Second Scientific Lecture-Course:
13 March 1920, Stuttgart
My dear friends,
We will today first carry out what I had in mind yesterday because it will lead us to a more prompt conclusion of our series. Tomorrow, I will try to conclude the lecture series being given during my present visit with you. We will now demonstrate to ourselves in a completely adequate fashion that within what we call the sun's spectrum or a light spectrum, there are wrapped up heat effects, light effects and chemical effects. Yesterday, also, we saw that the forces involved in the phenomena of life as well were hidden away here; only we are not able to bring these life-effects into the field of our investigations in the same manner as we can the chemical, light and heat effects. For, there is not a simple experimental method by which the reality of the twelve-fold spectrum can be shown in its objectivity. Just this thing will be the task of a Research Institute, working entirely within our movement. Such investigations will not only be undertaken but they must be followed out in detail.
Now I would like to call your attention to something. When we consider the hypothetical inclusion of life effects or the fact that our series , as we think of it at least, has hidden away in it life, heat, light and chemical effects, an important realm escapes us. This realm is physically more definitely manifested than the ones we have named. The realm that escapes us in the acoustical realm. The realm of acoustics is manifested strikingly in the movements of the air, that is, in the movement of the gaseous or aeriform body. And now comes up an important fundamental question.
How do we come in the one direction through the heat, light and chemical spectra to the life forces and on the other side to the acoustic forces?
This is the question that presents itself when we look over the whole field of phenomena and about which we can teach according to Goethe's views of the physical world, as we have done heretofore rather than simply theorizing about it.
Now let us show our first experiment. When we place a solution of alum in the path of a light cylinder made into a spectrum by passage through a prism we remove the heat effects. Let us permit the thermometer to rise in consequence of the action of the spectrum. When we place the solution of alum in the path of the spectrum, we have to look for a fall in the column of the thermometer. (the thermometer that had been going up rapidly, rose more slowly and then stopped.) The effect is shown by the fact that the thermometer rises more slowly. Therefore, the alum solution removes heat from the spectrum. We may consider this as proven — it has been done times without number and is a well-known fact.
The second experiment we will make is to insert into the light cylinder a solution of iodine in carbon disulphide. You will see, the central portion of the spectrum is thereby entirely blotted out and the other portions considerably weakened. From the previous course you will remember that we have to consider this central portion as the light-portion proper. Thus, the light-portion of this spectrum is stopped by the solution of iodine in carbon disulphide just as the heat portion is stopped by the solution of alum. The thermometer now rises rapidly because the heat effect is present again. The third thing we will do is to place a solution of esculin in the path of light. This has the peculiarity of stopping the chemical effect leaving the heat and light effects unchanged.
We can, thus, so handle the spectrum that we can remove the heat effect by means of an alum solution, the light portion by a solution of iodine in carbon disulphide, and the chemical part by an esculin solution. We will establish the facts in regard to the chemical effect by showing that when the chemical portion is there, the phosphorescent body glows. You can see that this body has been in the light cylinder, because when I shut off the light momentarily, with my hand, it slows. Now we will place it again in the spectrum, but this time with the light cylinder passing through the esculin solution. The action is excellent. There is no phosphorescence visible. Now, place before yourselves the fact that we have first the realm of heat, then the realms of light and chemical action. From our considerations taken in their entirety, you can conclude with a fair degree of certainty, at least, that a relation must exist here similar to the ones I have in the past few days pointed out as the X and Y realms. It is in this way that we are approaching definitely the place where we can begin to identify these two realms:
|Y chemical effect|
Let us observe particularly the following: The heat realm, the X, Y, and Z realms, the gaseous, fluid, solid and the U realms are to be arranged as we have outlines. Recollect that there is a matter of fact a certain very loose relationship to be observed between heat effects and the phenomena manifested in a gaseous mass. We are able to observe that the gaseous body manifests in its material configuration, what is manifested otherwise in the case of heat. The nature of heat is set before us materially in the gas. Now if we will cultivate a vivid insight into what occurs in this interplay between gaseous matter and heat, we will be able to get a concept also of the difference between the realm of gases and the x-realm. We need only consider what we have many times seen in our lives. This is that light relates itself quite otherwise to gases than does heat. The gas does not follow changes in light by corresponding changes in its material configuration. When the light spreads, the gas does not do likewise, it does not show difference in pressure, etc.
Therefore when light is playing through a gas, the relationship is different from the one existing between the gas and heat playing through it. Thus, when light is active through the gas, there is a different relation involved than when heat is active through the gas. Now, in the observations made previously, we said: fluids stand between gas and solids, heat between gases and the X realm. Also the solid realm foreshadows the gaseous, and the gaseous gives a picture of heat. So likewise we can say that heat gives a picture of the X realm while heat is itself pictured in the gaseous. We have, as it were, in the gaseous, pictures of pictures of the X realm. Imagine now, these pictured pictures are really present with light passes through the air. Considering how the air relates itself in various phenomena to light, one must say that we are not dealing with a picturing of the one realm by the other, but rather that the light has an independent status in the gas. The matter may be figuratively expressed as follows: Suppose we paint a landscape and hang the picture on the wall of this room and then photograph the room. By thus changing something in the room, I alter its whole appearance and this alteration shows on the photograph. If I were accustomed always to sit on this chair when giving a lecture, and some ill-disposed person removed it while I lectured without my noticing what he was doing, I would do what many have done under similar circumstances, namely, sit on the floor. The relation of things in the room suffers real changes when I alter something in it. But whether I hand the picture in one place or another the relationship between the various figures painted upon it do not change. What exists in the picture itself in the way of relationships is not changed by alterations that go on in the room. In the same way, my experiments with light are not affected by the air in the space in which they are carried out. Experiments with heat are, on the contrary, related to the space in which they are carried out as you can convince yourselves, and indeed, you are made aware of this by the whole room becoming warm. But my light experiments have an independent being. I can think of them by themselves. Now, when I build up a concept of the action of X in a gas-filled space by analogy, I find the same relationships as if I am experimenting with light. I can identify X with light. A further extension of this train of thought leads to the identification of Y with chemical effects, and of Z with vital effects. However, as you see, there is a certain autonomy of light acting in the gaseous realm. The same sort of relationships are found when we extend a train of thought. You can do it for yourselves, it would lead us too far to do it here today. For instance, we would expect to find chemical effects in fluids, and this is in fact the case. In order to have chemical action solutions are necessary. In these solutions chemical action is related to the fluid as light is to the gas. We then have to expect to find a Z associated with the solid. This may be stated so — if I indicate the three realms by Z, Y and X, with heat as the intermediate realm and put X′ for the gas, Y′ for the fluid and Z′ for the solid, I can represent the order: $$Z, Y, X, heat, X', Y', Z'$$
X in X′ represents light in gas, Y in Y′ represents chemical effect in fluids, Z in Z′ represents the Z effect in solid bodies.
Formerly we knew these realms only as various types of manifested form. Now we meet interminglings as it were. These are representations of things that are very real in our lives. X in X′ is light-filled gas, Y in Y′ is fluid in which chemical processes are going on, Z in Z′, life acting in solids. After yesterday's talk, you can scarcely doubt that just as we proceed beyond heat to find chemical effects. This was spoken of yesterday in a preliminary way. Therefore Z in Z′ represents vital effects in solid bodies. But there is no such thing as vital effects in solid bodies. We know that under terrestrial conditions a certain degree of fluidity is necessary for life. Under terrestrial conditions life does not manifest in the purely solid state. But, these same conditions force us to set it up as a hypothesis that such a condition is not beyond the realms of possibility. For the order in which we have been able to think of these things necessarily leads to this.
We find solid bodies, we find fluid bodies, we find gas. The solids we find without vitality. Vital effects in the terrestrial sphere we discover by unfolding themselves adjacent to solid bodies, in relation with them, etc. But we do not find an immediate coupling up of what we call solids with the living. We are led to this last member of the series, Z in Z′, the living in the solid realm by analogy from Y in Y′ and X in X′. Fluid bodies have the same relation to chemical activity although not so strong as do solid bodies to life. Gases, in the realm of the terrestrial, stand in the same relation to light that solids do to the living. Now, this leads us to recognize that solids, fluids and gases in their supplementary relations to light, chemical action and vital phenomena represent, as it were, something that has died out.
These things cannot be made as obvious as people like to make most presentations of empirical facts. If you wish to make these facts really mean something to you, you must work them over within yourselves and then you will find that there is a relation between:
The solid and the living
The fluid and the chemical
The gaseous and light
That stands as it were set off by itself. These relations are not, however, under terrestrial conditions immediately active. The relations that actually exist point to something that was once there but is there no longer. Certain inner relationships of the things force us to ring time concepts into the picture. When you look at a corpse you are forced into time concepts. The corpse is there. Everything that makes possible the presence of the corpse, that gives it the appearance it has, all this you must consider as soul and spirit since the corpse has in itself no possibilities of self-determination. A human form would never arise except for the presence of soul and spirit. What the corpse presents to you, forces you to say the following: The corpse as it exists there has been abandoned by the living, the terrestrial fluid by the emanations of chemical effects and the terrestrial gaseous by the emanations of light effects. And just as we glance back from the corpse to the living, to the time when matter that is now the corpse was bound together with the soul and spirit, so we glance from the solid bodies of the earth back to a former physical condition, when the solid was bound up with the living and only occurred bound to the living; fluid existed only bound to chemical effect and gases only bound to the light. In other words, all gas had an inner glittering, or inner illumination, an illumination that showed a wave-like phosphorescence and darkening as the gas was rarefied or condensed. Fluids were not as they are today but were permeated by a continuous living chemical activity. And at the foundation of all was life, active in solidification (as it solidifies now in the horn formation in cattle, for instance) passing back again into fluid or gas, etc. In brief, we are forced by physics itself to admit a previous period of time when realms now torn apart existed together. The realms of the gaseous, the fluid and the solid are now found on the one hand, and on the other realms of light, chemical effects and vital activity. At that time they were within each other, not merely side by side, but actually within each other. Heat had an intermediate position. It did not appear to share this association of the more material and the more etheric natures. But since it occupied an intermediate position, it possessed an independence that was attributable to its not taking part in the two. If now we call the upper realm the etheric and the lower realm the region of ponderable matter, we obviously have to consider the heat realm as the equilibrium condition between them. Thus in heat we have found that which is the equilibrium condition between the etheric body and the ponderable material. It is ether and matter at the same time and indicates by its dual nature what we actually find in it, namely, a difference in level of transition. (Unless we understand this, we cannot understand or do anything in the realm of heat phenomena). If you take up this line of thinking, you will come to something much more fundamental and weighty than the so-called second law of thermodynamics: a perpetuum mobile of the second type is possible. For this second law really tears a certain realm of phenomena out of its proper connection. This realm is bound up with certain other phenomena and essentially and profoundly modified by them.
If you make it clear to yourselves that the gaseous realm and light were once united, that the fluid realm and chemical activity were once one, etc. then you will also be led to think of the two polarically opposed portions of the heat realm, namely ether and ponderable matter, as originally united. That is to say, you must conceive of heat in former ages as quite different from the heat you know now. Then you will come to say to yourselves, the things we define as physical phenomena today, the things that bear the impress of physical entities, these considerations of ours are limited in their meaning by time. Physics is not eternal. In the case of certain types of reality physics has absolutely no validity. For the reality that gas was once illumined within is an entirely different reality from the condition where gas and light are together in a relatively independent condition.
Thus, we come to see that there was a time when another type of physics was valid; and, looking forward, there will be a time when a still different type will be valid. Our modern physics must conform with the phenomena of the present time, with what is in our immediate environment. In order to avoid paradoxes, and not only these but absurdities, physics must be freed of the tendency to study terrestrial phenomena, build hypotheses based on them, and then apply these hypotheses to the whole universe. We do this, and forget that what we know as physical is time-limited on the earth. That it is space-limited, we have already seen. For the moment we move out to the sphere where gravity ceases and everything streams outward, at that moment our entire physical scheme ceases to apply.
We have to say that our earth is spatially limited as a physical body and what is more, spatially limited in its physical qualities. It is nonsensical to suppose that beyond the null-sphere the terrestrial physical laws apply. Just as nonsensical is it to apply the present laws to former ages and infer the nature of earth evolution from what is going on at a particular time.
The madness of the Kant-Laplace theory consists in the belief that it is possible to abstract something from contemporary physical phenomena and extend it without more ado backwards in time. Modern astrophysics also shows the same madness to the belief that what can be abstracted from terrestrial physical conditions can be applied to the constitution of the sun and that we can look upon the sun as governed by the laws of the earth.
But a tremendously important thing unfolds for us when we take a general view over the phenomena we have considered and bring certain series of phenomena together.
Your attention has been called to the fact that the physicists have come to a certain view so neatly expressed by Eduard von Hartmann. The second law of thermodynamics states that whenever heat is changed into mechanical work some heat remains unchanged, and thus, finally, all energy must change into heat and the earth come to a heat death. This view has been expressed by Eduard von Hartmann as follows: “The world process has the tendency to run down.”
Now suppose we assume such a running down of the world-process does take place in the direction indicated. What happens then?
When we make experiments to illustrate the second law of the mechanical theory of heat, heat appears. We see mechanical work used up and heat appearing. What we see appearing is susceptible to further change. For we can show likewise when we produce lights from heat that not all of the heat reappears as light, since heat simply reverses the mechanical process as it is understood in the sense of the second thermodynamic law of mechanical phenomena. This has, however, led us to say that we have to imagine the whole cosmic spectrum as closed into a circle. Thus if it were really true, as examination of a certain series of phenomena indicates, that the entropy of the cosmos is striving to the maximum, and that the world process is running down, provision is made for re-energizing it. It runs out here, but it runs in again here (indicating figure) on the other side, for we have to think of it as a circle. Thus even if the heat-death enters on one side, on the other side, there comes in that which re-establishes the equilibrium and which opposes the heat-death by a cosmic creating process.
Physics can orientate itself according to this fact if it will no longer observe the world process as we usually look at the spectrum, going off into infinity in the past we go from the red and again into infinity in the future as we go from the blue. Instead the world process must be symbolized as a circle. It is only thus that we can draw near to this process.
When now we have symbolized the world process as a circle then we can include in it what lies in the various realms. But we have had no opportunity in these realms to insert the acoustic phenomena. These, as it were, do not lie in the plane. In them we have something new and we will speak further of this tomorrow.