The Nature Institute. Seeing Nature Whole — A Goethean Approach If we want to attain a living understanding of nature, we must become as flexible and mobile as nature herself. Modern biology has increasingly moved out of nature and into the laboratory, driven by a desire to find an underlying mechanistic basis of life. Despite all its success, this approach is one-sided and urgently calls for a counterbalancing movement toward nature. Only if we find ways of transforming our propensity to reduce the world to parts and mechanisms, will we be able to see, value, and protect the integrity of nature and the interconnectedness of all things. This demands a new way of seeing.
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The Nature Institute. Seeing Nature Whole — A Goethean Approach If we want to attain a living understanding of nature, we must become as flexible and mobile as nature herself.
Modern biology has increasingly moved out of nature and into the laboratory, driven by a desire to find an underlying mechanistic basis of life. Despite all its success, this approach is one-sided and urgently calls for a counterbalancing movement toward nature.
Only if we find ways of transforming our propensity to reduce the world to parts and mechanisms, will we be able to see, value, and protect the integrity of nature and the interconnectedness of all things.
This demands a new way of seeing. Our methodology is inspired by integrative thinkers and scientists, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , Rudolf Steiner , and Kurt Goldstein. We develop ways of thinking and perception that integrate self-reflective and critical thought, imagination, and careful, detailed observation of the phenomena.
The Nature Institute promotes a truly ecological understanding of the living world: We study the internal ecology of plants and animals, elucidating how structures and functions interrelate in forming the creature as a whole.
Our interdisciplinary approach integrates anatomy, physiology, behavior, development, genetics, and evolution. We investigate the whole organism as part of the larger web of life. By creating life history stories of plants and animals, we open up a new understanding of our fellow creatures as dynamic and integrated beings.
Through this approach, the organism teaches us about itself, revealing its characteristics and its interconnectedness with the world that sustains it. This way of doing science enhances our sense of responsibility for nature. Every creature is its own reason to be. All its parts have a direct effect on one another, a relationship to one another, thereby constantly renewing the circle of life; thus we are justified in considering every animal physiologically perfect Our purpose is to carry out research, produce publications and offer education programs that foster this new, qualitative approach to nature.
We also give off-site talks and workshops on this work. Craig has expanded that talk into an essay, Goethe and the Evolution of Science. Nature Institute Perspectives 4 Illustrated, pages. It gives a unique portrayal of the giraffe while also exemplifying the Goethean approach to understanding animals and evolution. Click here for more information about this booklet. Nature Institute Perspectives 2 Illustrated, 65 pages. Please accept my wholehearted congratulations and thanks.
By taking small groups of international visitors, local village children and school kids for interpretive walks in the bush with three habituated African Elephants we try to achieve what you have managed to do very nicely with words in your booklet. Nature Institute Perspectives 5 Illustrated, 85 pages. Through closely attending to the phenomena of amphibian development, author Craig Holdrege shows that evolution is in reality a creative process, and not simply the inevitable product of lifeless mechanisms.
The result is a concrete example of how one can begin to understand, as well as teach, natural science in a truly holistic and living way. The booklet is based on three articles on the frog from In Context 33 , 34 , and Accessibly written for general readers, educators, and older students.
In Context 38 Fall He explains and illustrates with photos what was so different — yet the same! In Context 35 Spring Throughout the summer, along roadsides near The Nature Institute, the radiant blue flowers of chicory are in bloom.
Craig follows the story of a single plant from well before dawn until sunset and beyond. In Context 34 Fall A key lesson: the organism knows what it is doing with its DNA. In Context 32 Fall In particular, an apparent taboo against any explicit acknowledgment of intention and agency in the cell and organism is a serious block to further progress in understanding.
In Context 30 Fall Part of a book published by a marine biologist in , this article contains some remarkably up-to-date understanding of what a whole-organism biology needs to look like. Review of a recent paper by whole-organism biologist Mark Riegner, who tackles the once-dismissed question whether organisms can be thought of as having an essential nature—that is, whether they exemplify a type or archetype.
Riegner suggests that the time is ripe for revival of this concept, if only it is understood correctly. And he turns to Goethe for such an understanding, arguing that recent developments in the biological and evolutionary sciences point toward a serious place for typological thinking of the sort Goethe advanced.
Craig offers a few notes on the paper here. In this excerpt, Craig closely observes plant germination and seedling development to provide an overview of the intimate relation between plant growth and human thinking. The metaphor relating the plant to thinking is neither casual nor arbitrary, but is founded upon our objective rootedness in the world.
In Context 26 Spring In Context Fall — Fall In Context 14 Fall
Goethean Science site
Background[ edit ] By the middle of the s, Western philosophy had reached an ethical and epistemological cul-de-sac. The Enlightenment or Age of Reason was based on a static view of human nature, an increasingly mechanical view of the universe based on: - Copernican astronomy , - Galilean mechanics and - Newtonian physics and - a linear view of the progress of scientific knowledge the mechano-material, reductionist approach. At the same time, the rational-empirical model based on the predominance of mentative thinking German: sinnen via the intellect German: Sinn , started by Descartes and advanced most notably in France, was leading to confusion and doubt rather than clarity. Especially in subjective topics, equally rational arguments could be made for widely divergent propositions or conceptions. While there is a power productive imagination — produktive Einbildungskraft that produces a unity "transcendental unity of apperception" , we cannot know or experience it in itself; we can only see its manifestations and create representations about it in our mind. The realm beyond the senses also could not be known via reason, but only via faith.
Goethean Science: A Book Review
The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily This magical tale tells of a group of people whose world has turned upside-down and who must bring about spiritual and social renewal. It still sparkles as it did when originally told by Goethe to a group of fellow travelers during the French revolution. This edition has an introduction, and commentary throughout the Tale. Goethean Science This book is a cornerstone of the foundations of Anthroposophy.