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Light: The Cosmic Messenger

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  • Mathew Morrell
    Most, if not all, of our knowledge of the cosmos comes to us through the study of light. Celestial objects radiate light emissions, and telescopes collect
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 6, 2006
      Most, if not all, of our knowledge of the cosmos comes to us through
      the study of light. Celestial objects radiate light emissions, and
      telescopes collect these emissions under the watchful eye of an
      astronomer who merely interprets the data. For him, it is not
      necessary to rocket into space. The light radiating from the stars
      into his telescopes provides all the information he needs to
      determine their distance, composition, and mechanical dynamics. For
      each light-wave is packed with data, as if each photon were a little
      piece of the star, a holographic essence containing a picture of the
      whole.

      With sophisticated optical machinery---which gathers light far
      beyond the visible light spectrum---astronomers no longer need
      to "see" the stars to determine how they look. Today's telescopes
      collect light from the entire electro-magnetic spectrum: hertizan
      light, infra-red light, visible light, ultra-violet light, x-ray
      light, gamma-ray light. The human eye has long since been redeemed
      of the responsibility of having to probe the depths of outer space.
      The eye has retired, so to speak. Now we have gigantic radio
      telescopes with their 1000 foot saucers aimed upward at the sky,
      second by second gathering enormous amounts of radio waves from the
      pin-points of light shining in our skies; but aimed at these pin
      points, sometimes these radio telescope reveal a vast range of
      signals from a myriad of sources---not one star, but a galaxy of
      stars within that single pin-point.

      Our only limitation is our ability to interpret the data that the
      stars give us through the light wave.
    • Kathy Landes
      I am taking an astronomy class and we talked about this topic tonight! I asked the teacher where color comes from. He said it s what humans experience. I don t
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 7, 2006

        I am taking an astronomy class and we talked about this topic tonight! I asked the teacher where color comes from. He said it’s what humans experience. I don’t think he had a real answer. I understand the spectrum of light……rods, cones, ect…..

        So Mathew, can you please tell me where color comes from? What does Steiner say? Or Goethe?

        Thanks for you help.

         

        -----Original Message-----
        From: steiner@yahoogroups.com [mailto:steiner@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mathew Morrell
        Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 1:24 PM
        To: steiner@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [steiner] Light: The Cosmic Messenger

         

        Most, if not all, of our knowledge of the cosmos comes to us through
        the study of light.  Celestial objects radiate light emissions, and
        telescopes collect these emissions under the watchful eye of an
        astronomer who merely interprets the data.  For him, it is not
        necessary to rocket into space.  The light radiating from the stars
        into his telescopes provides all the information he needs to
        determine their distance, composition, and mechanical dynamics.  For
        each light-wave is packed with data, as if each photon were a little
        piece of the star, a holographic essence containing a picture of the
        whole.

        With sophisticated optical machinery---which gathers light far
        beyond the visible light spectrum---astronomers no longer need
        to "see" the stars to determine how they look.  Today's telescopes
        collect light from the entire electro-magnetic spectrum:  hertizan
        light, infra-red light, visible light, ultra-violet light, x-ray
        light, gamma-ray light.  The human eye has long since been redeemed
        of the responsibility of having to probe the depths of outer space. 
        The eye has retired, so to speak.  Now we have gigantic radio
        telescopes with their 1000 foot saucers aimed upward at the sky,
        second by second gathering enormous amounts of radio waves from the
        pin-points of light shining in our skies; but aimed at these pin
        points, sometimes these radio telescope reveal a vast range of
        signals from a myriad of sources---not one star, but a galaxy of
        stars within that single pin-point. 

        Our only limitation is our ability to interpret the data that the
        stars give us through the light wave.





      • Seth Miller
        Kathy- Color is a very interesting topic. Goethe s basic idea was that color was the deeds and sufferings of light , and that in fact what is primary is the
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 7, 2006
          Kathy-
           
          Color is a very interesting topic.  Goethe's basic idea was that color was the 'deeds and sufferings of light', and that in fact what is primary is the interplay of light and darkness, where color is a complex phenomena arising as the interaction of light and dark in various situations.  He noticed two primary color scales arising from a prism: the warm colors (yellow, orange, red) and the cool colors (cyan, blue, violet). 
           
          The rainbow is formed when these two scales cross (the yellow and cyan form the green) - this is the "light spectrum" and is the phenomenon that Newton focused on with respect to color.  But Goethe's process also naturally leads to the "dark spectrum", when the scales cross on the other side (the red and violet crossing to form magenta). 
           
          He found what he called the 'Ur-phenomena', or an almost archetypal example of the most basic idea, with respect to this theory in the natural example of the yellow sun in the blue sky.  He felt that the sun (a source of white light), when seen through the turbid medium of the atmosphere (a darkness), caused the warm spectrum to appear (hence the yellow sun), while the sky appeared blue because it was a turbid medium filled with light (from the sun) in front of a dark background (space).  This example was primary because it did not require a prism but was naturally occurring. 
           
          Dark in front of light ---> warm colors
          Light in front of dark ---> cool colors
           
          Needless to say, this is not the modern scientific understanding of either color in general or the sun/sky in particular, although it gives rise to a very usable color wheel that many artists prefer, as it utilizes complementary colors according to the phenomenology of human vision: when you stare at a reddish object for a while then look at a white wall, you will see cyan, the same complements occur between blue and orange, green and magenta... and so on.
           
          Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color for a modern scientific perspective on color and
           
          The modern and Goethean approaches to color are not mutually exclusive, but are themselves complementary:
           

          Goethean

          Newtonian

          Exploratory experimentation

          Theory-based

          Process

          Facts

          Qualitative

          Quantitative

          Experiments and concepts evolve together

          Experiments designed to test previously formulated theories

          Many slightly different experiments are performed with the idea of bringing to light connections between all the different manifestations of a phenomenon

          “Experimentum Crucis” – a single, definitive experiment “worth 1000 others” that clearly supports one theory over another

          Experiments can only be understood in the context of all the others

          Isolated experiments make sense

          Look at relations

          “Prove” a single fact

          Make sense of the whole (holism)

          Make sense of individual pieces (reductionism)

          Look for primary, “Ur-phenomenon” and associated necessary conditions

          Everything rests upon a single, often minutely structured phenomenon taken out of the larger context

          All other phenomena follow from the primary phenomenon, through a process of complexification and the addition of new conditions (facts ‘fall out’ of the context)

          Experiments are used to “plug holes” in existing theory, not to explain related phenomena (the context is created from the facts as necessary)

          Good for situations with little previous conceptual framework (metaphor: site-assessment)

          Good for situations where there is a lot of prior theory that is already accepted (metaphor: brick-laying)

          Includes the observer as a necessarily important part of the whole phenomenon (the subject is included)

          Abstracts the observer from the phenomenon in order to isolate as many variables as possible (the object is primary)

          Requires exact feelings

          Requires exact thinking

          Insights reflect inner activity

          Insights reflect outer activity

          Periphery to center: the circle

          Center to periphery: rays from point

          Answers generate questions

          Questions generate answers

          Synthetic

          Analytic

           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
          Hope this helps.
          -Seth

          ----- Original Message ----
          From: Kathy Landes <katmoon@...>
          To: steiner@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 6:26:49 PM
          Subject: RE: [steiner] Light: The Cosmic Messenger

          I am taking an astronomy class and we talked about this topic tonight! I asked the teacher where color comes from. He said it’s what humans experience. I don’t think he had a real answer. I understand the spectrum of light……rods, cones, ect…..

          So Mathew, can you please tell me where color comes from? What does Steiner say? Or Goethe?

          Thanks for you help.

        • sarah
          When I did the Foundations course, our teacher told us that there is some evidence that humans could not perceive the colour blue before 300BC(?). I must do
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 8, 2006
            When I did the Foundations course, our teacher told us that there is some
            evidence that humans could not perceive the colour blue before 300BC(?). I
            must do some research on this, because he said that it seemed that the
            ability to perceive blue came after humankind was able to understand The
            Other, as in grasping the Golden Rule, which simultaneously appears in the
            arts at that time. (I might have got the year wrong - bad memory for
            details). Before this time 'blue' sky was seen as 'light grey'.

            Then our teacher said that the next colour that we will perceive is a type
            of violet colour, and that 'grey' that we normally see could possibly be
            'violet', ie elephants, grey clouds, dolphins etc, might not be grey after
            all.

            It's just a theory, but it's interesting :-) Anyone heard of it or can add
            more?

            Sarah
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