‘flail’ can also mean ‘oaf’, ‘thresher’ can mean ‘beater’ and ‘scholar’ also mean ‘Doctor’ or ‘teacher’.

12.  Children play with heavy clubs among the broken columns.
Weighted levers, each with a hinge along their length.

13.  Acrobats and shadow-boxers are as fleet and nimble as the wind.
Swift in their actions.

14.  The cunning cat slinks silently along and snatches nice juicy mice.
I think this relates to part of the mechanism in action.

15.  The dog creeps out of his kennel just as far as his chain will stretch. He knows how to please by playing with his little toys and knick-knacks. He wags his tail, creeps through the hoop and is rewarded with pats on his paws by the stiff fops who watch him.
Again, I think this relates to part of the mechanism in action.

16.  A wheel appears on the scene - is it really a wheel, for it does not have the normal type of rim. It revolves, but without other wheels inside or outside, and without weights, wind, or springs.
A wheel, but not like those on a cart etc.  It doesn’t have the iron rims like they do. It spins but you can’t see inside so you don’t know what’s in there.  

17.  Seen sideways or full-face it is as resplendent as a peacock's tail. 
It looks amazing!

18.  It turns to the right and to the left; it spins around in any possible direction, whether laden or empty.
As we know it spins in either direction loaded or unloaded.

19.  All things belong to one of the three kingdoms (animal, vegetable, matter) and - you have the physical evidence in front of you. 
The above comments and those that follow point to Bessler’s knowledge of Alchemy.  There is nothing unusual about the materials of which it is made.

20.  Without such things as sulphur, salt and mercury all things will soon come to a standstill - the qualities of the elements are necessary to keep things going. Saturn, Mars and Jupiter are ready to join in any battle.
Salt, mercury, and sulphur equate to the concepts of body, spirit, and soul. Body is the physical self. The soul is the immortal, spiritual part. This suggests the continuous (immortal) action of his wheel.
Saturn = lead, Mars = iron and Jupiter = tin. These point to the materials necessary for the weights and bearings etc, the metal parts.

21.  Even the things we eat do not lose elemental influence - for it spreads itself through every limb and sinew of our bodies.
Gravity (or heaviness)affects every part of the body.

22.  A crab crawls from side to side. It is sound, for it is designed thus.
Don’t throw out any designs just because they are not intuitively correct.

23.  Poltergeists often wander freely through locked doors. But softly! - speak softly of all the marvels, lest the enemy grows wise! He will drench me with his spittle so that I will lose my temper and, in a sudden fit, cast aside the mantle that conceals my wheel! But he shall be thwarted in his desires! His snapping will not bring me to that point! Let that be brought home to him, for rather, I shall now magnanimously set down in my book the following specific questions which have in recent days.
A warning to himself to guard his tongue and his temper."

This is not cut and dried, its open to criticism and is just my current attempt to bring meaning to the text. Bessler enjoyed puzzling us with his hints and clues, but all of them are ambiguous and if anyone here feels I've missed something then please share it.

JC





21 comments:

  1. John, can you number the clues so we can react per cleu.

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    1. Good idea, Marinus. I started on my iPad but couldn’t continue, so I’ll return later and finish the numbering when I can get to my pc.

      JC

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    2. I've numbered them now. Well most of them.

      JC

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  2. I consider clue 1 as a straightforward direction and also as a hint that there is no code (Sorry, John, et al.). If there’s anything to be learned about the wheel, this is the place and nowhere else. However there are other parts in his legacy where he speaks about the wheel and its working and that is also very valuable. Somewhere he describes how he starts building his fourth wheel and that he starts his build with something that resembles a ‘big grinding stone’.

    Never gave 2 and 3 much thought since I cannot extract anything related to the wheel. Your explanations seems logical and fine to me.

    I agree on clue 4. I think that the loud bang heard by eyewitnesses is the main propulsion of the wheel.

    Don’t know about 5 to 8. It’s like telling it does what it should do. The only thing a wheel can do is rotate.

    Clue 9 might be telling something about the mechanism. If a weight is ‘launched’ and it is attached to a rope then there might be a twang.

    I like your interpretation of clue 10. It is actually describing inertia, in a way.

    Can’t make anything from 11. But if the wheel is overbalanced than it is obvious that a weight would prefer a certain position.

    Clue 12 is in my opinion one of the most valuable ones. It describes what the movement of the mechanism looks like. Like pole vault. Elsewhere in his legacy he mentions this also. This might be a way to get the weight over the axis. But it could also occur under the axis, or both.

    Clue 13 to 15 I read also as prose of the mechanism. It is a wonderful swing and everything happens at the right time. Karl has mentioned something like that.

    Clue 16 is getting interesting. It is like an announcement. I think you can take this clue literally. The outer wheel, the ‘tympani’ for raising the weights, might consist only of spokes. Remember, he starts with a ‘grinding stone’, the principal part of his machine, and then he starts on the tympani.

    Clue 17 gives a hint about the number of weights inside the wheel. If it should resemble a peacock’s tail and the eye-feathers should resemble the weights then it is probably full of weights. There are also T-feathers in its tail. They might resemble the broken columns he speaks of.

    Clue 18, Yeah, specs of the wheel.

    Clue 19 I consider also a very important and straightforward clue. You should remove animal, vegetable and matter or put it in blue.
    Now, how can Bessler know what you have in front of you? If you are reading his text than he knows that you have AP before you. He already mentioned that if you had questions this is the place to be. I think that this clue is about the drawing in AP. The wheel with 3 spokes. I think that this is one “kingdom” and that you have to add 2 more to get a complete wheel with 9 spokes. The white faces might be an indication of the swing that should look like pole vault.

    Clue 20 is also very intriguing. I read A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3. Three orbits. Three weights for each spoke. The weights are working in pairs. Then they must be connected somehow. A mechanism. That is 2 weights. The ‘upper’ weight is not connected to any mechanism. That is the third weight.
    9 spokes, 3 weights per spoke is 27 weights. A peacock’s tail.

    I read clue 21 as No energy is lost. Clue 22 and 23 I agree on. I expect the design to be counter-intuitive. Why else should it be so hard to find.

    So far my thaughts. Thanks for your's.

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  3. Thanks Marinus. I’ll read and ponder on your thoughts.

    JC

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  4. RAF Greetings John, Thanks for your comments on the A.P. clues.Clue # 17--the peacock's tail--to add a note to my previous thoughts on the "TOYS"page( Jan.8th),the peacock's tail suggests,besides its splendor--movement--the compass movement.This compass movement is also seen in the Toys page at the bottom of "E". Also, those drawings which feature a bellows again suggest a compass movement. Your comments on this John?

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    1. I’m probably on my own here, but I don’t think that the peacock’s tail has any connection with anything inside the wheel. I think it’s just Bessler crowing triumphantly about his achievement. JC

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  5. You should also put original German text John.

    The code you are searching for may be decipherable in its original German form.

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    1. I did consider it but decided against it for two reasons, firstly it would add to the already long blog post, and secondly the original text is in my version of AP, but as well, few people here understand German so the German text would prove largely redundant. JC

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    2. OK, that's your call mein Bruder.

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  6. 4. An anvil receives many blows.
    Constant impacts (timed like paired smiths)
    5. A driver drives.
    Form not force
    6. A runner runs.
    But has to follow a path
    7. The seer sees. The buyer buys.
    A ‘sear’ in a flintlock controls/releases spring tension to the ‘hammer’, the item that holds and releases the
    power of the mainspring and transmits it to the hammer is called the ‘tumbler’(named thus since 1600’s),
    the tumbler acts in a rotary/part arc motion. A ‘buyer’ buys stock, something in store (potential/tension)
    8. The rain drips down. Snow falls.
    Different speeds under same gravity
    9. The shotgun shoots. The bow twangs.
    Fast force/impact, slower force/spring tension
    10. A great fat herd of fat, lazy, plump horses wanders aimlessly.
    Sprung heavy weights moving under spring influence (and not matching wheel speed continuously)
    appears to ‘wander’ ?
    11. The flail would rather be with the thresher than with the scholar.
    Something that does ‘work’ rather than does not ?
    13. Acrobats and shadow-boxers are as fleet and nimble as the wind.
    ‘tumbler’ ?
    14. The cunning cat slinks silently along and snatches nice juicy mice.
    Latching ?
    15. The dog creeps out of his kennel just as far as his chain will stretch. He knows how to please by
    playing with his little toys and knick-knacks. He wags his tail, creeps through the hoop and is rewarded with
    pats on his paws by the stiff fops who watch him.
    Chains don’t stretch, tugging action? Dog playing/head shaking/left right, is swinging ? Tail wag, blade
    Spring deflecting left/right ? Dogs jump thro’ hoops (curved path), creeps thro’ is a flat/straight path ? fops
    are top toy men, smiths below (dress) ?
    All things belong to one of the three kingdoms (animal, vegetable, matter)
    Its not powered by animals, there are no vegetables in it, you opinion doesn’t matter ;)
    22. A crab crawls from side to side. It is sound, for it is designed thus. I concur, its look so ‘wrong’ but the
    design works wonderfully
    Regards
    Jon

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  7. I believe that there is no hidden code that one can access to build a wheel. However, once one has built a wheel, then all the written bits and pieces may seem to make sense. people may then say, Oh, I now see what he meant by that.
    Otherwise there are too many variants to consider. Even statemets that seem so simple that they can't be wrong are easy to misconstrue. E.g. "The weights act in pairs". This has a myriad of explanations, but it's all too easy for one to assume that it means 'that while one weight is ascending, another is falling'. It has many other posible meanings.
    GB

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    1. @GB You may have hit the nail on its head with that Here's something you could find of interest

      https://www.amazon.com/s?k=%22The+Triumphant+Orffyrean+Perpetual+Motion+Finally+Explained%21%22&ref=nb_sb_noss

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    3. So Ken, how is your new book selling (how many copies have you sold)? At over 800 pages, maybe its worth $40 I don't know. If you actually solved the Bessler puzzle, I guess it is worth way more than that. Any reviews available that I could read? Where else have you announced its debut?

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  8. John, what if this meant to be forgotten? I am not convinced that the wheel will definitely bring good to humanity. Are we ready to handle such power? Just imagine how countries try to convert it to a weapon.

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