Atom

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Born from the darkest age
Of superstition is that ancient creed
That matter is the enemy of good,
Accursed and hateful to the Infinite ;
For every atom is a living thought,
Dropped from the meditations of a God,
Its every essence an immortal love
Of the incarnate Deity ; and all
The inmost pulses of material things
Are mediums for the pulses of His will.

Atoms (from the Greekἄτομος átomos, "the indivisible") are, according to the current understanding of matter, the smallest building blocks of the chemical elements. That they are not indivisible, contrary to their designation, which has its origins in the Greek natural philosophers of antiquity, is shown in particular by the phenomenon of radioactivity. Atoms can also decay, whereby other chemical elements are formed at the same time and high-energy radiation is produced. Today, it is assumed that atoms consist of a very small but massive nucleus of nucleons (protons and neutrons) and a comparatively light but much larger shell of electrons, which typically has a diameter in the order of 10-10 m (= 10 picometres).

According to Rudolf Steiner, atoms are not to be understood structurally as material "things", but rather as ideal spatial contents. The content is the result of mutually encountering directions of forces[1]. Force is understood here as a one-sided spatial (luciferic[2]) revelation of the spirit.

In other words: atoms, as modern quantum theory also confirms, are not material objects but regulatively acting ideas - namely the sum of all physical laws obeyed by the forces of nature, which regulate - indeterministically - the orderly connection of all perceptible or measurable phenomena in the realm of the smallest spatially graspable units of a specific chemical element. Such measurable phenomena or properties are, for example, the atomic mass, the chemical valency, the electronegativity or the atomic spectrum typical for the respective element.

„The atom is a concept of the possibilities of human action. Presumably atoms only exist for us. Perhaps also only for us physicists at the end of the second millennium of the Christian era.“

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker: Der Mensch in seiner Geschichte, p. 102 (translated from the German)

Literature

Steiner big.jpg
References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - books, lectures and articles by Rudolf Steiner online (Jim Stewart).
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.

References