First Course in Natural Science: Light, Color, Sound - Mass, Electricity, Magnetism
Translated by Raoul Cansino
Rudolf Steiner’s course on light, which includes explorations of color, sound, mass, electricity, and magnetism, presages the dawn of a new worldview in the natural sciences that will stand your notion of the physical world on its head.
This “first course” in natural science, given to the teachers of the new Stuttgart Waldorf School as an inspiration for developing the physics curriculum, is based on Goethe’s approach to the study of nature.
Acknowledging that modern physicists had come to regard Goethe’s ideas on physics as a kind of “nonsense,” Steiner contrasts the traditional scientific approach, which treats phenomena as evidence of natural laws, with Goethean science, which rejects the idea of an abstract law behind natural phenomena and instead seeks to be a rational description of nature.
Steiner also refutes the mechanistic reductionism practiced by scientific positivists. He emphasizes the validity of human experience, pointing toward the revolution in scientific paradigms going on today that reclaims ground for the subject – the human being – in the study of nature.