The concept of the Philosopher’s Stone gained recent new interest with the popular Harry Potter story of a similar notion called the Sorcerer’s Stone. Such a stone had infinite magical powers for the one who had possession of it.
The Philosopher’s Stone is not something that physically fits in the palm of one’s hand. Rather, it is something to be mentally grasped. We instinctively realize this when we say, “knowledge is power.” Therefore, one who possesses the Philosopher’s Stone actually possesses the key to all knowledge.
In modern scientific language, the Philosopher’s Stone would represent the Theory of Everything (TOE). However, a true theory or model of ultimate reality would look much different than what scientists suspect.
It involves discovering universal principles that operate on all scales in nature—including dynamical magnitudes beyond spacetime! Modern science’s failure to formulate such a grand unifying model is evidenced by their inability to unify Einstein’s general relativity theory (gravity) with quantum physics (micro-matter). This failure suggests that a much deeper theory forms the true basis for the physics ruling the universe.
Scientist/theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg was also looking for the “Philosopher’s Stone.” He sensed that it would unveil the great secret behind the soul’s hidden activity in the human mind and body. It would lead to the one science of all the natural sciences, because it would be the complex of all. Such knowledge would arrange all process and structure—on all scales—within a connected series of mediate causes into complete or comprehensive wholes.
Since we are moving into an Information Age, where information is viewed as the most important industry for this post-modern era, I believe Swedenborg’s vast work will soon become a very hot topic, indeed!
Swedenborg understood the Philosopher’s Stone both scientifically and theologically as a circular process (Circle of Life) governed by a Mathematical Philosophy of Universals or Mathematical Intuition of Ends whereby all things return to, and are harmonically subordinated to, their first principles. (Swedenborg identifies the ultimate creative causal substance in the universe as God’s LOVE!)
Amazingly, Swedenborg claimed that such a universal knowledge was connate within all human brains. The caveat was that this knowledge was perpetually operating on a level of the mind above our habitual subjective consciousness. The abnormalities of modern corporeal/terrestrial life have closed the doors to this higher room of human cognition. Attaining such knowledge requires spiritual evolution.
If such a topic interests you I offer further details in my latest book Proving God.