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Pauli, gifted with a strong analytical mind, appreciates intuition too. He writes:

“Fludd never distinguishes clearly between a real, material process and a symbolical representation....Fludd's general standpoint is that true understanding of world harmony and thus also true astronomy are impossible without knowledge of the alchemical or Rosicrucian mysteries. Whatever is produced without knowledge of these mysteries is an arbitrary, subjective fiction. According to Kepler, on the other hand, only that which is capable of quantitative, mathematical proof belongs to objective science, the rest is personal.”

“While Kepler represents the modern view that the soul is a part of nature, Fludd even protests against the application of the concept “part” to the human soul, since the soul, being freed from the laws of the physical world, that is, in so far as it belongs to the light principle, is inseparable from the whole world-soul.” In Fludd's quaternary approach Pauli recognises his love for the number four: “It is significant for the psychological contrast between Kepler and Fludd that for Fludd the number four has symbolical character, which is not true of Kepler.”

Pauli, knowing the two poles of intellect and intuition within himself, recognises them too in this controversy:

“Fludd's attitude seems to us somewhat easier to understand when it is viewed in the perspective of a more general differentiation between two types of mind, the one type considering the quantitative relations of the parts to be essential, the other the qualitative indivisibility of the whole. … The quarrel between Goethe and Newton concerning the theory of colours: Goethe had similar aversion to “parts" and always emphasised the disturbing influence of instruments on “natural” phenomena. We should like to advocate the point of view that these controversial attitudes are really illustrations of the psychological contrast between feeling type or intuitive type and thinking type. Goethe and Fludd represent the feeling type and the intuitive approach, Newton and Kepler the thinking type; even Plotinus should probably not be called a systematic thinker, in contrast to Aristotle and Plato.”

Fludd's work is rich in diagrams and figures, which often tell more than many words. Pauli recognises this and writes:

Fludd's “hierographic” figures do try to preserve a unity of the inner experience of the "observer" (as we should say today) and the external processes of nature, and thus a wholeness in its contemplation – a wholeness lost in the world of classical natural science. Modern quantum physics again stresses the factor of the disturbance of phenomena through measurement, and modern psychology again utilises symbolical images as raw material in order to recognize processes in the collective ("objective") psyche.

Finally Pauli comes to a synthesis:

To us, unlike Kepler and Fludd, the only acceptable point of view appears to be the one that recognises both sides of reality – the quantitative and the qualitative, the physical and the psychical – as compatible with each other, and can embrace them simultaneously. And he concludes: “Among scientists in particular, the universal desire for a greater unification of our world view is greatly intensified by the fact that, though we now have natural sciences, we no longer have a total scientific picture of the world. Since the discovery of the quantum of action, physics has gradually been forced to relinquish its proud claim to be able, in principle, to understand the whole world. This very circumstance, however, as a correction of earlier one-sidedness, could contain the germ of progress toward a unified conception of the entire cosmos of which the natural sciences are only a part.”


In 1957 Pauli engaged in Zürich on an intensive cooperation with Werner Heisenberg to find a 'world-formula,' which we now would call “a theory of everything.” Yet, as may be clear from the analysis above, that theory would also include the psychological, i.e. the unseen world. When Pauli was visiting the USA Nobel laureate T.D. Lee invited him for a seminar to explain his new theory. There his colleagues criticised his work down to the ground. In the spring of 1958 Pauli agreed with the criticism and broke with Heisenberg, telling him to go further on his own. Pauli was more or less broken and he wrote: “Kleiner Mann, was nun?”15 A few months later he died of cancer.

Many physicists, especially those who knew him, consider Pauli to be of a level of genius comparable to Einstein or Bohr. Einstein and Bohr, both intuitive giants, could publish ideas for which a full proof was only given years, sometimes decades, later. Pauli never could: when Pauli published something, he gave the full and logical proof with it. Perhaps this is the reason why so many ordinary people never heard his name, and why his death went unnoticed by the New York Times in 1958.

Maybe Pauli believed he failed to unite the inner and outer worlds. His work and way of thinking will live on and inspire others. Perhaps the search for outer unity, in the world of ideas, should be replaced by a unity within, in one's own life. Isn't then the path of that search more important than its goal?

Little man, what now?.