Naturwissenschaftliche Sektion

International Summer University 2018

Polarities in Space and Time

July 23 - August 4, 2018

Languages: English and Mandarin Chinese

This year we aspire to cover two topics. During the first week in Dornach, we invite participants to become acquainted with Goethean Science. We will experience (in a nutshell) the three different methods Goethe outlined to study non-living nature, plants and animals, and the humanities. Afternoon excursions will help us access these methods through observation exercises. During the second week in the alpine region of L&tschental, we will explore the evolution of animals and plants in a changing environment – from the first rim of iceless rocks down to the pastures around the farm houses.

Week 1
Our theme will be polarities in nature. Exercises in projective geometry will help us understand the inner connection of the (infinite small) point and its (infinite straight) line. Excursions to the Jura and the Vosges mountains will reveal the polarity of limestone and silica with respect to the forms of their rocks, their modes of erosion, the creeks they form, and the plants whose growth they promote. An understanding of limestone and silica as proposed by Rudolf Steiner in the Agriculture Course will evolve out of our activities.

Week 2
Mornings will begin with guided observations followed by a study of the human being as outlined in Rudolf Steiner’s seminal work on education (General Anthropology as a Foundation for Pedagogy, GA 293). Then we will explore the evolution of man and the biological prerequisites for walking, speaking and thinking. We want to discover the significance of these faculties for human beings and how they might have arisen in each of us through human companionship. In the afternoons we will explore geology, flora and fauna – working our way from our base in the valley floor towards the glacier mouth. We will study a new area each day as we approach the glacier. A long walk on the last day will bring us to the glacier mouth, where water, earth, light and iciness meet. We will draw landscapes, identify and paint plants, grasp atmospheres, follow animals, and deepen our impressions through daily contemplative exercises.

Course Leaders
Johannes Wirz, Johannes Kuhl, João Felipe Toni
The International Summer University is organized and led by faculty of the Research Institute at the Science Section of the Goetheanum. It is open to anyone interested in a Goethean scientific approach to nature.