The Heart of Science and the Science of the Heart

The Heart of Science and the Science of the Heart

Science follows two major currents in its development. Both have their roots in the heyday of Greek philosophy, in which the great philosophers were also scientists.

Already at that time two fundamentally different approaches crystallized. One was phenomenological and had observation and sensation as its basis. One of the great representatives was Aristotle, who has influenced science until today mainly in medicine and biology with their systematization of form and function. In addition, with representatives such as Plato and Pythagoras, the mathematical-abstract observation of research content developed. It has its origin in perceptions and views of a spiritual kind.

Platon wrote shortly before his death the dialogue Timaios. In it he represented that the world was created due to number, ratio and geometry. The creative God works in his arranging activity quasi as geometer and mathematician. Thus, for the one who follows this activity, the interplay of experiment and mathematical description comes to the fore. For a theoretical assumption an experiment must be found, which proves the mathematical formulation. A modern example is quantum physics and the theory of relativity, which came into being in this way.

Mathematics in research

Mathematics is a very faithful companion of science and has brought it many successes. In the interplay between mathematics and experimentation, the technology has developed that today determines modern life. However, we learn that these technical achievements are not only blessings, but also contain destructive elements that can increasingly threaten the balance of our planet and thus our livelihood. The scientific theories that follow this method of investigation are not necessarily based on a conscious realization of the spiritual reality that is behind the phenomena. The theory in the today’s scientific sense, to grasp something as consequence of perception and attempt into a system of founded statements, has developed from the sacral origin of the Greek word theoros or theoria, which means something like a mental view or cognition.

In its application, mathematics permits an abstraction that is independent of man’s conscious mental cognition. Mathematical abstraction and the technology that has evolved from it have shown how well mathematical calculations can describe applications that have revolutionized life, but in the absence of consciousness to integrate these achievements harmoniously into the environment, can destroy our habitat.

In classical physics, it was the universal genius Newton who was concerned with the mathematical description of natural forces and natural phenomena in many areas. He developed mathematical descriptions of the laws of leverage, gravity and the inertia of mass, which subsequently led to motorization and industrialization. Another quantum leap in the mathematical description of nature was the new mathematics of quantum physics, through which the digital revolution developed. Mathematics has always been at the heart of these technical developments. One can perhaps even go a step further and call mathematics the heart of science, at least for the last centuries, especially for physics and the new worldview that developed from it.

Perception and View

The second form of observation of nature, which goes back to Aristotle, forms the basis for the systematic description of nature, as Alexander von Humboldt, Goethe and many other natural scientists pursued it. It was similarly successful as the mathematical descriptions. This phenomenological form of science was a way for Goethe to ask about the fundamental structures in which nature builds forms. Schiller once remarked with amazement that Goethe was able to see the idea of a plant in this way.

Goethe saw in mathematical abstraction the danger of separating cognition from consciousness. A good example are the digital achievements developed from quantum physics, which enrich life on the one hand, but can become a curse for mankind if used incorrectly.

The phenomenological form of science, the observation of form and function, also leads to abstraction, but it is much more closely tied to observation. For Goethe, it was closer to life and thus less dangerous than the form of mathematical abstraction, which is completely detached from the phenomenon. The physicist Werner Heisenberg dealt with this in an essay on Goethe. This danger, that mathematics, used independently of consciousness, can become very dangerous, has finally become visible in atomic physics and the dropping of the first atomic bomb.

The polar heart of science

If we bring these two approaches to research together and juxtapose them as a “sacred polarity,” then the heart of science must therefore also be polar. This polarity, with the Aristotelian phenomenological form on the one hand and the Pythagorean-Platonic-mathematical form on the other, is laid out very early in Western cultural history. If we take a closer look at the dispute Goethe had throughout his life with the theory of Newtonian optics, he was not dealing with refuting Newton’s observations, but with placing his own investigations, which were made with the same care, as just as true next to Newton’s. Goethe was not interested in a right or wrong of one theory or another. He regarded the apparent contradictions as complementary truths of the one nature of light. The alchemists, Rosicrucians and Hermetics move the special consciousness for this possibility of knowledge into the heart. In the heart there is a level of consciousness, a possibility of consciousness, which works together polar but harmoniously for the development of the world.

The system controversy, which Goethe fought with the Newtonian realizations all his life, should not refute Newton’s realizations, but extend them. Goethe could show with his researches to the nature of the light that there must be a polar counterpart to every Newtonian spectrum. The philosopher of science Prof. Dr. Olaf Müller has dealt intensively with both views in his book “Mehr Licht” (More Light).

Newton darkened a room and drilled a small hole in the shutter. He placed a prism in the beam of light and was thus able to show that white sunlight is composed of colored light rays. Goethe filled a prism-shaped glass with water and placed it outside in broad daylight. At the point where Newton directed the light ray into the prism, he stuck a piece of paper so that a shadow was created. In this way, he created a color spectrum that showed the complementary colors of Newton’s spectrum. He could also place the piece of paper at the same distance from the prism as the hole in Newton’s shutter without causing a change in the spectrum. So the question arises whether this shadow has the same nature as the light radiation. Because this time it was the shadow through which the color spectrum was created.

Is darkness a radiation?

In today’s science, darkness is the absence of light radiation. Newton therefore assumed the darkroom he used for his experiments to be a neutral space. Nobody has ever questioned this, not even Goethe. But if one thinks the reversal of the experimental setup through to the end, then now the bright room is the neutral environment and the shadow, the “dark”, is sent through the prism. One could now consider the “dark” as radiation.

Thus something active, even independent is assigned to the dark. In his Theory of Colors, Goethe describes how colors change as light and dark relate to each other in nature. The starting point for his experiments with the prism,A  were his discoveries of the colors that surround an object when one looks through the edge of a prism. He noticed that the colors from the bluish-cold range tended to be observed on dark surfaces and those from the reddish-warm range surrounded light surfaces. Goethe knew that this discovery could only be understood by experiencing it himself through a prism. For this reason, he planned to include a prism with each copy of the Theory of Colors when he published it, so that readers could directly understand his thoughts for themselves. However, this plan failed due to the lack of prism production capacity at the time. And so his core statements remained largely misunderstood.

If the universe were not dark but bright, we would recognize the darkness as radiation. One of its properties would then have to be the transport of cold instead of heat, as with light. Today’s scientific paradigm, however, does not allow for these thought experiments.

Through the discoveries of quantum physics, however, we know how decisive for the outcome of the experiment are the intention and the experimental setup. A very surprising is a peculiarity which has to be mentioned here.

The “dark ray” that Goethe produced in his experimental setup has the property of making magenta appear as a true spectral color. Goethe is said to have always been looking for his favourite color, magenta. Exactly this color was created by his experimental setup in the centre of his spectrum. Pure spectral colors are those that cannot be further decomposed by a prism. According to Newton’s experimental setup, purple, or, we today would say, magenta, is a mixed color of red and blue, thus not a pure spectral color. If we take Goethe’s experimental set-up as a basis and send the magenta light thus produced once again through a prism, then it cannot be further decomposed, i.e. under these circumstances it is a true spectral color. These contradictions are still waiting for an explanation.

But what is actually at stake here is the question whether we can consciously detach ourselves from the prevailing scientific paradigm in order to grasp the polar opposites to today’s physical knowledge in their full scope. The question this raises is whether there is a complementary science of darkness to the science of light as performed by Newton in the darkroom. Two isomorphic sciences that are complementarily exclusive and additional to each other. Today’s paradigm of science, which excludes other, contradictory knowledge with each knowledge, does not allow this way of looking at things.

But paradigms are subject to change. Heisenberg, in an essay on reality, stated that research and cognition can change radically when reality changes, although it is not clear whether the changed paradigm admits the other research findings or whether the research findings change the paradigm. Perhaps both are true. Newton was a modern natural scientist on the one hand, and he was an alchemist on the other. He was one of those scientists who helped found the age of a new materialistic science. He was an alchemist and a scientist and went down in history as a modern natural scientist.

Pymander, the third information field

Why do we bring all this in a magazine that in this issue is about the heart? Or, what does the history of rational science have to do with the heart?

At this point, we would like to briefly highlight the topic of alchemy as the predecessor of today’s modern science. Hermes Trismegistos is considered to be the great father of alchemy. Little is known about him, he ghosts through the ages in the form of countless hermetic writings, which among other things form the Corpus Hermeticum, whose authorship cannot be clearly traced back to him. A very central writing in the Corpus Hermeticum speaks of a “Pymander”, a focal point of consciousness, which can instantly lift man out of a prevailing paradigm to let him take a bird’s eye view of the previous scene of life from beginning to end. Einstein stated that one can only ever solve a problem from a level of consciousness that is above the level at which the problem arises. “Pymander”, therefore, seems to be the one who can lift man to the higher level of consciousness. His point of reference in man is the heart.

The universal field of information that “Pymander” can connect as a focal point with the heart of every human being is something like an inner world picture, an inner reality that the scientist can use for the interpretation of his research, or that the artist can use for the realization of art and the philosopher for the development of new points of view. Thus, in a living sacred polarity between the heart of man and “Pymander”, a third field of information emerges from which a science of the heart becomes possible.

From “either-or” to “as-well-as”.

In his book “Mehr Licht” (More Light), Olaf Müller has tried to look at the historical dispute between Newton and Goethe from a higher perspective as complementary points of view. He describes the problem of a dualistic world view, which has developed over 2500 years and is obviously not able to reconcile the phenomenological approach with the mathematical-abstract one. In the science of the heart, there is a third structure of consciousness, a spiritual possibility of perception, which allows to recognize that neither one nor the other is the ultimate truth. From this superior level, the polarities can be reconciled through complementary ways of seeing.

Olaf Müller (2015), Mehr Licht, S. Fischer Verlag Frankfurt am Main

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this article

Article info

Date: March 3, 2024
Author: Heiko Haase (Germany)
Photo: rainbow-kitti851 auf Pixabay CCO

Featured image: