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Let’s assume, as did the ancient philosophers of nature, that all forms in the universe are in fact a transfiguration of one basic substance, which simply transforms its existence. Although it is time, that is a blacksmith of this basic substance, man also usurps the demiurgic power of transforming its existence. With the help of fire – a mean to disintegrate the structure of matter – he intercepts the work of time, he explores complex natural processes that differentiate forms in the universe, and creates his own techniques of reconfiguration of the substance. Following the trail of the ancient dogma of the unity of matter, the alchemic thought develops, focusing on the idea of transmutation. However alchemy owes a lot to the first „masters of fire” as well – the artisans: blacksmiths, miners and jewellers. Their work with matter lay in its perfecting and conferring it a status of a symbol that brings us to the supernatural. Thus, transformed matter has become a space of encounter with something from outside its own reality, it has reached a transcendental way of being. 

Are we heirs of such a way of experiencing matter? Can it be more than a natural phenomenon or just an object? According to Aristotle, a peculiar state of mind called melancholy is a sense of loss, but it is the loss that stimulates its creative overcoming. Although what is lost cannot be found in its full and original form, we can redintegrate those fragments of symbolic thinking that survived in the culture.

Melancholy is also the state of regression – a return to the beginning of thought, deconstructing crystalized concepts. It’s like nigredo – the last stage of alchemical struggles, during which substance is reduced to its original and amorphous state that contains yet unrealized potential. Such „melting” is a condition for the formation of successive forms in nature, which are in fact a reconfiguration of those that existed before.

 

 

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