A few examples have been given in the previous chapters to demonstrate a new way of studying matter. For each month only two experiments have been carefully selected, to give a fair average for the month. It has been mentioned already that the experiments have been carried out every day with many substances, and for a longtime we took photographic records for every day. This enabled us to spread out before us and study 365 pictures of Silver nitrate for a whole year. This is not an easy task.It is overwhelming to glide over so many forms with one’s eyes to compare them and arrange them in their proper order. They seem to come alive and to move, they mingle into each other, they metamorphose into one another. The realm of form is powerful.In this intimate study of Silver nitrate, a few pictures stand out as “unique.” They do not fit in with the rest.
Plate 22, Fig. 43 is one of these pictures: Easter Sunday, 1927. Looking at this picture, it seems as if we behold the form of a flower, perhaps the opening bud of a tulip; but it is not yet at the surface of the soil, it is still beneath, trying to push its way through to the sun. We know that this description is unusual, to say the least,from a scientific standpoint. But we are sure that those who have eyes to see will understand that we are giving a true description of the strange phenomenon.
We emphasize once more: these are objective, scientific experiments. There is nothing mysterious about them. Everybody can try to repeat them. Success will entirely depend on the care and selfless devotion exercised.
Another picture which stands out in the course of the year 1927 is depicted on Plate 23, Fig. 44: “St. John’s Festival,” the 24th June, 1927. Here we observe the formation of “stars.” There are two large stars in the lower part of the picture, where specific forms never arise; two smaller stars, connected with the larger ones, are formed in the upper part of the picture, between the borderline separating the day from the night experiment.
The question is often asked: are these experiments repeatable? Has it been possible to get an identical picture on another Easter Sunday, or at another St. John’s Festival? It is a rule in science to accept only when experiments can be repeated over and over again with the same result. This strict rule holds good for most phenomena—but—it cannot be applied to everything. There are things “that can happen contrary to observed sequences in the laws of nature.” (See quotation in the Preface). There are phenomena, which are “unique,” which cannot be repeated, and yet are true.
The Easter Sunday of the year 1920 is not identical with Easter Sunday, 1921 or 1922. It cannot be identical and it would be nonsense to expect this. Year after year we watched carefully the results obtained, and have come to the conviction, that substances do respond in a unique way at certain times of the year.
Plate 24, Fig. 45 is the result obtained on Easter Sunday, 1928. We believe that every objective scientist will agree, that this experiment comes very close to the one obtained on Easter Sunday, 1927. It is not identical, but very similar. Perhaps it could be described thus: the same mood is expressed in 1928 in Silver nitrate as it was in 1927. Strange as it may sound, it seems permissible to speak of a mood expressed in Matter.
Again the reader is asked to place before him the three pictures represented on Plates 21, 23 and 24: Easter Sunday, 1927—St. John’s Festival, 1927—Easter Sunday,1928. Threefold can our response be: scientific, artistic and religious. The Scientist in us is roused, but also the Artist, and, deep down in our soul, religious feeling stirs.
The Spirit of Easter finds expression in Matter.
- IV – INTERRUPTED EXPERIMENTS WITH SILVER NITRATE FOLLOWING THE COURSE OF ONE YEAR (1927-1928)
- VI – THE GREAT FESTIVALS OF THE YEAR AND THEIR REFLECTION IN SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS