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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Evolution of the Earth and Man and The Influence of the Stars
GA 354


  1. “The little Plateau experiment,” worked out by the physicist J.A.E Plateau, 1801 – 1883. Compare the description by Vincent Knauer in his lectures, “The Main Problem of Philosophy,” Vienna and Leipzig 1892: “One of the nicest experiments is the Plateau experiment. A mixture of water and alcohol is prepared, having the exact weight of pure olive oil. Into this is poured a rather large drop of oil. This does not float on top of the liquid but sinks to the middle of it, in the form of a ball. A small disc of cardboard is then perforated in the center by a long needle and lowered carefully into the middle of the ball of oil, so that the edge of the cardboard becomes the ‘equator’ of the ball. The disc is now set into motion, at first slowly, then faster and faster. Naturally the movement is imparted to the ball of oil, and as a result of the strength of the movement, parts of the oil drop away and continue the movement separately for some time, first in circles, then revolving as tiny balls. In this way there arises something surprisingly similar to our planetary system: in the center the largest globe, like our sun, and moving around it smaller balls and rings, like our planets with their moons.”

  2. This lecture was postponed to Thursday, July 3rd.

  3. This lecture was postponed to Monday, July 7th.

  4. Paris, May 25th – June 16th, 1906: “L'Esotérisme chrétien / Esquisse d'une cosmogonie psychologique,” Paris 1957.

  5. Eugen Dubois, 1858 – 1940, Dutch military doctor and geologist. Discovered remains of Java man, a creature intermediate between ape and man. See his publication Pithecanthropus erectus, eine menschenähnliche Übergangsform auf Java, Batavia, 1894.

  6. The Second International Congress, Vienna, June 1 – 12, 1922. See The Tension Between East and West.

  7. Berthold Schwarz, Franciscan monk, Freiburg, around 1300.

  8. Johann Gutenberg, 1394 – 1468.

  9. Lao Tse, Chinese philosopher, 6th century B.C.

  10. Confucius, 531 – 478 BC., Chinese ethical teacher.

  11. The philosopher Karl Ludwig Michelet, 1801 – 1893, and the theologian and philosopher Eduard Zeller, 1814 – 1908. See Rudolf Steiner, Study of Man: General Education Course, Stuttgart, Aug. – Sept. 1919. Anthroposophic Press, New York. See also The Younger Generation: Educational and Spiritual impulses for Life in the Twentieth Century, Stuttgart, October 1922. Anthroposophic Press, New York.

  12. Hippocrates of Cos, 460 – 377 BC. Greek physician, founder of ancient medicine.

  13. Emperor Frederick III, 1831 – 1888. Suffered from a disease of the larynx. It is not known who wrote the request.

  14. Nicholas Copernicus, 1473 – 1543. Astronomer.

  15. Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788 – 1860. Philosopher.

  16. Venus's-flytrap: Dionaea muscipula, found in swamps in the warmer part of North America. See Charles Darwin, “Insectivorous Plants,” 1875.

  17. Hermann Rollett, 1819 – 1904. Austrian writer. See Rudolf Steiner, The Younger Generation (mentioned above), page 150.

  18. See Rudolf Steiner, Occult History, Lecture V: “... so-called canals on Mars. There it is a matter of certain streams of force which correspond to an earlier stage of the earth ...”

  19. At Koberwitz, June 7 – 16, 1924. See Rudolf Steiner, “Agriculture.”

  20. This lecture was postponed to Saturday, Sept. 13th.

  21. The “synodic” revolution, that is, the time between two successive conjunctions or oppositions to the sun, varies with Mars between 2 years 34 days and 2 years 80 days, the average time therefore being 2 years 50 days.

  22. Matthias Jakob Schleiden, 1804 – 1881. Naturalist. Gustav Theodor Fechner, 1801 – 1887. Naturalist; founder of psychophysics. See his publication “Professor Schleiden und der Mond,” Leipzig 1856.

  23. There is a period of 243 years 2 days in which the intervals between the Venus transits are 8 years, 121.5 years, 8 years and 105.5 years. The last transit took place December 6, 1882. According to astronomical calculation the next transit will be on June 7, 2004.

  24. The Waldorf School, Stuttgart, Germany, opened in 1919 under Rudolf Steiner's guidance. There are now more than 300 schools in the international Waldorf School movement.

  25. This lecture was postponed to Thursday, September 18th.

  26. Ferdinand Hochstetter, 1829 – 1884. Geographer and geologist.

  27. Active volcano in Mexico.

  28. Ernst Haeckel, 1834 – 1919. Biologist and philosopher.

  29. The so-called “little Weigel house,” built in 1647, demolished in 1898 when Weigelstrasse was constructed. One of the “Seven Wonders of Jena”. It was 7 stories high and contained a circular staircase through which one could look up by day and see the stars shining in the heavens.

  30. Rudolf Falb, 1838 – 1903. See “Grundzüge der Theorie der Erdbeben und Vulkanausbrüche,” Graz 1870; “Gedanken und Studien über den Vulkanismus,” Graz 1875.

  31. Goethe fought vehemently the ideas on volcanoes held by Leopold von Buch and others, which were at that time becoming well-known, and which in his opinion lacked a central idea that could have illumined the individual facts. See his letter to Nees von Esenbeck, June 13, 1823.

  32. Julius Robert Mayer, 1814 – 1878. See “Beiträge zur Dynamik des Himmels,” Heilbronn, 1848.

  33. Karl von Nagler, 1770 – 1846, Prussian statesman. Postmaster 1823 – 1846. Initiated our modern mail system.

  34. See R. Hagen, “Die erste deutsche Eisenbahn,” 1885.

  35. Sir Francis Drake, 1540 – 1596. Famous British navigator.

  36. J.J.L. Lalande, 1732 – 1807. French astronomer.

  37. Joseph Johann Littrow, 1781 – 1840, “Über den gefürchteten Kometen des Jahres 1832 and über Kometen überhaupt,” Wien, 1832.

  38. Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1170 – 1220, “Parzival,” completed in 1210. Richard Wagner, 1813 – 1883, “Parsifal, a sacred dramatic festival” appeared as poem in 1877; the opera was finished in 1882.

  39. Rudolf Steiner taught in the Arbeiterbildungschule, a workmen's college, Berlin, 1899 – 1904. See The Course of My Life chap. 28, Dornach, 1962. Anthroposophic Press, Hudson.

  40. Ferdinand Lassalle, 1825 – 1864. Founder of Socialism in Germany.

  41. This scheduled lecture did not take place. The lecture of September 24, 1924, concluding this volume was the last Rudolf Steiner was able to give to the workmen. His illness began within a few days.