[The problem with conjuring spirits and such – as Faust did – was not so much that people thought you were nuts, but that people were afraid you would succeed. In our day we have similar anxieties about AI and aliens. You might protest that they were ignorant and we are not, but clearly nothing’s changed. As mentioned, it was the same thing with Faust: he wanted the secrets of God, but wasn’t really capable of handling them. It’s also true of Western Civilization and our science and technology – we want God’s secrets, but there’s good reason to fear we’re going to obliterate the planet with them. Here is how Western Civilization is Faustian – we’re willing to take the chance. In fact we’re already committed. Too many of our “advancements” have created lethal problems that depend on future solutions.]
No courtier would publicly admit to such interests, not because it would make him seem gullible-the existence of spirits was as clear as the existence of God-but because it would suggest that he was trying to tap into a reservoir of power that was not his to control. It is unsurprising, then, that Dee was so discreet about his own spiritual activities, and those of his powerful friends.The Queen’s Conjurer, The Science and Magic of Dr John Dee – Benjamin Woolley.