Second Scientific Lecture-Course:
10 March 1920, Stuttgart
My dear friends,
Before we continue the observations of yesterday which we have nearly brought to a conclusion, let us carry out a few experiments to give support to what we are going to say. First we will make a cylinder of light by allowing a beam to pass through this opening, and into this cylinder we will bring a sphere which is so prepared that the light passes into it, but cannot pass through. What happens we will indicate by this thermometer (see drawing Fig. 1). You will note that this cylinder of energy, let us say, passing into the sphere reveals its effect by causing the mercury column to sink. Thus we are dealing with what we have formerly brought about by expansion. And indeed, in this case we have to assume also that heat passes into the sphere, causes an expansion and this expansion makes itself evident by a depression of the column of mercury. If we placed a prism in the path of the light we would get a spectrum. We do not form a spectrum in this experiment, but we catch the light — gather it up and obtain as a result of this gathering up of what is in the bundle of light, a very market expansion. You can see the definite depression of the mercury. Now we will place in the path of the energy cylinder, an alum solution, and see what happens under the influence of this solution. You will see after a while that the mercury will come to exactly the same level in the right and left hand tubes. This shows that originally heat passed through, but under the influence of the alum solution the heat is shut off, not more goes through. The apparatus then comes only under the influence of the heat generally present in the space around it and the mercury readjusts itself to equilibrium in the two tubes. The heat is stopped as soon as I put the alum solution in the path of the energy cylinder. That is to say, from this cylinder which yields for me both light and heat, I separate out the heat and permit the light to pass through. Let us keep this firmly in mind. Something still rays through. But we see that we can so treat the light-heat mercury that the light passes on and the heat is separated by means of the alum solution.
This is one thing we must keep in mind simply as a phenomenon. There is another phenomenon to be brought to our attention before we proceed with our considerations. When we study the nature of heat we can do so by warming a body at one particular spot. We then notice that the body gets warm not only at the spot where we are applying the heat, but that one portion shares its heat with the next portion, then this with the next, etc. and that finally the heat is spread over the entire body (Fig. 2). And this is not all.
If we simply bring another body in contact with the warm body, the second body will become warmer than it formerly was. In modern physics this is ordinarily stated by saying that heat is spread by conduction. We speak of the conduction of heat. The heat is conducted from one portion of a body to another portion, and it is also conducted from one body to another in contact with the first. A very superficial observation will show you that the conduction of heat varies with different materials. If you grasp a metallic rod in your fingers by one end and hold the other end in a flame, you will soon have to drop it, since the heat travels rapidly from one end of rod to the other. Metals, it is said, are good conductors of heat. On the other hand, if you hold a wooden stick in the flame in the same way, you will not have to drop it quickly on account of the conduction of heat. Wood is a poor conductor of heat. Thus we may speak of good and poor conductors of heat. Now this can be cleared up by another experiment. And this experiment we are unfortunately unable to make today. It has again been impossible to get ice in the form we need it. At a more favorable time the experiment can be made with a lens made of ice as we would make a lens of glass. Then from a source of heat, a flame, this ice lens can be used to concentrate the heat rays just as light rays can be concentrated (to use the ordinary terminology.) A thermometer can then be used to demonstrate the concentration by the ice lens of the heat passing through it. (See Fig. 4).
Now you can see from this experiment that it is a question here of something very different from conduction even though there is a transmission of the heat, otherwise the ice lens could not remain an ice lens. What we have to consider is that the heat spreads in two ways. In one form, the bodies through which it spreads are profoundly influenced, and in the other form it is a matter of indifference what stands in the path. In this latter case we are dealing with the propagation of the real being of heat, with the spreading of heat itself. If we wish to speak accurately we must ask what is spreading, then we apply heat and see a body getting warmer gradually piece by piece, we must ask the question: is it not perhaps a very confused statement of the matter when we say that the heat itself spreads from particle to particle through the body, since we are able to determine nothing about the process except the gradual heating of the body?
You see, I must emphasize to you that we have to make for ourselves very accurate ideas and concepts. Suppose, instead of simply perceiving the heat in the metal rod, you had a large rod, heated it here, and placed on it a row of urchins. As it became warm the urchins would cry out, the first one, then the second, then the third, etc. One after another they would cry out. But it would never occur to you to say that what you heard from the first urchin was conducted to the second, the third, the fourth, etc. When the physicist applies heat at one spot, however, and then perceives it further down the rod, he says: the heat is simply conducted. He is really observing how the body reacts, one part after another, to give him the sensation of warmth, just as the urchins give a yell when they experience the heat. You cannot, however, say that the yells are transmitted.
Now we will perform also an experiment to show how the different metals we have here in the form of rods behave in respect to what we call the conduction, and about which we are striving to get valid ideas. We have hot water in this vessel (Fig. 3). By placing the ends of the rods in the water, they are warmed. Now we will see how this experiment comes out. One rod after another will get warm, and we will have a kind of graduated scale before us. We will be able to see the gradual spreading of the effect of the heat in the different substances. (The rods consisted of copper, nickel, lead, tin, zinc, iron.) The iodide of mercury on the rods (used to indicate rise in temperature) becomes red in the following order: copper, nickel, zinc, tin, iron and lead. The lead is, therefore, among these metals, the poorest conductor of heat, as it is said.
This experiment is shown to you in order to help form the general view of the subject that I have so often spoken to you about. Gradually we will rise to an understanding of what the heat entity is in its reality.
Now, from our remarks of yesterday we have seen that when we turn our attention to he realm of corporeality, we can in a certain way, set limits to the realm of the solids by following what it is essentially that takes on form. We have the fluids as an intermediate stage and then we go over to the gaseous realm. In the gaseous we have a kind of intermediate state, exactly as we would expect, namely the heat condition. We have seen why we can place it as we do in the series. Then we come, as I have said, into an X region in which we have to assume materialization and dematerialization, pass then to a Y and a Z. This is all similar to the manner in which we find in the light spectrum the transition from green through blue to violet and then apparently on to infinity. Yesterday we convinced ourselves that we have to continue below the solid realm into a U region. Thus we think of the world of corporeality as arranged in an order analogous to the arrangement in the spectrum. This is exactly what we do when we pursue our thinking in contact with reality.
Now let us further extend the ideas of yesterday. In the case of the spectrum we conceive of what disappears at the violet end and at the red end in the straight line spectrum as bent into a circle. In exactly the same way we can, in this different realm of states of aggregation, imagine that the two ends of the series do not disappear into infinity. Instead, what apparently goes off into the indefinite on the one side and what goes off into indefiniteness on the other may be considered as bending back (Fig. 1) and then we have before us a circle, or at least a line whose two ends meet.
The question now arises, what is to be found at the point of juncture? When we observe the usual spectrum, we can in that case find something at this point. In Goethe's sense you know that the spectrum considered as a whole with all its colors included shows as its middle color on one side green, when we make a bright spectrum. On the other side peach blossom which is also a middle color when we make a dark spectrum. Thus we have green, blue, violet extending to peach blossom. By closing the circle we note that at the point where it closes, there is the peach blossom color.
If we then construct a similar circle in our thinking about the realm states of aggregation, what do we find at the point of juncture? This brings us to an enormously important consideration. What must we place in the spectrum of states of aggregation which will correspond to the peach blossom of the color spectrum? The idea that arises naturally from the facts here may perhaps be easier for you to grasp if I lead you to it as follows: What do we have in reality which disappears as it were in two opposite directions — just as in the color spectrum the tones shade off on the one side into the region beyond the violet and on the other side into the region beyond the red? Ask yourselves what it is. It is nothing more or less than the whole of nature. The whole of nature is included in it. For you cannot in the whole of nature find anything not included in the form categories we have mentioned. Nature disappears from us on the one hand when we go through corporeality into heat and beyond. She disappears from us on the other when we follow form through the solid realm into the sub-solid where we saw the polarization figures as the effect of form on form. The tourmaline crystals show us now a bright field, now a dark one. By the mutual effect of one form on another there appear alternately dark and light fields.
It is essential for us to determine what we should place here when we follow nature in one direction until we meet what streams from the other side. What stands there? Man as such stands there. The human being is inserted at that point. Man, taking up what comes from both sides is placed at that point. And how does he take up what comes from the two sides? (Fig. 2) He has form. He is also formed within. When we examine his form among other formed bodies we are obliged to give him this attribute. Thus, the forces that give from elsewhere are within man. And now we must ask ourselves, are these forces to be found in the sphere of consciousness? No, they are not in the human consciousness. Think of the matter a moment. You cannot get a real understanding of the human form from what you can see in either yourselves or other men. You cannot experience it immediately in consciousness. We have a corporeality, but this form is not given in our immediate consciousness. What do we have in our immediate consciousness in the place of form?
Now, my friends, that can be experienced only when one gradually and in an unbiased manner learns to observe the physical development of man. When the human being first enters physical existence, he must be related very plastically to his formative forces. That is, he must do a great deal of body building. The nearer we approach the condition of childhood, the greater the body building, and as we take on years there is a withdrawal of the body building forces. In proportion as the body building forces withdraw, conscious reasoning comes into play. The more the formative forces withdraw the more reasoning advances. We can create ideas in regard to form in proportion as we lose the ability to create form in ourselves. This considered in a matter of fact way, is simply an obvious truth. But now you see, we can say that we experience formative forces — forces that create form outside the body can be experienced. And how do we experience them? In this way, that they become ideas within us. Now we are at the point where we can bring the formative forces to the human being. These forces are not something that can be dreamed about. Answers to the questions that nature puts to us cannot be drawn from speculation or philosophizing, but must be got from reality. And in reality we see that the formative forces show themselves where, as it were, form dissolves into ideas, where it becomes ideas. In our ideas we experience what escapes us as a force while our bodies are building.
When we place human nature before us in thought, we can state the matter as follows: man experiences as ideas the forces welling up from below. What does he experience coming down from above? What comes into consciousness from the realms of gas and heat? Here again when you look at human nature in an unprejudiced way, you have to ask yourselves: how does the will relate itself to the phenomena of heat?
You need only consider the matter physiologically to see that we go through a certain interaction with the heat being of outer nature in order to function in our will nature. Indeed heat must appear if willing is to become a reality. We have to consider will related to heat. Just as the formative forces of outer objects are related to ideas, so we have to consider what is spread abroad as heat as related to that which we find active in our wills. Heat may be thus looked upon as will, or we may say that we experience the being of heat in our will.
How can we define form what it approaches us from within-out? We see it, in this form, in any given solid body. We know that if conditions are such that this form can be seized upon by our life processes, ideas will arise. These ideas are not within the outer object. It is somewhat as if I observed the spirit separated from the body in death. When I see form in outer nature, what brings about the form is not there in the object. It is in truth not there. Just as the spirit is not within the corpse but has been in it, so is that which determines form not within the object. If I therefore turn my eyes in an unprejudiced way towards outer nature I have to say: Something works in the process of form building in objects, but in the corpse this something “has been active,” while in the object its activity is becoming. We will see that what is there active lives in our ideas.
If I experience heat in nature, then I experience what works in a certain way as my will. In the thinking and willing man we have what meets us in outer nature as form and heat respectively.
But now there are all possible intermediate stages between will and thought. A mere intellectual self-examination will soon show you that you never think without exercising the will. Exercise of the will is difficult for modern man especially. The human being is more prone to will unconsciously the course of his thoughts, he does not like to send will impulses into the realm of thought.
Entirely will-free thought content is really never present just as will not oriented by thought is likewise not present. Thus when we speak of thought and will, of ideas and will, we are dealing with extreme conditions, with what from one side builds itself as thought and from the other side builds itself as will. We can therefore say that in experiencing will permeated by thinking and thinking permeated by will, we experience truly and essentially the outer forms of nature and the outer heat being of nature. There is only one possibility for us here and that is to seek in man for essential being of what meets us in outer nature.
And now pursue these thoughts further. When you follow further the condition of corporeality on the one hand you can say that you proceed along a line into the indeterminate. The opposite must be the case here. And how can we state this? How must it be within man? We must indeed, find again here what goes off into infinity. Instead of it going off into infinity, so that we can no longer follow it, we must picture to ourselves that it moves out of space. What wells up in man from the states of aggregation we must think of as going out of space. That is, the forces that are in heat must so manifest themselves in man that they move out of space. Likewise, the forces that produce form, pass out of space when they enter man.
In other words, in man we have a point where that which appears spatially in the outer world as form and heat, leaves space. Where the impossibility arises, that that which becomes non-spatial can still be held mathematically.
I think we can see here in a very enlightening way how an observation of nature in accordance with facts obliges us to leave space when we approach man, provided we properly place him in the being of nature. We have to go to infinity above and below (the scale of that states of aggregation.) When we enter the being of man, we leave the realm of space. We cannot find a symbol which expresses spatially how the facts of nature meet us in the being of man. Nature properly conceived, shows us that when we think of her in relation to man, we must leave her. Unless we do, when we consider the content of nature in relation to man, we simply do not come to the human being.
But what does this mean mathematically? Suppose you set down the lineal series among which you are following states of aggregation to infinity. The words one after another may be considered as positive. Then what works into the nature of man must be set down as negative. If you consider this series as positive, the effects in the human being have to be made negative. What is meant by positive and negative will be cleared up I think by a lecture to be given by one of our members during the next few days. We have to conceive, however, of what comes before our eyes plainly here in this way that the essential nature of heat, insofar as this belongs to the outer world, must be made negative when we follow it into the human being, and likewise the essentiality of form becomes negative when we follow it into man. Actually then, what lives in man as ideas is related to outside form as negative numbers are to positive numbers and vice versa. Let us say, as credits and debits. What are debits on the one hand are credits on the other and vice versa. What is form in the outside world lives in man in a negative sense. If we say “there in the outside world is some sort of a body of a material nature,” we have to add: “if I think about its form the matter must be negative, in a sense, in my thinking.” How is matter characterized by me as a human being? It is characterized by its pressure effects. If I go from the pressure manifestation of matter to my ideas about form, then the negative of pressure, or suction, must come into the picture. That is, we cannot conceive of man's ideas as material in their nature if we consider materiality as symbolized by pressure. We must think of them as the opposite. We must think of something active in man which is related to matter as the negative is to the positive. We must consider this as symbolized by suction if we think of matter as symbolized by pressure. If we go beyond matter we come to nothing, to empty space. But if we go further still, we come to less-than-nothing, to that which sucks up matter. We go from pressure to suction. Then we have that which manifests in us as thinking.
And when on the other hand you observe the effects of heat, again you go over to the negative when it manifests in us. It moves out of space. It is, if I may extend the picture, sucked up by us. In us it appears as negative. This is how it manifests. Debits remain debits, although they are credits elsewhere. Even though our making external heat negative when it works within us results in reducing it to nothing, that does not alter the matter. Let me ask you again to note: we are obliged by force of the facts to conceive of man not entirely as a material entity, but we must think of something in man which not only is not matter, but is so related to matter as suction is to pressure. Human nature properly conceived must be thought of as containing that which continually sucks up and destroys matter.
Modern physics, you see, has not developed at all this idea of negative matter, related to external matter as a suction is to a pressure. That is unfortunate for modern physics. What we must learn is that the instant we approach an effect manifest in man himself all our formulae must be given another character. Will phenomena have to be given negative values in contrast to heat phenomena; and thought phenomena have to be given negative values as contrasted to the forces concerned in giving form.