Fearless Friday: Paracelsus

Due to my growing science literature collection, I have decided to share some stories of scientists who truly led unique lives due to struggles and scientific contributions. There are important aspects in history that discuss the lives of those scientists who were beheaded, banished, publicly humiliated and those either used, eradicated or appointed by Hitler.

When I get passionate about my work or defend my science,  it is not just me, it is the history--the knowledge I build upon, is also sacrifices. The most intimate details of their struggles are rarely discussed and I'd like to change that. It reminds me that "for the greater good" use to have a much different price than today.

Paracelsus "The Chemical Luther" 

1493- Born into this world as Philippus Arelius Theophrastrus Bombast van Hohenheim 

1509 to 1516- Adopted the name Paracelsus after admiration of the Roman physician Celsius. Influenced by him and Trithemius, he sets out to study at every famous university who offer teaching besides that of the bible. 

1516 to 1526-Traveled all over Europe for ten years, where he gathered knowledge about alchemy and medicine. His use of alchemy to fashion medicines into cures, gathered extensive practice of surgical procedures and knowledge of diseases. This did little to persuade the false prophets of healing..Medicine was still a pseudo-science ruled by Hippocrates of Cos, Avicenna the Persian Prince of Physicians and Galen of Pergamos. These authorities held themselves as "infallible." 

1526 to 1528- Decided to be a medical lecturer at University of Basel in an attempt to restore medicine and challenge dogma.

Like a Boss. 

He makes a calculated entrance to the University, for he has a special introduction. It happened during the University's bonfire & feast of St. John. Paracelsus strolls in with a copy of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine and the audacity probably not ever witnessed in this particular time period. He demanded the books of the old masters of alchemy and medicine, so they can be burned. The act of smoke being generated  was significant to him and those all around. Much like Luther and the protestant reformation, he was ushering in a new change of thought, with that of the church, but separate thought. Paracelsus put forth his thoughts on those before him.
"You all shall follow me. The latchets of my shoes are better instructed than you all. All the universities and all the older writers are less gifted than the hairs of my beard and the crown of my head."

The Renaissance Haters.
"Luther is abundantly learned , therefore you hate him and me, but we are at least a match for you."

Unless one was treated by Paracelsus, then he received nothing but hostility. The medical faculty hated him because he publicly denounced them as a

"misbegotten crew of approved asses."

Doctors treated the sick by making them bleed out and violent bathing. He was outraged over treatment of the sick. The apothecaries relied on profit, not on altruism. Paracelsus declared himself official town physician. His denounced apothecaries ability to help, so he made his own medicine and didn't charge any of his patients.

"The doctors who have got themselves made doctors with money go about the town as if it were a crime for the sick to contradict them. These calves think themselves great masters, for did they not go through the examination at Nuremberg? The physician's duty IS TO HEAL THE SICK, NOT enrich the apothecaries."

When Frobenius died of a stroke under his care, the court and those opposed acted swiftly to hold him accountable, easily denouncing his medical skills and professional philosophy as well. His friends ushered him out of the city before his vulgar tongue ushered a swift death in defiance of the "pseudo-medicos."

Public Enemy, Outcast & Benefactor of Mankind

1528 to 1541- Led a vagabond life pleasing no one but whom he healed. It is said he dragged his sickly body from town to town. He went into his grave fighting. No one would grant him a public hearing nor publish his books. Still, he wrote unrelentingly and gained clearer insight to his work and healing.

Respect Earned.

Feared nothing. Discovered Everything. His devotion to "test and true" approach to all his discoveries and his practice. Allowed him to make strides in curing ills and diseases. His forward thinking is alarming. He pioneered the use of mercury for syphilis and mined minerals for constant cure processes. He had "spectacular cures and spectacular kills." Developed a list of medicines, a pharmacopoeia, different from Galenic ones. Paracelsus used inorganic sources as opposed to herbal remedies. 

but after they will know me. If I stoop
Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud
It is but for a time; I press God's lamp
Close to my breast; its splendour, soon or late
Will pierce the gloom; I shall emerge one day
You understand me? I have said enough.

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