I will deal first with the question concerning rocks, for that can well be treated in connection with the matters we have been studying hitherto.
You know, of course, that when anything is built on earth it is necessary to take into consideration the laws of gravity, weight, and many other things, for instance, (we shall be speaking of this later) elasticity.
Now, let us suppose a tower is to be built, a tower like that of Cologne Cathedral, or like the Eiffel Tower. Of course, one must be certain to build in such a way that the thing in question does not fall down; and if the laws of gravity are exactly known, it can be built so that it will not fall. But the highest towers on earth are not built without a base; and if the height is about ten times the base - 1 to 10, that is - the highest towers can be erected.
Thus a tower of 1 to 10 is the highest that can be built, otherwise, at any shock - which may always be given by a movement of the earth, a gust of wind, etc. - the tower would fall.
But besides this, care must be taken that such a tower has something elastic in itself. The tip of it always swings a little; so that what is called elastic force must be taken into consideration. The tower will always swing, but as soon as it swings too much, it will come to grief.
The Eiffel Tower swings quite considerably at the top; but care must always be taken that it does not swing beyond its base.
Now, gentlemen, when you look - let us say - at a wheat-stalk, you will find that these laws are disregarded. A wheat-stalk has a small base. It is in reality nothing else than a tower; yet a wheat-stalk, with so small a base, grows very tall, and if you work it out, the proportion is by no means that which must be maintained in mechanical building - approximately 1 to 10; it may be, for instance, 1 to 400, in some stems 1 to 500.
And so, gentlemen, according to the laws which we, as mechanicians, apply on earth, such a tower must unconditionally fall. For when the wind shakes it, its elastic forces are not such as you can understand according to the laws which mechanicians must observe.
Then, if you wanted to put something especially heavy at the top of the Eiffel Tower, you would see that it was impossible. But this tower which is a stalk, has the ear fixed to the top of it, and rocking in the wind. You see, this contradicts all architectural laws.
Now, if we examine the material of which the corn-stalk is made, we get, first, wood, that is to say, a woody material; then that which you know as bast. You see that in trees. And what is within this, is now the real building material: silica, quartz, true silicic acid. And it is hard quartz, such as is found in the Alps, and, for example, in granite or gneiss. Thus this quartz forms a complete framework.
And besides these, the fourth material is water. This mortar then, made of wood, bast, water and flint, defies all earthly laws. So a blade of grass is also a tower, built entirely out of these materials; it can be rocked in the wind, does not break, rights itself when the wind ceases, calmly regains its position when the weather is favorable. All this you know.
But gentlemen, such forces - forces with which such things can be built out of the earth, are non-existent on the earth, completely non-existent. And if you ask: Well, then, where do these forces come from? the answer must simply be: The Eiffel Tower is dead, the wheat-stalk is alive. But it does not receive its life from the earth; it receives it from the whole cosmic surrounding. Just as gravity only draws the Eiffel Tower downwards, so the stalk grows in such a way that it is not supported from below. - When we build the Eiffel Tower, we must lay one material upon another, and thus the lower does indeed always support the upper. With the wheat-stalk this is not the case; the wheat-stalk is, indeed, drawn out into cosmic space.
If you picture the earth thus (he draws it), and the stalks there, they will all be drawn out into cosmic space, because the latter is completely filled with a fine substance called ether, a substance which also lives in the plants. But this life does not come from the earth; it comes from cosmic space. So we can say: Life comes simply out of cosmic space.
And that is how it is that when the ovum develops in the body of the mother, the mother's body gives only the substance. What works upon the ovum is the whole cosmic space. It is that which gives life to it. So, you see, cosmic space works into all that lives.
Now look at plants; they grow, first of all, under the earth. If this is the earth (he draws it), the plants grow within it. But this earth is not an indifferent mass; it is actually something quite wonderful.
In this earth there are all sorts of substances; but in ancient days three substances were quite especially important in it. One was a substance called mica. Very little of it is found in plants today, but though there is so little of it, it is extraordinarily important. You may perhaps remember having seen flakes of mica - mica is in the form of flakes or scales, little flakes which are often transparent. The earth was at one time interspersed with these flakes of mica. They lay in this direction (he draws). Then the earth was still soft, there were forces of this kind. And there were other forces opposite to them, running in this direction (again he draws), so that there was an actual network in the earth. These other forces are contained today in silica, in quartz.
And between them there is still another main substance: that is clay. And this clay unites the other two, filling as it were in the network. As a rock it is called feldspar.
Thus at one time the earth was composed mainly of three kinds of rock. But it was all soft and pulpy. There was the mica, which was endeavoring to make the earth scaly, so that the earth would have become scaly in a horizontal direction. Then there was the quartz, which radiated in this way; (vertical line) and finally the feldspar, which cemented the two together.
We find these constituents today, if we take the clay found anywhere in the field. These three materials were at one time mixed in the earth; and today they are to be found out in the mountains. If we take a piece of granite, we find that it is quite granular, there are splinters in it. These splinters are split up mica-flakes. Then there are quite hard grains; those are quartz. Then there is the uniting grit, which is feldspar. These three substances have been softened and granulated; and they are to be found today out in the mountains. They form the foundation of the hardest mountain ranges.
Thus, ever since the Earth was soft, they have been pounded, ground down and mixed by all the various forces which are at work in the earth; and today they are disintegrated in the mountains. But the remains of these ancient substances, and especially the forces of these ancient substances, are still found everywhere in the earth. And out of these remains the plants are built up from the Cosmos.
So we may say: Well, if these cosmic forces do still work out there in the mountains, they can do no more. These rocks are crumbled, disintegrated, granulated; and they are too hard to become plants. But with that which is within the earth, they can still be used to build up the plants in cosmic space, especially because a plant always gives its most important substances and forces to the germ.
You see, gentlemen, a study of this kind which takes into consideration how the whole Cosmos collaborates with all that is alive, has no place in modern Science. Lately, as you have perhaps read, a lecture was given in Basle, in which the speaker explained how life must have originated on earth. He said: One can hardly imagine that through a mere mingling, or chemical compounding, of substances on earth, life can have arisen.
Then it must have come out of cosmic space. But how? - Now it is interesting to see how a modern scientist imagines that life can come out of cosmic space. He says to himself: Well now, if it is not on the earth, it must come from other stars. Now, the nearest star, which might perhaps at one time have shot forth material which then flew to the Earth - the nearest star is so far from the Earth that the material which was thus split off, would have needed forty thousand years to fly to the Earth.
So one must imagine - people say - that the Earth was once a fiery fluid body, a fiery body. Then there can have been no life on it, otherwise it would, of course, have been burnt up. But the Earth gradually cooled. When it had cooled off, it was in a condition to receive life, if it had flown to it from the nearest star, as it was thought to have done, (taking 40,000 years to do it).
Now, said the lecturer, one cannot imagine that a germ of life, a tiny life-germ, wandered for 40,000 years through cosmic space, which, besides, had a temperature of minus 220 degrees Celsius of cold, not heat! And that then, when it reached the Earth, life would arise. Before, however sufficient germs had flown to the Earth, they would have been burnt up.
It is further supposed that when the Earth had cooled enough, they would thrive, said the speaker but that simply could not be. So we do not know whence life comes.
But we do see that it comes out of cosmic space. We clearly see that, in all that lives, it is not merely the forces of the Earth that are at work. For we only make use of the forces of the Earth for the Eiffel Tower, for instance. And in such a tower as the grass-stalk, it is not merely the forces of the Earth, but the forces of the whole Cosmos, which are at work. And when the Earth was still soft, gentlemen, when mica, feldspar and silica were liquefied together, then the whole Earth was under the influence of the cosmos, and was a gigantic plant.
Therefore if you go out into the mountains today, and find granite there, or gneiss, which is distinct from granite because the mica is more plentiful in it , more apparent - if you go out today into the mountains, and look at the granite or the gneiss, you are looking at the remains of those old plant-formations. The whole Earth was a plant. And precisely as, when a plant withers today, it gives up its mineral constituents to the earth, so, when it was still a plant, the whole terrestrial globe gave up, later, its mineral constituents to the Earth. And so we have today the mountain-ranges.
Thus we may say: The hardest mountain-ranges that exist, had their origin in plant-beings, and the whole Earth was a kind of plant.
I have already told you how the earth looked when this primeval rock had ceased to be in a plant condition, but all was still soft. Our present animals and men were not then in existence, but the Megatherion and all the creatures I described to you. But before all this came about, the earth was a giant plant in cosmic space. And if you observe a plant to-day and enlarge it, you find even now that it resembles the mountain formations outside. For the universe only acts on the plant as a whole; its minutest parts are already stone. Thus, briefly, the earth has once been alive and what we find to-day in the hardest mountain rocks is the remains of a living earth.
But the earth's solid, mineral matter has originated in yet another way. If you go out on the ocean you find island formations. Here is the sea (sketch) and at a certain depth under the sea there live tiny creatures in real colonies — the coral-organisms or polyps. These coral polyps have the characteristic of continuously secreting chalk. The chalk remains there and the island is finally covered by their deposited chalk secretions. And then sometimes the ground sinks in here, is submerged, and a lake is formed. There is a ring of chalk which the coral polyps have left behind. Now the earth as a whole is continually sinking in the very regions where these polyps are depositing their chalk. They can only live in the sea itself, so they go down deeper and deeper, while the chalk is left behind up above.
Thus one can still find in the sea chalk deposits which are derived from living creatures, namely, the coral polyps. Formerly there was animal life where now in the Juras we find limestone or chalk. The limestone is the deposit of former animal life. If you go into the central Alpine region where the hardest rocks are, there you have the deposited plants. If you go into the Juras, there you have what is deposited by animals. The whole earth has once been living; originally it was a plant, then an animal. What we have to-day as rock is the remains of life.
It is simply nonsense to imagine that life is built up from dead substances through chemical combination. Life comes out of the ether-filled universe. It is nonsense to say that dead substances could unite and come to life — what is called “original creation.” No, it is precisely the dead substances that are derived from the living, are deposited by the living. As our bones are separated out — in the mother's body they are not there at first — so is everything, our bony structure, etc., formed out of the living. The living exists first and only afterwards comes the dead. The ether surrounds us and it draws everything upwards just as the earth's gravity draws everything down. It draws upwards but it does not bring death, as gravity does. The more you inhale gravity, the more you become gouty or diabetic or something of the sort. To that extent we become dead. And the more the upward forces prevail in us, the more living we become.
HEALING FORCES IN HUMAN NATURE
I now come to a part of the question which Herr B. has asked. Let us imagine then that I have someone before me who is ill, and I can say to myself: What is wrong with him is that he has not enough of the forces that work outside in the universe. He has too much of the forces of gravity — everything imaginable is deposited in him. Now I remember! Yes, I say to myself, it was quartz, silica, that at one time let forces stream out into the universe. If I prepare silica in such a way that the original forces become active again, that is, if I make a preparation from silica, mix it with other substances by which the silica element gets etheric force again and give this as a remedy, then I may be able to make a cure. Very good results can come from a silica preparation. And so in medicine one can make use again of forces which at one time existed in silica in living form. Great achievements in medicine can be secured if one reflects upon the condition of the earth when it was fully alive, when the silica was still under the influence of the universe.
Now you see, if we understand Nature, we actually understand also what are the healing forces for human nature. But one must have a sense for the way in which the cosmos collaborates with our Earth.
You see, one can always explain definite matters only for definite occasions. Thus, now that we are further advanced, I can give you a more definite explanation of the migration of birds. Our modern Science is very abstract concerning bird-migration in autumn and spring. In spring the birds forsake their warmer haunts; and in autumn when it grows colder, the more northerly regions. But there are birds which fly over the ocean in a south-easterly direction - and, it is very strange, these birds fly extremely fast and do not rest on the way. That can be proved, because it can be proven that there are no islands at all on the paths which these birds often follow. And they fly very high, so that ordinary Science cannot answer the question: What, actually do they breathe up there? For one would expect them to be suffocated at that height. And the scientists have not hit upon an explanation of how these birds find their way. Some have said: Well, it is an inherited faculty; the young ones have always inherited it from the old. And then the old birds teach the young ones, and so it is quite easy for the young ones to do it. Thus, when the autumn comes, the old swallows set up a school, the young are taught, the old ones fly in front, the young, behind, imitating them. That is how men have pictured it.
But gentlemen, not all migratory birds do this; this is quite a peculiar case. It often happens with migrants - for instance, in Africa - that when spring comes to us, the old migrants fly away first, returning to us. The young ones hold out longer, because they are still strong; the old ones make their escape earlier, and leave the young ones behind. They neither teach them, nor act as guides; the young ones have to find their way alone.
Some people have said: Oh, well, birds see to a great distance. In fact if it is a case of Africa they would even have to see through the earth! One doesn't get very far with these things. But I will give you an example by which you can see how the matter really lies. There is something else about which one can wonder how it makes its way — namely, a ship. How does a ship find its direction if it is to sail from Europe to America? It takes its direction from the compass. When as yet there were no compasses it went rather badly with the ships; they had to find their direction from the stars. So they steer their course by the compass, that is to say, by forces which are invisible, which are present in the ether. These are the very forces by which the birds find their direction! Only we men have no longer a sense for these invisible forces. The birds, however, have a sense for them, they have an inner compass. What we only learn laboriously, by observing the etheric forces with compass, magnet, etc., a bird has within itself. It flies by the ether, by what is working in universal space.
And so we can say: the earth is everywhere surrounded by ether and the ether contains life-forces. They come from the universe, take hold of earthly substances and from them bring about the living.
But something always remains within as remains of life. When, for instance, you take coral chalk, there is always something left that a little recalls life, something that has branched off from the living. So it is possible to find all sorts of things within it still, which can be administered as quite a good remedy.
And if, as I said, you take silica, which has already become terribly hard, and make use of it as a medicament, you can heal head ailments very effectively.
Thus life is still within it. The whole of it has once been alive. We cannot say that minerals are still living to-day, but they have lived once. They were once constituents of life. There is a remnant left in them which we can extract by all sorts of means and through which they can serve very well as remedies.
So this question as to whether there is also life in stone has been answered. If people only calculate with the forces acting on earth, then they proclaim that the earth looked different millions of years ago. They take no account in this of heavenly space. I said to you lately that if one takes into account what comes from the heavens one does not arrive at anything like such vast numbers of years.
One discovers, however, that here in our regions everything was still frozen and covered with ice, while over in Asia there was already quite a high degree of civilisation with much wisdom spread among the inhabitants.
But one comes to see that in a certain way our earthly life depends on the life outside, the life in the universe. When one goes back six, seven, eight thousand years, the earth with its mineral rocks was quite different from what it is to-day; not so much externally, but internally quite different. And then one goes back farther and farther to the soft condition of the earth. If we want to direct ourselves by the cosmos, we must observe it in the right way.
Now one can observe the cosmos by observing the position of the sun's rising. At the present day the sun in spring rises on the morning of 21st March with the constellation of Pisces behind it. But if one goes farther back — for instance, into the times before the Birth of Christ, the sun rose, not in Pisces, but in the constellation of Aries. That means the vernal point has moved along. If the sun rises in spring on 21st March in Pisces, then about 2,160 years ago it rose in Aries, still earlier in Taurus, still earlier in Gemini. There are twelve such constellations.
Thus the rising position of the sun is always moving in a backward direction; it moves round a whole circle, so that the vernal point goes quite round the earth. Is that understandable? It is always moving farther round from west to east.
One therefore arrives at the fact that formerly the sun rose in Aries, earlier in Taurus, still earlier in Gemini, then in Cancer, Leo, Virgo, then in Libra, in Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and then, as to-day, in Pisces. So when we go back 2,160 years it rose in Aries, another 2,160 years in Taurus, another 2,160 in Gemini, still another in Cancer, another in Leo. Then we come round again until at one time it was rising in Pisces. We come right round. (Sketch.) In 25,920 years the sun makes a revolution round the whole universe.
That is very interesting, and by such a course of the stars one can see how everything on earth changes. With the conditions brought by our present vernal point, we have our high mountains with the dead granite masses, containing feldspar, quartz and mica. It is all dried up, devastated. So it was, too, 25,920 years ago: similar conditions then prevailed on earth. But in between it was all different. For instance, the sun rose at one time in spring in Libra, between Virgo and Scorpio. Then the whole earth was alive, soft, was in fact a kind of plant. We need not go back more than 15,000 years at most, then through the quite different position of the sun the earth had a plant nature, and later an animal nature. We should be able to follow from the sun's course how the influences coming in from cosmic space have altered conditions on the earth.
You must think to yourselves, as you go back in time: the rock in the primeval Alps which is quite hard and solid to-day begins to flow, somewhat as iron flows in an iron foundry. It is naturally not quite the same, for when we go back the flow is reversed, as it were, it is in process of becoming solid. And if we go forward into the future, we shall again have the sun in Libra — for now it rises in Pisces, after 2,160 years in Aquarius, then in Capricorn, Sagittarius and once more in Libra, the Scales. At this future time when the sun rises once more in the Scales, the whole primeval Alpine range will have dissolved. The dense quartzes will have become fluid again, the earth will once more be plant-like and men and animals return to the condition in which they formerly were. In the meanwhile, however, they have absorbed all that they could take in on the earth.
So everything really goes in a circle. We look back to an earlier time when the earth and its hardest formations were fluid. Then the cosmos above brought forth such creatures as I once described to you; they arose through the in-working of heavenly forces and died out. Then all cooled down, solid formations arose and gradually there came the life of to-day. But it all goes back again. The granular quartz and granite, etc., are dissolved and former conditions return, but at a higher stage of evolution.
If you take in your hand a piece of granite containing quartz, you can say: This piece of granite with its quartz will at a future time be alive again. It has lived in former ages and to-day it is dead. It has formed solid ground upon which we can walk about. When we did not need to walk, the solid ground was not there. But one day it will come to life again.
In fact we can say that the earth sleeps as regards cosmic space — only the sleep is long, 15,000 years at least. When the earth was alive it was awake, it was in connection with the whole universe and the life forces of the universe brought forth upon it the great beasts. Later, as solidity was reached, these forces brought forth the human beings. Human beings nowadays have a pleasant time of it on earth — of course in regard to the universe too — they can go about on solid ground. But this solid ground will wake up again — it is really only asleep — it will wake up again and become active life.
If we take a piece of chalk, limestone, just an ordinary bit from the Juras, it is the remains of a portion of life. It is deposited from life, but someday it will be alive again, it is between life and life and is really only asleep.
Now we can use chalk, or calcium, very well as a medical preparation when, for instance, we find that children cannot absorb proper nourishment. This is particularly the case in Germany to-day — it is dreadful there now. When I recently went to Stuttgart to inspect the Waldorf School again, I visited the first Class. We have twenty-eight children in this Class, of whom only nineteen were present, the others were all ill. In another Class, fifteen were ill. And when one goes into it one finds terrible conditions. They brought a little boy into my consulting room and asked: What is to be done with him? He can no longer eat and the doctor has given him up.
Through persistent undernourishment, the digestive organs gradually form the habit of not being able to digest and they refuse everything. People can no longer eat, no matter how much one gives them. You can give them Quaker meals (The Society of Friends supplied the Waldorf School with food gifts) and everything possible, but nothing can help the child because his organs have ceased to act. He looks rather fat and greyish-yellow. What is to be done? The organs must first be made fit again to take in nourishment. Here one is well served by the little bit of life that is in calcium. When calcium is rightly used as a remedy, one can reawaken these sleeping digestive forces so that the child can live. One must give a mixture of calcium with other substances as it does not work by itself alone; it must be made to pass over into the organism. The calcium is absorbed if it is given in 5 per cent dilution.
But what is one using in giving calcium in this dilution? One is using the forces which once, in earlier times, were life forces in the chalk. They are still in it and can be used to reawaken life. But if one uses calcium in high dilution, in homeopathic doses, as one says, not 5 per cent but 5/10,000 — not even 5 per 1,000 but 5/10,000 — this, mixed with the other substances, acts on the head. It immediately becomes a remedy for the head.
If one gives the calcium allopathically it acts on the digestive organs, but in a quite high dilution it acts on the head and one can vary one's treatment in this way. It is also possible to ask: what is one using in the high dilutions of calcium? Here one is using the forces of the future which are still in it and will come into existence again in future ages.
You see, we must know nature in this way and then it can give us remedies. For there was once life everywhere and will be so again; death only stands between two lives. From primeval rock it is possible to use both past and future life forces in the right way.
This makes us realize something else. We find in our modern world both allopaths and homeopaths. The allopaths cure allopathically and the homeopaths, homeopathically. Well, but as a matter of fact many illnesses cannot be cured homeopathically, many must be cured allopathically. Remedies must be prepared differently. One cannot be a fanatic who swears by words, one must administer the remedies out of a full knowledge — sometimes so, sometimes so. Anthroposophy does not go in for catchwords — allopathic — homeopathic — but it studies the matter and says: the allopath works principally on the stomach, intestines, kidneys; there he is successful. Homeopathy is successful when the source of the illness is in the head, as in influenza. Many illnesses have their origin in the head. One must know how things really take their course in nature. People invent catchwords to-day as they no longer have real knowledge. Catchwords are always invented when things have ceased to be understood.
It is naturally not easy to arrive at the truth, for the Allopath says: I have often cured such and such ... and the Homeopath says: I have often cured such and such. ... Naturally they always leave out the diseases they have not cured!
But take a man like Professor Virchow of Berlin, a doctor and professor who certainly could not be accused of not standing completely in modern medicine, who has even been called a genuine Liberal by the Free Thought Party. Yet with regard to cures he has been obliged to admit the following: “When a doctor in our modern medical world can show that he has cured one hundred people, the truth really is that fifty of these would have got well without him, and 20% would have recovered even if he had used quite different remedies. So 70% of cures are not to be attributed to modern medicine — 30% at most.” This is what Virchow calculated and he stood fully within the world of modern medicine.
It can definitely be stated that the right remedy, rightly employed, is effective; everyone can convince himself of that. Quicksilver, for instance, although it has aftereffects, is nevertheless efficacious. And so one must just find the right thing. Sometimes it is terribly complicated, sometimes the organism has even become too brittle to stand the cure. But in a certain sense, through a real knowledge of what exists in nature, we can see how the various substances work. As dead substances they are really only in the middle between two periods of life and we can see their effect on man. But it is essential to have a real knowledge concerning their life.
Now the peculiar thing is that if one wants to understand anything, one must always start from life. Even in regard to colors we must take our start from life.
Sometimes when one sees modern pictures one has the feeling that there is no flesh behind, but that wood has simply been smeared with color. Modern painters are quite unable to reproduce the tint of flesh-color, because they have no living feeling that flesh color is created out of the human being. Nowhere does it appear on any other material. One has to understand flesh color and then the other colors can be understood. I will speak more about this on another occasion. Flesh color must be understood first.
The child that they brought to me in the Waldorf School and who had been treated with calcium/lime by the school doctor had completely lost the flesh color and had become yellow from within outwards ... let us hope that people don't say that a proper remedy was not used! Living activity is inherent in color and we are therefore experimenting in using the less dead for colors. So when we painted the Goetheanum we used plant colors as they come more out of the living element. In color too you must go to the living things.
Next Wednesday I will explain more about this. You see, the question as to whether rocks also have life was not too stupid; it was quite sensible. For we have been able to observe how, in the course of the life-periods of Earth, stones live, become dead again, and so on, and how this affects human life.