A Sideways View · Feeling

A Different View Of Time.

Those of you who read my story about the motorcar will have experienced in an imaginative way the things I wish to discuss now. This is in the form of a lecture, but it has the intention of starting another free-for-all, so observations are welcome! I will add that this is something that I uncovered for myself, and only later discovered that Steiner spoke of it in a far deeper way. You can imagine my eyes popping! The essence of the story about Mercedes motorcars that I told has to do with the threefold nature of time:

1) That speed is something we have to notice, that is to say, perceive. If you don’t perceive it, it’s not there because like thoughts, you can’t feel their presence (and so don’t miss their absence!) Speed is proportional to time – and like speed, time is something one must be conscious of.

2) That acceleration is something you do feel. Acceleration is proportional to the square of time (that is to say, time multiplied by itself). Mathematicians play with time as though one can measure it with a stick – yet even with clocks, time can play some very strange tricks. Being conscious of what these are does help a little. The essence of time squared is that it is an inner experience, the realm of feelings.
3) That impulse is below our threshold of consciousness. This has to do with time cubed (multiplied by itself three times over). Whilst impulse is an important part of mechanics, and thus the eighth sphere, it is also something that we are largely unaware of.

In short, we have thinking, feeling and willing expressed in mathematical terms by means of time. This is what Steiner says about time, and is taken from his Third Scientific Lecture course. I make no apologies to Florian Sydow for quoting Steiner, as here Steiner explains something that I had arrived at quite independently. Anthroposophy springs from the human after all.

“But now take the matter actively and livingly. Do not set before yourself the dead product “force of gravity” — “the forces of attraction decrease with the squares of the distances. — but take what is living still in Kepler’s form, the squares of the periods of time. Fill out the caput mortum of the Newtonian force of attraction, which is a mere external concept, with what is implied in the square of the period of time, and you will fill with inner life of the Newtonian concept, which is really the corpse of an idea!”

For inner life has to do with time. And here you have before you not only time in its simple course, you have time squared — time to the second power! We shall yet have to come back to what it means to speak of ‘time squared’ But you can realize that to speak of time to the second power is to speak or something of an inward nature. It is, indeed, time which in the life of man actually represents the course of his inner soul-life. The point is that we should look right through it dead concept of the Newtonian force of attraction to that which suddenly darts into the center, bringing time into it and therewith bringing in an element of inner life.” Only Steiner never did return to the topic of ‘time squared’ and its meaning. Over to you, guys!


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