To understand matter one must know how the spirit is working within it

Physical science does not really understand matter, because to understand matter one must know how the spirit is working within it. Suppose a man wants to know all about a watch. He says to himself: This watch is made of silver. The silver came from such and such a mine; then it was taken by train to such and such a town and delivered to merchants. The watch has a china face inscribed with figures. The china was manufactured in such and such a town, then sent somewhere else … and so on and so on. But at the end of it all he knows nothing essential about the watch! Nor will he until he knows exactly what the watchmaker did. To understand why a watch goes, it is not at all essential to know how and where the silver was mined; what is important is to know how the watchmaker made the watch go, how he adjusted the wheels and so forth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 350 – Cosmic Workings In Earth and Man: III – On Nutrition – Dornach, 22nd September 1923

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on March 23, 2014