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Origins of Natural Science


  1. Rudolf Steiner, Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age (Blauvelt, NY: Steinerbooks, 1960) (formerly published as Eleven European Mystics).

  2. These include the three natural scientific courses held in Stuttgart: First First Scientific Lecture Course: Light Course (Forest Row, England: Steiner Schools Fellowship, 1977); Second Scientific Lecture Course: Warmth Course (Spring Valley, NY: Mercury Press, 1981); and Das Verhältnis der verschiedenen naturwissenschaftlichen Gebiete sur Astronomie. (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag). The relationship between natural science and spiritual science is dealt with in The Boundaries of Natural Science (Spring Valley, NY, Anthroposophic Press, 1983).

  3. Nicholas Cusanus (Nicholas of Cusa), 1401–1464. Lawyer, churchman, philosopher, mathematician. Ordained priest between 1436–1440, Cardinal 1448. Bishop of Brixen, 1450. cf. chapter on Cusanus in Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age.

  4. Nicholas Cusanus was made Cardinal and named Bishop of Brixen in rapid succession. Though a stranger to Brixen he was named Bishop there directly by the Pope. This led to a protracted conflict with his diocese, during which the latter gathered behind the Duke of Tirol. Cusa was ambushed by the Duke, imprisoned, and forced into accepting a demeaning agreement. The Duke was excommunicated by the Pope and attacked by the Swiss Confederation. However, he was supported by German Counts and remained intransigent. Cusa died before the Emperor could resolve the conflict. The battles around him did not rob Cusa of his peace of mind, and he developed his philosophic, mathematical and theological insights, writing fifteen of his works during the time in Brixen.

  5. Brethren of Common Life (also of Good Will): Founded by Gerhart Groote around 1376. Brother-houses in Holland, Northern Germany, Italy and Portugal. Brought into the Catholic Church in the Fifteenth Century. Their schools taught under the strict observance of dogma.

  6. Council of Basel: 1431–1449. Called by Pope Martin V on July 23, 1431, the year of his death. This was the last of four reformatory councils with the aim of ending the division in the Church. There came a new rift in the Church.

  7. In 1437. This summarizes a long process: Cusanus entered the Council 1432 with the task from the Archdiocese of Trier to defend their Archbishop, whom they had chosen against the will of the Pope. Through the treatise De Concordantia Catholica (On Catholic Unity) which he distributed among the Council and which contained an exceptional survey of the decisions of the Councils and Decrees of the Church, he offered the advice welcome by the majority that the Common Council was beyond the Pope. Thus, he immediately became an important figure in the Council.

    Later, the Council majority and the history writings accused Cusanus of having changed his conviction. But Cusanus' deep understanding was ignored, which was rooted in his attitude and which comes to expression in the following words: “When a decision is made unanimously, then one can believe that it came from the Holy Spirit. It lies not in men's power to meet somewhere, and although they are so different from each other, they are able to come to a harmonious decision. It is God's work.” (From J.M. Duex, Der Deutsche Cardinal Nicolaus Von Cusa, Regensburg 1874, Bd. 2, s. 262, which has translated some of the most important of the De Concordantia Catholica. Cusanus must have experienced at the Council that his description of the meaning of a Council was not taken with interest, and he must have faced a decision that is mentioned in the lecture.

  8. Pope Eugene 4th was put down and Duke Amadeus of Savoy was set up as Pope Felix 5th in 1439. His resignation in 1449 caused the disbandment of the Council.

  9. From 1439–1448 Cusanus acted on the order of the Pope as “Hercules of the Eugenians” as an opponent called him. He went to worldly and churchly princes as well as to the “Reichstag,” and he tried to overcome the neutrality of the Germans about the split of churches, with complete success.

  10. At the meetings of the princes, 1454, in Nuremberg, Regensburg, and Frankfurt after the invasion of Constantinople by the Turkish, Cusanus tried to motivate the princes to a crusade. After J. Hunnyadis' victory over the Turkish Army in front of Belgrade in 1456 Cusanus organized, at the same day he received the message, a festival of thanksgiving, and he spoke the following words: “Because the lower man can only enjoy life animal-like and physical, Satan who wants to destroy the Gospels in a fine way, intended the appearance of Muhammad who knows the Gospel and the Bible, to let him give the Gospel and Bible an animal-like, sensual meaning. In this way Satan taught Muhammad knowledge to let go forth the head of Malignity, the son of Ruin, and to be an enemy of the cross of Christ.” (From a sermon, “Landaus Invocalo Dominum,” partly translated by J.M. Duex A.A.O.S. 165). Further sermons against the Turks are known from October 28, and November 5 of the same year. (E. Varisteenberge, Le Cardinal Nicolas De Cues, Paris 1920, S. 231 F, and index of sermons s. 480), but this sermon seems to be available only in Latin.

    Cusanus himself announced his appointment as Cardinal with a short autobiographical note in which is written: Nicolas was made Cardinal secretly by Pope Eugene (Hist. Jahrbuch der Goerrers Gesellschaft 16.S.549).

  11. De Pace Fidei (On the Peace of the Faiths), written in September 1453. “The horrible days of Constantinople ... had caused a deep feeling of sadness in the breast of a man who once had wandered through this region, and caused him to sink into deep contemplation, and he had a vision. In this sublime state, he particularly thinks about the differences of the religions of the world, and the possibility of their harmony. This harmony is, in his opinion, a basic condition for religious peace.” (Introduction to De Pace Fidei: Nach Duex A.A.O.S. 405).

  12. Cusanus left Basel in May 1437 together with other representatives of the minority and traveled for the minority with the legation of the Pope to Constantinople to accompany the Greek Emperor and the heads of the Eastern Church to the Union Council in Ferrara. They arrived in February 1438 in Italy.

  13. De Docta Ignorantia (The Learned Ignorance). Three books finished in February 1440.

  14. See Rudolf Steiner, The Redemption of Thinking. (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1983).

  15. Meister Eckhart: Hochheim by Gotha about 1260–before 1328, Cologne. Dominican, schoolmaster, German mystic. Preached in leading posts in orders and churches; taught in Paris, Strasbourg, Cologne. Main work: Opus Tripartius. Based on Scholasticism and writings of Dionysius the Areopagite. Copies of his sermons partly went around without his control. Meister Eckhart died, accused as heretic, during the trial. See chapter, “Meister Eckhart,” in Rudolf Steiner's Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age.

  16. These lines cannot be made clear and simple because the German text plays at length on the words Nicht and Ich.

  17. Thomas Aquinas: Castle Roccasecca in the Neopolitan region, about 1225–1274 Cloister Fossanuova. Dominican, scholar, churchman. In Cologne, student and friend of Albertus Magnus. Advocated the spiritual reality of general concepts. He directed the theological school in Rome from 1261–1267. There the studies of the Dominican; from 1268 onwards he is teaching in Naples and France. See Rudolf Steiner, The Redemption of Thinking and Riddles of Philosophy (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1973).

  18. Nicholas Copernicus: Thorn 1473–1543 Frauenburg. Humanist, mathematician, astronomer, physician, lawyer. No publications during his life, with the exception of a translation. Finished his work on the heliocentric planetary system around 1507. Copernicus was already on his deathbed when his De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium was published. He dedicated it to Pope Paul III. His friend and publisher introduced it as a purely hypothetical, special scientific method of calculation. It thus slipped past the censor, until the third edition was banned in 1616/17. Not until 1822 was it accepted by the Catholic Church, cf. Rudolf Steiner, The Spiritual Guidance of Man. (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1983).

  19. Post-Atlantean Age: cf. Rudolf Steiner, An Outline Of Occult Science (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1984).

  20. A literal translation of the transcript would read: “As body; and as body, as an image of the spirit.”

  21. I listen to the silent universe: cf. Rudolf Steiner, Truth-Wrought Words. (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1979).

  22. Democritus: c. 460–360 B.C. From his numerous writings about philosophy, mathematics, physics, medicine, psychology, and technology, only some fragments and an index remain. The remark mentioned is a report from Aristotle, Metaphysics 1:4: “That is why they (Leucippus and Democritus) say that the non-existent exists just as much as the existent, just as emptiness is just as good as fullness, and they posit these as material causes.”

  23. Francis Bacon: (also Francis Bacon of Verulam), London 1561–1626 Highgate. Lawyer, doctor, politician, diplomat, essayist, philosopher and humanist. The leading English government liberal, successful during 1603–1621. In these years his main work was developed. The philosophy of his age he found stuck in hopeless experiments to solve insolvable problems with Aristotelian logic. The only source of sure knowledge and abilities for him was natural science. He saw a renewal of the spiritual and economic life in this science. Principal works: Novum Organum (an inductive logic contradicting that of Aristotle (the old Organum); De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum; a Critical Encyclopedia of all Science; Sylva Sylvarum: Preliminary Announcement of Procedure and Method (this remained in preparation). His literary success was astonishing, and it greatly furthered the materialistic world view. cf. Riddles of Philosophy.

  24. Spinoza, Benedictus: Amsterdam 1632–1677. The Hague. Philosopher, mathematician, had Humanistic and Talmudistic training. By vocation, optician and politician. His main work Ethics with the characteristic full title Ethica Ordine Geometrica Demonstrata (Ethic Represented by Geometric Method) could only be published by his friends after his death. See Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age and Riddles of Philosophy.

  25. René Descartes: Lat., Renatus Cartenius, Le Haye (Tourraine) 1598–1650 Stockholm. Mathematician, physicist, philosopher. Educated by the Jesuits in La Fleche, he first became a soldier and was part of some campaigns but turned away from outer life to enter into the loneliness of a striver for knowledge, living first in Paris and then for a long time in Holland. He died in Stockholm, having been called there by Queen Christine. For him, doubt of tradition, but also of all sense perception, was the starting point of his philosophy and he found in self-consciousness the security of all being (“Cogito ergo Sum”). He developed the method of analytical geometry and gave an explanation of the rainbow. Main works: Essays, 1637, in it “Discours de la Methode and Dioptiric,” “Meditationes de Prima Philosophia,” 1641; “Passions de L'Ame,” 1650. See Riddles of Philosophy.

  26. Non-Euclidian geometry is a prime example of “the self-contained inner ability to think.” C. Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) discovered first that one can think more than only a geometric system. Because nobody understood this, he decided not to publish his results and to withdraw from the fruitless quarrel. Independently of Gauss in 1828 N.I. Lobatschewskij and in 1829 J. Boljai first published their solutions to the same problem. Rudolf Steiner often spoke about the meaning of this achievement, as in Wege und Ziele des geistigen Menschen in the lecture “Der Heutige Stand der Philosophie und Wissenschaft,” (Dornach, Switzerland: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1973; GA Bibl. Nr. 125). See also: Georg Unger, Physic am Scheidewege (Dornach: 1948), pages 19–28, and Vom Bielden Physikalischer Begriffe, Vol. 3 (Stuttgart: 1967), pages 31–32 and 193–194.

  27. Johannes Tauler: About 1300–1361 Strasbourg. Preacher and pastor, Dominican, mystic, student of Meister Eckhart. Sermons and writings in German by W. Lehmann, 1923; see also Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age, the chapter “Friendship with God.”

  28. Rudolf Steiner, The Case for Anthroposophy (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970).

  29. In a reply to two lectures, which Walter Johannes Stein and Eugen Kolisko gave to defend two articles on “Anthroposophy as Science” in the Goettingen newspaper, Hugo Fuchs, Professor of Anatomy, spoke sarcastically of a human being with head, breast, and belly system. (From a report of the newspaper Die Dreigliederung des Sozialen Organismus, August 1920, No. 5).

  30. From Goethe's Faust, Part I, the scene in the Student Room with Faust and Mephisto. See Rudolf Steiner, The Occult Significance of the Blood (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1967).

  31. William Harvey, 1578–1658, physiologist, Professor of Anatomy, London, discoverer of the main bloodstream: De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis (1628).

  32. Giordano Bruno: Nola 1548–1600 Rome. Dominican, 1563–1576, a great traveler. Main works developed at the English court at the time of Elizabeth I. After he returned to Italy he was imprisoned because of heretical teachings, and was burned in Rome after 8 years in prison. See Riddles of Philosophy, and The Spiritual Guidance of Man, by Rudolf Steiner.

  33. Isaac Newton, Sir: Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire 1642–1727 Kensington, London. Born as a dwarf-like child. Grew up on a farm and went to village and small town schools until 1661. After he was accepted at the University he was of medium talent until his “flaming” as a genius physicist, astronomer, mathematician 1663–1664. Professor in Cambridge 1669–1701, member of the Royal Society London 1662 and from 1703 until his death, its President. Main work: Law of Gravitation, Mathematically Adapted to the Law of Motion from Kepler, developed 1666, published 1687 in Philosophiae Naturalis Principa Mathematica. The idea of an infinitesimal mathematics came from Newton in 1663; three years later he had developed his differential mathematics. His Optics, 1704, put forth the division of light in color as well as emission theory.

    Later Newton lost all interest in physics, mathematics, and also in the destiny and consequences of his works. He turned towards chemical and alchemical experiments and studies of their old traditions. In his old age he was interested in religious-speculative studies. Before his death he compared his life with a day, in which a child is playing with sand and mussels and is not aware anymore of the cosmos at his back. Literature: J.W.N. Sullivan, Isaac Newton 1642–1727 (London 1938).

  34. In Newton's second edition of his Philosophiae Naturalis Principa Mathematica of 1713 the definition is “But I do not define, because it is well known to all of us.”

  35. George Berkeley: Desert Castle, Thomastown, Ireland 1685–1753 Oxford. English philosopher and Anglican missionary, Bishop from 1734. Main works: Treatise Concerning the Principle of Human Knowledge, 1710; Alciphron, about ethics and free thinkers, 1732; Siris, concerning metaphysical questions. See: Riddles of Philosophy.

    Berkeley said: “One has to do it in such a way”: e.g., as in Paragraph 113 of Principles of Human Knowledge. In the writing De Motu (From Motion) is written in Paragraph 43: “Motion, even though perceived clearly by the senses, was darkened, but not because of its own being, but far more through commentaries by learned philosophers.”

  36. In the work Optice by Newton, which is the Latin translation of his Optics (1704), published by Samuel Clarke in 1706 and approved with additions made by Newton, the formula appears only at the end of the book at the so-called 28th Problem: “If these questions are answered in the right way, could we then not ascertain the phenomenon that there is a being, unbodily, intelligent, which can perceive the endless universe as it were with its sense organs, and which seems to look into the innermost and is surrounding it with its all-embracing presence, while that in us that is usually feeling and thinking are only handed-down pictures in which we then perceive and observe our organs?” This thought seems not only to be Newton's, but was also presented in a similar way by Henry More, the Platonist from Cambridge who was a friend of Newton.

  37. For his polemic concerning Newton's color theory, see Rudolf Steiner, Goethe the Scientist (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1950), especially the Introduction, “Goethe, Newton and the Physicists”; see also the forthcoming book, Heinrich O. Proskauer, The Rediscovery of Color (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press).

  38. Leibnitz: Leipzig 1646–1716 Hanover. Philologist, mathematician, physicist, lawyer, statesman, priest. Mostly living at princely courts, traveling a lot. Discoverer of the Infinitesimal Calculus 1686, independently of Newton.

  39. In his writing The Analyst (The Analyst, 1734, included in the book Writings about the Origin of Mathematics and Physics) the Table of Contents is in the form of 50 theses. No. 7, for example, is as follows: “Objections against the Secrets of Belief Which are Made Unfairly by Those who Admit Them in Science;” or No. 13: “The Rule for the Flux of Potency is Achieved through Unfair Reasoning;” and No. 22: “With the Help of a Double Mistake Analysts Come to their Truth, but not to Science, in which They do not even Know How They Came to Their Own Conclusions.” From the Polemic Dispute, which follows The Analyst, an example is: “No big name on this earth will ever cause me to take unclear things for clear ones. They think of one as if it were a crime to think one could see further than Sir Isaac Newton, even above him. I am convinced though that they speak for the feelings of many others. But there are also some ... who think and feel it unfair to copy some great man's shortcomings, and who see no crime in wanting to see further than Sir Isaac Newton, but further than the whole of mankind.”

  40. Prepared by Mach and Lorentz, developed by Einstein, Special Theory of Relativity 1905, Common Theory of Relativity 1916. Made it necessary to revise Newton's Mechanics with the help of non-Euclidean Geometry. See also Riddles of Philosophy and Georg Unger, Von Bidden, Physicalischer Begriffe, Part 3 (Stuttgart: 1967), pages 100–122.

  41. Lessing, Gottfried Ephraim: Kamenz/Lausitz 1729–1781 Brunswick. Dramatist, essayist, critic. Opens a new epoch in German literature and an. His last writing, “The Education of the Human Race,” (1780) finds it necessary to postulate reincarnation for the sake of the development of the human race. See Riddles of Philosophy.

  42. The reason was a controversy in the magazine Die Drei of 1921–1922, pages 1107 and 1114, as well as in the following years publication (see pages 172–330 about the reality of atoms). See Rudolf Steiner's First Scientific Lecture Course: Light Course (Forest Row, England: Steiner Schools Fellowship, 1977).

  43. John Locke: Wrington by Bristol 1632–1704 Oates, Essex. Theologian, philosopher, and physician. Because raised Protestant and Puritan, he was persecuted in England and had to flee to Holland until after the English Revolution of 1689. From 1675–1689 Locke worked with many interruptions at his main work. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690. Originally he had planned a critical presentation of the already recognized teaching of primary and secondary sense characteristics, but then it grew to a perception theory or world view. His Essay was published 4 times in his lifetime. See Riddles of Philosophy, The Philosophy of Freedom, trans. Michael Wilson (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1964) and “Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa” in Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age.

  44. Richard Wahle: 1857–1935, Vienna, Professor of Philosophy. Only valued perceptions, imaginations, and feelings, but rejected all philosophy hitherto written as theories of cognition. The “Ego” is for him “a summary of surface-like, physiologically accompanied pieces of consciousness, which are brought into being by invisible forces.” Some writings: The Whole of Philosophy and Its End, 1894; About the Mechanism of the Spiritual Life, 1906; The Tragic Comedy of Wisdom, 1915; Development of Characters, 1928; Basics of a New Psychiatry, 1931.

  45. See Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, Chapter 4.

  46. Immanuel Kant: 1724–1804. Lived in Koenigsberg, which he seldom left. Philosopher, scientist, mathematician. Professor in Koenigsberg 1770–1794. Critique of Pure Reason, 1781. Its popular edition Dissertation on Any Future Metaphysics, 1783, his ethic Critique of Practical Reason, 1788, aesthetic and natural theology is handled in Critique of Judgment, 1790. He wrote the first mechanical cosmology 1755. It was taken up and changed by Laplace (1796) and known as the Kant-LaPlace Theory. Rudolf Steiner's exposition on Kant's theory is found in Truth and Knowledge, The Philosophy of Freedom, and An Autobiography, ed. Paul M. Alien, 2nd ed. (Blauvelt, NY: Steinerbooks, Garber Communications, 1980).

    E.g. in Critique of Pure Reason, “Transcendental Aesthetic, Common Remarks”: “We wanted to say that all our opinions are nothing but the conception of the appearance; that the things we look at are not actually what we take them for, nor is their relation constituted as they appear to us, and that if we would suspend our subject or even our subjective constitution of our senses as a whole, the whole constitution, all relationships of objects in space and time, even time and space itself would disappear. They would only exist in us, not as phenomena in themselves.”

  47. August Weismann, Frankfurt A.M. 1834–1914 Freiburg. Biologist, genetic scientist. Theory of polarity between cells (soma) and seed plasma. Determinants as heredity carriers. Writing: Studies on the Descent Theory.

  48. Goethe's recital from Faust I, Act 1, Scene 2, “Night,” Gothic Room, Wagner and Faust:

    “My friend, the time of past
    Is a book with seven seals.
    What you call the Spirit of Time
    Is fundamentally the Gentleman's own spirit,
    In which the times reflect themselves.”

  49. Henry Poincaré: Nancy 1854–1912 Paris. Author of the popular philosophical writings Science and Hypothesis (1902), The Value of Science (1905), Science and Method (1909), and Last Thoughts (1912). The lecture in question was held by Poincaré shortly before his death in a lecture cycle Conferences de Foi et de Vie printed in Le Materialisme Actuel with M.M. Bergson, H. Poincaré, Ch. Gide, Ch. Wagner, Firm Roz, De Witt-Guizotfriedel, Gaston Rion. (Paris: 1918), page 53.

  50. Mathias Jakob Schleiden: Hamburg 1804–1881 Frankfurt A.M. Lawyer, physician, and, mainly, biologist. Developed a cell formation theory in Contributions to Phylogenesis (1838).

  51. Theodor Schwann: Neuss 1810–1882 Cologne, biologist. Founded the cell theory with his Microscopic Examinations of the Harmony in Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants (1839).

  52. In the night from New Year's Eve to New Year's Day 1922/23 the Goetheanum burned down. It was built in ten years, with the help of various artists from many countries. This primarily wooden building, in which each surface and corner was formed artistically (see Steiner, Ways to a New Style in Architecture [London: Anthroposophical Publishing Co. and New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1927]) had been designed in all details by Rudolf Steiner who also managed the construction work through all these years. From the first of January on, the activities had to be transferred into the so-called “Schreinerei,” a building that was used during the construction of the Goetheanum. For the work itself, Rudolf Steiner did not allow any interruption; the afternoon after the fire, the “Three Kings Play” was performed, as was written on the invitations of the ongoing course (see Christmas Plays from Obervfer, trans. A.C. Harwood [London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973]). Rudolf Steiner introduced it with a short address, in which he spoke the following words: “great suffering knows how to keep silent about what it is feeling ... The building that was created in ten years through the love and compassion of innumerable friends of the movement was destroyed in one night. But just today the silent suffering experiences what our friends have put in this work. Since we feel that everything we do in our movement is necessary in our present civilization, we will want to continue whatever we can in the given frame, and therefore even in this hour as the flames outside still burn and rise, although such suffering is present, still perform this play which we promised our participants in connection with our course, and which these participants expect. I also will hold the lecture I offered, here in the ‘Schreinerei’ this evening at 8:00 P.M.” (printed in Ansprachen zu den Weihnachtsspielen aus Altem Volkstum [Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974], GA Bibl. Nr. 274). The beginning of the course's lecture was then devoted to the fire, which is printed in The Younger Generation (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1984).

  53. One can find the basic reality explained in the chapter “Sleep and Death” in An Outline Of Occult Science and in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1983).

  54. Paracelsus, Theophrastus von Hohenheim: Einsiedein, Kanton Schwytz 1493–1541 Salzburg, Md. Ferrara, Professor in Basel. Accomplished physician, scientist, and philosopher. Wrote about chemistry, medical science, biology, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, and theology. The myths about Paracelsus as goldmaker, magician, or charlatan were made up after his death and distorted the picture of his character. Most complete work published by Karl Sudhoff (fourteen volumes). See Riddles of Philosophy.

  55. Helmont, Johann Baptist van: Brussels 1577–1644. Physician and iatrochemist. He managed the differentiation and separation of gases (hydrogen, carbon). He coined the name “gas” for the airy state.

  56. See Steiner, Goethe the Scientist. Especially see Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15.

  57. Lecture of April 8, 1911, at the 9th International Philosophical Congress, “The Psychological Foundations of Anthroposophy,” in Rudolf Steiner, Esoteric Development, Spring Valley, NY: 1982), pp. 25–55.

  58. See Steiner, Goethe the Scientist.

  59. Rudolf Steiner, Theosophy (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1971), pp. 1–39.

  60. Rudolf Steiner, Man and the World of Stars: The Spiritual Communion of Mankind (New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1963), pp. 141–172.

  61. Galileo Galilei: Pisa 1564–1642 Arcetri by Florence. Discovered isochromism in pendulum, hydrostatic scales, laws of free fall, law of inertia. Numerous astronomical inventions with self-constructed telescope. An Inquisition trial resulted in a banning of the Copernican world system. See Riddles of Philosophy, The Spiritual Guidance of Man, and Laurenz Muellner's speech, “Die Bedeutung Galilei's fuer die Philosophie,” Vienna 1894. (Reprinted in Anthroposophie, 1933/34:29).

    His Sermons de Motu Gravium (About the Effects of Gravity) contain the results of his investigations in Pisa. They first only circulated in manuscript copies; first edition: 1854. The final version is in the Discorsi e Dimenstrazioni Mathematiche Intomo a Due Nuove Scieme, published 1638 in Leyden. Also see L. Muellner's speech.

  62. Such opponents were Bacon, Bruno, Galilei. See Riddles of Philosophy and the speech of L. Muellner, p. 103.

  63. Johannes Kepler: Weil der Stadt (Wuerttemberg) 1571–1630 Regensburg. Mathematician, physicist, astronomer, discoverer of the astronomical telescope. Astronomer and mathematician to three emperors. Persecuted as a Protestant. Totally exhausted through his life misery, he died prematurely at the “Reichstag” at Regensburg, where he hoped to secure his subsistence. To calculate his three laws of the motion of the planets he used the observation data of Tycho Brahe, whose follower he was at the court of Prague. On the other hand, the Copernican planetary system was the starting point for the finding of the three laws of the planets. Kepler was the first who tried to interpret the motion of the planetary orbit and moved the center of force to the sun. See The Spiritual Guidance of Man and, about the three planetary laws Das Verhaeltnis der Verschiedenen Naturwissenschaftlichen Gebiete zur Astronomie (Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1981), GA Bibl. Nr. 323.

  64. Galen: Pergamon, Asia Minor 129 A.D.–199 Rome. Physician and philosopher. Studies in Pergamon and travel for study to Corinth, Smyrna, and Alexandria. Personal physician of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. His one hundred and fifty medical texts with fifteen commentaries were the basis for future medicine and pharmacology. One hundred twenty-five texts concerning philosophy, mathematics, and jurisprudence.

  65. Rudolf Steiner, A Road to Self Knowledge: The Threshold of the Spiritual World (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1975), pp. 19–27,100–106.

  66. This is confirmed in chemical textbooks. They speak of chemistry as “a primarily empirical science.” In its laws one cannot come to mathematically definite values but to approximate numbers, whose limits are defined in tabular form. Therefore authors of chemical subject books need to add limiting explanations, such as “usually is valid,” or “generally one can say.” Chemical laws are mostly derived from physical laws, as for instance in the main theses of thermodynamics. It is thought unscientific to think otherwise than mechanically. Literature: H. Remy, Lehrbuch der Anorganischen Chemie, 7th ed., 2 vols. (Leipzig: 1954), Volume I, pages 14–23, 37, 50, 71–73.

  67. See Georg Unger, Vom Bilden Physicalischer Begriffe, Volume 1, pages 41–49 and 57.

  68. See Footnote 40.

  69. Steiner, The Boundaries of Natural Science, pp. 59–87. Chapters 5 and 6, as well as 7 and 8.

  70. Johannes Scotus Erigena: also Eriugena, Ireland 810–877 France. Pre-Scholastic philosopher, theologian with extensive comprehension of language. Came from Britain to France. Led the Emperor's Academy in Paris 845–877. Finished his translation of Dionysius the Areopagite in 858. His main work was De Divisione Naturae (Division of Nature), 867. He taught out of a Platonic comprehension. He stood up for the introduction of the hierarchical order in the worldly administration of the church. See also Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age.

  71. The copy in Greek originated in the fifteenth century. Dionysius was a member of the Areopag in Athens and a student of the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:34). The setting up of the 3 times 3 hierarchies by Dionysius was adapted as dogma by the Catholic church. His writings in Latin translation were taken up enthusiastically, and were still taken as authentic in the seventeenth century. See Riddles of Philosophy, The Redemption of Thinking, Die Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft (Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), GA Bibl. Nr. 96, and Otto Willmann, Geschichte des Idealismus, Volume II, paragraph 59.

  72. See Steiner, Riddles of Philosophy.

  73. Thales of Milet: About 650–560 B.C.

  74. Heraclitus of Ephesus: About 550–480 B.C.

  75. See also the personalities spoken of in Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age.

  76. Jacob Boehme: Altseidenberg, Goerlitz 1575–1624 Goerlitz. Mystic. His profession was shoemaker. First writing Aurora, 1612. Further writings from 1619 onwards, despite the prohibition. See Riddles of Philosophy.

  77. Iatrochemistry: Name from the Greek “Iatro,” physician. Work with homeopathic remedies in continuation of Paracelsus' (1493–1541) method of healing, in the beginning with retention of his opinion about sulfur, mercury, and salt. The Iatrochemical School was established during Paracelsus' last years of life. It degenerated in the middle of the seventeenth century. In its place stepped Robert Boyle's chemistry (1627–1691), for which iatrochemistry had done good preparation. J.B. van Helmont (1577–1644) was one of the main contributors to Iatrochemical literature.

  78. Iatromechanics and Iatromathematics. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the proponents of these teachings were nearly all university professors, while iatrochemistry was represented by a union of practicing physicians. But that was true only in the Romantic countries and England. In Italy the main universities were Padua, Pisa, and Rome. There the teachings were rejected on philosophic grounds, because they were based on experience. Germany, where both branches worked hand in hand, was an exception and in a special position.

  79. Georg Ernst Stahl: Ansbach 1650–1734, Berlin. Physician and chemist, Professor of Medicine. Exponent of Animism and Vitalism and the hypothesis of the “life forces” in his major work Theoria Medico Vera, 1707.

  80. Offray de la Mettrie: Malo 1709–1751 Berlin. Physician and writer. Main work is L'Homme Machine, published in Leyden 1748.

  81. Baron Dietrich von Hollenbach: Heidesheim, Rheinpfalz 1723–1789 Paris. His main work Systeme de la Nature ou des Lois du Monde Physique et du Monde Moral appeared 1770 under the pseudonym Mira-baud. He only recognized mobile, material atoms, even in regard to thinking, and he based morals on self love.

  82. Thomas Hobbes: Malmesbury 1588–1679 Hardwicke. English natural philosopher and humanist. Opera Philosophica, 1688. All phenomena in nature and humanity, even the psychological ones, are result of mobility of bodies. The social processes are traced back to mechanical processes. The leading force in this process is the egoism of the single human being. The state which is “crushing everything underfoot,” he called “Leviathan” and said: “The natural social condition is the war of all against all.”

  83. See Drawings, pages 92, 95 and compare with the ones on page 125.

  84. See footnote 45.

  85. See Rudolf Steiner, The Karma of Vocation (Spring Valley, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1984).

  86. Literature: Adolf Fink has studied the mechanism of human movement and the heat produced by muscular work, and published in 1857, 1869, and 1882 Gesammelte Schriften, (1903–06 in German).

  87. In the beginning of the century Rudolf Steiner pointed to the speech of the philosopher and Prime Minister A.J. Balfour of August 17, 1904, in front of the British Association, immediately after it was held; see Rudolf Steiner, Lucifer Gnosis (Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1969), GA Bibl. No. 34, p. 467. Often Steiner also mentioned the lecture of Max Planck of 1910: “Die Stellung der Neueren Physic zur Mechanischen Weltanshaung” in Max Planck, Physikalische Abhandlungen und Vorträge (Brunswick, Germany, 1958), Vol. 3, pp. 30–46.

  88. In 1920 a research institute was founded in Stuttgart for physics and chemistry, with a biological branch through the joint stock company “Der Kommende Tag.” A few years later it was transferred to Dornach. The first works from the Institute were published in Der Kommende Tag: Scientific Research Institute News. It contains Heft I (1921), “Milzfunktion und Blaettchen Frage” von L. Kolisko; Heft II (1923), “Der Villardsche Versuch” von Dr. Rer. Nat. R.E. Maier; Heft III (1923): “Physiologischer und Physicalischer Nachweis Kleinster Entitaeten” von L. Kolisko. Later works appeared in the volumes Gaea Sophia, Jahrbuch der Wissenschaftlichen Sektion der Freien Hochschule fuer Geisteswissenschaft am Goetheanum, Volume I (1926), etc.

  89. From this scientific discussion of January 5 no known copy exists.


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