Knowing People

The Goethe Method of Scientific Discovery as Applied to Humans

“Everything is forcing itself upon me, I no longer have to think about it, everything comes to meet me, and the whole gigantic kingdom becomes so simple that I can see at once the answer to the most difficult problems. If only I could communicate the insight and joy to someone, but it is not possible.”


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe in his book “The Metamorphosis of Plants”, presented the formal idea of his method of scientific investigation. He conceived of the concept of Morphology, or the study of Forms of living organisms, and the relationships between them and their particular structures, today its own branch of biology.  

Instead of analyzing the particular characteristics of biological organisms and then describing and classifying them from bottom to top, he suggested the very opposite. Contrary to the philosopher scientists of his day, and most today, Goethe believed that it was not possible to accurately describe any living organism based upon its superficial particularities.  

Only by first describing the whole of the organism, in its full breadth of expressions temporally, could one begin to know what and how the particular parts of the whole contributed to the lifeform, or what were necessarily survival-based accessory adaptations that obscure the investigator from fully knowing the lifeform. In this way, not only could the deliberate, aware and discerning observer come to understand the lifeform scientifically but even come to know essentially into the depths of its being.  

Immanuel Kant believed that Space and Time were fundamental “a priori” conditions that were necessary preconditions for human perception and experience, and that humans were limited in fully comprehending any Natural object. Previously both the mechanistic philosophy of Rene Des Cartes and the Kantian Transcendental view, argued that only a phenomenal, or an “a posteriori” understanding was possible due to the limitations of human understanding and our perceptive abilities.

The Gothean method mirrored in many ways, what the Jungian Analytic method would come to be years later. By first discerning the Primordial Archetype of the plant, in Goethe’s case, could one then and only then, have an accurate frame of reference in which to differentiate the constituents of of any particular lifeform.  

Though certainly more laborious and a more intuitive centered approach, by a careful investigation of the whole of nature, the trained investigator could come to know the “Proteus”, or the archetypal generative forces of behind any lifeform, and bring the fullness of human abilities to bear on the understanding of life.

These generative forces flow through all aspects of the natural world and include the following Potentials for plants and most animals:

*The Productive Potential- or the Limits of what a lifeform is capable of becoming.
*The Actualized Potential- or what a lifeform actually becomes
*The Adaptive Potential- what characteristics are necessary for a lifeform to survive within its environment.

When applying the Gothean Method to the study of understanding Humans, in addition to sharing common archetypal generative forces throughout the species, humans also possess one or more of several differentiatable archetypal psychic expressions and a Conscious Awareness which endows us with an additional Potential beyond that of other lifeforms. 

*The Potential to Choose: unlike other forms of life, humans must determine their own limits, both as a Species and as Individuals, or by default, it will be determined for them as it is for other animals.

A Supervenience in the study of physics (as in any field of philosophical or scientific field of endeavor), is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. That is, before any other law can be granted credence it must first pass the test of a Supervening law that precedes it in importance. In the Standard Model of Cosmology (the ΛCDM Model), the Uncertainty principle is fundamental to other lesser laws.

The Uncertainty Principle states:

We Cannot:

Know (measure) the Location of a Sub-Atomic Particle at any specific point in time (temporally)

And also

Know the Amount of Energy that it possesses and the Direction in which and Speed that it is Traveling.

As applied to energy and matter in general:

If we choose to measure where an object is located relative to others objects, we sacrifice our Knowledge of that object in terms of our internal understanding of it and our ability to discern where and with what speed it is headed.

As applied to Human Beings:

*When we attach a superficial label to a person, we know nothing about that person, other than a superficial adaptive characteristic.

*If we choose to invest our own energy and take the time to fully Understand the person and humanity in general, we can determine who they are specifically and know them, and predict what they will become.

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