Writings about Rudolf Steiner's relevance to today's world.
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Monthly articles demonstrating  Rudolf Steiner’s  relevance  to  today’s  world
April 2016: Electricity, the ethers, and the origin of coal and minerals
To be able to understand what it is that we are using or experiencing in our modern world, is really important. A valuable guideline from Rudolf Steiner, is to understand what we are confronted by in our world, and that includes everything from the ground we walk on, through to modern technological devices. This month we are going to look at coal, minerals and electricity in terms of the role of the ethers in our world.
 We are aware that a core principle in Steiner education is the function of the etheric body. In the child’s seventh life-year, his or her etheric energies are now independent of the maternal sheath and it has finished fashioning the structure of the body; so these energies are free to focus on the world around, and hence on what the child is perceiving, and especially on the thoughts that can be experienced. This is why intellectual activity in the schools is delayed, until the seventh life-year. Likewise in bio-dynamic agriculture the emphasis is not just on refraining from using poisons, and synthetic chemicals, but on spraying special ‘preparations’ onto the land; these preparations actually enhance the etheric forces in soil, resulting in optimal biological-microbial functions.
So now try to factor in the ethers regarding some basic physical things around us in nature, such as: electricity, the  seams of coal under the ground, and the various minerals found in nature. Regarding electricity, as I wrote in the Rudolf Steiner Handbook, Rudolf Steiner reports that when the ‘light-ether’ produces visible light from solar ethers, and when it decays, it produces electricity This is an energy which destroys life, whereas the ethers bring forth life. With these thoughts in mind, let’s briefly think about several fascinating results of Rudolf Steiner’s research, taken from archive documents, about coal and minerals. If the soil is the result of organic material breaking down, from the bodies of creatures who lived long ages ago, what causes ancient plants to transform into coal, and where do minerals come from?
Rudolf Steiner reports that seams of coal are formed when plants from ancient times decay and are permeated by some electricity.
Let’s just remind ourselves here that the life and growth of these plants was due to the absorption of light-ether. So Rudolf Steiner is really saying that as plants decay, some ‘decaying’ light-ether (electricity) permeates them. This changes the natural decay of their physical matter, and turns them into coal.
Rudolf Steiner also reports that minerals form when plants from ancient times decay, but also have their light-ether or tone-ether content removed from them, as they decay. This statement is really saying that minerals, that is, material substances which are more hardened and more complex than coal, are formed when their etheric content is specifically removed. The science of mineralogy provides some support for this statement, for it is known that if a powerful electrical current is passed through a diamond, a flash of light occurs, and it turns to coal, i.e., carbon.
But what about metals? A large part of technology consists of conducting electrical energy through cables, made of copper or other metals. But why does a metal absorb electrical energy so readily? Anthroposophy tells us that metals came into the Earth in a very different way to minerals. Metals are not terrestrial in origin, unlike other minerals. Metals derive from etheric energy streams, raying in from the cosmos, especially from the planets, and permeating the etheric Earth in remote ages; these rays hardened into huge deposits of metallic substances, as our planet hardened. So electricity as an ether by-product, would be broadly compatible to the etheric energy within metals.
Until next month,     Adrian

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