Men take it for granted nowadays that the sun is firmly fixed in the middle and the planets revolve around it in ellipses. In the near future, however, it will be realised that the view of the world of the stars held by Copernicus is much less correct than the earlier Ptolemaic view. ( 63 ) The view of the world held by the school of Copernicus and Kepler is very convenient, but as an explanation of the macrocosm it is not the truth.
In the middle of the sixteenth century, Copernicus’ Book of the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres ( 64 ) appeared. At the end of the sixteenth century the rosicrucians were faced with the necessity of comprehending the world system by means of occultism, for with its materially-conceived globes in space the Copernican world-system was maya, even as concept.
Just as at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha the actual ego of man was born, there was born on Mars that particular tendency which, in man, comes to expression in Copernicanism. When these conditions came into force on Mars, the natural consequence would have been for Mars to continue sending down to earth human beings who only brought Copernican ideas with them, which are really only maya. What we are seeing, then, is the decline of the Mars culture. Previously, Mars had sent forth good forces. But now Mars sent forth more and more forces that would have led men deeper and deeper into maya. The achievements that were inspired by Mars at that time were ingenious and clever, but they were maya all the same.
The intrinsic nature of spiritual life as it is in the present age, developed for the first time when modern natural science came upon the scene with men like Copernicus, ( 60 ) Giordano Bruno, ( 61 ) Galileo ( 62 ) and others. Nowadays people are taught about Copernicus in their early schooldays, and the impressions thus received remain with them their whole life long. In earlier times the soul experienced something different. Try to picture to yourselves what a contrast there is between a man of the modern age and one who lived centuries ago. Before the days of Copernicus everyone believed that the earth remains at rest in cosmic space with the sun and the stars revolving around it. The very ground slipped from under men’s feet when Copernicus came forward with the doctrine that the earth is moving with tremendous speed through the universe. We should not underestimate the effects of such a revolution in thinking, accompanied as it was by a corresponding change in the life of feeling. All the thoughts and ideas of men were suddenly different from what they had been before the days of Copernicus. And now let us ask: What has occultism to say about this revolution in thinking?
Anyone who asks from the standpoint of occultism what kind of world conception can be derived from the Copernican tenets will have to admit that although these ideas can lead to great achievements in the realm of natural science and in external life, they are incapable of promoting any understanding of the spiritual foundations of the world and the things of the world, for there has never been a worse instrument for understanding the spiritual foundations of the world than the ideas of Copernicus — never in the whole of human evolution. The reason for this is that all these Copernican concepts are inspired by Lucifer. Copernicanism is one of the last attacks, one of the last great attacks made by Lucifer upon the evolution of man. In earlier, pre-Copernican thought, the external world was indeed maya, but much traditional wisdom, much truth concerning the world and the things of the world still survived. Since Copernicus, however, man has maya around him not only in his material perceptions but his concepts and ideas are themselves maya.
And so Christian Rosenkreutz, confronted by a world conception which is itself a maya, an illusion, had to come to grips with it.
“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.
….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.
….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 no 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.
— Rudolph Steiner
“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 W. v. Goethe