Steiner x Nature x Buoyancy

On December 24th, 1919, the legendary Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture about Nature in Stuttgart. Fast forward to 2002 on a biodynamic farm in the headwaters of the Rocky Broad River. Steiner’s findings informed the name and trajectory, force and velocity of a mass known legally and publicly as Astral Buoyancy Co. 

We’re republishing a key part of that lecture (Steiner) here for your knowledge and enjoyment. If Steiner’s words resonate with you, find their influence on our newest apparel line.

“Here is a balance [Figure IIa, below]. I can balance the weight that is on the one side with an object of equal weight, suspended this time, at the other end of the beam. We can thus weigh the object; we ascertain its weight. We now put a vessel there, filled up to here with water, so that the object is submerged in water. Immediately, the beam of the balance goes up on that side. By immersion in water the object has become lighter, — it loses some of its weight. We can test how much lighter it has grown, — how much must be subtracted to restore the balance. We find the object has become lighter to the extent of the weight of water it displaces. If we weigh the same volume of water we get the loss of weight exactly. You know this is called the law of buoyancy and is thus formulated: — Immersed in a liquid, every body becomes as much lighter as is represented by the weight of liquid it displaces. You see therefore that when a body is in a liquid it strives upward, — in some sense it withdraws itself from the downward pressure of weight.

What we can thus observe as an objective phenomenon in Physics, is of great importance in man’s own constitution. Our brain, you see, weighs on the average about 1250 grammes. If, when we bear the brain within us, it really weighed as much as this, it would press so heavily upon the arteries that are beneath it that it would not get properly supplied with blood. The heavy pressure would immediately cloud our consciousness. Truth is, the brain by no means weighs with the full 1250 grammes upon the base of the skull. The weight it weighs with is only about 20 grammes. For the brain swims in the cerebral fluid. Just as the outer object in our experiment swims in the water, so does the brain swim in the cerebral fluid; moreover the weight of this fluid which the brain displaces is about 1230 grammes. To that extent the brain is lightened, leaving only about 20 grammes. What does this signify? While, with some justice we may regard the brain as the instrument of our Intelligence and life of soul — at least, a portion of our life of soul — we must not reckon merely with the ponderable brain. This is not there alone; there is also the buoyancy, by virtue of which the brain is really tending upward, contrary to its own weight. This then is what it signifies. With our Intelligence we live not in forces that pull downward but on the contrary, in forces that pull upward. With our Intelligence, we live in a force of buoyancy.

What I have been explaining applies however only to our brain. The remaining portions of our body — from the base of the skull downward, with the exception of the spinal cord — are only to a very slight extent in this condition. Taken as a whole, their tendency is down-ward. Here then we live in the downward pull. In our brain we live in the upward buoyancy, while for the rest we live in the downward pull. Our Will, above all, lives in the downward pull. Our Will has to unite with the downward pressure. Precisely this deprives the rest of our body of consciousness and makes it all the time asleep. This indeed is the essential feature of the phenomenon of Will. As a conscious phenomenon it is blotted out, extinguished, because in fact the Will unites with the downward force of gravity or weight. Our Intelligence on the other hand becomes light and clear in as much as we are able to unite with the force of buoyancy, — in as much as our brain counteracts the force of gravity. You see then how the diverse ways in which the life of man unites with the material element that underlies it, bring about upon the one hand the submersion of the Will in matter and on the other hand the lightening of Will into Intelligence. Never could Intelligence arise if our soul’s life were only bound to downward tending matter. And now please think of this: — We have to consider man, not in the abstract manner of today, but so as to bring the spiritual and the physical together. Only the spiritual must now be conceived in so strong and robust a way as to embrace also the knowledge of the physical. In the human being we then see upon the one hand the lightening into Intelligence, brought about by one kind of connection with the material life — connection namely with the buoyancy which is at work there. Whilst on the other hand, where he has to let his Will be absorbed, sucked-up as it were, by the downward pressure, we see men being put to sleep. For the Will works in the sense of this downward pressure. Only a tiny portion of it, amounting to the 20 grammes’ pressure of which we spoke, manages to filter through to the Intelligence. Hence our intelligence is to some extent permeated by Will. In the main however, what is at work in the Intelligence is the very opposite of ponderable matter. We always tend to go up and out beyond our head when we are thinking.”

Rudolf Steiner was an Austrian scientist and spiritualist who founded the esoteric, spiritual movement known as anthroposophy and whose spiritual-scientific research laid the foundation for Waldorf education. (Waldorf Education)

This lecture was originally published on

Sources : 

(Steiner) Steiner, Rudolf. “Second Lecture (First Scientific Lecture-Course).” Rudolf Steiner, 1919, This lecture was originally published on. Accessed 18-1-22.

 (Waldorf Education) Waldorf Education. Rudolf Steiner & the History of Waldorf Education. Waldorf Education, 1991. Rudolf Steiner & the History of Waldorf Education, Accessed 1-12-2023.

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