Dr. John Gibson MacVicar went to the university of St. Andrews in 1814, where he excelled in mathematics and natural philosophy, and thence to Edinburgh, where he studied chemistry, anatomy, and natural history under John Knox's tutelage, together with rhetoric, Hebrew and church history (see Dictionary of National Biography). At this time he also delivered his first papers, on the germination of ferns and on the air-pump. He was licensed to preach, but in 1827 took up a newly established post as lecturer in natural history at St. Andrews, becoming professor in 1830. In 1828 he began editing and writing articles for the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, assisted with the formation of a museum at St. Andrews and helped to promote the Watt Institution at Dundee. He lectured at both these places, and also wrote several books on natural philosophy in the early 1830s, in which he explained recent scientific advances and attempted to reconcile these with religious orthodoxy. Elements of the Economy of Nature, or, The Principles of Physics, Chemistry and Physiology appeared in 1830 (2nd edition 1856), and Inquiries Concerning the Medium of Light and the Form of its Molecules in 1833.

John Gibson Macvicar

Macvicar's philosophy had a profound impact on Keely and was a source of many of his ideas.

Elements of the Economy of Nature, or, The Principles of Physics, Chemistry and Physiology
Inquiries Concerning the Medium of Light and the Form of its Molecules
On the Nature of Things
A Sketch of a Philosophy
A Sketch of a Philosophy II
A Sketch of a Philosophy III
A Supplement to A Sketch of a Philosophy
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: The Catholic spirit of true religion. (printed for Scott, Webster, and Geary, 1840) (page images at HathiTrust)
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: An enquiry into human nature. (Sutherland & Knox; etc., etc., 1853) (page images at HathiTrust)
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: Inquiries concerning the medium of light and the form of its molecules. (A. and C. Black;, 1833) (page images at HathiTrust)
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: On the beautiful : the picturesque, the sublime (Scott, Webster, & Geary, 1837) (page images at HathiTrust)
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: Philosophy of the beautiful (Edmonston and Douglas, 1855) (page images at HathiTrust)
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: A sketch of a philosophy ... (Williams & Norgate, 1868) (page images at HathiTrust)
Macvicar, John Gibson, 1800-1884: A supplement to a sketch of a philosophy (Williams, 1881) (page images at HathiTrust)

A compilation of MacVicar's "Sketch of a Philosophy" (published in 1868) together with Mrs. Hughes' book on evolution of tones and colors, was sent to Keely. [Snell Manuscript - The Book, page 2]

When Keely's discovery has been made known to scientists, a new field of research will be opened up in the realm of Philosophy, where all eternal, physical, and metaphysical truths are correlated; for Philosophy has been well defined by Willcox as the science of that human thought which contains all human knowledges. He who possesses the structure of philosophic wisdom built up of all knowledges - grand and sublime - has a mental abode wherein to dwell which other men have not. Dr. Macvicar says:- "The nearer we ascend to the fountain-head of being and of action, the more magical must everything inevitably become, for that fountain-head is pure volition. And pure volition, as a cause, is precisely what is meant by magic; for by magic is merely meant a mode of producing a phenomenon without mechanical appliances - that is, without that seeming continuity of resisting parts and that leverage which satisfy our muscular sense and our imagination, and bring the phenomenon into the category of what we call 'the natural' - that is, the sphere of the elastic, the gravitating, the sphere into which the vis inertiae is alone admitted." In Keely's philosophy, as in Dr. Macvicar's "Sketch of a Philosophy," the economy of creation is not regarded as a theory of development all in one direction, which is the popular supposition, but as a cycle in which, after development and as its fruit, the last term gives again the first. Herein is found the link by which the law of continuity is maintained throughout, and the cycle of things is made to be complete: - the link which is missing in the popular science of the day, with this very serious consequence, that, to keep the break out of sight, the entire doctrine of spirit and the spiritual world is ignored or denied altogether." [The Fountain Head of Force]

"If matter without form preceded creation of energy, it was only when life was given that the atoms became grouped in individualities through their intrinsic properties. The hypothesis of Macvicar and demonstrations of Keely pivot on the law of assimilation "providing at once for the free and the forced ... for mind and matter, and placing them ... in relationship." This law is summarized as "Every individualized object ... assimilates itself to itself in successive moments of its existence and all objects tend to assimilate one another." In its own nature, matter is wholly plastic or devoid of fixed innate properties wholly assimilative - both with respect to its own portions and to surrounding objects, as well as its position in space and insofar as it is capable, to the mind of its Creator. In the ether are constructed groups of ethereal elements generating material elements." [Snell Manuscript - The Book, page 2]

Macvicar's illustrations of assimilation "Attraction, inertia, elasticity, heredity, reversion, symmetry, culminating in sphericity or symmetrical cellularity, chemical and electrical action, especially in voltaic action the influence and persistence of this law is most remarkably displayed." [Snell Manuscript - The Book, page 2]

Dr. Macvicar, in his theories of the bearing of the cosmical law of assimilation on molecular action, says: "During this retreat of matter into ether in single material elements or units of weight, the molecules and masses from which such vaporization into the common vapor of matter is going on, may be expected to be phosphorescent." This surmise Keely has, over and over, demonstrated as a fact, also showing how gravitation operates as a lever, etheric wave motion, concentration under vibratory concussion, and negative vacuous tenuity. [Snell Manuscript - The Book, page 2]

"Macvicar foreshadowed the teachings of this new philosophy when he wrote, "All motion in the universe is rhythmical. This is seen in the forward and backward movement of the pendulum, the ebb and the flow of the tides, the succession of day and night, the systolic and diasystolic action of the heart, and in the inspiration and expiration of the lungs. Our breathing is a double motion of the universal ether, an active and a reactive movement. This androgyne principle, with its dual motion, is the breath of God in man. The writings of the ancients teem with these ideas, which have been handed down to us from generation to generation, and are now flashing their light, like torches in the darkness, upon mysteries too long regarded as "lying outside the domain of physical science." [Bloomfield-Moore, see Father-Mother Principle, Neutral Center]

"MacVicar, a little known philosopher, says of the creation of matter: "In the ether are constructed groups of ethereal elements generating material elements. The ethereal atmospheres tend to become confluent or spherical and the individualized nuclei seek juxtaposition, thereby forming molecules." [Snell Manuscript - the book]

"MacVicar and Keely agree in the cosmical law being that of sympathetic association, or, under MacVicar's select name for it, assimilation, the watch-word and the law of Creation." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 87]

See Also

Law of Assimilation

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Wednesday July 12, 2023 06:01:14 MDT by Dale Pond.