Not if he had them by the neck, I vow,
Would e'er these people scent the devil.
It is not only children, but superstitious barbarians and fantastic poets, who since time immemorial have regarded the material world as ensouled throughout. Thales, who like other natural philosophers of ancient times, attributed a soul to magnets and amber because of their magnetism, is credited with the statement that the cosmos is ensouled, and that everything has gods in it. [ Note 03 ] Plato calls the stars “divine animals” and speaks in Timaeus of the world-soul. [ Note 04 ] Aristotle and the Peripatetics thought there were astral spirits, and the doctrine of the ensoulment of the heavenly bodies has been handed down in an essentially unbroken chain of tradition, right down to recent and indeed present times. Kepler talks of the “anima” (soul) of the planets, and in his Harmonices mundi he describes our earth as a gigantic animal whose “whale-like respiration, in alternating periods of sleep and waking dependent on the sun, brings about the tidal rise and fall of the ocean.” [ Note 05 ] Giordano Bruno enthusiastically depicted the details of this hylozoistic concept, and in his essay Della causa, principio ed uno, as well as elsewhere, expresses his firm conviction that everything in the universe is alive, holding that all corporeal motion in space is the visible expression of the collective life pulsing throughout the world. [ Note 06 ] The stars and their inhabitants were, in his view, ensouled beings, our earth one gigantic organism, springs and streams the arteries of its divine body. He held the rise and fall of the tides to be effects of the earth's breathing. Volcanic outbreaks and earthquakes are clearly analogous to certain processes in animal organisms, and Goethe bore witness to this when he said to Eckermann (April 1827): “I conceive of the earth with its vapor mantle as a huge animal eternally breathing in and out.” [ Note 07 ] Fechner's Zend-Avesta, [ Note 08 ] an extremely strange book, also tends in this direction; like other works of his, it combines jesting with serious commentary, occasionally leading the reader to wonder just how he meant it to be taken. [ Note 09 ]