My friend, the brilliant critic Tyler Malone, writes about Eureka, Poe's prophetically impressive (and beguiling) work on the nature of intuition:
In Eureka’s opening pages, Poe offers his “general proposition”: “In the Original Unity of the First Thing lies the Secondary Cause of All Things, with the Germ of their Inevitable Annihilation.” His goal is to simulate in textual form a man atop a mountain rapidly whirling on his heels “to comprehend the panorama in the sublimity of its oneness.” Poe continues:
We need so rapid a revolution of all things about the central point of sight that, while the minutiae vanish altogether, even the more conspicuous objects become blended into one. Among the vanishing minutiae, in a survey of this kind, would be all exclusively terrestrial matters. The Earth would be considered in its planetary relations alone. A man, in this view, becomes mankind; mankind a member of the cosmical family of Intelligences.
Early in the book, Poe introduces a strange science fiction conceit: a message in a corked bottle is set adrift in the sea by a future man (from the year 2848). This future “letter-writer” asks of his correspondent, “Do you know that it is scarcely more than eight or nine hundred years ago since the metaphysicians first consented to relieve the people of the singular fancy that there exist but two practicable roads to Truth?” Poe satirizes these two roads—the “deductive or à priori philosophy” of Aristotle (whom the future man calls “Aries Tottle”) and the “à posteriori or inductive” philosophy of Francis Bacon (whom the future man calls “Hog”). The letter-writer continues: “… you can easily understand how restrictions so absurd on their face must have operated, in those days, to retard the progress of true Science, which makes its most important advances—as all History will show—by seemingly intuitive leaps.”
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor