What Has Astronomy to Say about the Origin of the World?
Berlin, 16 March 1911
Who could doubt that one can look at astronomy hopefully if the talk is of the world origin? For astronomy is rightly a science for which we not only have high respect because it leads us with weighty knowledge in the vastnesses of the universe. It is also something that speaks in spite of any abstractness and roughness most intensely to our souls and minds. So one can say: one can understand that the human soul hopes to get explanation of the deepest secrets of existence looking up at the starry heaven, which speaks so deeply to our mind if we open ourselves to it at night.
We want to ask ourselves from the viewpoint of spiritual science, what has astronomy to say about the origin of the universe? Perhaps, that what results from these considerations appears to somebody in such a way, as if a flower of hope is picked to pieces in a certain way. Someone who gets this impression, nevertheless, consoles himself with the fact that astronomy has just brought such miraculous results to us in the last decades that we have enough reason to be very glad about these results as such — also intellectually. However, we are led by this deeper knowledge of the newer time in this field to the fact that just this deepening of astronomy makes us less hopeful if we try to get explanation about the big questions of origin and development of the universe directly. There we can point to the fact that just to that what the physical research experienced as an immense deepening since Copernicus by observations or by courageous speculations in the course of the nineteenth century something was added that introduces us in a before unexpected way in the material character of the universe. Whereas one had once to confine oneself to state out of the boldness of the human thinking that if we look at the stars worlds face us at which we should look similarly as at our own world, the spectral analysis by Kirchhoff and Bunsen enabled us to investigate the material nature of the stars directly by the physical instrument. Hence, one can venture an assertion reasonably based on immediate observation that we detect the same materials with the same qualities in the different suns, in the nebulae and in the other things that face us in space as we find them on our earth.
That is why one can say that since the middle of the nineteenth century our science was seized by the knowledge: we rest here as human beings within a material world with its laws, with its forces. From the effect which these material laws of the earth show in the so-called spectroscope, and because the same effects are sent from the most distant space to the spectroscope, one can conclude that in the whole space, as far as the material world is considered, the same materiality and the same laws of materiality have poured forth. While it was once in certain respect only a kind of geometrical calculation to investigate the movements of the stars, the brilliant connection of spectral analysis with the so-called Doppler effect enabled us to observe not only those movements which happen before us in such a way that we recognise them as on a surface drawn as the movements of the stars. But since that time we can also include the Doppler effect, a little shift of the spectral lines, in those movements of the stars because the stars come closer or go away from us; while it was only possible once to calculate really what happened in a plane which stands vertically to our line of sight. Such a principle, as it is the connection of the Doppler effect with spectral analysis, is the basis of tremendous achievements of astronomy. What now the human being could invent as a kind of worldview as it turns out if we consider the space filled with suns, planets, minor planets, with nebulae and other things and their intertwined movements and their lawful affecting each other — about this worldview we say: we can understand that such a picture appeared to the human mind that strove for knowledge as a model of clearness, of inner substantiality, if one pursues to encompass reality with the thinking.
If we visualise what it means to calculate a thing that fulfils the space: the big and the small things move in such a way, the one has an effect on the other. If we visualise, what it means to be able to think such a clear thought in the space, we visualise it comparing it to any other physical effect that we see in our surroundings, for example, with the turning green of the trees in the spring or with the blossoming of a plant. Some people who stand or stood vividly in science know how bitter it is if they are compelled at first on the ground of completely outer consideration repeatedly to reach for concepts that can be thought by no means to an end if it concerns, for example, imagining a growing, developing plant, apart from more complex phenomena like animal organisms. Even already in the phenomena of chemistry and physics of our earth evolution some rest remains to us in the effects of heat et cetera even if we want to understand things, which our eyes see, and our ears hear, with clear concepts. If we look at space and can comprise it in such a picture that expresses itself in clear changes of location, in mutual relations of movement, then it is comprehensible that this has a beatific effect on our inside. Then we say to ourselves: such explanations that we can give of the movement of the stars in space and their mutual effect are very clear in themselves so that we can generally consider them as an example of explanations. Small wonder, hence, that this thought of the fascinating clarity of the astronomical worldview seized numerous human beings. It was very instructive for someone who pursued the theoretical science of the nineteenth century that the excellent spirits of the nineteenth century used approaches that were predetermined by the just characterised fascinating sensation.
Excellent spirits of the nineteenth century thought possibly in that way, we see out in space, see the mutual relations and movements of the stars, if we transform them into thoughts, a picture of miraculous clearness originates. Now we try to see into that little world into which, however, only the speculating thought can see which one built up as hypotheses in the nineteenth century more and more: the world of atoms and molecules. One imagined that every material consists of smallest parts which no eye and no microscope can see which one has to assume, however, hypothetically. Thus, one assumed that — as one has many stars in space — here are as it were smallest stars, the atoms. Then from the mutual arrangement of the atoms, as they are grouped together, arises — indeed, only hypothetically — that what can wake the picture in us in microcosm: here you have a number of atoms, they relate to each other in a certain respect and move around each other. If the atoms relate to each other and move, this means that the material, which composes these atoms, for example, is hydrogen or oxygen. All materials can be referred to small atoms of which they consist. These small atoms are grouped again, and then certain groups form the molecules. However, if one could look into these atoms and molecules, one would have in microcosm an effigy of the clearness, which we have outdoors, where the space is filled with stars. It was attractive for some thinkers of the nineteenth century if they could say to themselves, all outer phenomena, light, sound, elasticity, electricity and so on lead back to such effects that are caused by the movements and forces of atoms that happen as the forces and movements on the large scale if we see out into space. A strange picture originated in some spirits: if we look into the human brain, it also consists of materials and forces, which we find in the world outdoors. If one were able to look into the smallest things of the human brain, in the circulating blood, one would recognise something like smallest atomic and molecular worlds that are effigies of the big universe in microcosm. One believed if one could pursue mathematically what arises from the atoms and their movements, then one would be able to recognise that a certain kind of atomic movements — working on our eye — cause the impression of light, another kind the impression of warmth. Briefly, one imagined to be able to reduce all phenomena of nature to a small, tiny astronomy, to the astronomy of the atoms and molecules. Almost the word had been stamped which played a big role in the sensational talks that during the seventies Emil Du Bois-Reymond (1815-1896, German naturalist) held about the “limits of the knowledge of nature,” the word of the “spirit of Laplace.” This had become a kind of catchword and meant nothing else than that it would have to be the ideal of a physical explanation to reduce everything that we see round us to astronomical knowledge of the movements of atoms and molecules. Laplace was that spirit who surveyed the celestial mechanics. That spirit who could bring in this overview of the stars in space in smallest molecular and atomic things would approach, so to speak, more and more the ideal to recognise our nature astronomically.
Hence, we can say that there were people who believed: if I have the impression, I hear a tone, or I see red, a movement goes forward in truth in my brain. If I could describe these movements as the astronomers describe the movements of the stars, then I would understand what it concerned understanding the natural phenomena and the human organism. Then we would have the fact in our consciousness: I hear the tone C sharp, I see red. However, in truth it would be in such a way: if we perceive red, a little atomic and molecular universe takes place in us, and if we knew how the movements are, we would have understood, why we perceive red and not yellow, because with another movement yellow would happen.
Thus, astronomical knowledge became an ideal in the course of the nineteenth century, penetrating any physical knowledge with the same clear concepts, which apply to astronomy. One can say, it is interesting largely to pursue how under the influence of such a thought the theoretical natural sciences developed. I would like to point to something that faced me many years ago. I knew a headmaster who was an excellent man, also as a headmaster. However, he occupied himself during his remaining school activity to invent such a physical system along which one can also get without the attractive or repulsive forces valid since Newton's time. Thus,, that headmaster — Heinrich Schramm — whose works are rather significant, tried in his book The General Movement of Matter as a Basic Cause of All Natural Phenomena to get rid of the gravitational force except that what already the astronomical knowledge had removed.
It was very interesting what this man tried in a certain ingenious way at first. For if we believe that light, sound and heat are nothing else than movements of the smallest mass particles, if astronomical knowledge is able to shine everywhere, why should we still assume those weird, mystic forces reaching from the sun to the earth through the empty space? Why should one not also be able to assume instead of this mystic gravitational attraction in which one had believed up to now such a force between the atoms and molecules? Why should one not be able to shake this too? Indeed, this man succeeded — without considering a special attractive force — in understanding the attraction of the heavenly bodies and the atoms. He showed: if two bodies are confronted in space, nevertheless, one does not need to suppose that they attract each other, because someone does not assume such an attraction — so Schramm meant — who does not believe in such a thing like hands shaking in space. The only thing that one is allowed to assume is that small moved mass particles which push from all sides like small balls, so that from all sides small balls push the two big balls. If one exactly calculates now and does no mistake, one finds that simply because the hits between both balls and those that are caused from without result in a difference. The forces, which one assumed, otherwise, as attractive forces from without can be substituted by hits from without, so that one would have to replace the attractive forces by pushing forces, which attract the matter.
With tremendous astuteness, you find this thought carried out in the cited writing. I could bring in later writings of the same character; however, Schramm treated the thing first. Thus, Schramm could show how completely according to the same law two molecules exercise attraction just like the biggest heavenly bodies. Thus, astronomical knowledge became something that gained ground in the biggest space and worked into the smallest, assumed particles of matter and ether. This stood as a great ideal before the thinkers of the nineteenth century. Who did his studies in this time knows that one applied this ideal to the most different phenomena that astronomical knowledge was just a radical ideal. One is allowed to say that everything was suitable — at first during the seventies — to promote this ideal, because to that all the results of the more precise investigation of the conditions of heat were added. In the sixties, one recognised more and more what Julius Robert Mayer had shown already during the forties of the nineteenth century ingeniously: the fact that heat can be transformed into other natural forces according to particular numerical ratios. The fact that this is the case, we realise if we touch a surface with the fingers intensely, for example, the pressure changes into heat. If we heat a steam engine, the heat changes into the locomotive forces of the machine. As heat changes into motion or compressive force into heat, the other natural forces, electricity et cetera change likewise into natural forces of which one thought that they are transformable. If one connected this thought with the laws of astronomical knowledge, one could say, what faces us there differs in relation to reality only because a certain form of movement within the world of the atoms and molecules changes into another. We have a certain form of movement in the molecules, a little, complex astronomical system, and the movements change into other movements, one system into another system. Heat is transformed into locomotive force et cetra that way.
One believed to be able to figure everything out this way. So big and tremendous was the impression of astronomical knowledge that it provided such an aim. We have now to say that at first still a little was gained concerning a theory of world evolution with all these thoughts. Why? There we have to look around at the ideas of those people who were in the immediate cultural life and ideals of their time. For I do not want to start immediately from that which spiritual science has to say and what can be easily contested by its opponents. We can convince ourselves the easiest how these things happened if we look a little closer at that speech About the Limits of the Knowledge of Nature that Du Bois-Reymond held on the Conference of German Naturalists and Physicians in Leipzig on 14 August 1872.
There Du Bois-Reymond spoke highly of this ideal of an astronomical knowledge and said that true natural sciences exist only where we can lead back the single natural phenomena to an astronomy of atoms and molecules, anything else is not valid as an explanation of nature. Thus, somebody would have explained the human soul life scientifically if he had succeeded in showing how after the model of astronomical movements the atoms and molecules must form a group in the human being to let appear a human brain. At the same time, however, Du Bois-Reymond drew attention to the fact that we have done still nothing for the explanation of the soul and its facts by such an astronomical explanation. For he said, assuming that the ideal is fulfilled that we can really say, the movements of the atoms happen within the brain after the model of astronomical movements: by the perception of the tone C sharp this movement complex arises, by the perception of the colour red another — then we have satisfied our need of causality scientifically. However, no one, Du Bois-Reymond emphasised, could realise, why a certain kind of movements just changes into the experience of our soul: I perceive red, I hear organ tone, and I smell rose smell or such.
For Du Bois-Reymond drew attention to something that already Leibniz had stressed and that nothing can be objected. If we imagine — if it depends only on movement — a gigantic human brain, so that we could walk in it like in a factory where we can observe all movements of the wheels and belts and could show: there is a certain movement — we draw it nicely and calculate it as we can calculate the movements of the planets around the sun. However, nobody would know if he did not know it from other things that this movement, which I observe there, corresponds in the soul to the experience: I see red. He would not be able to figure this out, but he would be able to find out only laws of movement and can say to themselves, the movement runs this or that way, this and that happens in space. However, he would not be able to find the connection between these movements thought according to the model of astronomy and the peculiar experience: I see red, I hear organ tone, and I smell rose smell. If he did not know from anywhere else where from these experiences are, he would never be able to conclude them from the movements of the atoms. Du Bois-Reymond even said rather crassly: “Which conceivable connection exists between certain movements of certain atoms in my brain on the one hand, and, on the other hand, with the original, not further definable, undeniable facts: I feel pain, I feel desire, I taste sweet, smell rose smell, hear organ tone, see red, and the immediately flowing certainty from that: so I am? It is absolutely and forever incomprehensible that it should not be irrelevant to a number of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen etc. atoms in which way they lie and move in which way they lay and moved in which way they will lie and move.”
What Du Bois-Reymond said there did not completely comply with natural logic; for just in this crass expression we can see that it is not irrelevant to a number of molecules — to material parts — in which way they lie and move. For you know that it is not irrelevant to sulfur, saltpetre and coal in which way they lie side by side. If they lie side by side under certain conditions, they yield gunpowder. It is also not irrelevant in which relation one has brought the carbon to the hydrogen; but it concerns whether the material is led with the movement to another material with which it is used and can maybe form an explosive force. This quotation was overshot if it also had a shade of correctness. However, already Leibniz had recognised the correct thing: the fact that there no kind of transition exists between the astronomical movement of the molecules and atoms and between the qualities of our experience and our inner soul life. It is not possible to bridge this abyss with the bare astronomical science as a “movement.”
We have to get out this clearly from the various mistakes in the speech of Du Bois-Reymond. Nevertheless, this is the valuable of this speech: it was something like a reaction, like a feeling against the omnipotence and the infinite wisdom of the astronomical knowledge. If we take into consideration what we are able to make evident so clearly, we find the possibility to transfer it to the big astronomical knowledge. If we assume what is certainly justified that one cannot find the bridge to the experiences of soul and mind from the astronomical knowledge of the movement of the smallest mass particles anyhow, then, however, one cannot bridge from that what the big astronomy offers to any effects of soul and mind which fill the space! If it is true and we imagine the human brain so increased that we could walk in it and look at the movements in it like at the movements of the heavenly bodies, and if we could perceive nothing of mental counter-images in these movements of our brain, we do not need to be surprised if we stand in such an enlarged brain — namely in the universe — and cannot find the bridge between the movements of the stars in space and the possible mental-spiritual activities which cover the cosmic space. They would also relate to movements of the stars like our thoughts, sensations and soul experiences relate to movements of our own cerebral mass. When Du Bois-Reymond spoke this, everybody who could think could conclude what was never done up to now: if that is right which Du Bois-Reymond showed with some certainty, one must also say, if anything mental or spiritual fills the space, no astronomy, no astronomical knowledge can say anything against or for that spiritual or mental filling the space, because one cannot conclude anything spiritual from movements.
With it, it was necessary to say, the astronomer must restrict himself at the description of that what goes forward in the universe. He cannot at all judge about the fact that on a large scale soul experiences of cosmic kind belong to the movements of the stars as our soul experiences belong to the movements of mass particles in the brain. With it, already in the seventies of the nineteenth century astronomy was limited. However, one would have had to ask quite different from Du Bois-Reymond asked, namely, is there any possibility to penetrate in another way to find the mental and spiritual beings filling the cosmic space? — Therefore, spiritual science points in contrast to astronomy to something that we discussed repeatedly in these talks: the fact that the human being is able to develop his cognitive forces to higher levels than he has them in the normal life. If these cognitive forces have been lifted to a higher level, it is possible to find other things in space and time than that at what one looked as the ideal fulfilment of space and time in the nineteenth century: the astronomic movements of forces and atoms in space.
However, we must not think too poorly about what the external natural sciences have to say concerning the evolution of the world. For the scientific facts, which have led, indeed, to a certain radical ideal of an astronomical molecular and atomic knowledge, developed something that we have to regard almost as a model of a scientific, deeply in the secrets of existence shining fact. Even if it has a limited significance, nevertheless, it is a fact of very first rank. Today it can be indicated only because what it concerns is the answer of the question: “What has astronomy to say about the origin of the world?”
In order to answer this question, one has to point to the fact that within the scientific thinking, research and experimentation it is clearly proved that it is right, indeed, in general that we can transform natural forces into each other that we can transform, for example, heat into work or if we have done any work this into heat. However, that is right with a quite weighty restriction. While on one side it is valid: heat can be transformed into mechanical work, into kinetic energy and kinetic energy again into heat — we must say on the other side that if one wants to transform heat back into work, in kinetic energy, this cannot happen unlimitedly. We realise this the clearest with the steam engine. We produce the movement by heat, but we cannot at all transform all heat into kinetic energy. Some heat gets always lost, so that we always have to calculate with all processes in nature where heat is transformed into movement with a loss of heat, as it is sure with a steam engine. For even with the best steam engines we can only transform about one quarter of the heat into movement, the other is emitted into the cooler, into the surroundings et cetera. We are able to do it only in such a way that we must realise that a part of the heat — as heat — is emitted in the cosmic space.
The knowledge that, indeed, kinetic energy can be completely transformed into heat but heat cannot completely retransformed into kinetic energy has also become in exterior relation one of the most fruitful knowledge for the science of the nineteenth century. Since thermodynamics is based merely on this knowledge, so that a big part of our present physics is built on it what has been characterised just here as the knowledge that heat cannot be retransformed completely into kinetic energy, but that always a rest of heat remains which is emitted. This has been shown apodictically by such investigations as for example those of the famous physicist Clausius (Rudolf C., 1822-1888, German physicist) who generalised this sentence that with all processes in the universe this sentence must be applied. Hence, we deal with all conversion processes where heat plays a role, with a transmission of heat in that work which is just considered with the facts of our nature. However, because always by the transformation a rest of heat remains, one can easily understand that the final state of our material development will be the transformation of all kinetic energy, of all other work in nature into heat. This is the last that must result: every physical process must convert itself into heat because always a rest of heat is left. Thus, all world processes run in such a way that heat will become bigger and bigger which results as a rest and at last the result must be that all movement processes will have been transformed into heat. Then we would be concerned with a big world chaos that exists only of heat, which can no longer be retransformed. Every life process that the sun causes on earth leaves rests of heat; at last, everything that shines from the sun to us tends to pass over to a general heat death.
This is the famous “Clausius's heat death” into which any material development of the universe must discharge. Here physics delivered a knowledge for that who generally understands something of knowledge that is quite apodictic against which one cannot argue. Our material universe heads the heat death in which all physical processes will once be buried.
There we have something from physics that we can transfer immediately on the entire astronomy. If we were only able to see movement changing into heat, we could say, the universe could be infinite forwards and backward, does not need to end. However, physics shows in the second law of the mechanical theory of heat that the material processes of the universe head the heat death. One can be convinced: if it were not so difficult, if one must not have such a lot of mathematical prior knowledge and go into difficult physical processes, much more people would know something of Clausius's heat death than it is really the case.
There we have brought something in our astronomical worldview that signifies development as it were. Imagine how fatal it must be for a materialistic knowledge to open itself to this apodictic result! Someone who only considers the spiritual and mental as concomitants of the material movements must suppose immediately that everything mental and spiritual is buried in the heat chaos, which our material world heads. Thus, all culture for which the human beings strives, all beauty and effectiveness of the earth would once meet their death with the general heat death at the same time. — One can now say that in particular this general heat death has become somewhat fatal for the astronomical knowledge. Not all astronomers take the easy way out like Ernst Haeckel in his Riddle of the Universe. He means, the second law of the mechanical heat theory contradicts, actually, the first one that all heat is convertible. Indeed, one cannot deny — Haeckel also knows this — that our solar system hastens to such a heat death, but he consoles himself saying: if the whole solar system is doomed to die the heat death, it will once collide with another world system, then heat originates from the collision again — and then a new world system originates! — However, he does not consider that a clash of the slags and rests is already considered in the general heat death, so that one cannot hope for consolation from that.
There are also serious people who feel urged to get the possibility from the physical-astronomical knowledge to understand the world development almost try to come beyond the general heat death. There the attempt of the Swedish researcher Arrhenius (Svante A., 1859-1927) may be mentioned who refers in his book The Becoming of the Worlds (1908) in manifold way just to such questions from the viewpoint of physical chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geology. One can say, here the attempt is already done in somewhat wittier way than Haeckel did to overcome the theory of the general heat death. However, if one regards everything that Arrhenius tries to adduce, one must say, it is persuasive in no way. Only briefly, I would like to characterise what is taught from this side about the overcoming of the general heat death. Of course, one cannot deny that our solar system heads the general heat death. However, besides it Arrhenius represents another idea that is based on certain assumptions of Maxwell (James Clerk M., 1831-1879, Scottish physicist) and his so-called pressure of radiation. This is something that is opposite to the former attraction of the world masses that perpetually radiates from the single heavenly bodies into space to the other heavenly bodies generating pressure caused by various natural forces.
This pressure which as it were the heavenly bodies send into space is able — because it is a force radiating in the cosmic space — to carry the smallest particles of matter which are pushed off by a heavenly body. Arrhenius now tries to show by all kinds of considerations that it is natural that, as long as special conditions do not take place, these phenomena caused by the radiation pressure prevent the general heat death by no means. But Arrhenius believes that such special conditions are caused by the fact that as it were this cosmic dust becomes nebulae which are in particular material states — for example, by the fact that in such nebula any star drives from anywhere, would have compressed the matter that it has taken away, and increased the temperature that way. If it were possible that such a star that meets the matter drives in such a nebula, attracts the matter and compresses it, increases the temperature, we would have something that causes an increase of temperature in the cosmic space again, and we would have something that could be transformed again into work. Arrhenius shows wittily that the cosmic dust that approaches to such a nebula is in another position — as it were, it is carried away in such a position in which it escapes from the general trend of the heat death.
I could indicate only briefly, what is also indicated too briefly in Arrhenius's writing. However, someone who goes into that which has led to the assumption of the general heat death cannot help admitting that the possibility is only virtual, that in a nebula, even if the temperature rises, the heat death could be detained. Since, nevertheless, these are only fallacies, and the law of the general heat death is such a general one that we must admit if we properly proceed: according to the physical laws the stars, which collide with a nebula, have only to bring the rest of their former existence with them. Thus, these processes, which happen in the nebula, must also be included in the trend of the universe to the general heat death.
Now it is typical that Arrhenius still goes on and includes the possibility in his idea of the radiation pressure that a heavenly body could push seeds of living beings to the other by the radiation pressure. Indeed, one can prove — with a big appearance of correctness — that the cold through which certain plant seeds and animal gametes would be carried would work preserving on them, so that one could suppose by calculation only that life was carried from one heavenly body to the other heavenly body by the radiation pressure. One could work out this, for example, for the distance from the earth to Mars. Then one spares the earth — instead of saddling the earth with it — the possibility, as one wants it, otherwise, in physics, geology et cetera, to have produced life because then one can say: the earth does not need to have produced life, because it can have flown to it from other heavenly bodies. — Besides, it does not issue a lot. For, will one attain anything special with it that one moves the question of the origin of life to other heavenly bodies? There we have the same difficulties, only that on the earth the conditions hinder us to accept the origin of life on other heavenly bodies. Generally, these matters can show how apparently materialistic prejudices influence well-intentioned enterprises of the present, which start from the eternity of life. Since the whole line of thought is materialistic, so that one does not take into account that life could have its origin here as well as in that what could be thought as radiation from one heavenly body to the other. This shows that in the present even well-intentioned thoughts suffer from placing themselves on the ground of materialism.
Thus, the same faces us everywhere: the study of physical laws, material laws, material forces is used, so that as it were everything that physics finds is transferred to the big world edifice, and one tries to imagine the origin of the universe with these forces. We have realised that such thoughts exceed the limits of the astronomical knowledge everywhere. Since the astronomer cannot at all conclude anything that deals with the forces, which cause the becoming of the world from that what he has before himself. We can realise again that our thinking and feeling are mental processes which cause material processes quite certainly, for example, in our brain, even in our blood. Someone who feels sense of shame to whom the blush rises in his face can convince himself of the fact that mental processes entail material processes. However, someone who admits that the mental-spiritual causes material processes in us has to say to himself, if I stood in the human brain and studied the outside movements, I would only see movements in the movements; there I would not at all anticipate that I include the movements that are caused by the spiritual-mental processes. I ignore the spiritual-mental causes. — May it not seem comprehensible that the astronomer studying the heavenly bodies is urged to develop the causes one or the other way that any star moves one or the other way? Are we allowed to conclude from the bare movements or from the dynamic laws: the sun must be positioned in a certain way to the earth, the moon must be positioned in a certain way to the earth, must orbit the earth in a certain way, and thereby these movements can result? Astronomy can generally decide nothing in what way they are caused in the mental-spiritual. Therefore, we can come just from the field of astronomy to the necessity to point by quite different means to the true causes also of the universe. There I can point — today just only with a few words — to the connection of earth, sun and moon.
Their mutual life and their relations of motion have developed, as these three heavenly bodies relate to each other. If we want to recognise why the sun, earth and moon relate to each other just as they relate today, we must not only move up from those forces on earth which we recognise as the physical-mechanical to the space, but we must still move up from other processes which happen on earth. Most certainly we have if we look at the human being something before us that belongs to the whole earth and its connection with the sun and moon as the blossoming of flowers or any other process — or as an electric process in the air. Certainly, the human being belongs with all that he is to the earth, and it is an abstraction if one only thinks the earth as the geologists do, as an only inorganic, inanimate thing, but one has to include the human beings in the whole processes of the earth.
At first, we have the difficulty that we must distinguish two things if we want to understand the difference between human being and animal in the right way. With the animal, the type predominates, so that an individual ego is not effective in its whole development between birth and death in so determining way, as this is the case with the human being with his individual ego, which expresses itself in education and the cultural life. This distinguishes the human being from the animal with which the type predominates. Now it is in such a way that such things go over by transitions into each other. With the animal, the type predominates, but the type goes into the human nature.
The further we to go back in time, the more we find that the human being is also a generic being, and we see the individual more and more originating from the type. On the ground of the type, the individual emerges. We have the ideal of a human future before ourselves, which says to us, the individual, the ego-nature of every human being will be victorious over the type in the course of the earth development. Nevertheless, going back we just realise the type on the ground of human development. Going back, we have also approached another condition of consciousness more and more in which the human being was connected dream-like, vividly with a spiritual world. That is why we must regard these two things as related: the type and the pictorial, dreamlike consciousness of the ancient times on the one hand and, on the other hand, the development of the individuality and our individual consciousness by that what the human being has to obtain in the course of the times. Such an emergence of the individuality from the type, the intellectual from the clairvoyant-dreamlike must be searched in its origins within the whole world development. Since, so to speak, as the stone which falls to the earth is controlled by the general world laws, this emergence of the human individuality and intellectuality from the human type and clairvoyance is also connected with the big cosmic laws which work everywhere in space. We have already done a step in this direction when we characterised the significance of geology for spiritual science.
We could show there that we can trace back the earth to a condition in which such processes are earthly, telluric, which only happen today if our thoughts and sensations work like decomposing in our organism, so that we find — if we go back to the earth origin — such epochs in which the earth was in a process of decomposition. That knowledge shows — what is shown more exactly in the Occult Science — which has been characterised in these talks that as it were the whole earth has sheltered from too extensive a decomposition process by the fact that it has separated the moon. The moon had to be separated from our earth so that that condition could be overcome which can be described as a decomposition process within the earth evolution.
We do not only have a mechanical-physical process, but we have to regard the extrusion of the moon as such a process that became necessary because the earth sheltered, while she expelled the moon, from too extensive a process of decomposition. The earth could thereby get a new relation to the sun directly. Since while it had the moon in itself, this decomposition process was so that the effect of the sun could not penetrate the terrestrial atmosphere — if we imagine the terrestrial atmosphere at that time. Therefore, only a new condition had to be caused, so that earth and sun could catch sight of each other. With it, with the cleaning of the terrestrial atmosphere — what became only possible with the extrusion of the moon — the condition of forces came into being which gradually transformed the old generic consciousness into the self-consciousness, into the intellectual consciousness. Thus, the extrusion of the moon, the cleaning of the terrestrial atmosphere and the direct relation of earth and sun are connected with the entire human development. We could now go back even further and would find such a condition of our earth development in which the earth was still connected with the sun.
We would also find that the separation of sun and earth happened in order to make the existence of conscious beings generally possible on earth. Only by the repulsion of the earth from the sun that force system came about which made it possible that beings could become conscious. Thus, the ancient clairvoyant consciousness became possible by the repulsion of the earth from the sun — and the advance to a higher consciousness, an intellectual consciousness by the extrusion of the moon from the earth. If we ascend clairvoyantly to that what external astronomy cannot give, we have to regard the cosmic forces as the reasons of the separation of the sun and the remaining planets from the earth — that is we come to spiritual causes.
I could only indicate the principle. Of course, everybody could ask, did the human being already exist, when earth and sun separated? Indeed, he existed, only under other conditions. It is a matter of course that the human being, as he lives under the current conditions, would not be possible if the sun were together with the earth. However, this would be no objection. We receive spiritual causes for the movements of the heavenly bodies. Now we do no longer stop at that to which astronomy pointed more than one century ago at the mere utilisation of physical laws saying: the earth was once connected with the sun in a big gas ball, that started rotating, and thereby the planets and also the earth were separated and later also the moon from the earth. - Now, we do no longer get around to asserting that such a thing happens only due to mechanical-physical laws, but inner, spiritual reasons must be there why the earth separated from the sun.
The earth was separated from the sun, so that the human being was raised to the conscious experience, and the moon was separated from the earth, so that he can advance to his higher consciousness. Briefly, we start bringing that in the astronomical worldview what we must bring in — namely into the astronomical worldview of the small brain that what we must bring in if we want to go over from the mere movement of the cerebral atoms to the conclusion: I see red, hear organ tone, I smell rose smell et cetera. — Thus, we must go forward if we want to find the transition from that what the popular astronomy can give us, to that what the causes of the events are in space. Hence, those who want to stop at the ground of external physics should confine themselves to investigate this only what movements or what forces are what is to be recognised astronomically. They should confess that another progress of knowledge is necessary if astronomy wants to come to an explanation of the becoming of the universe, should confess that they would have to stop as representatives of a rationalistic and empiric astronomy at the explanation of the becoming of the universe.
Considering this, it turns out that the great and significant results of modern astronomy fit in our spiritual-scientific world edifice quite wonderfully. Take the Occult Science. There is shown how our earth has gradually developed, how it goes — just like the single human being in the successive earth-lives — through developmental stages how, so to speak, a planet goes through developmental stages. There our earth is led back to a former planetary stage, this stage to an earlier one, so far, as one can trace back it, up to a stage, which is called “Old Saturn” with which, however, not our today's Saturn is meant, but a planetary predecessor of our earth.
The same cognition that is quite independent of any outer physics and any speculation, shows that a planetary predecessor of our earth, just this Old Saturn, was mere heat and that spiritual forces intervened in this condition of heat, so that spiritual forces took possession of the heat chaos. All development is thereby caused up to our earth. In addition, spiritual science shows that really the material under our feet is dying off. In the talk What Has Geology to Say About the World Origin?, we have shown that geology has advanced so far to agree with us that the earth crust is dying off. We understand everything that we know of the earth crust only well if we understand it as dying off. However, in this fact is contained that the spiritual becomes free from the material. If among us the planetary material dies off, the spirit gets free from it.
We have another possibility now! We can point to the nebula — there we have no speculations after the model of the physicists, nevertheless, do not stop at the heat death — and can say, indeed, there we have the things in which all remaining processes are transformed into heat. However, as with the beginning of the earth spiritual powers seized the heat state, spiritual powers lead the nebulae into which by the heat death the solar systems discharge from the heat death to new solar systems. There is, actually, nothing more astonishing than the accordance of one of the most admirable laws of the nineteenth century in its application to astronomy — like the application of the second law of the mechanical heat theory — with the positive, actual results of astronomical observations.
If you do not take the speculative inventions of all kinds of radiation, but if you start from that what one can obtain from the spectroscope or from the photography of the astronomical phenomena, you realise that everything complies down to the last detail with that what one can obtain as evolution of the worlds from spiritual science. For it shows how that what one sees as an astronomical spatial picture is the result - the spiritual result — of spiritual beings. We can say different from the modern astronomical physicists: the human being has no reason to fight against the heat death or to be afraid of it, because he knows that from it new life will blossom as from the old heat chaos life blossomed which we have now before ourselves. Because a real repetition and increase of life is possible this way — not only from that what Arrhenius assumes that life is winded up like in a clockwork anew and takes place in the nebula anew, but development is only possible if a spiritual element works from one heat state to the other. If our world substance is buried in the grave of heat, the spirit has advanced a step and conjures up higher things, higher life from the heat chaos. Hence, the final state of the earth embodiment — the Vulcan stage — is in the Occult Science that which points to this what looks out as a new life from the grave of the heat death. Therefore, the name “Vulcan” is used. If we challenge astronomy, we can just realise that the external science complies deeply with that what spiritual science has to give.
Indeed, people will say repeatedly, you spiritual scientists are daydreamers, because the right result of exact science absolutely contradicts what you believe to get from spiritual science. — Anybody could then say, you have seriously spoken even of Moses, but we know that all that is overtaken. Since the glorious natural sciences have taught us long since, we are way beyond the world development of Moses — natural sciences have shown this. — Those speak that way who only are present from without. However, let us ask the others who were present not from without, but more from within. There I know a very significant physicist who has considerable share of the development of optics, Biot (Jean-Baptiste B., 1774-1862), who said, either Moses was as deeply experienced in sciences as our century, or he was inspired.
A leading physicist of the nineteenth century said this. Now those who write popular books about worldviews maybe mean, indeed, a physicist thinks that way who deals only with the outside of the phenomena. Nevertheless, those who go deeper into the being of the organic show that one was chased away from the spirit in the course of the nineteenth century where one searched the natural causes. -- How did Liebig (Justus von L., 1803-1873, chemist) think, who deeply penetrated into the being of the organic, about the relations of the world, to which he had dedicated his research efforts, to the spiritual world? He says that these are the opinions of dilettantes who derive the authorisation of their walks on the border of the fields of physical research to explain to the unknowing and gullible audience how world and life originated, actually, and how far, nevertheless, the human being has come concerning the investigation of the highest things. — People may say: have you never heard that Lyell (Charles L., 1797-1875) founded a geology? Have you never heard about the big progress, which came with him, that he overcame those worldviews, which still count on spiritual forces? — I could bring writings by Lyell forward to you that make deep impression today. However, just Lyell said once, in which direction we pursue our investigations, everywhere we discover the clearest proofs of a creative intelligence, of its providence, power and wisdom.
The founder of the newer geology says this. Now the people could come and say, nevertheless, Darwin (Charles D., 1809-1882, English naturalist) has overcome the influence of any spiritual forces. Darwin showed how by purely natural processes the evolution of the organisms happens. — However, Darwin himself wrote: “I opine that all living beings that ever have been on earth are descended from a prototype into which the creator breathed life.” — So people can also not quote Darwin who says there, we are daydreamers if we speak of spiritual beings and spiritual forces. Then still people maybe come and say, do you not know the basic nerve of any scientific development of the nineteenth century, which has deeply influenced any development? Do you know nothing about the basic law of the transformation of the natural forces? — We have just spoken of it today, have realised that the transformation of the natural forces does not contradict what spiritual science has to say.
However, the people could want to refer to Julius Robert Mayer (1814-1878, German physician and physicist), to the founder of the law of the mechanical heat equivalent as well as of the transformation of the natural forces. However, Julius Robert Mayer did the strange dictum: I exclaim wholeheartedly, a right philosophy can be nothing else than propaedeutics for the Christian religion! — The things are different everywhere if one goes back to the origins and to those who created these origins who are the great pathfinders on the way of human knowledge, and not to their followers, nor to those who want to find lightweight ideas — like the newer astrophysicists — and want to encompass the whole world with it. If one goes not to the latter but to the former, one can say, spiritual science completely agrees with the great pathfinders.
Hence, spiritual science knows that it can position itself in the development of the human mind, and that it advances harmoniously with the development of humanity with everything that has promoted the human development. If a merely external, physical astronomy wants to devise the evolution of the universe, one may remind those who act in such a way of a general quotation in the Xenien by Goethe and Schiller:
To infinite heights the firmament extends,
We must shelter from the fact that the little mind finds its way to the firmament. For we can show that just as little as the consideration of the brain leads us to a spiritual-mental life, but that this is separated from the mere movements and this can go beyond them, just as little the consideration of the external movements and laws is able to penetrate in the spirit of the universe. Hence, there it remains true in a certain way what Schiller means speaking to the astronomers:
Do not chat to me so much about nebulae and suns!
Schiller means that. It is right if one regards the movable appearance in space only. It is not right if one goes into what — as a spiritual — emits the laws of space. — Thus, the words remain true: ascending with the mind to the stars always causes the notion of the spiritual-divine in every mind. If we want to ascend, however, with our cognition, our cognition has to go the way: per aspera ad astra — through severity to the stars, through the thorns to the roses
However, this is the way of spiritual knowledge. Just the spiritual-scientific way to the stars shows that it brings along the human being to say to himself: as my materials and those which are in my surroundings are spread out in the whole universe — as the spectroscope shows--, the spiritual that lives in me is spread out in the whole universe and belongs to it. My corporeality is born out of the universe — my soul and mind are born out of the universe. It remains true what should be characterised here once again with some words which I already stated on another occasion: it remains true that the human being can only come to the entire world consciousness if he gets clear about the question which astronomy cannot answer: the question of his share of the world and his destination in the world. It is true that the answer to this question can give him security of life, optimism, hope of life if he knows from the spiritual-scientific knowledge what the words mean:
The wealth of materials approaches the human sense