Quantum Mechanics: Fact and Theory, Physics and Philosophy

From this thou mayest conjecture of what sort The ceaseless tossing of primordial seeds Amid the mightier void- at least so far As small affair can for a vaster serve, And by example put thee on the spoor Of knowledge. For this reason too ’tis fit Thou turn thy mind the more unto these bodies…

Calendar of the Soul XXXV

SEELENKALENDER “Calendar of the Soul”—Rudolf Steiner’s 52 Verses for the Year ∇ Thirty-fifth Week of the Year ∆ Below is Dr Steiner’s original verse followed by my translation into English. Kann ich das Sein erkennen, Daß es sich wiederfindet Im Seelenschaffensdrange? Ich fühle, daß mir Macht verlieh’n, Das eigne Selbst dem Weltenselbst Als Glied bescheiden…

What is Life? (3.3) Life as Zoë

In the last chapter of this inquiry, we explored life as psyche. We introduced Aristotle’s delineation of the animate soul into to aisthetikon, to orektikon, to kinetikon, and also conceived of an emotive soul as the active interplay of these three functions. We furthermore considered these soul-faculties in respect to their nature and to their…

Calendar of the Soul XXXIV

SEELENKALENDER “Calendar of the Soul”—Rudolf Steiner’s 52 Verses for the Year ∇ Thirty-fourth Week of the Year ∆ Below is Dr Steiner’s original verse followed by my translation into English. Geheimnisvoll das Alt-Bewahrte Mit neu erstandnem Eigensein Im Innern sich belebend fühlen: Es soll erweckend Weltenkräfte In meines Lebens Außenwerk ergießen Und werdend mich ins…

What is Life? (3.2) Life as Psyche

In the last piece, we established the soul, or psyche, as an organic body’s life. We also conceived of gradients of this principle, and recognised it to consist, in essence, in degrees of immanent causation. Finally, we briefly considered the most fundamental aspect of the soul, “to threptikon,” which name we adopted from Aristotle’s nomenclature…

What is Life? (3.1): Life as Bios

The soul is a breath of living spirit, that with excellent sensitivity, permeates the entire body to give it life. Just so, the breath of the air makes the earth fruitful. Thus the air is the soul of the earth, moistening it, greening it. —Saint Hildegaard von Bingen In the last pieces, we explored various…

Calendar of the Soul XXXIII

SEELENKALENDER “Calendar of the Soul”—Rudolf Steiner’s 52 Verses for the Year ∇ Thirty-third Week of the Year ∆ Below is Dr Steiner’s original verse followed by my translation into English. So fühl ich erst die Welt, Die außer meiner Seele Miterleben An sich nur frostig leeres Leben Und ohne Macht sich offenbarend, In Seelen sich…

What is Life? (2) Diachronic Traverse of Starting Points

In the first part of this inquiry, we weighed whether it would be possible to define life in terms of physics, chemistry, and Darwinian evolution. After considering various examples from scientific literature, we concluded that they fall short by (1) mistaking the medium in, by, or through which life appears and acts for the phenomenon…

Calendar of the Soul XXXII

SEELENKALENDER “Calendar of the Soul”—Rudolf Steiner’s 52 Verses for the Year ∇ Thirty-second Week of the Year ∆ Below is Dr Steiner’s original verse followed by my translation into English. Ich fühle fruchtend eigne Kraft Sich stärkend mich der Welt verleihn; Mein Eigenwesen fühl ich kraftend Zur Klarheit sich zu wenden Im Lebensschicksalsweben. ∇∆ I…

What is Life? (1) An Evaluation of Several Possible Approaches to This Question

Technological advances over the last centuries have extended the horizon of possibility for scientific achievements in many fields of human inquiry. In light of such advances, many people today hold that both the synthesis of artificial life, and the discovery of extraterrestrial life, are within the scope of possibility for the near future. For many…