Some notes whilst reading "Goethe's Science of Living Form" by Nigel Hoffman.

The forward by Craig Holdredge introduces the model of the four elements as representing different ways of engaging with a subject of investigation in natural philosophy. We had Stephan Harding explain this to us in a brief introduction to Goethean Science on the Natural Building course at Schumacher college and I can see some merit in it.

Spengler likens a Doric column to mathematics in stone. So what would be an example of philosophy in stone. How is philosophy made concrete in the world? Is architecture in fact aspiring to be physical philosophy?

Doesn't a dwelling, be it tower block or cob cottage, not encode a whole set of philosophical assumptions about life. Does this bring us back round to Street Farm and radical eco-architecture?

To inhabit a culture is to see, to feel, to experience connections and correspondences that are the matrix of shared experience.

When embedded in a culture this limits the range of possible expression, it limits what it is possible to think, without the individual even being aware that the culture is filtering his world view.

Perceptive participants may be able to glimpse the forest of which the trees are a present manifestation, but only by stepping outside the culture can the curtains be drawn back and the place of the forest in the landscape, the place of the landscape on the planet, and the place of the planet in the cosmos begin to be understood.


Books that deserve an enduring place in the library of memory. Old friends to be rediscovered. Useful sources of wisdom.