big and small

Our Mercury, therefore, is the same which contains in itself all the perfections, force and virtues of the Sun, which also runs though all the streets and houses of all the planets, and in its own rebirth has acquired the force of things above and things below; to the marriage of which it is to be compared, as is clear from the whiteness and the redness combined in it. – Paracelsus

And the world being spontaneously produced and being also self-adherent, is allied to matter; which, according to a secret signification, is denominated a stone and a rock, on account of its sluggish and repercussive nature with respect to form: the ancients, at the same time, asserting that matter is infinite through its privation of form. Since, however, it is continually flowing, and is of itself destitute of the supervening investments of form, through which it participates of morphe, and becomes visible, the flowing waters, darkness, or, as the poet says, obscurity of the cavern, were considered by the ancients as apt symbols of what the world contains, on account of the matter w9ith which it is connected. – Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs, translated by the ever strange Thomas Taylor.

There is an old hermetic slogan, one that is referenced by every alchemist: as above, so below. LI’s notion of politics begins with the opposite view: as above is not as below. Instead of drawing a heavy dividing line between the public and private, we draw it between the big and the small, viewing those two sphere not as degrees on one continuum, but as opposing and asymmetrical spheres. Yet, there is a power – or a power relationship – that ‘runs though all the streets and houses of all the planets.’