Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

5. Art cannot introduce new forms in Nature.

SOme account it a great honour, That the Indulgent Creator, although he gives not to Natural Creatures the power to produce one atome of matter, yet allows them the power to introduce so many forms which Philosophers teach to be nobler then matter, and to work such changes amongst Creatures, that if Adam was now alive, and should survelgh the great variety of mans production, that are to be found in the shops of Artificers, the Laborato∣ries of Chymists, and other well furnished Magazines of Art, he would admire to see what a new world it were. Where, first, I do not understand, how man, or any other creature, should have the power of making or intro∣ducing new forms, if those forms were not already in Nature; for no Creature by any Art whatsoever, is able to produce a new form, no more then he can make an atome of new matter, by reason the power lies in Nature, and the God of Nature, not in any of her Creatures; and if Art may or can work changes amongst some fellow-creatures, they are but natural, by reason Nature is in a perpetual Motion, and in some parts in a perpetual transformation. Next, as for the Question, Whether forms be more noble then the mat∣ter? my opinion is, that this can with no more ground Page  15 of truth be affirmed, then that the effect is nobler then its cause, and if any creature should have power to make forms, which are more noble then matter it self, then certainly that creature would be above Nature, and a creator rather then a creature. Besides, form cannot be created without matter, nor matter without form; for form is no thing subsisting by it self without matter, but matter and form make but one body; and therefore he that introduces a new form, must also introduce a new matter; and though Art changes forms, yet it cannot be said to introduce a new form; for forms are and have been eternally in Nature as well as Matter, so that nothing is created anew, which never was in Nature before. 'Tis true, if Adam were alive now, he might see more variety, but not more Truth; for there are no more kinds and sorts of natural Creatures, then there were at his time, though never more metamorphosed, or ra∣ther I may say disfigured, unnatural and hermaphro∣ditical issues then there are now, which if they should make a new world by the Architecture of Art, it would be a very monstrus one: But I am sure art will ne∣ver do it; for the world is still as it was, and new dis∣coveries by Arts, or the deaths and births of Creatures will not make a new world, nor destroy the old, no more then the dissolving and composing of several parts will make new Matter; for although Nature delights in variety, yet she is constant in her ground∣works; and it is a great error in man to study more the Page  16 exterior faces and countenances of things, then their interior natural figurative motions, which error must undoubtedly cause great mistakes, in so much as mans rules will be false, compared to the true Prin∣ciples of Nature; for it is a false Maxime to believe, that if some Creatures have power over others, they have also power over Nature: it might as well be be∣lieved, that a wicked Man, or the Devil, hath power over God; for although one Part may have power over another, yet not over Nature, no more then one man can have power over all Mankind: One Man or Creature may over-power another so much as to make him quit his natural form or figure, that is, to die and be dissolved, and so to turn into another fi∣gure or creature; but he cannot over-power all Creatures; nay, if he could, and did, yet he would not be an absolute destroyer and Creator, but onely some weak and simple Transformer, or rather some artificial disfigurer and misformer, which cannot al∣ter the world, though he may disorder it: But surely as there was always such a perpetual Motion in Na∣ture, which did and doth still produce and dissolve o∣ther Creatures, which Production and Dissolution is nam'd birth and death, so there is also a Motion which produces and dissolves Arts, and this is the ordinary action and work of Nature, which continues still, and onely varies in the several ways or modes of dissolving and composing.