Second Scientific Lecture-Course:
14 March 1920, Stuttgart
My dear friends,
Today it is my object by giving you a few indications to bring these observations to a close for the time being.
It is indeed obvious that what we have sought for in the former course and in this one can only come out fully when we are in a position to extend our treatment of the subject further. Today I will have a few remarks to make on this phase of the matter, at the conclusion of the lecture.
Let me first give a general summary of what we have taken under consideration in connection with heat and the matter related to it. Out of the array of concepts you have got, I will draw your attention to certain ones. They are the following. When we bring before our eyes the realms of reality that we are able to distinguish in physics, we may list them as follows:
The solid realm, which was have called \(Z'\)
The fluid realm, which we have called \(Y'\)
The gaseous or aeriform world, denoted by \(X'\)
The realm of chemical effects, which we call \(Y\)
And lastly, by \(Z\) we have denoted the life activity realm (see Table at end.) Moreover, we considered yesterday very definite conditions obtaining in regard to the heat state when we pass from X to \(X'\) and from \(Y\) to \(Y'\). We tried for example to bring before you the facts which showed how chemical effects could make themselves felt in the fluid element. One who strives to comprehend chemical processes finds the following: Wherever chemical processes are taking place, wherever chemical combinations and chemical dissociations occur, all that has a certain relation to the fluid element must enter in its own particular way into the solid or gaseous realms in order for the chemical effects to manifest themselves there. Thus when we consider our terrestrial chemistry we must keep before our eyes an interpenetration, and with this interpenetration, a kind of mutual binding of chemical effects and the fluid realm. Our terrestrial chemistry presents to us, as it were, the fluid element animated by chemical effects.
But now, you will readily see that when we consider these various realms of reality it is impossible for us to think that this working of one realm in another is limited to the activity of heat in the gaseous realm. The other realms also work within each other. These call forth their appropriate effects in this or that field of action. We can indeed say the following: although chemical effects work primarily in the fluid medium since they have an inner relationship to is, we have also to visualize the working of the chemical on X′, that is to say a direct working on the chemical or gaseous or aeriform bodies. When I say “chemical effect” you must not think of that which comes to clear manifestation and is penetrated with an inner spirituality in the blue-violet portion of the spectrum. Here we have the chemical effect standing, as it were, by itself in a certain independence over against the material realm. When, however, we speak of chemical processes, we are really dealing with this effect as it interpenetrates physical bodies. We must conceive of something here in this chemical realm that, at the outset, has nothing to do with ponderable matter, but interpenetrates it, and in particular does it interpenetrate the fluid element owing to an inner relationship that I showed you yesterday. But let us now ask ourselves the question: What happens when the chemical effect picks out (figuratively speaking) the next realm, the gaseous, or its activities? Then it must happen, considering the matter simply from the external point of view, that something takes its rise in the gaseous which shows an inner relationship to the manifestation of this effect in fluids, which can be compared to this manifestation. In the fluid, the chemical effect seizes upon the material, as it were, and brings this material into such a condition that a mutual interaction sets in. When we put the fluid element before us in thought, we must conceive of it as in mutual reaction with the chemical effect. Let us assume, however, that the action does not go so far as to admit of this seizing of the chemical effect on the matter itself, but let us assume that it works on the matter from the outside only, that it is a stage removed from it as compared to its action on the fluid. Then we have as in the gaseous, a process in which the chemical effect accompanies the material, in one stage removed as compared to its action in fluids. Then there comes about a certain wide independence of the imponderable as compared to the material carrier. In chemical processes proper, the imponderable seizes definitely on the material. Here, however, we come upon a realm where there is not this definite linkage where the imponderable does not definitely insert itself into matter. This is the case in the acoustical realm, in the effect of tone; while in chemical processes in matter we have a complete submergence of the imponderable in matter, in tone we have a persistence of the imponderable as such, a preservation of it in gaseous or aeriform matter. This leads us to something further. It leads us to the point when we have to say: There must be some reason why in fluids the imponderable seizes directly on the material, while in tone effects in the gaseous realm, the imponderable is less able to do this. If we observe chemical activity and have a feeling for what is to be seen within the physically visible, then we will as a matter of course, understand that it belongs to the nature of matter that chemical phenomena go as they do. That is to say: the imponderable is there as something which is a characteristic of matter. It is not possible otherwise than in this way, that when we are dealing with terrestrial matter the seizing upon the imponderable matter takes place through the earth. By means of the forces of the earth, the chemical effect is, so to speak, seized upon and works within the fluids. You see the forces of form stretched out over the whole terrestrial realm and active by virtue of the fact that these forces of form get hold of the interpenetrating chemical effect. When we really understand correctly that we have here the forces of the earth, then we have understood something further, if we will grasp the meaning of tone in the air, namely that an opposite kind of force is involved in tone. That is, we have to think as active in tone a force passing into the earth in all directions from the cosmos, a tendency overcoming the earth forces, and thus striving to separate the imponderable from the earth. This is the peculiarity of the tone world. It is this which gives a certain characteristic to the physics of tone, of acoustics. For in this realm we can on the one hand study the material processes and on the other hand we can live in the world of tone by means of our sensations without paying the slightest attention to the acoustical side. What does acoustics matter to us perceiving men, when we live in tone with our sensations? Acoustics is a beautiful science; it reveals for us striking inner laws and an inner order, but that which lies before us as a subjective experience of tone is far, far removed from the physics of the tone as it is expressed in the material world.
And this is really due to the fact that tone manifestation preserves a certain individuality. It takes its origin from the periphery of the cosmos, while such a process as we observe in the chemical forces active in fluids, for instance, proceeds from the earth as a center.
Now there is one relation brought out also yesterday in Dr. Kolisko's lecture which shows itself only when we rise, as it were, to a universal point of view. This is that we can conceive of the periodic arrangement of the elements as octaves. In this we have an analogy between the inner laws of tone and the whole nature of matter as it demonstrates itself in chemical processes.
Thus is established the fact that we may conceive of all the combinations and breaking down of material compounds as an outer reflection of an inner world music. This inner world music reveals itself to us outwardly as such in only one particular form, namely in our terrestrial music. Music should never be so conceived that we merely say, what is tone within us, subjectively, is only vibrating air outside of us. This must be looked upon as nonsense.
It is to be considered just as nonsensical as if we were to say the following: What you are outwardly as a physical body that you are inwardly as a soul; such a statement leaves out the subject. Likewise we leave out the subject when we consider tone in its inner nature as identical with the condensations and rarefactions of the air that constitute, in the aerial medium, the carrier of tone. Now if you get a correct conception of this matter, you will see that we have in chemical processes to do with a certain relationship between \(Y\) and \(Y'\), and in tone we have to do with a certain relationship between \(Y\) and \(X'\) (See Table.)
I have already indicated to you that when we stand within this or that realm, what we become aware of in the outer world always pertains to difference in level or potential differences. Please endeavor now, to trace what is similar to potential difference in this realm we are dealing with. Let us try to trace what is similar to the potential difference which becomes active in the case where gravity is used to furnish a driving force for a wheel through the falling water. Let us make clear to ourselves that we have differences in level involved in temperature, heat, tone and in the equalization of electric strains. Everywhere are potential differences, we meet them wherever we study forces. But what do we have, then? We have an inner relationship between what we perceive in the spectrum and liquid matter; and that which presents itself to us as chemical process is nothing but the result of the difference between chemical effects and the forces that are in the fluid. It is a \(Y-Y'\) potential difference. And in tone, a lower \(Y-X'\) potential difference is manifesting.
Thus we can say: In relating a chemical process to the world of reality we are dealing with a potential difference between chemical effects and fluid forces. In the manifestation of tone and sound in the air, we are dealing with a potential difference between what is working formatively into chemical effects, what starts from the periphery into the world and the material of the gas, the aeriform body. Furthermore, what shows itself in this realm of reality manifests through potential differences. The matter rests on these differences in potential even though we remain in one element, in warmth, or even in gas or in water. But especially when we perceive distinctions between realms, do we deal with potential differences in the effects of these realms.
Taking all of this together you come to the following: from a consideration of fluids and their boundary surfaces we are obliged to attribute the form of solids to earth forces. The extent to which gravity and the energies of configuration, to borrow a term from modern physics, are related, has been brought before you in past lectures. If we proceed from the forces that manifest in gravity, to those which result in liquid surfaces, apparently plane surfaces on account of the great size of the earth, we find we are really dealing with a sphere. Obviously the liquid levels of all the terrestrial bodies of water taken together constitute a sphere. Now you see, when we pass outwards from the center of the earth toward the surface of the sphere we meet successively certain sets of conditions. For terrestrial relations, within the solid realm we have forces which tend to close in, to delimit. Fluid forces, however, may perhaps be represented in their configuration by a line or plane tangential to the surface of the sphere. If we go further and observe the sphere from without we must put the matter in this way: beneath the sphere of liquid we have to deal with the formative forces of solids. In these formative forces which delimit solids we are dealing with a single body if we consider the earth as a whole.
The many single bodies together form a single form like the fluid element of the earth. How must we then conceive of these various conditions? For we have passed beyond the formed, beyond what is shaped from within as the solid bodies are. How must we picture this to ourselves? Well, we must conceive of it as the opposite condition. Within the sphere we have solids filled with matter, and without we must think of space filled with negative matter. Within we have filled space (see figure). We must become accustomed to thinking of an emptying of space. The earth is indeed not influenced only by what happens on it, but by the other effects from all sides. If this were not so, the terrestrial phenomena themselves would be different. This can only be mentioned today; later we will go into it more thoroughly. For instance, it would not be possible for us to have a separations of continents from bodies of water, or a north and a south pole, if in the environment of the earth there were not empty spaces. These “matterless” spaces must work in from various directions. If we search for them we find them in what the older cosmic systems designated as the planets, to which we must add also the sun.
Thus we are forced from the realm of the earth into the realm of the cosmos, and we are obliged to find the transition from the one condition of space to the opposite condition. We must learn to pass from a space filled positively with matter to one filled negatively with matter and this condition of negativity filled space so far as it acts on our earth we must think of as localized in the planets around the earth. Thus there is active at the point where terrestrial phenomena are going on a mutual interaction of the terrestrial proper and the cosmic, and this is due to the fact that from the negatively filled spaces, a suction-like action is going on while the formative forces are expressing themselves as pressures. This mutual interaction meets us in that particular force-configuration ordinarily sought for in molecular forces and attractions. We should conceive of these things as they were thought of by the intuitive knowledge of former times. Manifestations in matter, which are always accompanied by the imponderable, were then thought of as influenced by the whole cosmos instead of being misinterpreted fantastically as due to certain theoretical inner configurations. What the stars, like giants, do in the cosmos is reflected in the terrestrial dwarfs, the atoms and molecules.
This indeed, is what we have to do; we must know that when we represent a terrestrial process or perform calculations on it, we are dealing with a picture of extra-terrestrial effects, with a mutual action of the terrestrial and the cosmic.
Now you see here we have the force that fills space with matter (see drawing.) Also, here we still have this force that fills space with matter, but this force is attenuated. Ultimately we come to the condition where there is negative matter. There must be a region between where, so to speak, space is torn apart.
We can put the matter in this way. Our space as it surrounds us constitutes a kind of vessel for physical manifestations, and has an inner relationship to these forces. Something in it corresponds to them. But when we go from the ponderable to the imponderable, space is torn apart. And in this tearing apart, something enters that was not there before it happened.
Let us assume that we tear apart the three dimensional space. What is it that enters through the rift? When I cut my finger, blood comes out — it is a manifestation in three dimensional space. But when I tear apart space itself that which comes through is something that is otherwise non-spatial.
Note how modern physical thinking is lost in the woods. Is it not true that when we make electrical experiments in the school room, our apparatus must be painstakingly dried, we must make it a good insulator, or our experiments will fail. If it is moist, the experiment will fail. But I have often called attention to the fact that the inner friction of clouds which are certainly moist is supposed to give rise to electricity which in turn produced lightning and thunder. This is one of the most impossible ideas that can be conceived.
Now on the other hand, if we bring together these things we have considered as necessary for a real understanding, then we can see that space is torn apart the moment the flash appears. At that moment, what fills space as non-dimensional entity, intensively, comes forth like the blood when I cut my hand. This is indeed always the case when light appears accompanied by heat. Space is torn apart. Space reveals to us what dwells within, while it shows us only its exterior in the usual three dimensions that we have before us. Space then shows us its inner content.
We may thus say: when we proceed from the ponderable to the imponderable and have to pass through the realm of heat as we go, we find heat welling out wherever we make the transition from the pressure effects of ponderable matter to the suction effects of the imponderable. At all such points of transition heat wells out.
Now you will see that when we are constructing ideas about the processes which we spoke of several days ago as processes of conduction of heat, you have to relate to them the concept that the heat is bound to the ponderable matter. This is quite the opposite condition to that which we have considered as existing in radiating heat itself. This heat we find as the entity welling out when matter is torn apart. How will it affect matter? It will work from the intensive condition to the extensive. It will, so to speak, work from the inner portion of space into its outer portions. When heat and a material body mutually react on one another we see a certain thing occurring. What occurs is that the characteristic tendency of the heat is transformed. The suction effect is transformed into a pressure effect so that the cosmic tendency of the heat opposes the individualizing tendency of the material which, in solids, is the force that gives form.
We thus have in heat, in phenomena of warmth, insofar as these manifest a conductivity, to seek, not for rays, but for a tendency to spread in all directions. We must look for a mirroring of the imponderable matter, or for the presence of the imponderable in the ponderable. Bodies that conduct heat bring it into manifestation by an intensive reflection of the impinging imponderable heat on their material portion This is in contracts to the extensive reflection characteristic of light.
Now I wish to ask you to work over in your minds such concepts as we are accustomed to entertain and to work them over in the way we do here so that they become saturated with reality, as it were. Let me give you a picture in closing to recapitulate and show you how much reality-saturated concepts can lead us into a vital grasp of the being of the cosmos.
I have already called your attention to the basis upon which rests the perception, the subjective experiences of temperature. We really experience the difference between our own temperature and the temperature of the environment, which, indeed, is what the thermometer does — I have drawn this to your attention. But perception depends precisely on this that we have within us a certain condition and that which lies outside this condition constitutes our perception. We cannot be a thing and perceive it at the same time. But we must always be other than the conditions we are experiencing. Suppose we consider tone. Insofar as we are tone, we cannot experience tone. If we would answer without prejudice the question: what are we as experiencers of tone, we come to the conclusion that we simply experience one potential difference while we are the other potential difference. We experience the \(Y-X'\) difference; we do not experience the \(Y-Y'\) difference because that is part of our being in time. It accompanies our perception of tone. It is an orderly inner chemical process in our fluid nature and is a part of our being. What causes chemical effects within us produces certain orderly effects in the world itself. It is by no means without interest to picture the following to yourselves. You know well that the human body consists only of a small degree of solid constituents. More than 90 percent of it is water, what plays through us as a delicate chemical process while we listen to a symphony is an inner continually phosphorescent marvel in this fluid nature. We are in our inner nature what these chemical processes reflect from tone. And we become aware of the tone world through the fact that we are chemically the tone world in the sense I have presented to you.
Our understanding of man himself is really much broadened, you see, if we bring an understanding of physical problems to bear on the human body. But the thing we must strive for is not to form abstract concepts of which physics is so fond today Rather, we must force our way through the concepts really woven into the world, the objective world. Fundamentally everything that spiritual science is striving to bring into the conceptual world and especially what it is striving to do to promote a certain way of thinking, has for its object to bring back into human development thought permeated with reality. And it is indeed necessary for this to happen. For this reason we must prosecute vigorously such studies as have been presented here during the last few days.
You can see, my friends, how everywhere around you something old is dying out. Is it not possible from examination of physical concepts, to see that something old is really dying out, for little is to be done with them? The very fact that we can build up a new physical concept even when we attempt it in such a limited way — for we can only give indications now — this fact shows that we stand today at a turning point in human development.,
We must, my friends, give thought to certain things. We must push forward the varied lines of endeavor which Dr. Baravalle, Dr. Blumel, Mr. Strakesch, and Dr. Kolisko have presented to you in order to give a new impulse to the development hitherto consummated by the human race. Thus we will lay foundations for progress.
You must see that people the world over are asking for an extension of these things. We must found schools. What is happening in the world outside? People are encouraging schools, the Danish school movement is an example. What is characteristic of the old schools is being carried into the new ones. But nothing new will come of this. The whole people will simply have fastened on them the thing that up to now has been fastened on the learned.
There is nothing sadder than to contemplate a future where the manner of thinking which has devastated the heads of the learned men in the fashion we have seen will be transmitted to the people of the whole earth through the school system. If we would found schools for the people, we must be sure that there will be something available to teach in them, something whose inner configuration represents an advance. We need first the science that can be given in these schools. People wish always to remain superficial, considering only what is obvious. Consequently, in a spiritual movement, they do not wish to do anything radical toward renewing their manner of thinking, but simply to bring to people the old, the disappearing. It is just in regard to physical facts that this tendency is most noticeable.
You will certainly find many things in these lectures that are unsatisfactory, for they can only be suggestive at best. One thing however, is shown, and that is the necessity to build anew our whole physical, chemical, physiological and biological thought world. It must be rebuilt from the fundamental up. We will naturally accomplish this when we have reconstructed not only the schools, but also the science itself. And until we have succeeded in so arranging things that the academic side has been renewed along the lines started in these last few days, only then will we reach that which will and must be reached if European civilization is not to perish in a spiritual sense.
Only consider the shocking trend in the modern academic world. We have long controversial papers read, completely divorced from real life. People sit in fine lecture halls and each reads his paper, but the others do not listen. For it is a noteworthy fact that one man is a specialist in one line, another man is a specialist in a different line. The mathematician reads but the medical man does not listen. And when the medical man reads the thoughts of the mathematician are busy elsewhere. This is indeed a well known sign. Something new must be injected. And this something must have its center in a spiritual striving. We must see this point. Therefore, one can say: if we can but bring together this striving towards a new kind of reality with a building up of the way of thinking in our schools, then we will attain what must be attained.
You can see there is much to be done. We really learn how such is to be done only when we begin to go into details.
For this reason it is so pathetic that people today who cling to the old way of thinking, for it has become old, it has had its day — coin phrases and accumulate great amounts of money to perpetuate their academic system in the world. It is especially difficult because we must become fundamentally convinced that a genuine new world is necessary. We must not deceive ourselves and simply say, “build schools.” We must live in reality and say, “first it is necessary to have something to teach in these schools for the people.” And I would like to say that while fruitful technological results have flowed from science, a still more fruitful technology will flow from a popularizing of science of such a nature as we have tried to indicate here in the realm of physics.
We have in every case tried to emerge from the old theoretical point of view and enter into a point of view that is real, so that our concepts will be saturated with reality. This will yield technical results quite different from those attained up to the present. Practice and theory hang together inwardly. And when we see in any one case what reform is needed as in the case of physics, for instance, we can understand what must happen. Since the time has come when we must separate, I wish to emphasize that I have only indicated to you in these lectures what you are to see, to stimulate you to develop these things further. You will be able to develop them. Our mathematical physicists, whom we have among our number will be able to give new life to the old formulae. And they will find, when they apply to these old formulae the ideas I have indicated to you, that certain transformations can be made that are real metamorphoses. From these will grow much that will be of enormous importance technically for the further development of mankind. This is, of course, something which cannot be gone into in detail, but only can be indicated at this time.
But these observations must now be brought to a close and their further progress will depend on your own work. It is this that I wish you to take especially to heart, for the things are now extremely pressing that have to be accomplished in the three paths of human endeavor. These things have become urgent in our era and there is no time to lose because chaos stands before the door. A second thing to remember is this: The end can only be attained satisfactorily through an orderly human working together. Thus we must try to work out further within ourselves the things that have been stimulated, and you will also find something arising in the work of the Waldorf School. The moment you really try to utilize in pedagogy the definite and valid ideas we have set forth here, they will be taken up at once, and you will also discover that they will go well if you find it necessary to apply them in the conduct of life. We could wish that one did not always have to speak about science to a public which while it takes in much, is always exposed to the opinions of “rigorous scientific thinkers,” to “authorities.” These authorities have no inkling that all we observe is very definitely shot through with the play of something else. We can see this even from language.
Note that in language we have everything mutually related. We speak of an impact. Now it is only because we have ourselves brought about an impact and given a name to the phenomenon that we speak of an impact in a space free of human activity, and vice versa we speak of things that happen within us in words drawn from the outer world. But we do not realize that we should look into the outer world, that is the planetary world, if we will understand the terrestrial bodies, and because we not know this we cannot learn what is happening in the embryos of plants and animals or in any tiny cell upon which we turn our microscopes. We discover all sorts of interesting things, but the source of all this, the thing we long to know, we will only be able to see when we understand macroscopically these processes microscopically observed. We must see that the fertilization and the fruiting of outer nature takes place in a mutual interaction with the outer cosmos. We must study how to conceive of the planets as points of departure for the working of the imponderable in the physical world, as if we are to grasp the relation of the cosmos to plant and animal germ cells.
If we can learn to see all these things on a grand scale without, these things that today we look for under the microscope where they are not really present, if we try to see these things in that which surrounds us (in the cosmos) then we will make progress.
The way is now clear before us. Human prejudice makes for us a very, very serious barricade. This prejudice is hard to overcome. It is for us to do all that we can to overcome it.
Let us hope that we can at some future time continue again these discussions.