Goethean Science as observing in 3-D

Quality of observing

Goethe’s theory-method of science can be clarified by ‘quality of observing;’ as in, what quality of observation does this reporter-experimenter engage in?

Two ways to experience a circus

Consider this contrast: You are 13 years old. The circus comes to town. You have never seen a circus nor seen it on a movie or screen. You want the circus experience. You mow lawns to earn the ticket price.

You enter the big top with all your senses open. Beyond the horses, elephants, trapeze artists, beyond this, a sense of wonder pours into you. In the moment, not easy for you to articulate the wholeness of your circus experience. Only later, maybe days or weeks later, will you be able to speak and-or write about your conclusions after all your external and internal movement has integrated and “come to rest.”

Contrast this with: A one-eyed, color-blind person in a wheelchair also wants the circus experience. He has no money for a ticket. He walks around the outside of the wooden fence surrounding the big top. He finds a small missing knothole in the fence he is able to look thru. Yes! He can see the big top activity, the women standing on horseback, the elephants, trapeze artists. After watching all of the circus thru this knothole, where each act can be catalogued, a more limited immersion in the experience, the one-eyed, color-blind onlooker can indeed organize his sensory and mental impressions and report his experience.

Given these two circus-goers, if you interviewed both persons, who’s account is more interesting and engaging?
Which of the two people would you invite into a Grade 1-4 classroom to describe the circus to the children?

What Goethe did not have rhetoric to say, which we can say today, is the quality of observation contrasts in the two accounts.

In one account, the objective (sensory) details of the circus converge with their own personal experience of the circus. This reporter tells you details of horses and trapeze artists; alongside details, of how and what the reporter felt.
Three-dimensional observing ~ Because this report converges feelings with sensory details, listeners find it more 3D, more engaging.

The other reporter, observing from a distance as it were, was more detached from their own feelings about the circus. They may list more sensory details of horses and trapeze artists; however, this reporter reports fewer feeling experiences, thoughts tangential to how he felt; or possibly, reports no feelings at all.

This contrast between two qualities of observation, also characterizes the contrast between the Goethean whole-person observing and Sherlock Holmes primarily left-brain-only observing.

Joe Friday: “Just the facts, mam”

I’m going back to the two circus observers. I’m aware an even starker contrast along these lines exists in pop culture. It is the hysterical mother, wife, daughter being interviewed by Detective Joe Friday in the 1952-’58 TV drama Dragnet.

Harvey Kurtzman’s and Will Elder’s parody of Dragnet in MAD (comic book) #11, page 4 especially, takes this contrast to its extreme, the hysterical widow and Joe Friday, who never responds in a personal way to ANYTHING, no matter how extreme or even absurd.

The Kurtzman-Elder Dragnet parody is here – http://ethunter1.blogspot.fr/2010/05/sunday-funnies-mad-11-dragnet.html

In both Dragnet and the parody, Joe Friday is NON-emotional. The widow wife has all the emotions. Joe even appears to have his eyes closed.  He’s closed-off to his own experience (a topic not discussed until Men’s Liberation in the late 1970s).

Starting around 1792, Goethe intuited a science drawing on BOTH extremes, could keep humankind in the middle zone of truly human values.

Mythologically, the unresponsive male, especially emotionally unresponsive male, is buddies with:

– The cowboy Marlboro Man, all tough cowboys of few words,

– Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary, my dear Watson,”

– The white-lab-jacketed scientist.

Can you add to this list?

Now for the $64,000 questions

How much are you an observer in your own life?  How much are you a full participant? 

Did you parents or grand-parents divide up Thinking and Feeling so one was “in charge” of one function and the other function fell to the other?  

How willing are you be be a full participant in your own life, employing all your senses, all your Thinking and all your Feeling?  

In Modern lingo, this is what Goethe proposed as a science for soul in the human experience.  

Can you see why Goethe’s holistic ideas had to “sleep” until the 1970s before they could be appreciated even a little bit?  

Excerpted from the up-coming On Beyond Waldorf mss

Goethe on visualizing & visualization

Goethe had a very nuanced idea of visualizing and visualization. His ideas do NOT coincide with Descartes-Newton and modern scientific, post-modern science ideas. Goethe’s ideas are more holistic and remain rather unique in 2018. A published paper lays this out well:

Goethe’s way of observing required one to look into an object, and see behind mere sense impressions and one’s own mere thoughts and feelings about the subject … The missing elements for him were ‘insight into the object’s character; and, the striving of the human spirit’.30

Goethe’s mode of perceiving stretched [across a much wider range of perception, than we find anywhere in modern or post-modern thinking, outside of mystical literature].

Goethe’s mode of perceiving stretched from the phenomenal world into the noumenal realms. This contrasted with the Kantian assertion of the mediation of noumena by sense-impressions.

Goethe’s reaching towards the objective [beyond the five-sensory perceptible] was not strictly Spinozist either.

Goethe’s encounter with the object was first external; and then, internal and imagined. This is in stark contrast to Spinoza’s view of imagination and fantasy as corruptors of true knowledge.

The visualization of Goethe’s … method [of visualizing] thus involved seeing behind the sense object; and then, behind] one’s own intuition; in order to, extend one’s perception into the noumenal world. Then imagining how [the Unconscious Patterns perceived beyond the object and the Patterns outside of one’s own personal intuitions] stretched back across the subject-object boundary into the objective world.

By practice of ‘exact sensorial imagination,’ Goethe, the natural philosopher, perceived the object of his study [on multiple levels and from multiple angles-views].

For example, experimenting with the prism, Goethe integrated all the various aspects of the phenomenon; attempting to, ‘recreate in the wake of ever-creating nature’.32

The goal of his process was to form and interject intermediate capacities for perceiving which could provide the natural philosopher with deeper insights into natural objects and phenomena. Goethe hoped to, and in several fields achieved, facility at employing clouds, geology and color to yield to him insights of their invisible essence and organization.

This depth of insight, this goal, was impossible to achieve by simple five-sensory observation; coupled with, mental contemplation.

In his way, higher order, pattern and lawfulness was firmly anchored into–and discovered within–five-sensory perceptions.

Adapted and revised for clarity from p. 11-12 Between Light and Eye: Goethe’s Science of Colour and the Polar Phenomenology of Nature by Alex Kentsis, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York University, New York, New York, 10029,

USA. – https://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0511130.pdf – Found in Cornel library database

Perhaps if Goethe had discussed visualization with the language above, he could have more easily supported his radical ideas about keeping the new field of “science” in his day connected with both Thinking and with Feeling.  I guess this task is up to us now, articulating and promoting a science as if both the Inner and Outer Games of Life were both worth playing.

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Author, Health Intuitive, Bruce Dickson online:
Holistic Brain Balance intro-start here

Three Sciences, Goethean Holistic Science, intro 2018

Since “holism” was coined in 1939, Second Order “hard” Science has been philosophically “at war” with holism; especially, holistic healing and Energy Medicine, of every kind.

A way out of this conflict exists.

It requires a slight paradigm shift: We use Three Sciences every day. Not one, not two–three.
Once we accept, live with, and begin to be creative with the shift, ‘Feeling is equally rational with Thinking,’ we begin imagining how an entire Order of Science (rational thought and experiment, hypothesis, experiment, result, new hypothesis) must exist in the individual and the subjective.

How we do many rational things interiorly, based on Feeling, is outside of Second Order Science, but NOT outside of science altogether.

Everything “hard” science objects to in holism and holistic health and healing is outside of Second Order Science. All methods, session, experiments and research in holistic healing, Energy Medicine, of every methods are within First Order Science, the science of the subjective, the science of healing and self-healing. Remaining ethical-moral aspects are in Third Order Science.

To assume Second Order Science defines all boundaries for all science–is where all the male arrogance comes from (also occasionally from women scientists thinking like males).
Where do find evidence for Three Sciences?

Parents of children inevitably use all three Sciences every day:
– Teaching my child the dangers of crossing the street with cars (Second Order Science, survival science),

– Providing nurturing experiences-opportunities for my child to develop self-esteem (First Order Science, science of the Inner Game of Life in terms of self-esteem and self-concept),

– Estimating if I bought enuf materials at CostCo to feed the entire family for the next seven days–or not. Deciding how to spend limited funds to meet the demands of all stakeholder in my family unit.

Show me a parent who does NOT make rational choices and experiments in all three areas. Can you?

Three Sciences exist. A holistic perspective always reveals this. Since 2014 we’ve been able to begin articulating it.

On the macro scale of mainstream culture, deliberate exercise of each science, in proportion to the others, is needed to keep a culture in balance.

A great deal of our cultural breakdown since 1995 has been ignoring how Science is far wider and deeper than Second Order materialistic consumer-industrial-electronic-genetic technology.

If one Order of Science gets too robust and hogs most attention and activity, the whole culture eventually spins out of control like a poorly loaded clothes washing machine on spin.

Hmm, funny. This sounds like what’s been happening in Western corporate-consumer-congressional-military culture since about 1960. How do these things sound together to your ear?

Cultures giving no effort to weighting all Three Sciences equally, giving each equal weight as values, are doomed to spin further and further out of control, until the civilization collapses.

If Three Sciences is our healthy direction forward, where will it take root and begin?

It might be in healthcare. Three Orders of Science has special significance to holistic health and Energy Medicine. The next paradigm of healing after only the rich can have good health care, can only come in the framework of Three Sciences, three equally valid value systems, all practical.

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Author, Health Intuitive, Bruce Dickson online:
Holistic Brain Balance intro-start here

Goethean Science: From mere categorizing to interactive experiments

UPDATED DRAFT Why did Goethe feel a new way of seeing was needed?

Compared to centuries of earlier superstition and Alchemy fallen into mere witchcraft, one-sided, left-brain intelligence, exercised in the Enlightenment and Age of Reason was indeed a step forward.

However by 1750 Western philosophy was falling more and more into extreme one-sidedness, into exclusively rational Thinking.  Goethe was one of few aware of this flaw. He recognized it as an ethical and moral dead end.  More and more Goethe saw the consensual view of the human being falling into exclusively mechanical understanding and rhetoric.

Goethe believed every act of looking at a thing turns into observation, every act of observation turns into mentation, every act of mentation turns into associations. Thus it is evident we theorize every time we look attentively out into the world.”

For Goethe, the ultimate aim of experiments was two-sided:  increase of human knowledge of lawful patterns and behavior; as well, the growth, maturing and metamorphosis of the experimenter. In Goethean Science, experiment is the ‘mediator between object and subject.’ Experiments are two-fold, revealing more about the natural world; at the same time, revealing more about the experimenter to him or herself.

Where Cartesian-Newtonian science accepts only a single, practical syllogism about experimenters and research topics, Goethe stood for and demonstrated the practice of science as an art, an artistic practice directed towards partnership with Nature and refining the experimenter’s perceptions over time towards Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition.

Goethe’s method of science as art, of experiment as mediator between experimenter and Nature, can be applied to studies of every kind, in the arts and humanities as well as in science.

To cut through the vast sea of Goethe verbiage discussing his significance, I think the useful contrast for modern readers is between Goethe and Carl Linnaeus.

What did Linnaeus do? Carl Linnaeus was the founder of modern taxonomy. His books are the beginning of modern botanical and zoological nomenclature. Linnaeus drew up rules for assigning names to plants and animals. He made naming and identifying plants in the field more workable. “…he introduced the standard hierarchy of class, order, genus, and species. His main success in his own day was providing workable keys, making it possible to identify plants and animals from his books. For plants he made use of the hitherto neglected smaller parts of the flower” ~ Britannica online

“[His] folio volume of only 11 pages presented a hierarchical classification, or taxonomy, of the three kingdoms of nature: stones, plants, and animals. Each kingdom was subdivided into classes, orders, genera, species, and varieties. This hierarchy of taxonomic ranks replaced traditional systems of Linnaeus’s classification system has survived in biology.” His naming system was implicitly hierarchical. Each species is classified within a genus ~ Forgotten online source

Linnaeus’ impulse started or at least greatly accelerated, the left-brain science of making categories and nested sub-categories.

Before Linnaeus there was only a system of biological classification based on mutually exclusive divisions, or dichotomies, too simple to handle the wide diversity of sub-species existing in Nature.

The result? Naturalists everywhere had to use Linnaeus’ classifications directly or at least use them to determine if specimens in their collections were indeed new species or not.

Goethe’s concern was a narrowing of attention to mere category accuracy was a step sideway, not forward.

Specialization per se in science, emphasis on accumulation of mere data, in a merely mechanical manner, devoid of human creativity or human values, could not be by itself, a step forward to integrating Man and Nature.

To put words in Goethe’s mouth, he wondered, ‘How does such activity benefit or further human development of and awareness of the UR-human?’


For Goethe, any science defining itself exclusively by how well it presented information gleaned from only physical-material characteristics, selected external traits, was absent humanity. With the limited rhetorical tools available in his time, he fought against a narrowing-contracting interplay between humans and Nature.

Putting words in his mouth again, a science reducing human beings and human nature to merely collecting and tabulating Nature was a job clerks could do. The best and the brightest could exercise a much wider range of intelligences.

Again putting words in his mouth, what was needed, was a bigger idea, a workable comprehensive theory of how to bring ALL of the human explorer to ALL of the subject in Nature, he or she was studying.

I think it’s fair to say Goethe wished a rhetoric about how, in modern language, humans could surrender to Nature; and how in turn, Nature could surrender to human beings.

Implied in the above modern formulation of Goethe’s ideas is how in surrender, Nature will “give up” and reveal her secrets to human beings.

Conversely, human explorers can expect to surrender, have their own private, secret and unresolved issues and unanswered questions (mental-emotional, moral, ethical) uncovered, triggered and revealed.

Finally in Goethe’s comprehensive theory of holistic science–our words, not his–the end-product is a summary text–or better–artistic work, to share with other explorers and interested lay persons, the uncoveries of Nature’s secrets (the additive human knowledge fetch-quest so prized by left-brainers).

As well, share with other explorers and interested lay persons the uncoveries the explorers made into their own issues, the new personal realizations, the new ethics, the clarified morals, and what more of the UR-human was revealed, as individually defined.

In the above complimentary external-outer uncoveries and internal-inner uncoveries, Goethe saw a balanced use of human intelligences in “science.”  In modern language–this I believe was Goethe’s new way of seeing.

In fewer words, Goethe believed it’s natural, normal and healthy for the experimenter to be altered and changed by his or her observations and conclusions.  These “personal growth” benefits of experimentation ought to be celebrated and incorporated into reports and findings.

This did not go over well with left-brainers committed to the exclusively Ahrimanic strengths of “one-eyed, color blind, kinematic intelligence” (Ernst Lehrs).  For the exclusively left-brain thinkers, knowledge was all and only about facts, the more isolated the better.

For Goethe, the production of new knowledge was inseparable from the personal, ethical moral, and spiritual(?) growth of the experimenter.  In Steiner’s terms, a balance of Lucifer and Ahriman was called for. In modern terms, a whole-brained approach, a Team Human Approach, was called for.

Q: Was Goethe closer to the nebulous older alchemists and mystics?

A: Ernst Lehrs and other Goethe literature suggests, no, this was not the case. Goethe knew well the dangers of superstition, the dangers of ‘too warm’ thinking, with no emphasis on consistency, rigor or precision. In his late teens he made a study of alchemy:

quote In his autobiography, Goethe half-apologetically admits the youthful enthusiasm he experienced for alchemical and mystical readings: Georg von Welling’s obscure Opus Mago-Cabbalisticum et Theosophicum and the anonymously published Aurea Catena Homeri, as well as works by Paracelsus, Basilis Valentinus and van Helmont ~ Goethe the Alchemist: A Study of Alchemical Symbolism in Goethe’s Literary and Scientific Works (Cambridge Library Collection – Literary Studies)

The result? He learned the limitations of this overly-subjective insufficiently objective thinking. A little symbolism might be tolerated. Too much spoils the soup. Goethe was not a closet-Alchemist. He was a throw forward to thinking which mostly did not come again until 1975, our first holistic, whole-brained thinker.

As a whole-brain thinker–my term, not his–knowledge separated from Nature and from human Thinking~Feeling, from Imagination, Intuition and Inspiration, was ‘dead thinking,’ thinking only natural to soulless automatons.

Arranging material phenomena in logical linear sequence is a valid scientific method.  Why separate it? Why carry out the activity in isolation from your own Thinking~Feeling development?  Aren’t you interested in sharpening your powers of observation, in how new facts help us correct our own faulty conclusions, fuzzy ethics and weak moral development?

In a fantastic image, imagine Goethe in his time machine visiting the Manhattan Project.  You would see him making notes for for a Faust Part Three.  He would have seen the one-sided thinking of the A-bomb scientists as a dramatically tragic illustration of left-brain thinking mostly devoid of and separate from natural human powers of self-correction, ethical and moral development.

Goethe’s middle way between cold and warm thinking was a living interaction with Nature “the labor of experimentation”.

I imagine Goethe seeing only very occasional use for the cold machine of first coming up with an abstract hypothesis; then, setting up an artificial experiment to test the hypothesis ‘to see if it works or not.’

Today we recognize this kind of one-sided experiment as vulnerable to narcissism, arranging facts and observations to line up with our own hypothesis. Alternatively, we recognize one-sided left-brain experimenting as having the sole intention to invent new products corporations can market, the use of experimental method solely for commercial purposes.


Since 1970s at least we recognize the usefulness of “whole system analysis” seeing the parts within the natural whole.

In the educated West at least, a lean towards more holistic science suggests a workable directon for the evolution of human thinking, away from the cold-only thinking of Galileo-Descartes-Newton and towards warmer whole-brainedness, back towards Goethe and his experimental method.

Q: Does Goethean Science’s altered value system regarding quantification, cause it to have less rigor in its experimental method compared to Galileo-Descartes-Newton science?

A: It’s a needed question. If whole-brained Goethean Science was easy to do, we would have done it yesterday. Goethean Science is more rigorous about experimental method than conventional scinece.

Why? How? In addition to conventional Second Order standards and criteria for studying external phenomena quantitatively, Goethean Science asks its experimentalists to be rigorous in two additional realms:

1) The subjective realm of:

– Monitoring personal biases and prejudices,

– Monitoring personal Aha!s gained thru the observations and experiments,

2) The moral-ethical realm (Third Order Science) of how observations and experiments in the outer world are changing the experimenter’s inner life of morality and ethics, if any.

The above suggests a balance of quantitative observation and qualitative observation.

Q: What’s an example where practitioners of such balanced science can be observed?

A: Agriculture, farming and Biodynamics. Scratch the surface of any humanistic agriculture; such as, https://www.biodynamics.com/what-is-biodynamics and you quickly find discussion of ethical questions relating to sourcing fertilizers, pest control, etc.

50 years after Goethe’s death, Rudolf Steiner became Goethe’s student and editor of his scientific works.

RS absorbed enuf of Goethe’s holistic method to become a throw-forward, our second modern holistic thinker. His best-known legacy? A Goethean Psychology of human development, child development and K-12 schooling, curiously titled, “Waldorf-methods education.”

Goethe challenged the view experimentalists can look on their target devoid and naive of their own theoretical and personal context.

He likewise challenged the assumption shared common language in science research and innovation was fully evolved, in its final form. In more modern language, Goethe at least intuited each person perceives uniquely; therefore, scientists talking and using language as if everyone thinks and perceives the same was dangerous illusion. Further, new generations were going to think a bit differently, hence shared common language in science research and innovation would respond to this as well.

Essence and Ur phenomena

For Goethe when scientists adopt a more living, more humanistic, approach, capable of entering into the living essence of Nature, expressed in the phenomenon studied, this leads the experimenter towards a face-to-face meeting with an essence of Nature, crucial underlying archetype-patterns (”Ur-phänomen”).

The Goethean Experimenter does not try to define or explain the essence; he or she reads the essence, appreciates the essence as you would gradually get to know the character and preferences of your own newborn child, revealed over some time.

The inherent order and logic of a very young child’s character, talents and preferences while invisible, are clearly objective not subjective, not invented by the experimenter. The very young child is not defined or explained; they are “read;” or better, “appreciated” and later understood in terms which can be shared with others.

/// this directly above may have been built on Wikipedia verbiage.  Often their verbiage is terrible and very stimulating to edit, revise and upgrade.

Goethean Holistic Health, how our visible and invisible bodies weave together

Physical health analogized as warp and woof of physical anatomy and etheric anatomy

Warp and woof of health in our physical body

Physical health as the intersection of physical anatomy and etheric anatomy

More precisely, each reader’s physical health is the intersection of how healthy each and all of the following bodies:

Visible: Physical

Invisible: Etheric double including acupuncture meridians

Invisible: Imaginal (astral) body including template of the Christ

Invisible: Emotional (causal) body, including unresolved attachments

Invisible: Mental body, including unresolved faulty beliefs

Invisible: Mythological (upper etheric) body, including unresolved identifications with Creation.

Warp and woof are weaving terms; they indicate the two directions of threads in cloth. When woven together, warp and woof create whole cloth, regardless of the raw material.

If one reads Rudolf Steiner and his students, they make clear the place to look for the major, leading, primary logical level of waking brain function ought to be found in etheric structures of some kind. These structures, quadrants, were theorized by Ned Herrmann in the 1970s and independently(?) uncovered again and verified and validated by Bertrand Babinet, around 1985.

Advanced Energy Medicine techniques and methods are available now; yet, are not widely available and will not be for another 100 years.

For self-care, most people are benefitted by attending to their lowest two bodies, physical and the lower etheric, where acupuncture meridian activity occurs.

As an image, as a metaphor, we can analogize physical health as warp and woof of physical anatomy and etheric anatomy.

In simpler words: How etheric structures and activity influences our physical body function.

Leaving aside the influences of our higher bodies, within just the domain of our two lower bodies is access to:

– Our acupuncture meridians, designed by the Angels as our Inner Dashboard,

– Our self-connection–or lack of it–between gut brain and head brain, the HTPA Axis,

– Imbalanced charge in our etheric body, undercharge leading towards depression; overcharge leading towards inflammation and cysts-tumors.

Q: Why is this a new or unusual idea?

A: To follow the above scheme means to release and let go of:

– The minimalist fantasy of waking brain function is primarily characterized by the triune brain (reptile brain, flock brain, cognitive brain), and

– The maximalist-materialist fantasy-theory how a waking adult brain can be 100% understood as the combined interaction of electro-chemical and genetic interactions.

The maximalist-materialist theory fuels pharmaceutical research, advertising and profits. It may produce more useful drugs. It will create more drugs corporations promote for sale. However the maximalist fantasy is obfuscation, promoting the endless dark light, Faustian glamour: if only we knew more, had more knowledge, we could understand how our immortal-eternal soul works.

Even if tens of thousands of electro-chemical-genetic interactions are described, you still fall short of a convincing picture or explanation of quality thinking, ethical thinking, creative thinking; let alone, Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition.

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