• Kieser

    KieserDietrich Georg Kieser (1779-1862)

    • Présentation : Né à Harburg, Dietrich Georg von Kieser était un savant allemand, à la fois médecin, psychiatre et botaniste. Il mena surtout une carrière universitaire à Iéna de 1824 à 1862. Il défendit la balnéologie (ou thermalisme) et pratiqua au spa thérapeutique à Heilbad Berka sur l'Ilm. Il dirigea une clinique privée ophtamologique de 1831 à 1847 et fut directeur entre 1847 et 1858 de l'hôpital psychiatrique grand-ducal. Avec Adam von Eschenmayer, il publia en 12 volumes les Archives pour le magnéitisme animal. Kieser fut aussi actif politiquement durant sa carrière ; en october 1817, avec l'historien Heinrich Luden et les philosophes Lorenz Oken et Jakob Friedrich Fries, il prit part au Festival historique de Wartburg. Il mourut à Iéna en 1862. La kiesérite, une espèce minérale très instable de sulfate de magnésium hydraté, tire son nom de celui du savant. Que retenir de Kieser ? Trois points principalement : 1) l’opposition scientifique romantique à un modèle mécaniciste/newtonien et une prise en compte de la Nature comme un tout Englobant ; 2) des travaux pionniers conduisant à une systématisation de la psychologie de l'inconscient qui influera Schopenhauer ; 3) son intérêt médical pour l'homéopathie.

    http://i66.servimg.com/u/f66/11/16/57/47/ouie10.gif

    Né à Harburg/Elbe le 24 août 1779, Kieser entame des études de médecine à Göttingen en 1801, qui le conduiront à ouvrir plusieurs cabinets avant d'être nommé professeur à Iéna en 1812. Volontaire de guerre en 1814/15, il dirigea deux hôpitaux de campagne à Liège et à Versailles. Il poursuivit ensuite ses activités médicales en dirigeant des cliniques privées d'orthopédie puis de psychiatrie (1847-58). Il est considéré comme le principal représentant de la médecine romantique, dérivée de la Naturphilosophie et étayée par la philosophie de Schelling.

    Ses travaux scientifiques procèdent par empirisme. Kieser défendit, dans le cadre de ses activités de psychiatre, le principe du conditionnement somatique des troubles psychiques. Mais sa médecine et sa psychiatrie ne se bornent pas à recenser des faits empiriques : Kieser tente de confronter et de mélanger ses observations aux interprétations spéculatives du cercle formé par Blumenbach, Himly, Goethe, Schelling et Oken. Cette fertilisation croisée de deux domaines, généralement posés comme indépendants l'un de l'autre, a été féconde dans les domaines de la phytotomie [anatomie végétale] et de la psychiatrie. Influencé par le mesmérisme dans sa jeunesse, Kieser affirme que toute maladie survenant dans un organisme sain est en fait un processus de régression qui contrarie le déploiement de la vie, sa marche ascensionnelle de bas en haut. L'objet de la médecine, dans cette perspective, n'est plus de parfaire un ensemble de techniques thérapeutiques mais de restaurer un rapport optimal entre la personne, le monde et Dieu. Ce qui induit le philosophe à parler d'une médecine de l'identité humaine, où la maladie reçoit un statut ontologique, dans le sens où elle affecte la subjectivité de l'homme et est, dès lors, composante incontournable de l'humanité de l'homme. La médecine doit dès lors soigner et guérir des personnes précises, inaliénables de par leur spécificité.

    Quant à la philosophie du tellurisme de Kieser, elle démonte le système des Lumières, dans le sens où elle lui reproche de n'explorer que le pôle diurne/solaire de la nature en négligeant les potentialités du pôle nocturne/tellurique. En ce sens, la science romantique de Kieser dédouble la perspective de la connaissance et tourne le dos à l'unilatéralisme des Lumières.

    Kieser, après une vie vouée à l'université et à la science médicale, meurt à Iéna, le 11 octobre 1862.

    ◘ Système du tellurisme ou du magnétisme animal : Un manuel pour naturalistes et médecins (System des Tellurismus oder thierischen Magnetismus : Ein Handbuch für Naturforscher und Aertze), 2 vol., 1821-1822

    Ouvrage qui définit, à la suite du mesmérisme et de l'intérêt romantique pour les composantes nocturnes de l'âme humaine, les notions de magnétisme, de somnambulisme et de sidérisme (magnétisme animal). La vie oscille entre deux pôles de potentialités magnétiques (magnetische Potenzen), les potentialités magnétiques/telluriques et les potentialités antimagnétiques/solaires/anti-telluriques, entre des potentialités dynamiques (étudiées par la chimie) et des potentialités mécaniques (définies par les lois de la pesanteur). Cette oscillation est déterminée par les rythmes du jour et de la nuit, entre lesquels l'homme doit trouver l'équilibre. Sur le plan de la psychiatrie, Kieser explique, dans son System des Tellurismus, que les guérisons "miraculeuses" sont en réalité des guérisons conscientes, déterminées par le magnétisme, la volonté et la force du psychisme. Il analyse ensuite les travaux de ceux qui l'ont précédé dans sa théorie du magnétisme : Henricus C.A. von Nettesheym, Petrus Pomponatius, Julius Vanninus, J.B. van Helmont, William Maxwell, Athanasius Kircher et Sebastian Wirdig. Sans oublier Friedrich Anton Mesmer et son De influxu planetarum in corpus humanum. Il poursuit son exposé en brossant l'histoire philosophique du tellurisme et du magnétisme, force émanant de la terre, non captable par simple empirie et compénétrant tout. Nos comportements et nos actes volontaires sont captateurs de magnétisme. Dans notre vie nocturne, il y a irruption directe dans nos corps des magnétismes issus de la Terre. La théorie du magnétisme de Kieser permet de repérer les premières manifestations scientifiques de l'opposition intellectuelle aux Lumières, avec l'attention aux rythmes biologiques et aux études psychologiques et psychiques que cela implique.

    ► Robert Steuckers, Vouloir, 1992.

    ♦ Bibliographie :

    • De anamorphosi oculi / Über die Metamorphose des Thierauges, 1804 (thèse de doctorat)
    • Aphorismen aus der Physiologie der Pflanzen, 1808
    • Über die Natur, Ursachen, Kennzeichen und Heilung des schwarzen Staars, 1810
    • Ursprung des Darmcanals aus der vesicula umbilicalis dargestellt, im menschlichen Embryo, 1810
    • Entwurf einer Geschichte und Beschreibung der Badeanstalt bei Northeim, 1810
    • Beiträge zur vergleichenden Zoologie, Anatomie und Physiologie (avec Oken), 2 cahiers, 1806, 1807
    • Über die Metamorphose des Auges des bebrüteten Hühnchens im Eye, s.d.
    • Grundzüge der Pathologie und Therapie des Menschen, 1812
    • Mémoire sur l'organisation des plantes, 1812 (version allemande : Grundzüge zur Anatomie der Pflanzen, 1815)
    • Über das Wesen und die Bedeutung der Exantheme, 1813
    • Vorbeugungs- und Verhaltungsmaßregeln bei ansteckenden faul-Fieberepidemieen, 1813
    • Elemente der Phytonomie, 1815
    • System der Medizin, 1817-19
    • System des Tellurismus oder thierischen Magnetismus, 2 vol., 1821-1822
    • entre 1817 et 1824, Kieser édite, avec Eschenmeyer et Nasse, la revue Archiv für thierischen Magnetismus (12 vol.)
    • ensuite Kieser édite seul Sphinx : Neues Archiv für den thierischen Magnetismus, 1825-26, 2 vol.
    • De febris puerperarum indole et medendi ratione, 7 cahiers, 1825-29
    • Klinische Beiträge, revue éditée par Kieser parue en 1834
    • Disert. med.-pract. exhibens decennium clinicum in Acad. Jenensi inde ab anno 1831 ad annum 1841 auspiciis Dr. Kieseri habitum, 1844
    • Über der Emancipation des Verbrechers im Kerker, 1845
    • Von den Leidenschaften und Affecten, 1848
    • Zur Geschichte der kaiserlichen Leopoldinisch-Carolinischen Akademie der Naturforscher, 1851

    Œuvres consultables en allemand. Voir aussi ici.

    ♦ Sur Kieser :

    • C.G. Carus, in : Verhandlungen der Leopoldinischen Akademie, Bd. XXX, Leopoldina, Heft IV, p. 33
    • Ph. v. Martius, Akad. Denkreden, Leipzig, 1866, p. 500
    • A. Hirsch, "Dietrich Georg Kieser", in : Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Bd. 15, 1882; F. Tuczek, in Th. Kirchhoff, Deutsche Irrenärzte, 1921, I, pp. 117-123
    • W. Brednow, Dietrich Georg Kieser : Sein Leben und Werk, 1970
    • Hans Sohni, "Dietrich Georg Kieser", in : Neue Deutsche Biographie, Bd. 11, Duncker und Humblot, Berlin, 1977
    • Georges Gusdorf, Le savoir romantique de la nature, Payot, 1985, pp. 240-241

     

    Latouche

     

    Mesmeric antecedents

    While histories of modern occultism and mediumship commonly locate their emergence in the second half of the nineteenth century, linking them closely with spiritualism, these phenomena had their antecedents in the mesmeric experiments of the German Romantics. Many of the strange mental abilities, including the transference of the senses and thought- transference, demonstrated in the experiments of the Munich and Berlin societies, as well as in contemporary spiritualist séances, had been features of animal magnetism. In testing Lina’s ability to read a book balanced on her head or on her stomach, for example, the Psychologische Gesellschaft attempted to reconstruct the experiments conducted by magnetists such as Justinus Kerner (1786–1862) who had placed folded messages on the stomach of his famous somnambulist Friederike Hauffe (1801–29), the so-called seeress from Prevorst (01). Similarly, those experiments in which Schrenck-Notzing and his associates sought to transmit the bitter taste of coffee or the pungent aroma of a cigar to the somnolent Lina were attempts to provide experimental proof of the strong rapport that many mesmerists had noted between their somnambulistic subjects and themselves (02). The research agenda proposed by the Berliner Gesellschaft für Experimental- Psychologie, while focused primarily on hypnosis and suggestion, also made the reality of bio-magnetism an object of inquiry (03). Mesmerism, importantly, provided not only many of the phenomena, methodologies and terms utilised by the occultists and psychical researchers of the second half of the nineteenth century, but also the paradigms – natural, spiritual and demonic – through which occult manifestations and practices were interpreted.

    Mesmerism, also known as ‘animal magnetism’, was a form of physical therapy proposed by the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815). During 1774, Mesmer conducted a series of experiments in which he placed magnets on the body of a female patient experiencing hysterical symptoms, including cramps and convulsions (04). While the application of magnets seemed to provoke a painful crisis in the patient, her condition appeared markedly improved on the cessation of treatment. For Mesmer, the success of these experiments provided tangible evidence of the magnetic fluid he had long speculated existed not only within the universe, but also within the human body, leading him to abandon the therapeutic application of magnets in favour of using the magnetic power of his own person (05). Within a few years, Mesmer’s controversial new therapy – now applied through magnetic strokes above the body or through proximity to magnetised water or objects, but still accompanied by a cathartic crisis – had travelled to France where it became popular despite the extreme hostility of the Parisian medical community (06). While a series of Royal Commissions into mesmerism in 1784 concluded that there was no evidence for the existence of an animal-magnetic fluid and that any cures were a result of imagination, the same year saw the discovery of a significant corollary of mesmerism, which the French magnetiser Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, the Marquis de Puységur (1751–1825), named ‘magnetic somnambulism’.

    ‘Magnetic somnambulism’ or ‘magnetic sleep’ was a state in which the magnetised person manifested a sleep-waking consciousness, a rapport with the magnetiser, suggestibility, amnesia upon waking, and a marked alteration of character (07). These were all hallmarks of the magnetic sleep into which Puységur accidently placed the peasant Victor Race as he tried to cure his fever. While magnetic somnambulism helped alleviate Race’s physical discomfort, its true significance appeared to be the alternate consciousness it revealed below the threshold of his waking state. This second consciousness seemed to possess a discrete memory, separate from that of the waking personality, and a very different character from that normally exhibited by Race (08). The other significant feature of this somnambulistic personality was its heightened mental abilities, which included apparent thought- transference and clairvoyance. Through further experimentation, Puységur and other mesmerists discovered that magnetic somnambulism could be induced in other subjects, many of whom exhibited the same strange mental phenomena as Victor Race. These magnetisers were also quick to realise that magnetic sleep offered not just an efficacious form of treatment, but one that did not require the violent crises central to Mesmer’s understanding of animal magnetism. For these reasons, magnetic somnambulism quickly became an integral part of magnetic treatment and theory spreading throughout France and into Germany (09).

    The reception of mesmerism in Germany during the first half of the nineteenth century was distinguished by a fixation on the heightened mental abilities, such as clairvoyance, exhibited in magnetic sleep; a fixation that can be explained by looking at the proponents of mesmerism in the German context, the majority of whom were adherents of Naturphilosophie (10). For these men, who sought to develop an holistic worldview in which the differences between mind and matter, religion and science, and mystical experience and historical knowledge could be reconciled, mesmerism and its strange somnambulistic phenomena offered a means of bridging the gap between these poles, that is, between the ‘day-side’ and ‘night-side’ of nature (11). This melding of mesmerism and Naturphilosophie in the German context saw it become not only a form of physical therapy, but, depending on the predisposition of the magnetiser, either a means of psychological introspection or a path to metaphysical and sacred knowledge (12). The physiologist and painter Carl Gustav Carus (1789–1869) and the theologian David Friederich Strauss (1808–74), for example, regarded the clairvoyant visions of somnambulists as the result of unconscious processes, while the psychiatrist Dietrich Georg Kieser (1779–1862) saw the mental journeys of somnambulists to heaven or other planets as a species of dream fantasy (13). In contrast, the poet and physician Justinus Kerner believed that the clairvoyance he witnessed among his somnambulistic patients could be explained as a form of spirit communication or possession (14).

    While the spirit hypothesis by no means enjoyed a monopoly among the German Romantics as an explanation for somnambulistic phenomena, Kerner’s writings about clairvoyant somnambules, in particular, the seeress of Prevorst, proved extremely influential. Through his treatment of, and experiments with, the seeress Friederike Hauffe, as well as the somnambulists Christina Kapplinger and Caroline S., Kerner developed a theory of magnetic spiritism in which the illnesses these women suffered and the extraordinary abilities they exhibited were attributed to spirits (15). Although all of these cases contributed to the development of magnetic spiritism it was Hauffe’s that became best known through both Kerner’s 1829 book Die Seherin von Prevorst [The Seeress from Prevorst] and the writings of the other Romantics who visited her in Kerner’s home (16). Hauffe who had undergone a profound spiritual experience while attending the funeral of a local dignitary, on the same day she was married, and who suffered from both depression and muscular spasms, existed in an almost perpetual state of somnambulism when Kerner was asked to treat her in 1826. While he began her treatment by abstaining from magnetic therapy, Kerner found that Hauffe’s condition worsened until she was once again mesmerised. In the magnetic state, Kerner not only saw a marked improvement in his patient’s physical and mental wellbeing, but also discovered her remarkable clairvoyant and prophetic powers. Like other somnambulists, Hauffe displayed a range of clairvoyant abilities, including the power to diagnose disease, to read without the use of her eyes, and foretell the future, but somnambulism also appeared to provide her with access to the spirit realm where she gained knowledge of a complex metaphysical system consisting of seven sun circles and one life circle (17). For Kerner, his patient’s experiences proved that there existed an unseen world in which both evil and good spirits did battle, causing illness or offering healing and knowledge. The magnetic state provided access to this realm, where the somnambulist and the physician might combine physical therapy and exorcism to become protagonists in the spiritual mêlée.

    If Puységur’s treatment of Victor Race had suggested the existence of an alternate consciousness, Kerner’s treatment of Friederike Hauffe helped sustain the old idea that strange or aberrant mental phenomena were a result of supernatural agency (18). The promotion of this theory through the story of the seeress of Prevorst had lasting repercussions. Hauffe’s revelations, for example, provided a model for other somnambulists who produced similar cosmologies. Indeed, the seeress’ system of magnetic sun and life circles helped shape the metaphysical discourse not only of her near contemporaries but also of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century spiritualists, including the medium upon whom C.G. Jung based his doctoral dissertation (19). Spiritualists and psychical researchers in the latter part of the century also maintained a fascination with the seeress, whose history continued to provide material for those with an interest in both psychological and metaphysical analyses of somnambulists. German occult journals often featured articles about Hauffe, an example of which was du Prel’s contribution to Sphinx, accompanied by illustrations by the artist Gabriel von Max, a member of the Psychologische Gesellschaft, who also painted the somnolent Lina Matzinger (20). While magnetic somnabulism did not dominate early nineteenth-century analyses of mesmerism it did provide a tradition within the German context through which modern spiritualism and other forms of occultism could be understood and developed during the second half of the century.

    Mesmerism did, of course, provide other traditions and paradigms for understanding spiritualism and modern occultism upon their arrival in the German-speaking states. Table-turning, for example, which enjoyed a brief craze amongst Germans during 1853, was interpreted not only, and not even primarily, as the work of ill-disciplined spirits, but as a result of the magnetic fluid that coursed through and out of participants’ bodies or unconscious muscular movements (21). Spiritualism, similarly, was initially understood in terms that could have been used to describe the manifestations of somnambulists, like the seeress of Prevorst. Adherents linked mediums’ phenomena to good spirits, often deceased relatives, while churchmen warned that such phenomena were demonic in origin and those who preferred a naturalistic explanation claimed that spiritualist mediums simply channelled their unconscious selves (22). It is also clear that mesmerism as practiced and understood by the Romantics helped shape the research agendas and explanatory paradigms of German psychical researchers. Both the Psychologische Gesellschaft and the Berliner Gesellschaft für Experimental-Psychologie began by examining phenomena that had featured among magnetic somnambulists. Two of the leading figures of the Berlin society, Max Dessoir and Albert Moll (1862–1939), for example, tested the existence of a magnetic rapport between magnetiser and somnambulist in some of their early experimental work (23). Similarly, the range of explanations that had existed among German mesmerists for the strange phenomena of somnambulistic sleep was apparent in these societies. In the Psychologische Gesellschaft, for instance, there were those who attributed all such phenomena to unconscious processes, while others believed they might offer access to a metaphysical realm.

    Clearly, the occult sciences that developed in the second half of the nineteenth century, including spiritualism, theosophy and psychical research, shared a common heritage. The magnetic traditions that provided research agendas and explanatory paradigms for these practices, however, linked them not only to mesmerism, but also to each other. Thus, the sections that follow explore the attraction of spiritualism, theosophy and psychical research for the Germans who practised them, the dissemination of their ideas through occult organisations and publications, and the relationship between modern occultism and the contemporary reform milieu. They also highlight the epistemological and sociological links between these nascent occult sciences, making clear the difficulty for psychical researchers who wished to distance their discipline from occultism.

    ► Heather Wolffram, extrait de : « The Emergence of Psychical Research in Imperial Germany », in : The Stepchildren of Science. Psychical Research and Parapsychology in Germany, c. 1870-1939, Amsterdam/NY, 2009.

    • notes :

    01.  A. Crabtree, From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 198–203.
    02.  Ibid., 175.
    03.  ‘Programm der Gesellschaft für Experimental-Psychologie’, op. cit. (note 13), 298
    04.  H. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (New York: Basic Books, 1970), 58–9.
    05.  Crabtree, op. cit. (note 57), 6–7.
    06.  Ellenberger, op. cit. (note 60), 61–6.
    07.  Crabtree, op. cit. (note 57), 39.
    08.  Crabtree, op. cit. (note 57), 42–3 ; Ellenberger, op. cit. (note 60), 70–2.
    09.  Somnambulism spread to Germany via Strasbourg. See Sawicki, op. cit. (note 36), 136.
    10.  Ibid., 138–9.
    11.  Ibid., 132, 138.
    12.  N. Freytag, Aberglauben im 19. Jahrhundert : Preußen und seine Rheinprovinz zwischen Tradition und Moderne (1815–1918) (Berlin : Duncker & Humblot, 2003), 254.
    13.  Sawicki, op. cit. (note 36), 145–6.
    14.  Ibid., 145.
    15.  Crabtree, op. cit. (note 57), 198–9
    16.  Ellenberger, op. cit. (note 60), 81
    17.  Crabtree, op. cit. (note 57), 201.
    18.  Crabtree sees Kerner’s ideas as the reintroduction of the intrusion paradigm after the introduction of the alternate consciousness paradigm. Ibid., 86, 212.
    19.  FX Charet, Spiritualism and the Foundations of C.G. Jung’s Psychology (Albany : State Univ. of NY Press, 1993), 31.
    20.  Treitel, op. cit. (note 55), 301, note 20
    21.  Sawicki, op. cit. (note 36), 234
    22.  Treitel, op. cit. (note 55), 39 ; Sawicki, op. cit. (note 36), 240.
    23.  A. Moll, Der Rapport in der Hypnose. Untersuchungen über thierischen Magnetismus (Leipzig : Otto Dürr, 1892).

     

     

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