This lecture by the great German philosopher Rudolf Steiner talks about the Chaldean Flat-Earth model and it’s geocentric simplicity. He also makes it clear he disdains Copernicus and the heliocentric model and suggests it’s advent was hardly science at all. Rudolf Steiner takes Copernicus and the Heliocentric theory to task as an exercise in pseudoscience and prevarication. Rudolf Steiner is best known for his creation of the Anthroposophical Society and translating the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
“It may be boldly asked where can the man be found, possessing the extraordinary gifts of Newton, who could suffer himself to be deluded by such a hocus-pocus, if he had not in the first instance willfully deceived himself; Only those who know the strength of self-deception, and the extent to which it sometimes trenches on dishonesty, are in a condition to explain the conduct of Newton and of Newton’s school. To support his unnatural theory Newton heaps fiction upon fiction, seeking to dazzle where he cannot convince. In whatever way or manner may have occurred this business, I must still say that I curse this modern history theory of Cosmology, and hope that perchance there may appear, in due time, some young scientists of genius, who will pick up courage enough to upset this universally disseminated delirium of lunatics.”
“Someday someone will write a pathology of experimental physics and bring to light all those swindles which subvert our reason, beguile our judgement and, what is worse, stand in the way of any practical progress. The phenomena must be freed once and for all from their grim torture chamber of empiricism, mechanism, and dogmatism; they must be brought before the jury of man’s common sense. “ -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek. Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst.”
[Steiner, Rudolf. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973]
Third Scientific Lecture-Course: Astronomy
Schmidt Number: S-4337
On-line since: 15th July, 2010
Stuttgart, January 2, 1921
My Dear Friends,
Yesterday I showed a connection between two branches of science which according to our modern ideas are widely separated. I sought to show that the science of Astronomy should provide certain items of knowledge which must then be turned to account in quite a different branch of science, from which the study and method of Astronomy is completely excluded nowadays. In effect, I sought to show that Astronomy must be linked with Embryology. It is impossible to understand the phenomena of cell-development, especially of the sex-cells, without calling to our aid the realities of Astronomy, which lie apparently so far removed from Embryology.
I pointed out that there must come about a regrouping of the sciences, for a man specializing nowadays along certain lines finds himself hemmed in by the circumscribed divisions of science.
He has no possibility of applying his specialized knowledge and experience to spheres which may lie near to hand but which will only have been presented to him from certain aspects, insufficient to give him a deeper understanding of their full significance. If it is true, as will emerge in these lectures, that we can only understand the successive stages in human embryonic development when we understand their counterpart, the phenomena of the Heavens; if this is a fact — and it will turn out to be so — then we cannot work at Embryology without working at Astronomy. Nor can we occupy ourselves with Astronomy without bringing new light to the facts of Embryology. In Astronomy we are studying something which reveals its most important activity in the development of the human embryo. How, then, shall we explain the meaning and reason of astronomical facts, if we bring into the kind of connection with these facts the very realm in which this meaning and reason are revealed?
You see how necessary it is to come to a reasonable world-conception, out of the chaos in which we are today in the sphere of science. If, however, one only accepts what is fashionable nowadays, it will be very difficult to grasp, even as a general idea, anything like what I said yesterday. For the evolution of our time has brought it about that astronomical facts are only grasped through mathematics and mechanics, while embryological facts are recorded in such a way that in dealing with them anything of the nature of mathematics or mechanics is discarded. At most, even if the mathematical-mechanical is brought into some kind of relation to Embryology, it is done in a quite an external way, without considering where lies the origin of what, in embryonic development, might truly be expressed in mathematical and mechanical terms.
Now I need only point to a saying of Goethe’s, uttered out of a certain feeling — a ‘feeling knowledge’ I might call it — but indicating something of extraordinary significance. (You can read of it in Goethe’s “Spruche in Prosa”, and in the Commentary which I added to the publication in the Kurschner edition of the Deutsche National-Literatur, where I spoke in detail about this passage.) Goethe says there: People think of natural phenomena so entirely apart from man that they are tending ever more and more to disregard the human being in their study of the phenomena of Nature. He, on the contrary, believed that natural phenomena only reveal their true meaning if they are regarded in full connection with man — with the whole organization of man.
In saying this, Goethe pointed to a method of research which is well-nigh anathematized nowadays. People today seek an ‘objective’ understanding of Nature through research that is completely separated from the human being. This is particularly noticeable in such a science as Astronomy, where no account at all is taken of the human being. On the contrary, people are proud that the apparently ‘objective’ facts have shown that man is only a grain of dust upon an Earth which has somehow been fused into a planet, moving first round the Sun and then, in some way or other, moving with the Sun in space. They are proud that one need pay no attention to this ‘grain of dust’ which wanders about on Earth, — that one need only pay attention to what is external to the human being in considering the great celestial phenomena.
Now the question is, whether any real results are to be obtained by such a method.
I should like once more to call attention, my dear friends, to the path we must pursue in these lectures. What you will find as proof will only emerge in the further course of the lectures. Today we must take a good deal simply from observation in order to form certain preliminary ideas. We must first build up certain necessary concepts; only then shall we be able to pass on to the verification of these concepts.
From what source, then, can we gain a real perception of the celestial phenomena merely through the mathematics which we apply to them? The course of development of human knowledge can disclose — if one does not take up the proud position of thinking how ‘wonderfully advanced’ we are today and how all that went before was childish — the course of human development can teach us how the prevailing points of view can change.
From certain aspects one can have great reverence for the celestial observations carried out, for instance, by the ancient Chaldeans. The ancient Chaldeans made very exact observations concerning the connection of human time-reckoning with the heavenly phenomena. They had a highly develop ‘Calendar-Science’. Much that appears to us today as self-evident really dates back to the Chaldeans. Yet the Chaldeans were satisfied with a mathematical picture of the Heavens which portrayed the Earth more or less as a flat disc, with the hollow hemisphere of the heavenly vault arched above, the fixed stars fastened to it, and the planets moving over it. (Among the planets they also included the Sun.) They made their calculations with this picture in the background. Their calculations for the most part were correct, in spite of being based upon a picture which the science of today can only describe as a fundamental error, as something ‘childish’.
Science, or more correctly, the scientific tendency and direction, then went on evolving. There was a stage when men pictured that the Earth stood still, but that Venus and Mercury moved round the Sun. The Sun formed the central point, as it were, for the motions of Venus and Mercury, while the other planets — Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — moved round the Earth. Thereafter, men progressed to making Mars, Jupiter and Saturn also revolved around the Sun, but the Earth was still supposed to stand still, while the Sun with its encircling planets as well as the starry Heavens revolved round the Earth. This was still the fundamental view of Tycho Brahe, whereas his contemporary Copernicus established the other concept, namely, that the Sun was to be regarded as standing still and that the Earth was to be reckoned among the planets revolving round the Sun.
Following hard one upon the other in the time of Copernicus were the two points of view, one which existed in ancient Egypt, of the stationary Earth with the other planets encircling the Sun, still represented by Tycho Brahe; the other, the Copernican concept, which broke radically with the idea of the center of coordinates being in the center of the Earth, and transferred it to the center of the Sun. For in reality the whole alteration made by Copernicus was nothing else than this, — the origin of coordinates was removed from the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun.
What was actually the problem of Copernicus? His problem was, how to reduce to simple lines and curves these complicated apparent motions of the planets, — ; for so they appear as observed from the Earth. When the planets are observed from the Earth, their movements can only be described as a variety of looped lines, such as these (Fig. 1). So, when taking the center of the Earth as the center of coordinates it is necessary to base the planetary movements on all sorts of complicated curves. Copernicus said, in effect: ‘as an experiment, I will place the center of the whole coordinate system in the center of the Sun.’ Then the complicated planetary curves are reduced to simple circular movements, or as was stated later, to ellipses. The whole thing was purely the construction of a world-system which aimed at being able to represent the paths of the planets in the simplest possible curves.
Now today we have a very remarkable fact, my dear friends. This Copernican system, when employed purely mathematically, supplies the necessary calculations concerning the observed phenomena as well as and no better than any of the earlier ones. The eclipses of the Sun and Moon can be calculated with the ancient Chaldean system, with the Egyptian, with the Tychonian and with the Copernican. The outer occurrences in the Heavens, in so far as they relate to mechanics or mathematics, can thus be foretold. One system is as well suited as another.
It is only that the simplest thought-pictures arise with the Copernican system. But the strange thing is that in practical Astronomy, calculations are not made with the Copernican system. Curiously enough, in practical Astronomy, — to obtain what is needed for the calendar, — the system of Tycho Brahe is used! This shows how little that is really fundamental, how little of the essential nature of things, comes into question when the Universe is thus pictured in purely mathematical curves or in terms of mechanical forces.
Now there is another very remarkable fact which I will only indicate today, so that we shall understand each other about the aim of these lectures. I shall speak further about it in succeeding lectures. Copernicus in his deliberations bases his cosmic system upon three axioms. The first is that the Earth rotates on its own North-South axis in 24 hours. The second principle on which Copernicus bases his picture of the Heavens is that the Earth moves round the Sun. In its revolution round the Sun the Earth itself, of course, also revolves in a certain way. This rotation, however, does not occur round the North-South axis of the Earth, which always points to the North Pole, but round the axis of the Ecliptic, which, as we know, is at an angle with the Earth’s own axis.
Therefore the Earth goes through a rotation during a 24-hour day round its own N. S. Axis, and then, inasmuch as it performs approximately 365 such rotations in the year, there is added another rotation, an annual rotation, if we disregard the revolution round the Sun. The Earth, then, if it always rotates thus, and then again revolves round the Sun, behaves like the Moon as it rotates round the Earth, always turning the same side towards us. The Earth does this too, inasmuch as it revolves round the Sun, but not on the same axis as the one on which it rotates for the daily revolution. It revolves through this ‘yearly day’ on another axis; this is an added movement, besides the one taking place in the 24-hour day.
Copernicus’ third principle is that not only does such a revolution of the Earth take place round the North-South axis, but that there is yet a third revolution which appears as a retrograde movement of the North-South axis round the axis of the Ecliptic. Thereby, in a certain sense, the revolution round the axis of the Ecliptic is canceled out. By reason of this third revolution the Earth’s axis continuously points to the North celestial Pole (the Pole-Star). Whereas, by virtue of revolving round the Sun, the Earth’s axis would have to describe a circle, or an ellipse, round the pole of the Ecliptic, its own revolution, which takes the opposite direction (every time the Earth proceeds a little further its axis rotates backwards), causes it to point continually to the North Pole. Copernicus adopted this third principle, namely: The continued pointing of the Earth’s axis to the Pole comes about because, by a rotation of its own — a kind of ‘inclination’ (?) — it cancels out the other revolution. This latter therefore has no effect in the course of the year, for it is constantly being annulled.
In modern Astronomy, founded as it is on the Copernican system, it has come about that the first two axioms are accepted and the third is ignored. This third axiom is lightly brushed aside by saying that the stars are so far away that the Earth-axis, remaining parallel to itself, always points practically to the same spot. Thus it is assumed that the North-South axis of the Earth, in its revolution, remains always parallel to itself. This was not assumed by Copernicus; on the contrary, he assumed a perpetual revolving of the Earth’s axis.
Modern Astronomy is therefore not really based on the Copernican system, but accepts the first two axioms because they are convenient and discards the third, thus becoming lost in the prevarication that it is not necessary to suppose that the Earth’s axis itself must move in order to keep pointing to the same spot in the Heavens, but that the place itself is so far away that even if the axis does move parallel to itself it will still point to the same spot. Anyone can see that this is a prevarication. To-day therefore we have a ‘Copernican system’ from which a most important element has actually been discarded.
The development of modern Astronomy is presented in such a way that no one notices that an important element is missing. Yet only in this way is it possible to describe it all so neatly: “Here is the Sun the Earth goes round in an ellipse with the Sun in one of the foci.” (Fig. 2)
As time went on it became no longer possible to hold to the starting-point of the Copernican theory, namely that the Sun stands still. A movement is now attributed to the Sun, which is said to move forward with the whole ellipse, perpetually creating new ellipses, so to speak (Fig. 3). It became necessary to introduce the Sun’s own movement, and this was done simply by adding something new to the picture they had before. A mathematical description is thus obtained which is admittedly convenient, but few questions are asked as to its possibility or its reality. It is only from the apparent movement of the stars that the Earth’s movement is deduced by this method. As we shall presently see, it is of great significance whether or not one assumes a movement — which indeed must be assumed — namely the aforesaid ‘inclination’ (?) of the Earth’s axis, perpetually annulling the annual rotation. Resultant movements, after all, are obtained by adding up the several movements. If one is left out, the whole is no longer true. Thus the whole theory that the Earth moves round the Sun in an ellipse comes into question. more>>>