Alesha Sivartha’s enigmatic 1898 book The Book of Life: The Spiritual and Physical Constitution of Man, combines mysticism, sociology, theosophy, art and culture into a unique philosophy. Other than its bewildering, and unusual theories, which characterise a lot of the theosophical books of this time, the most striking aspect of this book are the diagrams contained in it.
Sivartha was a guy bursting with unusual and esoteric ideas. He was obssessed with the idea that the number 12 had special mystical sacredness attached to it. So his intricate diagrams of the brain break down our grey matter into 12 mystical sections.
He also gazes upon other parts of the human body with typographical exactitude. He sees all aspects of human life working together in mystical, ever-more complex interconnected systems. The results are these bewitching 19th Century infographics which see man as machine and system, much akin to the well-known Fritz Kahn etching Der Menschen Als Industriepalast.
The human race has been marching upward from the first ages of history. Under what law has that mighty procession of the ages taken place? Science and history both answer that man has advanced, step by step, from the ignorant and selfish rule of his lower brain organs uptoward the beneficent dominion of his higher faculties. The laws which have controlled that vast upward movement are still in force. They are fixed in the very constitution of man. And they are of supreme importance at the present time, for they determine what new institutions and what social changes are now required to meet that higher growth of man.
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