BALZAC'S IN SEARCH OF THE ABSOLUTE
Balzac's Prometheanism manifested itself in 1807 when he was an eight-year-old student at the Collège de Vendôme. His passion for learning caused him to be fascinated with science, arithmetic, astrology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, literature, and history. It was during his Collège de Vendôme years, it has been posited though there is no actual proof to this effect, that he conceived his famous "Theory of the Will," later developed in the novel Louis Lambert. Balzac had innovative ideas concerning the personality and the brain. He was convinced, for example, that the brain was basically an electric machine that sent out rays. These rays (vibrations, waves) were then transformed by the nervous center into thought. He referred to these rays as "fluid" that had the power to penetrate the minds of others to discover their secrets as well as to travel through the space-time continuum, entering the fourth dimension (divisions of past, present, and future). In time such an instrument could become immensely powerful in developing man's prophetic powers and in controlling futures.
Balzac remained at the Collège de Vendôme until 1813. The physicist Jean-Philibert Dessaignes, the school's co-director, had made some scientific discoveries; but whether Balzac ever spoke to Dessaignes directly or read his work Memoir on the Causes of Phosphorescence ( 1809), is not known. However, Balzac was imbued with the ideas of the well-known scientist-- namely, that there is only one "imponderable fluid" in the universe, and this fluid is the real "agent of life in animated beings." 1 Dessaignes' theory is a scientific transposition of an age-old mystical notion: that the universe is one and the phenomenological world is merely a differentiation of this unique cosmic force. Balzac In Search of the Absolute is the story