Collapse Volume III, 156–176


Malfatti’s Decade


Malfatti’s 1845 Studies in Mathesis attempt to recover the ancient science of mathesis, the ‘great unitary system of the contemplation of the world’ from its fatal declination into, on the one hand, metaphysics, and on the other, mathematics stricto sensu. The ‘First Study’ claims to elucidate the metaphysical import of the decade through an examination of its importance in Hindu myth. The correspondences described by Malfatti in this study are elaborated on the basis of some strange and fascinating images from German scholar Nicolas Müller’s 1822 Glauben, Wissen und Kunst der alten Hindus (Faith, Knowledge and Art of the Ancient Hindus). Malfatti avows his indebtedness to Müller, one of those few ‘who sought to penetrate the innermost meaning of the materials […] bequeathed us by this greatest of nations to whom we owe the highest of human discoveries’. A number of these figures from Müller are reproduced in the 1946 Griffon d’Or edition of the Studies…