Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Eurotrash: the physical plane and the concepts of space and time

Rudolf Steiner:  "In the first cultural epoch of the post-Atlantean age, that of the ancient Indian people, the Spirit of the Epoch consisted in the fact that men looked back to Atlantean times when they dimly perceived higher kingdoms around them. So the Yoga system arose, by means of which they sought to rise into the higher worlds. The physical plane of external reality had little value for them; it was maya, illusion. It will seem strange to you, but it is actually true, that if the ancient Indian civilization, with its lack of interest in the physical plane, had continued, there would never have been railways, telephones, and such things as exist in the physical world today. For it would not have seemed at all important to occupy oneself seriously with physical laws in order to populate the world with all that today represents the achievements of civilization."

Rudolf Steiner:

It will be necessary also for the more exact branches of human knowledge to come to meet this extension of our thought and understanding of the world. And here allow me to refer to something that may perhaps not be fully intelligible to everyone.
The more exact domains of knowledge are by no means yet at their zenith — far from it! For example, you can find today in the exact sciences the most impossible ideas. I will select just one, which may perhaps be generally intelligible. People have usually the following trivial picture: out there somewhere is the sun, and from the sun light goes out in all directions, just as from any other source of light. And you will find that wherever people follow this diffusion of light with mathematical ideas, they will say: You see, the light spreads out and out into the infinite, and then — why then it somehow or other disappears; it gradually weakens and is lost. But this is not so. Everything that spreads out or is diffused in this way reaches a boundary, and from this boundary it swings back again; it returns to its source in a changed form. The sunlight does not go out into the infinite, but swings back on itself — not indeed as light, but as something else. Nonetheless, it does return.
So it is in reality with every form of light. And so it is with every kind of activity. All activities and influences are subject to the law of elasticity. The elasticity in them always has its boundary or limit. And yet ideas such as I have described above are current in our so-called exact sciences; you will find them presented there today. If you were physicists, I would draw your attention to how people reckon with distance traversed and time. They call the velocity, usually denoted by ‘v’, a function of distance and time, and they arrive at the following equation: v = d/t
But, my dear friends, that is absolutely false. The velocity is not a resultant; the velocity is an elementary principle or quality that something, be it material or spiritual, bears within it. And this velocity we analyze; we split it up into distance and time. We abstract the two things out of it — space and time. Space and time, however, are not real things in themselves. Velocities, varying velocities, are real.
This observation I make for the benefit of physicists. They will understand me when I say that their theoretical knowledge of time rests in very shaky foundations. These theories would indeed not hold water if we were in a position to grasp the spiritual in its actuality.

That is the very thing required of us in the present Michael Age. It means that we must take full cognizance of the environment of Man; we must come to know the various elemental and higher beings in our environment as surely as we know of the air and water around us. These are the important things for us; and they must once again become a part of general education and culture, as they were in ancient times. People are not prepared to admit this.

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