Aphorisms on Nature
"NATURE! We are surrounded and embraced by her: powerless to separate ourselves from her, and powerless to penetrate beyond her. Without asking, or warning, she snatches us up into her circling dance, and whirls us on until we are tired, and drop from her arms. She is ever shaping new forms: what is, has never yet been; what has been, comes not again. Everything is new, and yet nought but the old.
We live in her midst and know her not. She is incessantly speaking to us, but betrays not her secret. We constantly act upon her, and yet have no power over her. The one thing she seems to aim at is Individuality; yet she cares nothing for individuals. She is always building up and destroying; but her workshop is inaccessible.
Her life is in her children; but where is the mother? ... "
(by T. H. Huxley, in the first issue of the weekly scientific periodical 'Nature', Nov 4, 1869)
As one can see by the article above Goethe's method was invoked at the outset of the science of the nineteenth and twentieth century. We feel these sentiments will grow in importance in our century. The discrepancy between what we feel Goethe meant science to be and what developed seems to us due in part to the necesarry specialization and partly, to limited models in science being kept, despite their demonstable inadequacy: matter, life, consciousness and evolution to name but a few. Those involved with research in these areas know how various schools of thought do battle with one another and how little clear-cut popularized opinions often really are. The links are intended to show how open these issues really are.
Mainstream science thus tends
- to isolate, rather than integrate
- to ignore epistemological roots
- to look at nature more in terms of control than in terms of understanding and stewardship.
Anthroposophy (our form of Goetheanism) attempts to take these pitfalls more seriously and to avoid them by
- emphasizing our perception and evaluation of 'wholes' and their parts using an organic as possible way of thinking, which involves recognizing and utilizing aesthetic and moral moments,
- extending our consciousness (opening our scientific eyes in an inward as well as an outward direction) by, inter alia, using a meditative approach and
- ensuring that technical applications (e.g., various anthroposophically insipired products and services) are not only in harmony with nature as much as possible, but serve the long term good of society and civilization.
Interview with Craig Holdrege, The Nature Institute, USA
This material was filmed in the making of Jonathan Stedall's film 'The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner'. DVD and download of the film available at www.rudolfsteinerfilm.com