14 March 2018 – Astro-Weather:
As midnight approaches, look to the east for the bright star Arcturus. It is the brightest star visible from mid-northern latitudes. If you scan to the left & a little below this luminary, you should see a conspicuous semicircle of stars — the constellation Corona Borealis the Northern Crown. It’s the most prominent group of stars having a shape reminiscent of a circle, & it makes a fitting target for Pi Day. (For you non-geeks, Pi Day is 3/14 because the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, so today we celebrate all things circular.)
“If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful flowers, what might not the heart become in the long journey towards the stars?”~ G K Chesterton
Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Looking at the past to see the present, co-creating the future:
“History, historical life, will only be seen in the right light when a true consciousness of the connection of the so-called living with the so-called dead can be developed” – The Living & the Dead by Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, 5th February, 1918
Feast Day of Abigail (Hebrew “my father’s joy”) in 2 Samuel 17:25 she became a wife of David after Nabal’s death. She became the mother of one of David’s sons, who is listed in the Book of Chronicles under the name Daniel. Abigail is also listed as one of the seven Jewish women prophets.
44 BC – Casca & Cassius decide, on the night before the Assassination of Julius Caesar, that Mark Antony should live
1489 – The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice
1592 – Ultimate Pi Day: the largest correspondence between calendar dates & significant digits of pi since the introduction of the Julian calendar
1794 – Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin
1879 – Birthday of Albert Einstein! (1879 the year Michael became the Time-Spirit) see article below
1900 – The Gold Standard Act is ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.
1903 – The Hay–Herrán Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, is ratified by the United States Senate. The Colombian Senate would later reject the treaty
1926 – El Virilla train accident, Costa Rica: A train falls off a bridge over the Río Virilla between Heredia and Tibás. 248 are killed & 93 wounded
1943 – World War II: The Kraków Ghetto is “liquidated”
1978 – The Israel Defense Forces invade & occupies southern Lebanon, in Operation Litani
1681 – Birthday of Georg Philipp Telemann, a German Baroque composer & multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family’s wishes. He held important positions in Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach,& Frankfurt before settling in Hamburg in 1721, where he became musical director of the city’s five main churches. While Telemann’s career prospered, his personal life was always troubled: his first wife died only a few months after their marriage, & his second wife had extramarital affairs & accumulated a large gambling debt before leaving Telemann.
Telemann was one of the most prolific composers in history & was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the leading German composers of the time—he was compared favorably both to his friend Johann Sebastian Bach, who made Telemann the godfather & namesake of his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, & to George Frideric Handel, whom Telemann also knew personally. He remained at the forefront of all new musical tendencies & his music is an important link between the late Baroque & early Classical styles
1790 – Birthday of Ludwig Emil Grimm, a German painter, art professor, etcher & copper engraver. His brothers were the well-known folklorists Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm
1804 – Birthday of Johann Strauss I, an Austrian Romantic composer. He was famous for his waltzes, & he popularized them alongside Joseph Lanner, thereby setting the foundations for his sons to carry on his musical dynasty. His most famous piece is the Radetzky March
1867 – Birthday of Marie Steiner von Sivers – born into an aristocratic family in Włocławek, Poland, then part of Russia. She was well-educated &was fluent in Russian, German, English, French & Italian. She studied theater & recitation with several teachers in Europe.
Marie von Sivers “appeared one day” at one of Rudolf Steiner’s early lectures in 1900. In the autumn of 1901, she posed the question to Steiner, “Would it be possible to create a spiritual movement based on European tradition and the impetus of Christ?” Rudolf Steiner later reported: With this, I was given the opportunity to act in a way that I had only previously imagined. The question had been put to me, and now, according to spiritual laws, I could begin to answer it.
Marie Steiner-von Sivers & Rudolf Steiner were married on Christmas eve 1914, & she was one of his closest colleagues. Marie von Sivers collaborated with Steiner for the rest of his life & carried his work beyond his death in 1925 until her own death in 1948. She accompanied him & helped him as secretary, translator, editor, & organizer of his lecture tours & other public activities. She assisted Steiner’s work with her own resources & in 1908 founded the Philosophical-Theosophical Press (later Philosophical-Anthroposophical) to publish Steiner’s work
She made a great contribution to the development of anthroposophy, particularly in her work on the renewal of the performing arts (eurythmy, speech & drama), & the editing & publishing of Rudolf Steiner’s literary estate.
Starting in 1912, the art of eurythmy was developed by Rudolf Steiner. Under Marie Steiner-von Sivers’ guidance, it developed in three directions, as a stage art, as an integral part of Waldorf pedagogy, & as a therapeutic method. Under her tutelage, two schools of eurythmy were founded, in Berlin & in Dornach, Switzerland.
Marie von Sivers was trained in recitation & elocution & made a study of purely artistic speaking. She gave introductory poetry recitals at Steiner’s lectures & assisted him in the development of the 4 Mystery Dramas (1910–1913). With her help, Steiner conducted several speech & drama courses with the aim of raising these forms to the level of true art. Ms Steiner died on December 27th 1948
1883 – Deathda y of Karl Marx
1923 – Birthday of Diane Arbus, American photographer & writer noted for photographs of marginalized people—dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers—& others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal. In 1972, a year after she committed suicide, Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. The book accompanying the exhibition, Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, is the bestselling photography monograph ever, still being reprinted today
1932 – Deathday of George Eastman, American inventor & businessman, founded Eastman Kodak
POD (Poem Of the Day)
~Lady of the Wheel, of the Fates, of the Fist…
Beneath Her robe curls a caterpillar in an empty sky
Her flame is sharp – Her hands are quick
She burns flesh into ash & light
Yet Her mouth is wet & soothing
Her teeth are the rattling seeds of the sistrum,
A brilliant moment in time
She molds my form in wax & tosses it into the flames
There I find the secret path…
CREATIVE SPEECH from ‘Das Goetheanum,’ 7th March, 1926 By Marie Steiner von Sivers
“SPEECH reveals to the human being their divine nature; the sounds of speech are creative forces which unite us with our spiritual origin and enable us, once again, to find the path leading to the spirit. Speech raises the human being above the level of the animal; it leads us back to the Divine within our Ego. That spark from the Divine Ego, which, issuing forth, prepared itself to become human, had of necessity, as it traveled the path leading into the material world, to unite itself with the forces of destruction. When the densifying process worked too strongly, damming up the spirit, as it were, then the form could be cast off by the ever-recurring forces of death and change. Thus there arose the animal kingdom, which may be likened to a kind of extended alphabet, containing within it all that burdened humanity too heavily when we carried it compressed within the limits of our own being. In the human being it was able to be so far clarified that it could develop into the Word, into Speech. Sound, tone in the animal kingdom cannot rise to the level of speech. It remains mere noise in the case of cold-blooded animals, and, in the case of warm-blooded animals, inarticulate sound. Even in its most beautiful form, in the song of the birds, cosmic tone cannot fully reveal itself; the song of the birds is at most only its faintest echo. It is in speech that the individual force of the Ego first finds expression through tone and becomes aware of its own being. Through speech, cosmic forces can, as it were, focus themselves in an individual Ego and from out this Ego work creatively once more.
When the human being raises to the upright position, when we change from the horizontal position natural to the animal to the vertical position of the human being, we free the forces of speech. The child is overshadowed by these forces; as their individuality develops they become more and more strongly united with them. The child does not say ‘ I ’ of themselves so long as their utterance is mere incoherent babbling. In personal desire, in egoism, the lower ego in the first place struggles through, expressing itself in wishes and desires, afterwards working its way through to feeling and thence into thought. Thought enters into the human being through the gate of speech. Pictures, imaginations are in this way raised up into the consciousness. Through this interplay of processes the human being becomes a thinking being.
A ray from the spiritual essence of the Sun enters into the human being through the mind. In the German language there is a reflection of this in the words ‘Sonne’ (Sun) and ‘Sinn’ (Mind), where the all-embracing, all-enclosing vowel sound ‘ O ’ is transformed into an arrow of light in the vowel sound ‘ E ’ (ee)”.
Albert Einstein was slow to speak or read, & he was considered a poor student. He found inspiration in playing the violin. Einstein’s parents were secular, middle-class Jews. His father, Hermann Einstein, was originally a featherbed salesman, and later ran an electrochemical factory with moderate success.
Einstein would write that two “wonders” deeply affected his early years. The first was his encounter with a compass at age five. He was mystified that invisible forces could deflect the needle. This would lead to a lifelong fascination with invisible forces. The second wonder came at age 12 when he discovered a book of geometry, which he devoured, calling it his “sacred little geometry book.”
Einstein became deeply religious at age 12, even composing several songs in praise of God and chanting religious songs on the way to school. This began to change, however, after he read science books that contradicted his religious beliefs. This challenge to established authority left a deep and lasting impression. At the Luitpold Gymnasium, Einstein often felt out of place and victimized by a Prussian-style educational system that seemed to stifle originality and creativity. One teacher even told him that he would never amount to anything.
A pivotal turning point occurred when Einstein was 16 when he was introduced to a children’s science series by Aaron Bernstein, Naturwissenschaftliche Volksbucher in which the author imagined riding alongside electricity that was traveling inside a telegraph wire. Einstein then asked himself the question that would dominate his thinking for the next 10 years: What would a light beam look like if you could run alongside it? If light were a wave, then the light beam should appear stationary, like a frozen wave. Even as a child, though, he knew that stationary light waves had never been seen, so there was a paradox. Einstein also wrote his first “scientific paper” at that time (“The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields”).
Einstein’s education was disrupted by his father’s repeated failures at business. In 1894, after his company failed to get an important contract to electrify the city of Munich, Hermann Einstein moved to Milan to work with a relative. Einstein was left at a boardinghouse in Munich and expected to finish his education. Alone, miserable, and repelled by the looming prospect of military duty, Einstein ran away six months later and landed on the doorstep of his surprised parents. His parents realized the enormous problems that he faced as a school dropout and draft dodger with no employable skills.
Fortunately, Einstein could apply directly to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School. Einstein would recall that his years in Zürich were some of the happiest years of his life. He met many students who would become loyal friends, such as Marcel Grossmann, a mathematician, and Besso, with whom he enjoyed lengthy conversations about space and time. He also met his future wife, Mileva Maric, a fellow physics student from Serbia.
After graduation in 1900, Einstein faced one of the greatest crises in his life. Because he studied advanced subjects on his own, he often cut classes; this earned him the animosity of some professors, so he was subsequently turned down for every academic position that he applied to.
Meanwhile, Einstein’s relationship with Maric deepened, but his parents vehemently opposed the relationship. (Maric’s family was Eastern Orthodox Christian). Einstein defied his parents, however, and in January 1902 he and Maric even had a child, Lieserl. It is thought that she died of scarlet fever or was given up for adoption.
In 1902 Einstein reached perhaps the lowest point in his life, and his father’s business went bankrupt. Desperate and unemployed, Einstein took lowly jobs tutoring children, but he was fired from even these jobs. Finally he got a job at the Swiss patent office in Bern, which allowed him to think about how the speed of light remains the same no matter how fast one moves. This violates Newton’s laws of motion, but this insight led Einstein to formulate the principle of relativity: “the speed of light is a constant in any inertial frame (constantly moving frame).”
For the next 10 years, Einstein would be absorbed with formulating a theory of gravity in terms of the curvature of space-time. To Einstein, Newton’s gravitational force was actually a by-product of a deeper reality: the bending of the fabric of space and time.
In November 1915 Einstein finally completed the general theory of relativity, which he considered to be his masterpiece. Hewas convinced that general relativity was correct because of its mathematical beauty and because it accurately predicted the precession of the perihelion of Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. His theory also predicted a measurable deflection of light around the Sun. As a consequence, he even offered to help fund an expedition to measure the deflection of starlight during an eclipse of the Sun.
Einstein’s work was interrupted by World War I. A lifelong pacifist, he was only one of four intellectuals in Germany to sign a manifesto opposing Germany’s entry into war. Disgusted, he called nationalism “the measles of mankind.” He would write, “At such a time as this, one realizes what a sorry species of animal one belongs to.”
After the war, the headline of The Times of London read, “Revolution in Science—New Theory of the Universe—Newton’s Ideas Overthrown—Momentous Pronouncement—Space ‘Warped.’” Almost immediately, Einstein became a world-renowned physicist, the successor to Isaac Newton.
Invitations came pouring in for him to speak around the world. In 1921 Einstein began the first of several world tours, visiting the United States, England, Japan, and France. Everywhere he went, the crowds numbered in the thousands. En route from Japan, he received word that he had received the Nobel Prize for Physics, but for the photoelectric effect rather than for his relativity theories. During his acceptance speech, Einstein startled the audience by speaking about relativity instead of the photoelectric effect.
Einstein also launched the new science of cosmology. His equations predicted that the universe is dynamic—expanding or contracting. This contradicted the prevailing view that the universe was static.
During a visit to California, Einstein met Charlie Chaplin during the Hollywood debut of the film City Lights. Einstein also began correspondences with other influential thinkers like Sigmund Freud (both of them had sons with mental problems) on whether war was intrinsic to humanity. He discussed with the Indian mystic Rabindranath Tagore the question of whether consciousness can affect existence.
Einstein also clarified his religious views, stating that he believed there was an “old one” who was the ultimate lawgiver. He wrote that he did not believe in a personal God that intervened in human affairs but instead believed in the God of the 17th-century Dutch Jewish philosopher Benedict de Spinoza—the God of harmony and beauty. His task, he believed, was to formulate a master theory that would allow him to “read the mind of God.” He would write: “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages.…The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”
Inevitably, Einstein’s fame and the great success of his theories created a backlash. The rising Nazi movement found a convenient target in relativity, branding it “Jewish physics” and sponsoring conferences and book burnings to denounce Einstein and his theories. In December 1932 Einstein decided to leave Germany forever
The 1930s were hard years for Einstein. His son Eduard was diagnosed with schizophrenia and suffered a mental breakdown in 1930. (Eduard would be institutionalized for the rest of his life.) Einstein’s close friend, physicist Paul Ehrenfest, who helped in the development of general relativity, committed suicide in 1933. And Einstein’s beloved wife, Elsa, died in 1936. And to his horror, physicists began seriously to consider whether his equation E = mc2 might make an atomic bomb possible. During the war Einstein’s colleagues were asked to journey to the desert town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, to develop the first atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project. Einstein, the man whose equation had set the whole effort into motion, was never asked to participate. Voluminous declassified Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files, numbering several thousand, reveal the reason: the U.S. government feared Einstein’s lifelong association with peace and socialist organizations. (FBI director J. Edgar Hoover went so far as to recommend that Einstein be kept out of America by the Alien Exclusion Act, but he was overruled by the U.S. State Department.)
Einstein was on vacation when he heard the news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Japan. Almost immediately he was part of an international effort to try to bring the atomic bomb under control, forming the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists.
Although Einstein continued to pioneer many key developments in the theory of general relativity—such as wormholes, higher dimensions, the possibility of time travel, the existence of black holes, and the creation of the universe—he was increasingly isolated from the rest of the physics community. Because of the huge strides made by quantum theory in unraveling the secrets of atoms and molecules, the majority of physicists were working on the quantum theory, not relativity.
Through a series of sophisticated “thought experiments,” Einstein tried to find logical inconsistencies in the quantum theory, particularly its lack of a deterministic mechanism. Einstein would often say that “God does not play dice with the universe.”
The other reason for Einstein’s increasing detachment from his colleagues was his obsession, beginning in 1925, with discovering a unified field theory—an all-embracing theory that would unify the forces of the universe, and thereby the laws of physics, into one framework.
New generations of space satellites have continued to verify the cosmology of Einstein. And many leading physicists are trying to finish Einstein’s ultimate dream of a “theory of everything.”