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Re: Pan's Labyrinth

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  • holderlin66
    R.S. EMBRYONIC COSMOLOGY Stuttgart, January 1, 1921 On the one hand we have Astronomy, tending more and more to be clothed in mathematical forms of
    Message 1 of 44 , Mar 3, 2007
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      R.S.    EMBRYONIC COSMOLOGY

      Stuttgart, January 1, 1921

      "On the one hand we have Astronomy, tending more and more to be clothed in
      mathematical forms of thought. It has become so great in its present form
      just because it is a purely mathematical and mechanical science. But there
      is another branch of science which stands, as it were, at the opposite pole
      to Astronomy, and which cannot be studied in its real nature without
      Astronomy. It is however, impossible, as science is today, to build a bridge
      between Astronomy and this other pole of science, namely, Embryology.

      He alone is studying reality, who on the one hand studies the starry skies
      and on the other hand the development of the human embryo. How is the human
      embryo generally studied today? Well, it is stated: The human embryo arises
      from the interaction of two cells, the sex-cells or gametes, male and
      female. These cells develop in the parent organism in such a way as to
      attain a certain state of independence before they are able to interact.
      They then present a certain contract, the one cell, the male, calling forth
      new and different possibilities of development in the other, the female. The
      question is put: What is a cell? As you know, since about the middle of the
      19th century, Biology has largely been built upon the cell theory. The cell
      is described as a larger or smaller, spherule, consisting of albuminous or
      protein-like substances. It has a nucleus within it of a somewhat different
      structure and around the whole is an enclosing membrane. As such, it is the
      building-stone for all that arising by way of living organisms. The
      sex-cells are of a similar nature but are formed differently according to
      whether they are male or female, and from such cells every more complicated
      organism is built up.

      But now, what is actually meant when it is said that an organism builds
      itself up from these cells? The idea is that substances which are otherwise
      in Nature are taken up into these cells and then no longer work in quite the
      same way as before. If oxygen, nitrogen or carbon are contained in the
      cells, the carbon, for instance, does not have the effect upon some other
      substance outside, that it would have had before; such power of direct
      influence s lost to it. It is taken up into the organism of the cell and can
      only work there as conditions in the cell allow. That is to say, the
      influence is exerted not so much by the carbon, but by the cell, which makes
      use of the particular characteristics of carbon, having incorporated a
      certain amount of it into itself. For example, what man has within him in
      the form of metal -- iron for instance -- only works in a circuitous way,
      via the cell. The cell is the building-stone. So in studying the organism,
      everything is traced to the cell. Considering at first only the main bulk of
      the cell, without the nucleus and membrane, we distinguish two parts: a
      transparent part composed of this fluid, and another part forming sort of
      framework. Describing it schematically, we may say that there is the
      framework of the cell, and this is embedded, as it were, in the other
      substance which, unlike the framework, is quite unformed. (Fig. 6.)

      Thus we must think of the cell as consisting of a mass which remains fluid
      and unformed and a skeleton or framework which takes on a great variety of
      forms. This then is studied. The method of studying cells in this way has
      been pretty well perfected; certain parts in the cell can be stained with
      colour, others do not take the stain. Thus with carmine or saffron, or
      whatever colouring matter is used, we are able to distinguish the form of
      the cell and can thus acquire certain ideas about its inner structure. We
      note, for instance, how the inner structure changes when the female
      germ-cell is fructified. We follow the different stages in which the cell's
      inner structure alters; how it divides; and how the parts become attached to
      one another, cell upon cell, so that the whole becomes a complicated
      structure. All this is studied. But it occurs to no-one to ask: With what is
      this whole life in the cell connected? What is really happening? It does not
      occur to anyone to ask this.
      
      What happens in the cell is to be conceived, my dear friends, in the
      following way, -- though to be sure, it is still a rather abstract way.
      There is the cell. For the moment let us consider it in its most usual form,
      namely the spherical form. This spherical form is partially determined by
      the thin fluid substance, and enclosed within it is the delicate framework.
      But what is the spherical form? The thin fluid mass is as yet left entirely
      to itself and therefore behave according to the impulses it receives from
      its surroundings. What does it do? Well, my dear friends, it mirrors the
      universe around it! It takes on the form of the sphere because it mirrors in
      miniature the whole cosmos, which we indeed also picture to ourselves
      ideally as a sphere. Every cell in its spherical form is no less than an
      image of the form of the whole universe. And the framework inside, every
      line of the form, is conditioned by its relationship to the structure of the
      whole cosmos. To express myself abstractly to begin with, think of the
      sphere of the universe with its imaginary boundary (Fig 7). In it, you have
      here a planet, and there a planet (a,a'). They work in such a way as to
      exert an influence upon one another in the direction of the line which joins
      them. Here (m) let us say -- diagrammatically, of course, -- a cell is
      formed; its outline mirrors the sphere of the whole universe. And the
      framework inside, every line of the form, is conditioned by its relationship
      to the structure of the whole cosmos. To express myself abstractly to begin
      with, think of the sphere of the universe with its imaginary boundary
      (Fig 7).
      
      

      In it, you have here a planet, and there a planet (a,a'). They work in such
      a way as to exert an influence upon one another in the direction of the line
      which joins them. Here (m) let us say -- diagrammatically, of course, -- a
      cell is formed; its outline mirrors the sphere. Here, within the framework
      it has a solid part which is due to the working of the one planet on the
      other. And suppose that here there were another constellation of planets,
      working upon each other along the line joining them (b,b'). And here again
      there might be yet another planet (c), this one having no counterpart; -- it
      throws the whole construction, which might otherwise have been rectangular,
      out of shape, and the structure takes on a somewhat different form. And so
      you have in the whole formation of the framework of the cell a reflection of
      the relationships existing in the planetary system, -- altogether in the
      whole starry system. You can enter quite concretely into the formation of
      the cell and you will reach an understanding of this concrete form only if
      you see in the cell an image of the entire cosmos.
      
      And now take the female ovum, and picture to yourselves that this ovum has
      brought the cosmic forces to a certain inner balance. They have taken on
      form in the framework of the cell, and are in a certain way at rest within
      it, supported by the female organism as a whole. Then comes the influence of
      the male sex-cell. This has not brought the macrocosmic forces to rest, but
      works in the sense of a very specialized force. It is as though the male
      sex-cell works precisely along this line of force (indicated by Dr. Steiner
      on the blackboard) upon the female ovum which has come to a condition of
      rest. The cell, which is an image of the whole cosmos, is thereby caused to
      relinquish its microcosmic form once more to a changing play of forces. At
      first, in the female ovum, the macrocosm comes to rest in a peaceful image.
      Then through the male sex-cell the female is torn out of this state of rest,
      and is drawn again into a region of specialized activity and brought into
      movement. Previously it had drawn itself together in the resting form of the
      image of the cosmos, but the form is drawn into movement again by the male
      forces which are, so to speak, images of movement. Through them the female
      forces, which are images of the form of the cosmos and have come to rest,
      are brought out of this state of rest and balance.
      
      Here we may have some idea, from the aspect of Astronomy, of the forming and
      shaping of something which is minute and cellular. Embryology cannot be
      studied at all without Astronomy, for what Embryology has to show is only
      the other pole of what is seen in Astronomy. We must, in a way, follow the
      starry heavens on the one hand, seeing how they reveal successive stages,
      and we must then follow the process of development of a fructified cell. The
      two belong together, for the one is only the image of the other. if you
      understand nothing of Astronomy, you will never understand the forces which
      are at work in Embryology, and if you understand nothing of Embryology, you
      will never understand the meaning of the activities which Astronomy has to
      deal. For these activities appear in miniature in the processes of
      Embryology.
      
      It is conceivable that a science should be formed, in which, on the one
      hand, astronomical events are calculated and described, and on the other
      hand all that belongs to them in Embryology, which is only the other aspect
      of the same thing.
      
      Now look at the position as it is today: you find that Embryology is studied
      on its own. It would be regarded as madness if you were to demand of a
      modern embryologist that he should study Astronomy in order to understand
      the phenomena in his own sphere of work. And yet it should be so. This is
      why a complete regrouping of the sciences is necessary. It will be
      impossible to become a real embryologist without studying Astronomy. It will
      no longer be possible to educate specialists who merely turn their eyes and
      their telescopes to the stars, for to study the stars in that way has no
      further meaning unless one knows that it is out of the great universe that
      the minute and microscopical is fashioned.
      
      
      (Ibid, Lecture I, Stuttgart, January 1, 1921)
       
    • holderlin66
      Message 44 of 44 , Oct 13, 2007
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