Preface

Preface

In this book the reader will find expounded a method of investigating nature by means of which scientific understanding can be carried across the boundaries of the physical-material to the supersensible sources of all natural events, and thereby into the realm where is rooted the true being of man.

The beginnings of this method were worked out by Goethe more than 150 years ago. The nineteenth century, however, failed to provide any fertile ground for the development of the seeds thus sown. It was left to Rudolf Steiner, shortly before the end of the century, to recognize the significance of ‘Goetheanism’ for the future development not only of science but of human culture in general. It is to him, also, that we owe the possibility of carrying on Goethe’s efforts in the way required by the needs of our own time.

The following pages contain results of the author’s work along the path thus opened up by Goethe and Rudolf Steiner – a work begun twenty-seven years ago, soon after he had made the acquaintance of Rudolf Steiner. With the publication of these results he addresses himself to everyone – with or without a specialized scientific training – who is concerned with the fate of man’s powers of cognition in the present age.


The reader may welcome a remark as to the way in which this book needs to be read.

It has not been the author’s intention to provide an encyclopaedic collection of new conceptions in various fields of natural observation. Rather did he wish, as the sub-title of the book indicates, to offer a new method of training both mind and eye (and other senses as well), by means of which our modern ‘onlooking’ consciousness can be transformed into a new kind of ‘participating’ consciousness. Hence it would be of no avail to pick out one chapter or another for first reading, perhaps because of some special interest in its subject-matter. The chapters are stages on a road which has to be travelled, and each stage is necessary for reaching the next. It is only through thus accepting the method with which the book has been written that the reader will be able to form a competent judgment of its essential elements.

Ernst Lehrs
Hawkwood College Easter 1950


Author’s Note

The author makes grateful acknowledgment of the help he has gained from other works in the wide field opened up by Rudolf Steiner, and of his debt to the friends who in various ways assisted him in preparing his manuscript.

Quotations have been made from the following books by kind permission of their respective publishers:

The Life of Sir William Crookes by E. E. Fournier d’Albe (Messrs. Ernest Benn Ltd.);
Man the Unknown by A. Carrel (Messrs. Hamish Hamilton Ltd.);
The Philosophy of Physical Science and The Nature of The Physical Worldly A.. Eddington (University Press, Cambridge);
Science and the Human Temperament by E. Schrodinger (Messrs. George Allen and Unwin Ltd.);
Centuries of Meditations and Poetical Works by Th. Traherne (Messrs. P. J. and A. E. Dobell).