My first introduction to Hermetic Philosophy occurred approximately 9 1/2 years ago, through books such as The Kybalion and Fulcanelli's Le Mystere de Cathedrales. The former book proveds a cursory overview of the principles of Hermetic thought, whereas the latter provides a unique perspective on science (and Science) while delving into the symbolism hidden within the Gothic cathedrals of France.
I have spent the bulk of the past ten years researching and attempting to make sense of this peculiar system of thought. Oddly enough, the underpinnings of this stream of thought can be traced back to the same Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophers that laid much of the groundwork for both modern science and religion.
What exactly does Hermetic Philosophy entail? According to some, Hermetic Philosophy represents the "Science of sciences…" — no small claim, particularly if one wishes to subject such an assertion to modern scientific rigor. Oddly enough, there is one interpretation that does make sense, one that is deceptively simple to boot.
In its simplest form, Hermetic Philosophy can be viewed as the Science of Language & Conceptualization. Everything we experience is framed within the purview of language, even modern science. If one delves more deeply into the "hard" sciences such as engineering, architecture, medicine (and even the profession of law), it gradually becomes evident that their efficacy is completely dependent upon language.
Each of these disciplines relies upon a tightly-defined set of terms that contour and give shape to the ideas that they work with, what are known as domain languages within information-architecture. By delving into the nature of language (and conceptualization itself) the Hermetic philosophers arrived at a radically different model of the world.
As you will find in future posts, this approach resulted in a different model of Science than what many people have become accustomed to working with in modern times. What I find particularly interesting, however, is that this model provides a comprehensive way to approach all forms of experience — regardless of what disciplines they typically fall under.