Nitrogênio em Steiner (2007)

When I inspected Schultz’s experiments, I was struck by the fact that plants grown on the same nutrient solution had a wholly different substantial composition according to the light-rhythms operative. This was true of nitrogen, for example. Plants exposed to light during the morning and evening hours grew strongly under the favourable influence of nitrogen activity, whereas if exposed during the noon hours, they declined and showed deficiency symptoms. The way was thus opened for experimental demonstration of the fact that the so-called “cosmic” activity of light, of warmth, of sun forces especially, but of other light-sources also, prevails over the material processes. These cosmic forces regulate the course of material change. When and in what direction this takes place, and the extent to which the total growth and the form of the plant are influenced, all depend upon the cosmic constellation and the origin of the forces concerned. Recent research in the field of photosynthesis has produced findings which can hardly fall to open the eyes even of materialistic observers to such processes. Here, too, Rudolf Steiner is shown to have been a pioneer who paved the way for a new direction of research. It is impossible in an article of this length to report on all the phenomena that have already been noted, for they would more than fill a book. But it is no longer possible to dismiss the influence of cosmic forces as “mere superstition” when the physiological and biochemical inter-relationships of metabolic functions in soil-life, the rise and fall of sap in the plant, and especially processes in the root-sphere are taken into consideration. (Steiner 2007:8)

One of the most important questions in agriculture is that of the significance of nitrogen — its influence in all farm-production. This is generally recognised; nevertheless the question, what is the essence of nitrogen‘s activity, has fallen into great confusion nowadays. Wherever nitrogen is active, men only recognise, as it were, the last excrescence of its activities — the most superficial aspects in which it finds expression. They do not penetrate to the relationships of Nature wherein nitrogen is working, nor can they do so, so long as they remain within restricted spheres. We must look out into the wide spaces, into the wider aspects of Nature, and study the activities of nitrogen in the Universe as a whole. We might even say — and this indeed will presently emerge — that nitrogen as such does not play the first and foremost part in the life of plants. Nevertheless, to understand plant-life it is of the first importance for us to learn to know the part which nitrogen does play. (Steiner 2007:22)

Nitrogen is for ever dragging the living to the spiritual principle. Therefore, in man, nitrogen is so essential to the life of the soul. For the soul itself is the mediator between the Spirit and the mere principle of life. Truly, this nitrogen is a most wonderful thing. If we could trace its paths in the human organism, we should perceive in it once more a complete human being. This “nitrogen-man” actually exists. If we could peal him out of the body he would be the finest ghost you could imagine. For the nitrogen-man imitates to perfection whatever is there in the solid human framework, while on the other hand it flows perpetually into the element of life. (Steiner 2007:25)

Put a human being in a given space filled with air, and then remove a small quantity of nitrogen from the air that fills the space, thus making the air around him slightly poorer in nitrogen than it is in normal life. If the experiment could be done carefully enough, you would convince yourselves that the nitrogen is immediately replaced. If not from without, then, as you could prove, it would be replaced from within the human being. He himself would have to give it off, in order to bring it back again into that quantitative condition to which, as nitrogen, it is accustomed. As human beings we must establish the right percentage-relationship between our whole inner nature and the nitrogen that surrounds us. It will not do for the nitrogen around us to be decreased. True, in a certain Sense it would still suffice us. We do not actually need to breathe nitrogen. But for the spiritual relation, which is no less a reality, only the quantity of nitrogen to which we are accustomed in the air is right and proper. You see from this how strongly nitrogen plays over into the spiritual realm. (Steiner 2007:25)

It is the nitrogen which senses whether there is the proper quantity of water in a given district of the Earth. If so, it has a sympathetic feeling. If there is too little water, it has a feeling of antipathy. It has a sympathetic feeling if the right plants are there for the given soil. In a word, nitrogen pours out over all things a kind of sensitive life. And above all, you will remember what I told you yesterday and in the previous lectures: how the planets, Saturn, Sun, Moon, etc., have an influence on the formation and life of plants. You might say, nobody knows of that! It is quite true, for ordinary life you can say so. Nobody knows! But the nitrogen that is everywhere present — the nitrogen knows very well indeed, and knows it quite correctly. Nitrogen is not unconscious of that which comes from the Stars and works itself out in the life of plants, in tim life of Earth. Nitrogen is the sensitive mediator, even as in our human nerves-and-senses system it is the nitrogen which mediates for our sensation. Nitrogen is verily the bearer of sensation. So you can penetrate into the intimate life of Nature if you can see the nitrogen everywhere, moving about like flowing, fluctuating feelings. We shall find the Treatment of nitrogen, above all, infinitely important for the life of plants. These things we shall enter into later. Now, however, one thing more is necessary. (Steiner 2007:25)

This is the point which has always awakened the keen interest of our dear friend Stegemann. I mean this working-together of the soul and Spirit in us, with all that is around us. It is not at all a bad thing if he who has farming to do can meditate. He thereby makes himself receptive to the revelations of nitrogen. He becomes more and more receptive to them. If we have made ourselves thus receptive to nitrogen‘s revelations, we shall presently conduct our farming in a very different style than before. We suddenly begin to know all kinds of things, all kinds of things emerge. All kinds of secrets that prevail in farm and farmyard — we suddenly begin to know them. (Steiner 2007:26)

Broadly speaking, the papilionaceae are the only plants of this kind. All other plants are akin, not to the inbreathing, but to the outbreathing process. Indeed, the entire organism of the plant-world is dissolved into two when we contemplate it in relation to nitrogen. Observe it as a kind of nitrogen-breathing, and the entire organism of the plant-world is thus dissolved. On the one hand, where we encounter any species of papilionaceae, we are observing as it were the paths of the breathing, and where we find any other plants, there we are looking at the remaining organs, which breathe in a far more hidden way and have indeed other specific functions. We must learn to regard the plant-world in this way. Every plant species must appear to us, placed in the total organism of the plant-world, like the single human organs in the total organism of man. We must regard the several plants as parts of a totality. Look on the matter in this way, and we shall perceive the great significance of the papilionaceae. It is no doubt already known, but we must also recognise the spiritual foundations of these things. Otherwise the danger is very great that in the near future, when still more of the old will be lost, men will adopt false paths in the application of the new. (Steiner 2007:27)

Observe how the papilionaceae work. They all have the tendency to retain, to some extent in the region of the leaf-like nature, the fruiting process which in the other plants goes farther upward. They have a tendency to fruit even before the flowering process. You can see this everywhere in the papilionaceae; they tend to fruit even before they come to flower. It is due to the fact that they retain far nearer to the Earth that which expresses itself in the nitrogen nature. Indeed, as you know, they actually carry the nitrogen-nature into the soil. (Steiner 2007:27)

Therefore, in these plants, everything that belongs to nitrogen lives far more nearly inclined to the Earth than in the other plants, where it evolves at a greater distance from the Earth. See how they tend to colour their leaves, not with the ordinary green, but often with a darker shade. Observe too how the fruit, properly speaking, tends to be stunted. The seeds, for instance, only retain their germinating power for a short time, after which they lose it. (Steiner 2007:27)

In effect, these plants are so organised as to bring to expression, most of all, what the plant-world receives from the winter — not what it has from the summer. Hence, one would say, there is always a tendency in these plants to wait for the winter. With all that they evolve, they tend to wait for the winter. Their growth is retarded when they find a sufficiency of what they need — i.e., of the nitrogen of the air, which in their own way they can carry downward. (Steiner 2007:27)

All this we must learn to understand. We must perceive how the nitrogen is there at work, in between the lime — the clay — and the silicious — natures —in between all that the limestone of itself would constantly drag downward, and the silica of itself would constantly ray upward. Here then the question arises, what is the proper way to bring the nitrogen-nature into the world of plants? We shall deal with this question tomorrow, and so find our way to the various forms of manuring. (Steiner 2007:28)

These things we must have in a living and personal relationship; only then are we really in the life of Nature. The point is now to recognise the following. Manuring and everything of the kind consists essentially in this, that a certain degree of livingness must be communicated to the soil, and yet not only livingness. For the possibility must also be given to bring about in the soil what I indicated yesterday, namely to enable the nitrogen to spread out in the soil in such a way that with its help the life is carried along certain fines of forces, as I showed you. That is to say: in manuring we [34] must bring to the earth-kingdom enough nitrogen to carry the living property to those structures in the earth-kingdom to which it must be carried — under the plant, where the plant-soil has to be. This is our task, and we must fulfil it in a scientific way. (Steiner 2007:33-4)

You thereby obtain quite a definite result. When you manure the soil with this compost, you communicate to it something which tends very strongly to permeate the earthy element with the astral, without going by the roundabout way of the ethereal. Think, therefore: the astral, without first passing via the ethereal, penetrates strongly into the earthy element. Thereby the earthy element is strongly astralised, if I may put it so, and through this astralising process is permeated by the nitrogen-content, in such a way that something arises very similar to a certain process in the human organism. (Steiner 2007:34)

For instance, if we just leave the pile of compost as I described it hitherto, it may easily come about that it will scatter its astral content on all sides. The point will be for us to develop the necessary personal relationship to these things. We must try to bring the compost-heap into such a condition that it smells as little as possible. This we can easily attain, to begin with, by piling it up in thin layers, covering it layer by layer with something else, for instance granulated peat, and then another layer and so on. That which would otherwise evaporate and scatter its scent abroad, is thereby held together. The nitrogen, in fast, is that which strongly tends to seek the wide expanse — in manifold forms and compounds. Now it is held together. (Steiner 2007:34)

These things that take place through human influence, though they cannot be outwardly explained, are inwardly quite clear and transparent. Moreover, such things will come about simply as a result of the human being practising meditation; preparing himself by meditative life, as I described it in yesterday’s lecture. For when you meditate you live quite differently with the nitrogen which contains the Imaginations. You thereby put yourself in a position which will enable all these things to be effective; you put yourself in this position over against the whole world of plant-growth. (Steiner 2007:39)

You will remember how we prepare the forces in the cow’s horns, and how we add the preparations, as the case may be, before or after manuring. These forces and influences then assist the working of the manure itself. We add these forces, so as to assist the working of the manure, which, apart front these homoeopathic doses, is used in the proper way, as heretofore. But in other ways, too, we must still try to give the manure the right living property. We must give it such a consistency that it will retain of its own accord as much of nitrogen and other substances as it requires. For we shall thereby impart to the manure a tendency to that living vitality which will enable it to bring the right vitality into the Earth itself. (Steiner 2007:44)

Dig them out in the springtime and keep them in the same way as before. Add them to the manure just as you did the yarrow preparation. You will thus get a manure with a more stable nitrogen content, and with the added virtue of kindling the life in the earth, so that the earth itself will have a wonderfully stimulating effect on the plant-growth. Above all, you will create more healthy plants — really more healthy — if you manure in this way than if you do not. (Steiner 2007:45)

This substantiality will now be extremely effective. Mix it with the manure, just as you did the other preparations. The general effect will be such that the manure becomes inwardly sensitive — truly sensitive and sentient, we might almost say intelligent. It will not suffer any undue decompositions to take place in it — any improper loss of nitrogen or the like. (Steiner 2007:46)

I know quite well, those who have studied academic agriculture from the modern point of view will say: “You have still not told us how to improve the nitrogen-content of the manure.” On the contrary, I have been speaking of it all the time, namely, in speaking of yarrow, camomile and stinging [47] nettle. For there is a hidden alchemy in the organic process. This hidden alchemy really transmutes the potash, for example, into nitrogen, provided only that the potash is working properly in the organic process. Nay more, it even transforms into nitrogen the limestone, the chalky nature, if it is working rightly. (Steiner 2007:46-7)

Dr. Steiner: The fact is, the only really sound manure is cattle manure. The first principle is to take one’s start from this. It is the really healthy manure. At the same time, a healthy nitrogen content must be brought about in the soil by discovering some principle, by virtue of which the soil will be thoroughly worked-through by earth-worms and similar creatures. I do not think we have yet gone so far as to be able to tell quite fully what this is. (Steiner 2007:77)

Dr. Streicher: Perhaps I may point out certain prevailing tendencies in outer science — in the use of artificial manures and synthetic materials? Having succeeded in the synthetic fabrification of nitrogen products, they are now boasting the discovery of the synthesis of protein. They find it tedious to have to go via the plants in gaining protein. There is already a movement on foot to short circuit this “roundabout way” of the plant, and to feed the animals on synthetic nitrogen manure directly. (Steiner 2007:78)

STEINER, Rudolf. 2007. The Agriculture Course. (Trans.: George Adams) Shrewsbury: Wilding & Son Ltd.