The Etheric Formative Forces In Cosmos, Earth and Man by Dr. Guenther Wachsmuth (Part 4)

(continued from Part 3)

The Nature of “Gravitation” and of Terrestrial Magnetism

Unique and hard to understand among the phenomena of Nature are terrestrial magnetism and, most especially, that which we call “ gravitation.” Professor U Graetz in “ Der Aether und die Relativi-tatstheorie ” refers thus to gravitation (p. 66) : “ Concerning the force longest thoroughly known in its general principles and yet one of those most completely outside our understanding . . . concerning gravita

tion, or the general force of mutual attraction among all bodies, of which gravitation is simply a special case . , .” Elsewhere he expresses

Illlll Warmth, ether

iiiiii Light ether

HI Ilf Chemical ether HUH Life ether

the conjecture (p. 66) “that gravitation also is in some way a process in the ether.” In order to understand both gravitation and magnetism on the basis of the theory of ether here set forth, and also in their reciprocal relationship, we must bear in mind the etheric forces in the earth-organism (see diagram).

“ Gravitation ”—that is, that which causes substance, bodies, to tend toward the centre of the earth, is nothing other than the effect of the suctional activity of life ether centralized in the solid earth. We noted in Chapter II in discussing the states of aggregation, that the life ether induces the solid state of substance ; it is, therefore, clear now that the life ether of the earth exerts its greatest activity upon those bodies which stand closest to this state subject to itself, those which have brought about that state in the strongest and most concentrated degree. Those bodies in which the tendency to become identified with the related life-ether centre of the earth is at its strongest we call “heavy bodies/’ In contrast, bodies whose structure (fluid, gaseous, etc.)—to be ascribed more to the chemical, light, or warmth ether—is less adjusted to the life ether, have correspondingly less tendency, or none at all, to strive toward the life-ether centre of the earth. These are “ light bodies.”

The behaviour of all individual bodies within the earth organism is due, therefore, to the tendency of the earth organism (described in the beginning of this chapter) constantly to re-establish the normal distribution of its formative forces and of the various substances linked up with these. What we have been able to observe in the matter of the “ reversal of temperature,” as regards the returning of the etheric forces into their natural spheres, reveals itself now also for the world of substance in its varying relation to “ gravitation.” The earth does not rest until it has brought the solid, fluid, gaseous substances within its organism to the spheres of the corresponding formative forces. In the gaseous bodies, therefore, the light ether which conditions these, strives always toward the light-ether sphere of the earth organism—■ that is, upward ; in solid bodies, on the contrary, the life ether, which—■ in this relation called gravitation—conditions these, strives toward its own sphere in the earth organism, toward the interior of the earth— that is, downward (see preceding diagram). Why, now, the earth as a whole tends toward the sun we shall come to understand in connection with the discussion of the sun.

Ifi the book already cited, Erdmagnetismus, Erdstrom, und Polarlicht,” Professor Nippoldt says : “ Terrestrial magnetise occupies a middle position between gravity and the phenomena of meteorology. With the first it is connected through the similarity existing between magnetic attraction on the one hand and the mutual attraction of bodies in space and the omnipresent manifestation of this latter, and through the fact that magnetism also is a force acting in a certain direction. For, just as gravity on the earth always acts downward, so .also the magnetic pull of the earth^-or terrestrial magnetism—always expresses itself in a determinate direction.

“ Yet it is distinguished from gravity in particular in this—that it only turns a magnet away from the general relationships of which we know, but cannot move the magnet in space. A magnet falls only because it is subject to gravitation—not as a magnet—and does not increase in weight. Generally speaking, the force of terrestrial magnetism is distinct from gravitation by reason of its continual variability, whereas, although gravity also is certainly subject to such modifications, these are so slight that only very recently has it been possible to prove them conclusively. The great importance of the part played by the magnetic forces in the cosmos, related to terrestrial magnetism, is now beginning to be understood.”

The fact only recently discovered that gravitation is not constant, as physicists had previously believed, but is variable, corresponding thus to the etheric structure of a living organism, has fortunately brought some variability in conceptions wThich had before been fixed and mechanical.

We need, then, only to inquire what is the mutual relationship between “gravitation” and “terrestrial magnetism.” Each, as Professor Nippoldt says so clearly, is a directional force. The direction of gravitation is toward the interior of the earth—or, more accurately, toward the centre of the earth ; the direction of a magnetized body (the magnetized needle, for example) is also toward the interior of the earth, but toward a locality in the region of the earth’s pole. If we apply here the explanation already given, that the phenomena of gravitation are due to the suctional action of life ether, then it will follow that terrestrial magnetism, directed toward the pole, is only a special instance of the universal magnetism of the earth, the cause of which is identical with that of the phenomena of so called “ gravitation ”—that is, the suctional action of life ether acting from the interior of the earth. The magnetism operating from the magnetic pole is only a plus in the suctional pull operating from points where the life ether within the earth is less disturbed—that is, points of greater concentration. The magnetic poles are not fixed spots in the body of the earth, but points of the least disturbance and hence of greater concentration and activity in the force-sphere* which belongs to the force of life ether ; as such, these are shifting points : that is, they are centres of force in the etheric earth.

In our observation of the occurrences within the etheric earth, we have seen that the etheric earth—because of rhythmical influences proceeding from the sun and the moon—is subject to a constant alternation, expressed in the alternate chaotic upsetting and restoration of the basic structure of the earth. Now, this alternating, disturbing process is naturally at its maximum in the region of the equator and its minimum

in the region of the poles. Accordingly, there must be points within the earth organism where the constant concentration of life ether and its unmodified action reach their maximum. Such points, then, of the heightened activity of the life-ether are the magnetic poles.

(What findings result from this fact regarding the structure of the earth we shall indicate in detail in Volume II.)

It has been shown conclusively by recent research that terrestrial magnetism is not—as had been mistakenly supposed—fixed to the shell of the earth or a characteristic of this, but that it is a result of the action of a truly variable field of force. Professor Nippoldt says in-regard to one of the usual variations of this natural force (p. 57) : “ The secular variation comes about through the fact that the closed field as such moves round the earth—that is, the anomalies in terrestrial magnetism move along over the earth. This would signify that they are not characteristics of definite parts of the shell of the earth, so that in this matter we face the greatest, if not quite insurmountable, difficulties in our physical explanation of terrestrial magnetism/’

Since, moreover, it has been shown experimentally that the magnetism of the earth is by no means uniform and we come upon regions of great disturbance in the most widely separated parts of the earth (Kursk in Russia, the Gulf of Finland, etc.), it is clear that terrestrial magnetism is not to be looked upon as a force entirely different from ” gravitation,” but as a special example of the same force : that is, as an action of the life ether intensified at certain points of the etheric earth, but identical with that which otherwise reveals itself uniformly in the phenomena of “ gravitation.” We might, therefore, say that the

magnetic poles are points of intensified action of “ gravitation ” ; but, since this plus, as compared with the universal “ gravitation ” acting toward the centre of the earth, is so slight as to be almost imperceptible, it suffices only to suck the pivoted magnetic needle in this direction, but not to affect the magnetic needle when it falls, under the influence of the force-component directed toward the centre of the earth. The life-ether centre of the terrestrial pole acts upon the same force in the magnetic needle. (See below.)

An evidence of the fact that life ether is the uniform common cause of “ gravitation ” and terrestrial magnetism is contained in the following fact, mentioned by Professor Nippoldt (p. 42) : “ Since heavy rocks are generally capable of being more strongly magnetized, it must seem probable that magnetic disturbances are connected with those of gravity. This has also, in fact, generally been confirmed wherever investigation has yet been made—for instance, in the Hartz Mountains, at Bornholm, South Africa, and elsewhere; the fines showing no deviation of the plummet are parallel with those free from magnetic irregularities.”

But we can go much further and say in the sense we here mean : Magnetism and gravitation, both on the earth and in the cosmos, are forms of expression of the same cause—namely, of the life ether. The intensity of the inner tendency of bodies to strive toward a life-ether centre differs according to their own inner kinship to this ether. The “ love and hate of the elements/’ in place of which the well-known physicist Nemst, as quoted above, says that we have at present only substituted the equally unintelligible conception of the “ affinity of atoms/’ are only the eternal alternation of this striving toward the union of a body with its etheric home or toward its separation from a foreign etheric sphere, with all those endless variations and possibilities which are afforded to these processes of union and separation within the earth organism and the cosmos, as their field of play.

There is associated with the points of greater concentration of the suctional forces—as we have learned to call the magnetic poles—one of the most wonderful and characteristic phenomena of the earth organism, the deeper significance of which has not yet been revealed : that is, the polar fight, or northern lights {aurora borealis). The reciprocal relation between the northern lights and terrestrial magnetism has been thoroughly established by recent research. I wish to cite here only one experimentally established fact which finds its explanation in the view of ether we have set forth. Professor Nippoldt says : “ From measurements made in these regions and now abundantly available, it seems that atmospheric humidity is not entirely without its influence in the

production of the polar light: but no relation with other elements has been indicated. Still more intimate is the relation between the northern lights and cloud formation. . . .” We recall that the suctional chemical

ether is also the creator of the liquid state of aggregation in substance (Chaps. II and IV). The magnetic poles thus show themselves as points of intensified action on the part of the suctional group of etheric forces, chemical ether and life ether, not only as indicated above, but also in this association of the polar lights with humidity and cloud-formation. (For details, see the discussion of the ontogenetic origin of substance, Chap. IV.)

After considering the etheric forces of the sun we shall also understand that alterations in the etheric structure of the sun, as these manifest themselves, for instance, during periods of sun spots, are naturally associated with influences upon the great centres of chemical ether and life ether in the earth—that is, with the phenomena of the polar lights.

The Sun

On the way toward an understanding of the true nature of the unique phenomena of magnetism in its most varied fields of action, mankind never passed during the last century—for this we may well be grateful— even through the first gateway to knowledge. It was well that this should not happen in an age characterized by a mechanistic and materialistic conception of the world ; for the harm which might arise from this sort of philosophy and from practices conditioned thereby in these fields is almost unimaginable.

A decisive change of view came about through the discovery by Hale of solar magnetism, which reduced terrestrial magnetism to the status of a part of cosmic magnetism. Whereas at an earlier period any one who maintained that a body glowing-hot could be magnetic would have been charged with complete ignorance by physicists of the older school, it has been conclusively proven in recent years that the sun, which has been looked upon as a glowing-hot gaseous body is, none the less, magnetic to a tremendous degree. Its magnetic intensity is reckoned as fifty million times that of the earth (Nippoldt, p. 49). It is to be feared that any one who now maintains that the sun is not a glowing-hot gaseous body will be charged with complete ignorance just so long as this fact has not been conclusively established. In spite of this risk, such a view must here be placed at the very basis of the phenomena under discussion if we are to understand them.

For many years now Dr. Rudolf Steiner has declared and emphasized again and again the fact that the modem physicist would be utterly astonished if he should discover some day that the sun is not a gaseous glowing ball of molecules whirling about among themselves, but a cavity not filled with substance—or, better expressed, a ” minus space ” a f< vacuity in space ” as contrasted with the rest of world space with its substantial and insubstantial contents. Since in this book the world-conception must be considered only from its etheric aspect, we cannot discuss the mysteries otherwise connected with the sun. Considered from the etheric point of view, the sun is a space not filled with substance, but in which the etheric forces of life ether are active. We have already explained the influence of this ether as linked up with states of consciousness and life processes, as these come to expression in the terrestrial realm. We shall later be able to complete this conception as regards the view of the life-current flowing through man (Chap. XII). If one looks upon the sun as in reality “ not filled with substance ” in the above sense, but as the field of activity of pure life ether in its various modifications, then we need not believe the contradiction that it is a glowing ball of gas and at the same time tremendously “ magnetic/' and yet this contradiction is generally believed to-day, for the reason that men will not give up the theory grown familiar to them in which the sun is a glowing gas ball, in spite of the fact that this contradicts all that we have learned within the earth organism. We meet with the same difficulty in explaining the core of the earth. To this we shall later return. For gases are, as we know, almost wholly dia-magnetic, non-magnetic ; in the sense we intend, they do not belong in the sphere of action of life ether—with the exception that, according to experience, oxygen is less unmagnetic than other gases. This last we shall be able to explain in a later discussion of light (Chap. VII). But, if we attribute the phenomena of magnetism to the action of life ether, as we have done above, and if we look upon the sun as a body which is wholly filled with elements of this life ether, we then understand the tremendously powerful magnetism of the sun on the basis of the nature and content of the sun itself. The Planets and their Spheres If we recall, now, that terrestrial magnetism, and especially the fields of its intensified action, the magnetic poles, are to be attributed to the activity of terrestrial life ether, we shall arrive at an explanation of a third movement carried out by the earth organism, in addition to its revolution round the sun and its rotation. A consideration of this motion—even though it is of the maximum slowness—is of the utmost importance for an understanding of certain facts in our planetary system. Just as “ heavy ” bodies, more perfectly adapted to the state of life ether, show a greater striving toward the centre of the earth than “ light ” bodies, so also there is a special form of attraction between the life-ether centre of the sun and that magnetic north pole of the earth, which we have come to know as a point of intensified action of the life ether. This mutual attraction leads to a scarcely perceptible motion, which goes through its course in a tremendously long period of time, and which brings the magnetic north pole of the earth, and thus the earth itself, in the direction of the sun. When once carried through, after an enormous lapse of time, this motion will bring it about that the north pole of the earth will point directly toward the sun. The alternation of an ice age and a tropical climate at certain points on our planet is connected with similar movements at earlier periods. We shall not be able to discuss the further consequences of this motion, but the phenomenon is only mentioned for the reason that it is necessary to an understanding of the following important matter. That is, it is an undisputed fact that the moons of all the planets move, according to the laws of Kepler, from west to east around their primary planets, with the exceptions of the moons of Uranus and Neptune, which revolve in the opposite direction around their planets. These planets fall, therefore, outside the general laws of our system. This fact is to be explained only on the ground that Uranus and Neptune have gone through the motion mentioned above, not only to the extent of 90 degrees, but to about 180 degrees—that is, their north poles point downward, or, from our point of view they stand on their heads. For these planets the sun rises—as we feel—in the west and sets in the east. We call attention to this fact only to indicate that Uranus and Neptune do not belong, according to their general laws, in our system, in the same sense as do the other planets. If one speaks to-day to a half-educated man—and oftentimes even to a cultivated man—of the influence of the planets upon terrestrial occurrences, one is generally met by an uncomprehending smile, if by nothing worse. In absolute contrast with this fallacious scepticism, exact scientific research in this field shows such an influence in the most specific details. Professor Nippoldt, for example, says in regard to variations in terrestrial magnetism (p. 93) : “ The influence of the planets also has been brought into the reckoning. ... It also is certainly present. Both the general average and also the daily range of variations is influenced by this, the latter even much more strongly.’’ He then cites a fact very impressive in reference to the question of planetary influence upon terrestrial occurrences : “ The exceptional position of Mercury in both series is very striking.” Moreover, the extremely important fact has also been experimentally established that the “ action of the Sun is at its maximum when the planets Venus, Earth, and Jupiter are as nearly as possible in a straight line” (Sellmayer, Nippoldt, p. 93). I wish, therefore, to take as the foundation for the following consideration of the activity of the planets a corresponding arrangement. This arrangement was described and discussed by Dr. Rudolf Steiner many years ago as being of the utmost reality in its significance. The several individual planetary orbits are here schematically diagrammed in circular form. In this diagram, then, the planets which revolve round the sun (red circles) are placed in that arrangement which scientific research has proven to be favourable to the greatest activity of the sun, (Venus, Earth, Jupiter in a line, which occurs about every 11*8 years—that is, relatively often. The other planets are arbitrarily located in their orbits, but here, for the sake of convenience in observing, in a straight line.) Uranus and Neptune are left out, on the ground, already mentioned, that they differ in essential respects from the other planets. In considering the action of the planets upon terrestrial occurrences, it will be necessary in future to take a much broader view if we are desirous of reaching a comprehensive grasp of the group of facts under consideration. The wise men of past centuries, especially those of the Chaldeans and the Egyptians, possessed a knowledge of these things which, unfortunately, is entirely lost in essential points to our own age, so extraordinarily proud of its scientific achievements. It is fortunate that it has occurred to some of the most advanced investigators to bring the action of the planets under consideration in exact fashion in relationship with the earth, although we are only at the beginning of this inquiry. We shall later see that the influence of individual planets upon terrestrial magnetism, for example, is very clear and very varied. Professor Nippoldt gives the following table determined by Leyst showing the influence, for example, in the modification of the mean daily declination at the time of the upper and the nether culmination : By Mercury+0'*37+0'*09 By Venus — 0‘40+J)*17 By Mars — 0*43+0*24 By Jupiter — 0*29+0*17 “ The maximum range of the daily variation is modified according to the following series of percentages (+ means increased, — means diminished) : Mercury+11%, Venus—10%, Mars—4%, Jupiter—19%, Saturn—2%. ” The decisive point in this is the fact precisely proven that there is a real influence from the planets in terrestrial relationships. But a mistake is generally made in the manner in which this influence is viewed. Obviously the influence of the planets upon terrestrial magnetism should lead us to consider this influence after the manner of magnetic fields and spheres. If, upon observing the action of the magnetic north pole upon a magnetic needle at some arbitrary place on the earth, I should say that the magnetic phenomena in question occurred only at the magnetic pole and at the spot of the needle, but not at the same time at all other points of the globe, any logically thinking person would consider this to be nonsense. Yet in considering the influence of the planets upon the earth at some arbitrary point in its orbit, the mistake is generally made of considering only the planet and the earth, and likewise only an activity flowing in a straight line from the planet to the earth, instead of considering the occurrence—as in the case of terrestrial magnetism—after the fashion of magnetic spheres of great extent b Just as the magnetic pole of the earth is only a point of greater concentration of the magnetism universally operative in the globe, so also is each planet only a point of greater concentration in the action of its forces in the sphere subject to it.* The action which we can prove experimentally on the earth as the action of Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, etc., does not proceed at any point of time only from the body of Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, etc., but from the entire sphere belonging to the planets in question. The planet in reality, then, exerts in its momentary position only a considerable concentration of the universal action of its sphere. Schematically drawn : Sphere of Saturn |||||| Sphere of Mars —n The same thing holds good, naturally, for the other planets represented in the diagram on page 86. (In regard to their influence over the earth, this is schematically shown by black lines.) Let us consider more thoroughly what we really have before us in this matter. We can in this manner divide the cosmos into great fields of space (spheres) which are filled with the etheric active forces of the individual planets. Since these spheres of space partially intersect each other, there are, therefore, some spheres in which only the etheric action of single planets is operative, and other spheres in which the etheric action of two, three," four, or more meet and mutually cross and interpenetrate one another. In order to illustrate what follows from this for astrophysics and other fields of cosmic theory, we may introduce the following comparison. Let us suppose, for example, a body of a yellow colour set up at a certain point, and an observer standing at another point, at a specified distance away, so that he clearly perceives the yellow body as it is. But there are now thrust between him and the yellow object pieces of glass of the most varied tints. No reasonable man will now maintain that he will see the object as it is in reality. If, for instance, there is a blue glass (or a blue mist, etc.) between him and the object, then, if he does not know this fact, he will maintain with the most dogmatic certainty that the object itself is of a blue-greenish tint, whereas it is really yellow. We must not here fall into the error of the false subjective conception of the nature of colour, for the object is and remains yellow, and will appear truly as yellow to any one who sees the yellow object, not through the blue glass, but apart from this medium. I must always endeavour to discover with exactness whether between me and an object under observation some one or more spheres of activity (blue glass, etc.) have been thrust, which cause the reality and the appearance of the object in question to seem to me different from what these really are. ►) Observer | Yellow object Coloured glass But are we not in the same situation in observing the planets through our optical instruments, though these suffice to make those holding a mechanistic-quantitative conception of the world willing to pronounce decisive things about the cosmic system ? Every physicist will admit that it is the cosmic ether which transmits to us the phenomena perceptible through optical glasses, telescopes, etc. But the cosmic ether, when I look, for example, from the earth toward Saturn, is by no means a constant and uniform quantity. This world ether is subject not only as regards space, but also as regards time, to a never ceasing organic change, though this takes place very gradually over very long stretches of time. It is differently composed when I view the Moon and when I view the Sun ; and differently again when I view Mercury and when I view Saturn. Professor J. Plassmann cites in his “ Himmelskunde ”* the following thoroughly established fact (p. 160) : “ There are fixed stars which regularly, within brief periods, suffer a diminution of their light. One supposes that this loss of light is caused by revolving bodies which cut us off partly for brief periods from the light of the fixed stars.’* As a matter of fact we observe Saturn or any other planet, as well as the ♦Berlin. 1924. Foreword to the First German Edition A BOOK concerned with problems of natural science will, in our day more than ever before, grow into a treatise upon the most profound questions of philosophy, if it is to deal adequately with its problem. For in this materialistic age the results of scientific research, not only in their power to illuminate but also in their power to darken, have penetrated so deeply into the human mind, into its habits of thought, that corresponding effects show themselves even in the outward and visible life of our age—although the true cause of these conditions is not any longer present to the consciousness of most of those who are themselves involved in the sort of life thus manifested. But the new generation now growing up sets itself, with the energy of those who are battling for their lives, against being swept into this current of our age, a current whose chaotic, ruinous nature is to be explained wholly as a result of the scientific thought of the past century, but especially of the last decades. Who is not deeply impressed to-day with the feeling that those ideas taken over from the scientific conceptions of the past century, and.then popularized and introduced into the thought and activities of every-day life—conceptions of “ the struggle for existence/' of “ natural selection/’ of the pitiless “ mechanism of Nature,” of the “ survival of the fittest ” and the annihilation of all that fails to meet the requirements of this supposedly utilitarian Nature—who does not feel that all these conceptions, ostensibly learned from Nature herself but really obtruded upon her out of one-sided and limited human thought, have brought a terrible devastation into the minds of men, and that this spiritual confusion has been the impelling factot in bringing about the European catastrophe ? This is not a question of guilt or innocence. It is a question as to the manner in which a spiritual stream in human evolution which took its rise in the fifteenth century, and reached its culmination at the turning point between the nineteenth and the twentieth, is drawing to its end. This spiritual stream, which—when viewed in its brighter aspect—has brought to us the great scientific revelations, yet also has given to the men of our time a phantom picture of the world wherein fixed stars also, always through " coloured glass ”—to use our comparison—partially in continual alternation, and partially more or less unchanging—that is, through the etheric spheres of the individual planets. But our modem knowledge of these heavenly bodies rests most of all upon the spectrum analysis—that is, upon the analysis of the rays of light which, through the medium of the ether, pass through the instrument in question when we direct it toward specific planets. But there is here the additional fact, which I will merely mention, that we always look through a medium consisting of an atmospheric stratum subject to purely terrestrial laws, which, however, has never been clearly investigated as to its constitution and the structure of its forces. In the work of Professor W. Nemst already cited, " Das Weltgebaude im Fichte der neueren Forschung,” there occurs a very satisfactory sentence which rejects in splendid fashion the practice now unfortunately so general of applying terrestrial laws systematically to the cosmos. He says (p. 37) : “ Cosmic physics is not ordinary physics. What must here be disapproved as uncorroborated speculation may there become a necessity of thought forcing itself irresistibly upon our investigation/’ Since we shall see in the discussion of the theory of colours (Chapter VIII) that the origin of the various shades of colours lies in the joint action of etheric forces in various ways according to general laws, it will be clear to us that the sort of research hitherto practised in reference to the cosmic bodies can never bring us to true and permanent conclusions as to the nature and the phenomena of these cosmic bodies and centres of force—acting upon our terrestrial relationships—until the nature and action of the etheric shall have been made clear through a knowledge based upon reality. Then, however, the merely mechanistic and quantitative conceptions of the cosmic system will speedily take their place with other things belonging to a quickly vanishing past. For this new method of research, however, the basis will be an organic conception of the various cosmic spheres of etheric action belonging to the several planets and heavenly bodies ; and we shall, by including the other attributes of the etheric, reach a more profound understanding of the " world organism ” and its life processes linked with physical motion, etheric currents, and states of consciousness of the most varied kinds— a more profound understanding, that is, than will ever be possible for the mechanistic-quantitative observation of the world. It may be well to call to mind here the passage previously quoted from the book " Radioaktivitat ” by those two distinguished scientists, Professors St. Meyer and E. von Schweidler (p. 20) ; " We may, perhaps, consider that the human organism continually takes * electrons ’ out of its environment and gives these back, under the action of light and heat; perhaps a not distant future will permit us to speak of a ' cycle of electrons/ out of the environment into man and back into the environment, of whose action upon our life-processes we have at present no knowledge whatever/’ Whoever has admitted into his thought, without prejudice, and in complete perspective, that which is linked up with the nature of the etheric will perceive that it is by no means only ” electrons ” which stream in eternal alternation into the human organism and the living beings of the other kingdoms of Nature and out again, but that these are entities which in their totality can never be grasped within the range alone of the theories of modem physics, electricity, and the like. But the two investigators of radio-activity are right primarily in this : that we are here dealing with occurrences “ of whose action upon our life-,processes we have at present no knowledge whatever.” We shall later arrive at conceptions in anatomy, zoology, and botany—and also in organic and inorganic chemistry, in meteorology, geology, etc.—which will have little in common with the mechanistic world-concept prevalent at the turning point between the nineteenth and the twentieth century. The setting up of abstract conceptions—such as the potential gradient, vertical current, emanation, induction, magnetism, etc.—will not suffice for an understanding of even the most superficial of those great life-processes which are bound up with the action of these forces, but which have in our day been rendered dead, and therefore unintelligible, by reason of our physical abstractions. Here we shall refer—even at the apparently certain risk of being metaphorically stoned by a certain sort of specialistic school-mastership—to a truth which comes as an entirely logical inference to anyone who thinks accurately. If we conceive the postulate quite justly expressed by Professors St. Meyer and K. von Schweidler concerning research into the action of forces entering into the human organism—if we conceive this in conjunction with the scientific findings reached in regard to influences of the sun, moon, planets, etc., upon terrestrial force-relationships and life-processes, we shall then come—provided we think logically and without cowardice— to the irrefutable conclusion that the array of forces acting upon a point on the earth, an array of forces influenced as has been proved by the sun, moon, and planets, plays a weighty role in the coming into existence of a human being, as well as in the development of other organisms. * It is one of the most serious of false inferences we can commit in research when we admit the influence of the planetary spheres of force only in relation to the “ dead substance ” of the magnetic needle. It is not only logically to be inferred but also a fact amply established that the " living substance ” of organisms reacts strongly and in much more delicate fashion to the field of force forming their environment But this field of force—as, for instance, we have clearly seen in the matter of variations of the magnetic needle—is influenced, in its mutations, continuously and in measurable degrees by the macrocosmic motions of the planets. This field of force is one thing when a planet is at its culmination, another when two planets are in opposition or in conjunction, etc. Our entire life-process goes on in an environment in which the structure of forces is continually changing. The air-space, for instance, in which we breathe, is subject, in respect to its delicate structure of forces, to a continual mutation, regular and organic, for it takes its structure from macro-cosmic processes, the tremendous etheric spheres of force of the planets, through which our earth moves and which interpenetrate our atmosphere and continually modify it. In Chapter XI we shall discuss further in detail the delicate reactions of plants as well as the higher kingdoms of Nature to the force-complex surrounding them. Research which proposes to reach an exact understanding of the causes of many of the most essential phenomena in organisms will in future necessarily explore thoroughly and concretely the action of planetary etheric spheres upon the field of force of the earth organism and thereby also upon the various organisms of plant, animal, and man, in order that it may truly understand the specific differentiations in the evolution of the kingdoms of Nature, of species, and of individuals (Chap. XI). The Interior of the Earth In order that we may complete the general and particular conception we have formed of the action of the etheric forces, we shall now take up a IIIIII Warmth ether Light ether mm Chemical ether Life ether special question which is of great importance for an adequate understanding of the processes within the earth organism: the systematic arrangement of the interior of the earth. We have already seen, that the accompanying diagram can schematically be taken to represent the basic structure as a whole. In considering the interior of the earth in detail, this arrangement is modified furthermore, only in the following special manner. The solid body of the earth is the sphere of action of the life ether, whose tendency, in fact, is to bring about the solid state of aggregation of substance. But within this sphere of the life ether the other etheric forces also are naturally active, though in graduated modifications. The conception derived from our study of this, which the most recent experimental research entirely confirms, is as follows:— The sphere filled in with pink is the solid earth—that is, the chief sphere of action of life ether. Naturally, life ether in small quantity enters also into the atmosphere; indeed, it is this which holds the atmosphere together by its suctional , action, since otherwise—in accordance with the tendency of light and warmth ether and the gaseous substances adapted to these—the atmosphere would fly away into cosmic space. That the force which holds together the earth and its atmosphere is not of a fixed and mechanical nature, but is subject to continual changes, we have seen principally in discussion of the variability of “ gravitation/’ terrestrial magnetism, the double wave of barometric pressure, the rise and fall of water in the vegetable kingdom, the inhaling and exhaling of chemical ether by the earth organism, etc., so that the chemical ether also works in rhythmic alternation within and without the solid earth. In a more thorough consideration of the interior of the earth we must emphasize the fact that the different etheric forces working in the interior of the earth are subject, so to speak, to the general primary influence of the life ether, which interpenetrates the four inner spheres (IV—VII), but is modified by the other etheric forces in various ways — so that, for example, there are active in the fifth sphere life ether plus chemical ether; in the sixth sphere life ether plus light ether; in the seventh sphere life ether plus warmth ether. These various modifications of forces also correspond to the various modifications of substance in the different spheres of the interior of the earth. That the interior of the earth consists of a solid shell which passes over, as we approach the centre, to the liquid (lava, etc.), gaseous and fiery states of substance—that is, to modifications in the reciprocal action cf life ether with chemical, light, and warmth ether—-this is conclusively established by the combined results of practical scientific observation in connection with volcanoes, eruptive rock, etc. Only, the effort is generally made, for instance, to explain the fact that heat increases toward the middle of the earth and is at its maximum in the innermost centre, on the basis of chemical and mechanical causes alone. But Professor E. Kayser, in his modem “ Lehrbuch der Geologie/’* says in regard to this (p. 77) : “ An explanation of the internal heat of the earth by chemical processes occurred first to Davy. Two different phenomena came especially under consideration in explaining the heating of the upper parts of the solid earth—that is, oxidation and the formation of carbonates. It is clear, however, that, if the heat of the earth were really explained in this way, it must gradually decrease toward the centre, since the oxygen and carbonic acid from the water seeping into the crust would necessarily have been gradually exhausted. But, instead, we find the exact opposite : that is, a decrease in the internal heat as we move upward. . . . But, as regards the assertion that the heat of the earth arises from the pressure of the upper strata upon the lower, it has been shown through calculations by Pfaff that the mean temperature of rock, at a depth of 780 metres, could thereby increase at most by reason of pressure 1/113° (Celsius). . . . These discussions show adequately how far from fortunate are the attempts to explain the store of heat of the inner earth upon the assumption of chemical and mechanical phenomena/1 The heat of the inner earth, in reality, is most intense at the centre and decreases as we move outward, not because of any sort of chemical or mechanical causes, but for the reason that the sphere of warmth ether lies at the centre of the earth, and is surrounded and modified by the other etheric spheres as we proceed outward (see diagram, p. 93). The normal arrangement of the etheric spheres, as shown above, is the true cause of the various states of aggregation in the interior of the earth organism. Chemical and mechanical hypotheses in regard to these things have almost always led within a short time to wrong conclusions. Only the theory of ether can help us to introduce system and meaning into the confusing multiplicity of such phenomena. For the etheric structure of the earth organism is the primary thing, the structure of substance only secondary. Professor A. Nippoldt says in “ Erdmagnetismus, Erdstrom und Polarlicht ” (p. 51) : " The core is formed of glowing-hot gases of iron, nickel, and cobalt. The middle strata contain these metals in molten condition ; the outer shell constitutes a covering of rock. In spite of its high temperature, the core would be capable of being magnetised ♦ E. F. H. Kayser, Lehrbuch der Geologie, 5, Aufl, Stuttgart, 1918. under the coinciding high pressure (of 2—3 million atmospheres), as it consists of most intensely magnetic substances. At all events, the fact that the sun, likewise glowing-hot, is magnetic points to the possibility that the inner core of the earth also can be magnetized in the same way/’ The difficulty faced by previous research—■ as here indicated—will find its solution in that distribution of the formative forces in the interior of the earth which we have explained, if the reader will at the same time recall that we have explained the phenomena of magnetism on the basis of characteristics of the life ether. The difference between the sun and the inner earth consists in this, that in the sun the life ether works only as a free etheric force and therefore induces the tremendous magnetic intensity of the sun, whereas in the inner earth it works reciprocally with substance and therewith produces the solid state of aggregation of the fourth sphere (shell of the earth) adapted to the life ether, or else produces modifications of this through the co-operation of the other formative forces toward the centre. The above representation of the differentiated distribution of the etheric forces illustrates one of the most significant primal phenomena in the cosmos. We see (diagram, p. 93) that the third sphere corresponds with the fifth sphere (chemical ether inside and outside the solid earth) ; the second corresponds with the sixth (light ether) ; the first with the seventh (warmth ether) ; whereas the life ether (fourth sphere), in the modifications given above, inter-penetrates the whole and keeps all together. To what extent this important rhythm—1—7 ; 2=6 ; 3=5 ; 4; which here lies at the base of the etheric structure of the earth organism also plays an important role in the origin of other organisms and other phenomena of our cosmic system—of this we shall be able to speak in Chapters III and XI, as well as the second volume of this book, in connection with other groups of related questions. A general principle of conformity to law which has here been reached with regard to the articulation of our earth can also be followed out through all the kingdoms of Nature—indeed, even into the laws of evolution and the rhythms in periods of human culture. The following systematic arrangement is also very important as regards the evolution of our macrocosm :—Each of the zones of chemical ether, light ether and warmth ether in the earth organism will be seen, upon more thorough future observation, to be further divided into three sub-divisions so that we now have to deal with nine spheres of the inner earth and correspondingly with nine spheres of the outside of the earth. Dr. Rudolf Steiner long ago gave a special description of these nine spheres. Since a discussion of these extremely interesting facts would require us to draw upon other branches of knowledge too extensively for the present survey, which is wholly from the etheric point of view, we must for the moment regretfully refrain from such a discussion. If we observe the interior and the exterior of the earth, we may say that the inner earth presents in respect to the distribution of its etheric forces a complete reversal, a turning upside down, of the etheric structure of the earth organism prevailing outside the shell of the earth (see diagram, p. 93), Sphere 1=7 Warmth ether Sphere 2=6 Light ether Sphere 3=5 Chemical ether Sphere 4 Life ether We shall see later (Chaps. Ill and XI) that this primal phenomenon, the reversal, the turning upside down, of the etheric structure from without inwards is repeated in the case of other macrocosmic and micro-cosmic organisms. The Metamorphosis of the Etheric Formative Forces in the Planetary System From the most remote times, men have looked upon Saturn as the outermost planet of our solar system. On the grounds already mentioned, Uranus and Neptune are left out of consideration. Modem astronomy faces an unsolved problem in the unique structure of the ring of Saturn ; and we shall see how the constitution of this ring, clearly established by means of modem instruments, is now readily understood on the basis of the theory of ether here set forth. In his excellent work " Himmelskunde : Versuch einer methodischen Binfiihrung in die Hauptlehren der Astronomic,” Professor Josef Plassmann says (p. 378) : ” Not only to the astronomical investigator of the observatory, but also to the mathematical astronomer, the rings present great difficulties. They cannot be any hard and fast structures ; for if such were the case, then, unless they were absolutely centred, they would crash down upon the planet. But, even if they were so placed at one moment that equipoise prevailed among the attracting forces, this condition could have no duration because of the motions of the satellites. The hypothesis of a fluid or airy state of aggregation offers similar difficulties.” And in another passage : ” The gradual decrease in the intensity of light in the ring from without inward and at the same time the existence of an area through which the globe is unbrokenly visible, teaches us that the density decreases from without inward.” In Chapter II., while discussing the states of aggregation, we learned to recognize that state of substance which exists beyond the solid, liquid, and gaseous as the " warmth-ether state ” which is called in spiritual science also (phylogenetically) the “ Saturn state." The fact established by modem astronomy, as Professor Plassmann states it, that " the hypothesis of a fluid or airy state of aggregation offers similar difficulties " in explaining Saturn, as does obviously the hypothesis of a solid state, affords additional foundation for our view which represents Saturn as a warmth-ether body. It has been established, then, through contemporary astronomy: 1. That Saturn must be in a state of aggregation which is higher than the solid, liquid, and gaseous states. 2. That the intensity of light in the ring of Saturn decreases from without inward. * 3. That the density likewise decreases toward the inner part. Etheric Structure of Earth: Research in 111,11 Warmth ether distribution of the M|'; Li8ht ether etheric formative Chemical ether . „ Life ether forces now oners us the possibility of explaining systematically all these phenomena of Saturn. We have already set up the articulation of the etheric formative forces shown in the accompanying diagram as basic for all phenomena of the earth organism. If now, we wish to understand Saturn, we must completely reverse this structure, turn it upside down; so that Saturn, with its ring, presents the following picture. Etheric Structure of Saturn: = Reverse of the structure of the earth.) The picture corresponds with all the phenomena hitherto mentioned, fitting indeed perfectly the most recent hypotheses of astronomy concerning the planet Saturn (see Plassmann “ Himmelskunde," p. 376, etc.). Moreover, the difficulties met with in explaining the diminution in the intensity of light and in density from without inward are thereby removed. Warmth ether, which produces a state of aggregation beyond the solid, liquid, and gaseous states (Chap. II), fills the wrhole planetary body of Saturn, as well as the inner portion of the ring. The four encircling zones are dominated as follows in their order from within outward. Warmth ether innermost zone of the ring Light ether Chemical ether Life ether outermost zone of the ring As life ether tends towards the densest and warmth ether the most rare- ' fied states of aggregation of substance (Chap. II), we find the structure of Saturn and its rings as shown in the above diagram completely confirmed by modem astronomy in its dictum that the density of substance in the case of Saturn diminishes from without inward. In studying the theory of light (Chap. VII), we shall come to recognise life ether and light ether as the indispensable pre-requisite of the phenomena of light ; and to establish the fact that warmth ether in itself does not emit light. Since, now, modem astronomy has established the fact that Saturn shines brightest in the outer zones of its ring, and within does not shine,* therefore all these phenomena are a reciprocal confirmation of the etheric structure of Saturn as shown in the preceding diagram. But the right knowledge of the etheric structure of Saturn is of decisive importance for a knowledge of the genesis of our entire cosmic system. The etheric structure of the earth is a complete reversal, a turning upside down, of the etheric structure of Saturn. That which is “ without ” for the heavenly body oldest in its nature is for the earth “ within ” and that which is (i within ” for Saturn is " without ” to the earth. But the inversion which puts the inside out and the outside in is a fundamental law of all evolution, which we can discover again and again at decisive evolutionary turning points in the process of development of organisms in all the natural kingdoms. Very often, when a living organism in its evolution (phylogenetic and ontogenetic) mounts to a higher stage, this happens through such an inversion, the inner becoming * Professor Plassmann says, p. 375 : " The ring is distinctly brighter than the planet. It shines with a golden yellow colour while Saturn is leaden grey," and elsewhere : '* Diminution of the brightness of the ring from without inward," p. 378. outer and the outer inner, whereby the totality of the vital relationships of the organism or of a part of it comes under new and entirely different evolutionary conditions. (For details see Chap. XI.) The inversion of the etheric structure of Saturn as compared with the etheric structure of the earth is, therefore, one of the most sublime prototypes that we can behold in the macrocosm, enabling us to understand the nature of the evolution of the world of living organisms. The etheric structure of Saturn is a first model of the whole world, a model whose metamorphosis we are able to follow in the case of the other planets. The formative force which was first in phylogenetic evolution, the warmth ether (Chap. II), forms the body of Saturn, while the genetically more highly evolved formative forces, light ether, chemical ether, and life ether are radiated down upon the planet from its environment, the ring. In the case of the earth, the formative force which is genetically most highly evolved, life ether, forms, in absolute contrast with this, the inner part of the planet; while the least evolved, warmth ether, forms the outer part, and enters the inner part of the earth in a form modified by the life ether. The sun, between Saturn and the earth, is filled exclusively by the formative force genetically most highly evolved, the life ether. Thus the macrocosm brings before our eyes in a vast picture the metamorphosis of " inner ” and “ outer M as a symbol of all evolution. Most highly evolved etheric formative force, Fife ether: Outside Completely filled Inside Feast evolved etheric formative force, Warmth ether : Saturn Inside Sun Earth Outside But we can view this process of inversion, not only in the relation between Saturn and Earth, but also again in the organism of the earth itself, the most complex of all planets. If we recall the etheric structure of the inner earth as previously given and as confirmed by the phenomena, we observe that what is shut up in the interior within the solid crust of the earth (life ether), represents an inversion, a turning upside down, of the structure which the earth organism shows outside the solid crust. The spheres succeed one another, as we have shown (p. 93) in the following order : 1. Warmth ether i 2. T,\zbt ether [ Outside of earth 3. Chemical ether J (Atmosphere) Solid earth 4. Life ether 5. Chemical ether 6. Light ether 7. Warmth ether Here modified by life ether Wherein 1=7 2=6 3=5 4 i j Interior of earth This tremendous metamorphosis of the outer to the inner and the inner to the outer by action of the etheric formative forces in the macrocosm is illustrated in the following pictures : Saturn: llllll Warmth ether Light ether llllll Chemical ether Life ether Sun: Earth: Reversal of the etheric structure of Saturn to that of the earth : Interior of the earth differentiated (Reversal of exterior) Earth with its Interior (represented as differentiated) In the second volume we shall indicate the relation of the other planets to the etheric formative forces, and we shall be able to observe in succession how these rhythms and processes of metamorphosis of the macrocosm, are reflected even in the world of the micro-organisms and are active even there (see also Chap. XI). The Etheric Organism of the Earth and of Man We will now combine the conceptions we have formed of the activity of the etheric formative forces in the cosmos, in the earth organism, and in the various kingdoms of Nature. We perceive that man dees not simply possess a physical body of dead substance, but is penetrated and woven through by forces which build up his physical body and which also make him a member in that great rhythmic life process of the earth organism; that the life phenomena in the kingdoms of Nature present themselves to us as a picture of the restless activity of the most manifold forces, the eternal metamorphosis of that " which has been, is, and ever shall be.” Very few persons clearly grasp the fact that in a relatively brief space of time, in a rhythm of about seven years, most of the substances which now compose their bodies will have ceased to belong to these bodies ; that these substances will then be scattered in the life processes of the other kingdoms of Nature, to be replaced in turn by new substances. How few there are who earnestly think through to the end the thought that in reality my own hand, which I can now touch, will in a few years no longer—so far as concerns the substance— belong to me, because the circulation of the blood and the breathing and many other life processes will then have replaced with new substance the flesh which I now feel upon myself ; that the substance which composes our physical body is continually, as it were, being washed away and replaced with new material from the kingdom of Nature, the new in time being subject to the same eternal change. And yet this body, eternally transmuted in its components, keeps as a whole its form, the human form, and still is held together as a unity by a structure of forces which place this entity of materials and forces before us as the form of an individual man just in the way that we perceive it. If that which is carrying on this eternal process of renewal withdraws from the human body, as happens in the case of a corpse, there falls away also the form which holds the substance together and which constitutes the picture of man. That which renders possible the life phenomena in man, in that it keeps the substance in eternal metamorphosis, is those etheric forces which interpenetrate and interweave the physical body. We have already shown by many examples that he who would understand the action of forces on the basis of a concept of “ electrons,” as the quantitative-mechanical world conception has framed this, will never reach the goal sought by his understanding. Just as we speak of a physical human body, under which term we include the sum of all substances composing this body, although in constant flux, so also that sum-total of etheric formative forces which produce the life processes and the evolution of substance in the human body we may indicate comprehensively as the etheric or formative-force body of each man. Anthroposophically orientated spiritual science consequently calls this part of the human being the " ether body ” of man. But the human being is not yet explained even through both the physical body and the ether body. In the introductory chapter we have seen, for instance, that motion processes which man as such carries out depend upon a great number of factors : that is, upon an ego, which willst upon a transmitter of this volition or impulse, which transmitter consists of the world of force as we have learned to recognize it in the etheric formative forces ; and lastly upon a substantial thing moved—■ for example, the arm of the man. We also reached the conclusion that motion-events in the kingdoms of Nature are not to be understood except on the basis that an impulse of will as ultimate first cause gave the initial thrust thereto, as is the case with the willing ego in the instance of the human being who moves his arm. Here, then, there are etheric occurrences linked up on one side with states of consciousness and expressions of will, on the other with occurrences in the world of substance. The reciprocal operation of the etheric in its great cosmic and terrestrial activities and currents with states of consciousness in the kingdom of Nature, with man awake and asleep, with animals awake and asleep, etc.—this we have learned to recognise in considering the direction of the vertebral column in man and in the animal. We have, furthermore, observed the great rhythmic life-processes as the work of the etheric formative forces in the earth organism and followed these in numerous manifestations of their activity, always recognizing the association of this process with the most diverse states of consciousness in the kingdoms of Nature. Indeed, we must now arrive at a conclusion which, following after the mechanistic conception of the world—a conception, too, that often manifests itself in currents of thought where we ourselves are quite unaware of it—will give rise to strong opposition on the part of materialistic and mechanistic thinkers of the present age. And yet what here follows is not only a reality open to research but also the necessary conclusion resulting from a logically exact and consecutive course of reasoning which does not hesitate courageously to throw overboard habits of thought that have grown to be dear and comforting— especially if such habits of thought bring one to the " limitations of the knowledge of Nature.” The world conception of this materialistic age is anthropocentric just where it should not be and is not anthropocentric just where it should be. That is, it orientates the world by reference to man in matters where such orientation is nonsense—a nonsense deriving partly from vanity—■ and it does not orientate the world by reference to the being of man in matters where the being of man is, beyond all doubt, decisive and characteristic for the whole combined process of cosmic evolution. A form of observation of the first category is the view that has been formed regarding the connection of consciousness with cosmic processes. In this matter lies the great difference between the system of thought of great thinkers such as Kepler, Galileo, Goethe, etc., and the diligent detailed specialistic labour of a materialistic age. This age has taken up its position on the point of view that phenomena of consciousness are linked up with the manifestations of force and processes of life and motion only in the human and animal organisms, and this solely on the ground that we do not yet possess any adequate knowledge of phenomena of consciousness associated with the manifestations of force and processes of life and motion in the happenings in the rest of the cosmos. While at present men admit this association of a state of consciousness of any kind only in the case of man himself and—though this latter is very vaguely conceived—in the case of animals, those who should maintain the existence of a reciprocal relation of any sort whatever between other phenomena in the phenomenal world, on the one hand, and states of consciousness on the other, or who should wish to include such a thing within the field of their research, would be journalistically and rhetorically burned at the stake as heretics in science, sinners against scientific dogmas, just as Galileo and others were threatened. Especially would this be true of any one who should assert the concrete existence and action of beings possessed of a higher state of consciousness than the objective consciousness of the men of our age. Nevertheless, accurate thinking, free from preconceptions, compels one to consider as an anthropocentric world-concept of the most arbitrary kind the assertion—no matter whether it arises from habit or excessively materialistic attitude of mind—that the manifestations of force, the processes of life and motion, are associated with phenomena of consciousness in human and animal organisms alone. Obviously it would be nonsensical to attribute the same state of consciousness which comes about in the human organism with its own special structure also to such organisms as possess, for example, an entirely different physical or etheric structure. Already, in considering the direction of the vertebral column in the kingdoms of Nature, we have seen how this reciprocal action between the etheric phenomena and states of consciousness undergoes the most varied modifications, and the dream consciousness and deep-sleep consciousness ■ of man in his reclining posture while asleep are, to the scientific understanding of this mechanistic-materialistic age, a book sealed with seven seals. In the presence of these things, as we have already shown in the introduction, the high-minded and courageous investigator recognizes only two possible alternatives : (1) the openly avowed “ ignorabimus ” for all time ; or (2) this question :—Are there methods scientifically exact whereby we may come to know and to investigate states of consciousness which are of a different sort—whether higher or lower—from the really narrowly limited objective consciousness of the men of our age ? (See also Chap. I, pp. 28-32). Furthermore, however, we must say that a real knowledge of the processes of Nature in its entities will never be possible unless in some way this question is answered affirmatively. Anthroposophically orientated spiritual science answers " Yes " to this question, and anyone who is in earnest possesses the possibility, by means of exact methods explained in the works of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, of extending the field of his research into territories which lie beyond the limits of a knowledge of Nature characteristic of this mechanistic and materialistic age. If, however, he will not do this, he still has the further possibilities of testing that which is asserted from supersensible understanding in regard to phenomena of the sense world, and he will find these assertions wholly confirmed. We have seen that the living earth organism shows an etheric system of forces in which processes of breathing and circulation take place corresponding to similar life-processes in the human organism, and in a reciprocal relationship with these (see the numerical relationship between life processes in Man and Cosmos, as expressed in the figures 25920, etc., p. 49). Therefore, just as we point to the system of forces in each individual human organism as the “ ether body ” of the man, so also we must look upon the earth organism as consisting of a physical body and an “ ether body of the earth," which comprises its etheric formative forces. As in the case of the human organism, so also in that of the living earth organism, it is the " ether body ” which calls the phenomena of life into existence and which regulates and metamorphoses them. Accurate, logical thinking will finally recognize the truth that, just as in the case of certain motions of the human body there are revealed the act of will and associated states of consciousness of a being,—man,-—■ who induces this motion of the physical body through the medium of the etheric body (movement of an arm, etc.), so likewise, the motion-events of other organisms, great or small, in the cosmos receive their initial thrust through an act of will whose association with states of consciousness, however, man will and must slowly seek to learn. The conception of a dead eosmos held by a materialistic age, which viewed the earth as a mere globes of substance rotating by reason of forces of hypothetical and unknown origin, runs counter to the fact that there is a living, thinking man in this cosmos, and narrows the boundaries of human knowledge of Nature more and more as one endeavours to penetrate more deeply into the being of Nature on the basis of such a view. The cosmos grasped as a world-organism, the product of active spiritual entities, as a world of organisms whose vital phenomena are’the work of the harmonious metamorphosis of etheric formative forces—not of dead mechanical vibrations—this is a world concept wherein the living, thinking man with his conscious acts of will, with his ether body kept in rhythm and motion by the etheric formative forces, and his material body in constant flux up to the very moment of death, finds also his interpretation and meaning. Before the young generation of the future, rejoicing in research and bold in understanding, there open up here perspectives which alone can help us past the general sense of resignation of science in the decadence of this materialistic-mechanical age. This younger generation, which rebels against the results of the mechanistic world concept as these appear in the present time, I would counsel to read the noble work of Johann Kepler “ The Harmonies of the Universe " (Harmonices Mundi)9—of that Kepler of whose spacious system of thought the present age has taken over only the dead skeleton of the three laws of Kepler, not the soul and life of Kepler's system of thought, which belong inseparably to these three laws, as the whole being of man belongs with his skeleton. Should Kepler rise again among us, he would shudder to realize what the present age has made of his work. While there are many details in that work now out of date, and its general direction has rightly been modified, that which distinguishes Kepler most profoundly from many of his successors is his attitude toward the spiritual as a reality. Johann Kepler in his work " The Harmonies of the Universe ” says : " We shall now speak of the existence of a soul of the earth as of something fully established, and shall proceed to investigate its character." Goethe: The Earth Spirit to Faust: "In the storms of action, the floods of life I surge and sway Above and below Hither, thither, to and fro. Birth and death, an infinite sea, A web that changes eternally, A living fire! I work at the loom of Time, I smite with the weaver’s rod, In the whirr and the roar I fashion the living garment of God." (From "Goethe and Faust," by F. M. Stawell and G. L. Dickinson, London, 1928), Chapter IV THE ONTOGENETIC ORIGIN AND DISAPPEARANCE OF SUBSTANCE TWO great basic thoughts rendered incalculable service to Goethe, the highly gifted investigator, in his way toward an understanding of Nature : the concept of tf polarity ” and that of “intensification ” in the phenomenal world. This phenomenal world is interpenetrated by the world of formative forces, as we have endeavoured to view them, those forces whose spontaneous activity Du Bois Reymond once introduced as the subject matter of his second world riddle, the origin of motion in the cosmos. In fact, we not only observe in Nature a spontaneous working of the force world—uninfluenced for the most part by man, for which we may be thankful—but we see also that this working proceeds according to inner laws and tendencies. Indeed, we might even say it proceeds according to a “ plan,” into whose spirit, however, he who accepts the philistine philosophy of many a Darwinian, with its “ natural selection ” and the “ struggle for existence,” will never be able to penetrate. We perceive that the metamorphosis of states does not merely carry through a meaningless transition from one arbitrary state to some other arbitrary state, but that metamorphosis in the phenomenal world, viewed comprehensively, brings to pass generally an “ ascent ” of the evolutionary forms and capacities according to spiritual laws. Since it has been discovered, however, during the last decade in connection with processes of radio-activity, that the material world is subject also to an inevitable and systematic decay, the question must again arise whether the “ ascent ”—■ the upward evolution of the material world—has any meaning at all when the decay of substance must inevitably lead again backward to the final ruin of this work. In the following chapters we shall seek to show that such a pessimistic conception is possible only when we restrict our observation of Nature one-sidedly to a view of the origin and disappearance of substance, instead of investigating the concrete reciprocal activity between the spiritual and the material in its full reality. Professors St. Meyer and E. von Schweidler write in their remarkable work already cited, “ Radioaktivitat” : “ In the metamorphosis of the radio-active elements we witness a spontaneous transmutation of matter in which the individual radio-active products constitute barely stable halting places ; this proves that individual elements are capable of metamorphosis. Yet in this connection the fact must be strongly emphasized that up to the present we have not been able by any physical or chemical means to hasten these metamorphoses, to retard them, or to influence them in any way in the one-sided direction of their course, much less to reverse the process. Whether, however, in these radioactive substances we are obliged to view, as powerless spectators, the gradual decay of chemical values in one direction, or whether in general a rebuilding of the most complicated chemical elements is at the same time proceeding in a manner quite unknown to us} is surely one of the most crucial of questions/’ The discovery of the spontaneous radio-active decay of substance, with its associated phenomena, has until now shaken pitilessly the very foundation of the doctrine of the conservation of matter and of force, and the advocates cf this view—which holds good for only a part of the world—have been driven to a frenzy of defensive theories, in which there is often something tragic. We will seek to form a conception cf the relation between the force world and the material world, which, indeed, it is possible to distinguish from one another only schematically, and not so sharply in reality. We have found that the etheric formative forces of the earth organism, the ether body of the earth, are influenced by two fundamental etheric currents of force in the cosmos ; that is, by the life ether streaming to us most of all from the sun, and the chemical ether radiated to us chiefly from the moon, with their respective vertical and horizontal directions of currents. The more recent scientific research has now made the exceedingly important discovery that the most abundant substances in the outermost strata of the atmosphere are helium and hydrogen. Moreover, we have learned to recognize oxygen as the most important ingredient in the atmosphere, so that we may look upon hydrogen and oxygen as two of-the most essential basic elements in the material world. Moreover, our process of breathing and our circulatory process are fundamentally dependent upon oxygen and its modifications and upon the watery state of the blood. We shall see in the following chapters, and most of all in the discussion of light (Chaps. VII. and XII.), that there has not yet been a thorough-going study of the profound and essential differences between the various forms of oxygen. For we shall learn that the entity two-fold oxygen* is distinguished always from the entity three-fold * For reasons growing out of the certain aspects in the discussion, the author uses the terms zweifach and dreifach instead of the usual zweiatomig and dreiatomig. oxygen, not only in that oxygen at one time enters into this combination and another time into the other combination but that the difference between these two entities is most intimately connected with the pheonomena of life and death. For the most important point here is, not the number of the units of oxygen combined, but much more this question : What forces bring about, on the one hand, the combination 03, and what forces the combination 02; and what forces are linked, therefore, in their activity with the presence of the substance-structure 03 at one time, or the substance-structure 02 at another ? If we now clarify our minds as to the ontogenetic origin of substance, we shall find the following to be true of the earth organism, in which the two etheric formative forces, life ether from the sun and chemical ether from the moon, are active. (Diagram p. 110.) 1. Experimental research establishes the fact that the substance which makes its appearance in the vanishing of matter, in its spontaneous radio-active decay, is the same as that which we discover at the boundaries of our earth-organism, in the coming into existence of matter : that is, helium (He). 2. When the forces radiated inward into the earth organism penetrate more deeply into the material world, the sun force then forms ozone, threefold oxygen, in reciprocal action with the forces and substances of the light-ether sphere of the earth organism. Dr, K. Kahler, of the Potsdam Meteorological Observatory, says in his book “ Luftelektrizitat,” so rich in significant facts, that there " is thus indicated a mutual dependence between a (the intensity of electricity diffused in the atmosphere) I and the ozone content of the air. With the increase of a, the ozone content also becomes greater. We have to do here, at least, with an indirect relation which seems to be attributable to the rays of the sun.” And elsewhere (p. 140): ” Another source of electricity, chiefly important for the uppermost strata of the atmosphere is the ultra-violet sunlight. . . . It produces ozone.” On the basis of a concrete following out of the activity of the etheric formative forces we will express the matter thus : The life ether- radiated from the sun into the earth organism forms in the light-ether sphere ozone, the threefold oxygen. We shall find this formation of ozone in the study of light (Chap. VII), as well as in connection with the process of radio-activity, and finally we shall see it in the study of the human organism (Chap. XII) associated with the appearance of the most important phenomena of life. That ozone appears most of all in the highest strata of the earth organism has been shown by experimental research. But the views in regard to ozone in scientific writings are strongly at variance with one this cosmic system, in which we must live, appears as a great corpse. For the scientific research of these 500 years—however great the service it has conferred upon human nature in the direction of the understanding and domination of dead “ matter ”—has, on the other hand, failed to lift ever so little that veil which conceals true knowledge and the mastery of that which is alive. Indeed, a future age, viewing more impartially this trend of human inquiry, will be able to show that the development of natural science in the direction of an understanding of what is dead has fastened a leaden weight upon man's feet to hinder him from moving toward a knowledge of what is living—a weight from which he will be able to free himself only by an almost superhuman effort. Wherever one engages in conversation to-day in any part of the world, especially with young men, one becomes aware of that great process of fermentation through which the coming generation will free itself of the horrible form to which our conception of the world, and thus also our life, has been reduced by a materialistic science, directed almost wholly towards merely quantitative results. It is for men of this sort, who wish to cast from their feet the leaden weight, that this book has been written, in the hope that it may give to them the elements out of which to build up a new and different conception of the world, a conception in which the investigation of the living, the organic, as the true origin and starting point for knowledge—with the inorganic and lifeless constituting the less essential part of the world-conception within this framework of the living—will be the object of our study. Of the reader of this book I would beg that, before he begins, he will spend five minutes in bringing before his mind's eye, in thoughtful reflection, the present world situation, unmitigated, in all its future perspective. He will then enter upon his co-operation in the problems to be attacked with his mind equipped otherwise than one who is interested merely in adding to his treasury of formulae one formula more, or one who works in the merely scientific fashion to protect from disturbance a pet theory which has become necessary to his comfort. The method of research applied in this book and the results of this method must be taken as a whole, as a unity. Whoever extracts any detail whatever from the book in order to play that game of concepts so beloved by the abstract intellectualism of our age, instead of fixing his view upon the whole, will simply be attempting to run his head against a wall that does not exist.