Kenneth Garcia | November 24, 2017
The ores of divine providence
are everywhere infused, and
everywhere to be found.
— Saint Augustine
Centuries ago, alchemists attempted to transform base metals such as lead and tin into gold, and explored the secrets of matter in order to find the “philosopher’s stone” or “elixir of life” that, according to Carl Jung, was more a spiritual quest than a technique for transmuting one chemical substance into another.
Modern geologists search for microscopic flecks of gold diffused over a broad area but invisible to the naked eye, then extract them using cyanide and carbon solutions, for profit.
In an abandoned gold mining tunnel, 4,850 feet beneath the earth’s surface at the former Homestake gold mine in the Black Hills of South Dakota, contemporary astrophysicists search for a mysterious substance called “dark matter,” and for clues to the formation of both stars and of the fundamental elements in the early universe.
These quest-like ventures suggest the secrets and treasures hidden within nature are a lure for both the profit-seeking and those seeking knowledge for its own sake.