machines and looms of nature

Scheme XIV - On the surfaces of Rosemary, and other leaves (from "Micrographia" by Robert Hooke - 1665).

Scheme XIV – On the surfaces of Rosemary, and other leaves (from “Micrographia” by Robert Hooke – 1665).

great quote from the preface of the ‘Micrographia’ by Robert Hooke (1665):

“For the Members of the Assembly having before their eys so many fatal instances of the errors and falshoods, in which the greatest part of mankind has so long wandred, because they rely’d upon the strength of humane Reason alone, have begun anew to correct all Hypotheses by sense, as Seamen do their dead Reckonings by Coelestial Observations; and to this purpose it has been their principal indeavour to enlarge & strengthen the Senses by Medicine, and by such outward Instruments as are proper for their particular works. By this means they find some reason to suspect, that those effects of Bodies, which have been commonly attributed to Qualities, and those confess’d to be occult, are perform’d by the small Machines of Nature, which are not to be discern’d without these helps, seeming the meer products of Motion, Figure, and Magnitude; and that the Natural Textures, which some call the Plastick faculty, may be made in Looms, which a greater perfection of Opticks may make discernable by these Glasses; so as now they are no more puzzled about them, then the vulgar are to conceive, how Tapestry or flowred Stuffs are woven.”

hooke_micrographia_cl