Scientific studies by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe's medical paintings is much less standard to the interpreting public then his poetry, but his realizing of traditional phenomena screens an analogous sensitivity and brilliance as his depictions of human relationships. dependent upon Goethe's learn in anatomy, botany, physics, chemistry, zoology, meteorology and geology, those forty decisions name upon scientists to advance their perceptions either inwardly and outwardly in pursuing the continuum of nature via an interconnected and residing international.

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Impelled from the start by an inner need, I had striven unconsciously and incessantly toward primal image and prototype, and had even succeeded 31 32 I. METHODOLOGY AND GENERAL SCIENTIFIC TOPICS in building up a method of representing it which conformed to nature. Thus there was nothing further to prevent me from boldly embarking on this "adventure of reason" (as the Sage of Konigsberg3 himself called it). Doubt and Resignation When we consider the structure of the universe in its fullest expanse and minutest detail we cannot help but think that the whole rests upon an idea which sets the pattern according to which God creates and works in nature, and nature in God, throughout all eternity.

He 20 I. METHODOLOGY AND GENERAL SCIENTIFIC TOPICS seemed interested in the presentation, but commented intelligently and perceptively that such a fragmented way of dealing with nature could hardly appeal to any layman who wished to pursue the topic. I welcomed his remarks. I replied that this method would probably disconcert even the initiated, and that a different approach might well be discovered, not by concentrating on separate and isolated elements of nature but by-portraying it as alive and active, with its efforts directed from the whole to the parts.

We must acknowledge this as historical fact, but it is hard to admit that we ourselves are still caught in these shadows. 42 Problems1 Natural system: a contradictory expression. Nature has no system; she has—she is—life and development from an unknown center toward an unknowable periphery. Thus observation of nature is limitless, whether we make distinctions among the least particles or pursue the whole by following the trail far and wide. The idea of metamorphosis deserves great reverence, but it is also a most dangerous gift from above.

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