inventor, Orffyreus longed for perpetual motion with an infinite desire.
He united himself
so closely to perpetual motion that neither angel nor man, nor any creature in heaven or on earth, could separate him from
it. The bond between them is indissoluble; their union is eternal. Never, the perpetual motion without Orffyreus, or Orffyreus without the perpetual motion. It was because
all his journeying, all his eagerness, all his pursuits, all his desires were directed towards the perpetual motion and because
to die in its embrace was for him the very height of glory and success.
Throughout his life, he eagerly sought after the perpetual motion. Like a thirsting deer, he hastened from village to village, from town to town; with
giant strides, he pursued his way towards his destination.
It is a very long and messy story.
Many books could be written about it and in fact, many have appeared recently.
The point of the story is that perpetual motion is possible. Unfortunately,
it is a heresy in the orthodoxy of science. Nevertheless, the record indicates
that Orffyreus (Bessler) built many over balancing wheels that successfully worked.
Careful to hide its mechanism, he demonstrated it convincingly to critically qualified observers who were suitably
impressed, though still unwilling to take it at face value. His object was simply
to sell the secret rather than reveal it for nothing so that he could run a institute “Fortress of the God”; but
he could find no one interested enough to pay his price, so on 12 November 1712 he eventually destroyed the machine at the
Castle of Weissenstein..
Orffyreus was passionate about his case.
Some people called him obsessed. He called it his campaign for justice. When he took support of Leibniz, others called it campaign against Newton. Orffyreus intensity about the case soon alienated many of those who would otherwise have been his supporters. He complained to the Gravesande who reported his case to Newton, and consequently
every thing ended in a tragic manner. He destroyed his machine. It could be said that he was his own worst enemy.
Meditating on the majestic art of perpetual motion, one of the greatest handiworks
of God, Orffyreus alone found grace with God for himself. No patriarch or
prophet or any other holy person of the Old Law could manage to find this grace.
Poor people and little children followed him
everywhere seeing him as one of their own. The simplicity, the kindliness, the humble courtesy, and the charity they witnessed in Orffyreus made them press close about him. One day when
he was demonstrating his wheel in the streets the children, who were usually about him, pressed upon him
from behind. The watchmakers who were nearest to Orffyreus pushed them back. On seeing this Orffyreus
rebuked watch makers and said to them, "Do not keep the children away from
In his rare work, we find culmination
of a new mechanics that aimed at producing power from nothing. Through it, he
attempted to reconcile his Catholic faith and the new worldview based on perpetual motion.
Orffyreus boldly echoed the confidence of his contemporary Jesuits by proclaiming
that his “new world created from nothing” as revealed by his perpetual motion was "the best of all possible worlds.” We must remember also that we are living in Orffyreus 's universe. Once universe begins it is subject to the law of perpetual motion.
With Orffyreus we are assuming that the universe is not a clock that needs rewinding but like a grand perpetual motion
machine with hidden distinct parts, ultimately intelligible to us. Our job is
to observe the external motions of the machine and deduce the hidden details and imitate them for the benefit of mankind.
The world is a synergistic whole, which consists of separate things, and these things consist of parts; our job is to figure
out how the parts all fit and how the forces that bind the parts interact and make them move.
Orffyreus also condemned the practice; the way we produce power by destruction
of things to create pollution is erroneous. To create power by perpetual motion is in harmony with nature therefore most natural.
He believed that perpetual motion is a perfect science that provides
fertile ground for incredible scenarios and the floodgates of the strange are opened.
You can create
energy from nothing, and from energy, you can create rest of the things. Perpetual motion puts us closer
to God and his powers.
Orffyreus was usually as critical-minded as a modern experimentalist, did not
rely on any authority, and always tested reports of others by his own experiments. The
writings both of the Scholastics and the Renaissance philosophers on the nature of gravity abounded with occult, superstitious
stories and magic. Orffyreus rejected all that with unswerving criticism and
based his findings on experience and experiment only. His spirit of observing and experimenting was taken over not from scholars
but from manual workers. This attitude is so exceptional in his period that the
question arises where it originates. Since critical minded experimentalists appear
more and more frequently among the scholars a few decades after Orffyreus, a satisfactory answer would at the same time contribute
to the solution of the problem of the origin of modern science in general.
He worked hard to bring the earth down to scale, to show that perpetual
motion is a natural object among others, and to demonstrate the pervasiveness and simplicity of natural law of perpetual motion
(that there is, for instance, a behavior pattern common to planetary motion and motion of particles in atom). But more important
than Orffyreus's conclusions was the method by which he reached them. He was a true scientist as his work on gravity was one
of the first attempts to use experiment, not merely to illustrate conclusions reached by play of mathematics, but to test
hypotheses by experiment and so to extend knowledge. But, he was unscrupulous in describing everything he did in such a way
that it would not be easily possible for others to check his findings.
Orffyreus, a man, whose dominant motive was power; and the good things
of this life that power brings in its train. What distinguished Orffyreus from other scientist was his discovery that science
is a road to power."
His worldview was characteristically modern, pragmatic, and utilitarian. He was a pole apart from the contemporary scientist, both in his conception of perpetual
motion and in his conception of the means to achieve it. By perpetual motion, he desired to bring a total reconstruction of
the sciences, arts and all human knowledge.
It is to be stressed here how this view, while so familiar to perpetual
motion inventors as to be "intuitively obvious," nonetheless sharply contrasts with the scientific attitudes towards such
knowledge as meaningless in its own sake.
Saint Augustine (354 – 430) said: “Where there is no faith,
there is no knowledge, no truth.” Orffyreus believed that every object
has a life, as it is part of a vibrant and lively universe, a unified whole. The inherent
faith that everything is endowed with life kept on catalysing Orffyreus' thinking to the point that he finally
miraculously discovered perpetual motion and made dead matter alive into a vibrant perpetual motion machine
by incorporating principle of perpetual motion. Thus he proved that perpetual motion is also possible at terrestrial level
like celestial and atomic domains. Ramananda remarks:
“If Orffyreus had not already had this hypothesis that he wanted
to check, it would never have occurred to him to conceive perpetual motion and set up his perpetual motion machine. Before
the movement of perpetual motion machine could be significant, Orffyreus had to know what he was looking for. This suggests that one of the differences between mere observation and experiment is that in the latter
we observe only after we have constructed a situation with a particular hypothesis in mind.”
Leibniz and Orffyreus
He was obliged to struggle against poverty, he decided supporting him for time
being by working as an apprentice in factories or acting as tutor in private families.
The turning point of his fortune came when the attention of Leibniz was called
to the young man by his remarkable perpetual motion machine, and Leibniz soon showed his admiration by introducing him to
Count Carl. By performing these tasks successfully his future as an perpetual motion inventor became assured.
Orffyreus wanted to do much for the cause of science by his example as well
as by his perpetual motion machine. He decided that by living a plain but honest life, declining magnificent offers of positions
from royal patrons, at the same time refusing to grovel before nobility, he would set a worthy example to other philosophers
whose cringing and pusillanimous attitude towards persons of wealth or position had hitherto earned them the contempt of the
In entire story, Leibniz position raises many questions. On the one hand, it is true that he was helping Orffyreus but why on the other hand he was advocating principle
of conservation of Vis Viva to belittle majestic doctrine of perpetual motion. Was
he misguiding rest of the scientific community by his on skepticism about perpetual motion?
In spite of his close connection with Count Carl and Orffyreus, why Leibniz could not believe that perpetual motion
is possible and that it could be a reality. Why didn’t he use the opportunity
to learn perpetual motion better when evidence for perpetual motion was in front of him? Why did he evade a good opportunity
to know perpetual motion when he himself was convinced of truth of Orffyreus machine?
Why did he speculate unnecessarily about the other causes, which could move the machine?
This sounds ironical that Orffyreus is virtually unknown today in the world of science and philosophy,
whereas Leibniz is a leading figure in science and philosophy, he is counted among the pioneers of principle of conservation
of energy. This proves to be less ironical when we consider that science is not what it claims to be – objective
and open. Science looks like a myth when the rise of science is viewed as a sociological
process influenced by personal factors and subjectivity. Orffyreus’ unique capacity to move freely between the theoretical, experimental and technological
realms, as well as in and out of the circles occupied by gentlemen-philosophers, instrument makers, servants and technicians,
provides an opportunity to examine the social and epistemological boundaries, relations and hierarchies between them.
Unfortunately, I can only give
a sketchy and simplified exposition of that view here and, of necessity, must omit a part of the evidence bearing on the point.
Leibniz also did justice to the genius of Orffyreus, when he said: “Orffyreus
is my friend.” Leibniz remained coordial to Orffyreus until he had hope from Orffyreus to learn his secret.
Leibniz strove to develop a science of nature based on the Aristotelian notion
of a teleological (i.e., goal driven) force inherent in all nature. His system
proposed a nature that was autonomous but dynamic, driven by immanent laws towards rational goals. *
Leibniz announced that we are obviously living in the best of all possible worlds,
and the physicist Laplace alleged that God's omniscience (if such a supreme intelligence existed) could be given a scientific
definition. Everything made sense -- almost everything.
Newton’s God created a universe capable of existing for many
ages but not for eternity as it was seen as being a universe that needed reform every now and again. Not by chance, Newton’s God in Leibniz’s opinion was a poor watchmaker. Instead of making a perfect timepiece, God had made one that needed frequent maintenance: "I hope – Leibniz wrote – that there
are not many people in England who hold the same point of view as Mr. Newton regarding philosophy and that they don’t
appreciate this imperfection in the universe that obliges God to re-assemble it now and again. Their philosophy is in my opinion
no way worthy of the wisdom and greatness of the Creator of all things".
David Kubrin* contends that Newton was led to his speculations regarding the
cosmogony of the universe by his refusal of the thesis of the eternal world. In
antithesis with that idea, he was in agreement with many of his contemporaries regarding the thesis of a progressive decline
of power and of the regularity of the cosmos. In 1675 Newton had entrusted the
task of renewing the movement and activity of the cosmos to a "ethereal material". In the Principia of 1686, he entrusted
this same task to the comets: "I believe that that spirit which constitutes a minimal, most subtle and good part of our air
originates principally in the comets". From Queries (in 1706) to the Latin edition of Optica, the theme of the decay of the
universe and of the necessities of the active principles that preserve it in life emerges in close up. Newton wrote: "As we
see that the variety of movement that we find in the world is always decreasing, it is necessary to preserve and renew it
by means of active principles".
Orffyreus believed that God is not a duty bound mechanic who periodically rewinds
his clocks to run it forever but he knows greater arts. He is a perfect perpetual
motionist who sets his world perpetual motion machine to run forever to do all useful work without any necessity to expend
any effort on his part once it is started.
In this cosmology God is not separate from His creation, or transcendent, to
use philosophical terminology. God is "in the very design of perpetual motion
" in this universe in a very intimate way. The intelligence of Gods that designs perpetual motion is in the universe in a
sense. It runs the universe and by it universe is in perpetual motion. The purpose for the design he has for every object is the continual, sustaining cause of all motion. God does not mechanically push things around.
Each object upon its creation by God is given a purpose and it moves the way it does because it is striving in an alive,
somewhat conscious way to always fulfill that purpose. Everything in this universe
is alive to some extent. Even a rock has a goal. If you pick it up and drop it,
it will fall down because it "wants" to return to its natural state of rest “nothing” the Grand Void.
Thus, there was no need to explain rewinding of clock further in this cosmology. Perpetual motion, which is also circular motion around a geometric center of a force,
was considered a natural motion; it was an explanation in itself. Perpetual motion,
as the most perfect motion from the geometric point of view of God, nothing further needed to be said.
Thus, we find a direct conceptual connection between the rejection of a teleological
explanation for planetary motion, the idea of a greater God and an infinite universe, and the ultimate solution of Orffyreus:
a quantitative representation of the force of gravity.
The German inventor Orffyreus (1680-1745) was the first inventor-philosopher
to take these strains of thought and organize them into a comprehensive, influential worldview. For Orffyreus, the originator of Gravity perpetual motion machine and what is referred to today as an over-balancing
wheel, the universe was a huge mechanical perpetual motion machine full of material atoms or "corpuscles," and all change
could be explained by the free self-movement of these particles of matter and collisions between them.
Orffyreus argued that biblical scripture should be interpreted in the light
of perpetual motion machine, rather than the traditional, authoritative ideas, traces of ancient explanations and scientific
discoveries, and he also stressed the importance of observation, quantitative measurement, and experiment in perpetual motion
in the pursuit of the understanding God's creation.
Orffyreus believed that planets move the way they do, because they are part of a perpetual motion, which demands a
specific design to meet a specific purpose in the plan of the universe. For this
reason “Close Path” provided by rotational motion is very important. For
this reason, having circular paths for the planets is very important, and it was so even for Copernicus. He attempted to preserve the notion of a circular motion as a natural motion, but as we have seen, his
system required circular motion around invisible points that in turn revolved around other central points, and very few of
his contemporaries failed to see major problems with such a scheme. With Kepler's
conception of an ellipse it was no longer possible to maintain that the motion of the planets was a natural motion requiring
no explanation. Now a physical mechanism that moved the planets and kept them in their orbits was needed, and the lack of
such a mechanism could no longer be swept under an old cosmological rug.
Orffyreus supplied the answer with his invention of gravity perpetual motion
machine and unified celestial and terrestrial events into one comprehensive explanation. There would no longer be two realms,
a celestial and terrestrial reality with different substances and laws. With
Orffyreus, there would be only one and gravity would apply universally throughout, responsible for the motions of the planets
as well as motion of gravity perpetual motion machine.
Orffyreus was indeed a great inventor, but he was also a human being and one
with a rather large ego. Orffyreus was poor and almost always in need of a job.
Leibniz once said “Orffyreus is my friend” History books on perpetual
motion often gloss over this event as a great collaboration between two objective scientists in the pursuit of truth.. Their
personalities and their philosophy, however, clashed massively. Leibniz loved to party, he fought with Newton; Orffyreus was
an introverted hermit. Leibniz had
assumed that he would be shown all of Orffyreus' superior data on the perpetual motion machine., but Orffyreus was afraid
that Leibniz would be too successful. So he only gave him parts here and there.
Leibniz tried to manipulate Orffyreus to
reveal some great understanding. Leibniz had intended to use Orffyreus for political
purposes; he now realized that Orffyreus had used him for his own interest. Leibniz then spent several years
trying to view Orffyreus data if Newton’s theory can be toppled, but it
never happened as Newtons jealous heirs also did not want Leibniz to gain fame at the expense of Newton’s reputation.
In world of science, Orffyreus work was lost in this fight forever.
Let me say:
martyrdom, the perpetual motion of ignominy has become so glorious, its poverty and starkness so enriching, its sorrows so
agreeable, its austerity so attractive, and now an object to be adored by angels and by
Perppetual motion is possible. With so much abundant energy from perpetual motion machines, the world will no longer a discomforting place.
Do not believe what science says about perpetual motion. Go on trying to invent perpetual motion machine.
Ramananda’s devotion to Orffyreus
During his whole life, our master has remained occupied in meditating on the
perpetual motion. We already know, how when he learnt about Orffyreus, his heart was filled with wonder and he meditated on marvels of perpetual motion.
Ramananda wrote: "Whenever I used to contemplate perpetual
motion, the beauty, modesty, and wisdom of nature, my heart was filled with joy and then more often I remembered Orffyreus.
Denying bluntly all historical evidence, scientist still maintain that
perpetual motion is impossible but our common sense indicates that it is silly to consider perpetual motion as something impossible
when we have so much evidence from history.
For the distinct character of Orffyreus’ contribution, together
with his overwhelming influence on perpetual motion enthusiast to date, Ramananda has dubbed the entire episode as "the Orffyrean revolution."
“ If they (scientist) could understand what the Orffyreus added
to the knowledge of mechanics, they shall be obliged to own that they have not the least right to despise him. Pity those
who know nothing of him, nor have ever read him; and who give the strongest proofs of their own ignorance and pride, in the
manner wherein they presume to treat perpetual motion as something will o wisp or a fraud in spite of wonderful evidence furnished
by Orffyreus wheel.
Orffyreus stands like a solid rock between renaissance and dawn of science. Ramananda calls him a man of admirable sagacity, who laid the foundation of perpetual
motion, which his book on perpetual motion glories in having brought to perfection. In reality, what a glorious light he diffused over the nature of gravity from a utilitarian
aspect, in his attempt to construct an overbalancing wheel, and in discovering the properties of gravity as an inexhaustible
source of energy. In this chapter, we are going to produce proofs of the fecundity
of genius belonging to this celebrated man.
This is common practice that
we admire martyrs and how they triumphed over the cruelest
sufferings. Ramananda will spend the rest of his life visiting the places that
had been hallowed by Orffyreus presence and by his sufferings. There, he will
meditate on his boundless love and on his terrible passion with perpetual motion. Ramananda
tells us that this will also be the devotion of the scholars in the coming
times. From all over the world perpetual motion lovers will go to the Germany
to offer homage, to engrave more deeply on their hearts a great love and remembrance of Orffyreus by seeing the places and
things he had made, his work, his sufferings, and his death.
*(See Philip R. Sloan, "Natural History, 1670-1802,"
in Olby and others, 302 ff.)