Turning our attention to the earthly life on a large scale, the first fact for us to take into account is this. The greatest imaginable part is played in this earthly life (considered once more on a Large scale, and as a whole) by all that which we may call the life of the silicious substance in the world. You will find silicious substance for example, in the beautiful mineral quartz, enclosed in the form of a prism and pyramid; you will find the silicious substance, combined with oxygen, in the crystals of quartz. (Steiner 2007:12)
People to-day are well aware that there is a difference between the air above the soil and the air within, but they do not observe that there is also this difference between the warmth above and within. They know that the air beneath the surface contains more carbonic acid, and the air above, more oxygen, but again they do not know the reason. The reason is that the air too is permeated by a delicate vitality the moment it is absorbed and drawn into the Earth. (Steiner 2007:17)
Only now does the breathing process reveal its meaning. In breathing we absorb the oxygen. A modern materialist will only speak of oxygen such as he has in his retort when he accomplishes, say, an electrolysis of water. But in this oxygen the lowest of the super-sensible, that is the ethereal, is living — unless indeed it has been killed or driven out, as it must be in the air we have around us. In the air of our breathing the living quality is killed, is driven out, for the living oxygen would make us faint Whenever anything more highly living enters into us we become faint. Even an ordinary hypertrophy of growth — if it occurs at a place where it ought not to occur — will make us faint, nay even more than faint. If we were surrounded by living air in which the living oxygen were present, we should go about stunned and benumbed. The oxygen around us must be killed. Nevertheless, by virtue of its native essence it is the bearer of life — that is, of the ethereal. And it becomes the bearer of life the moment it escapes from the sphere of those tasks which are allotted to it inasmuch as it surrounds the human being outwardly, around the senses. As soon as it enters into us through our breathing it becomes alive again. Inside us it must be alive. (Steiner 2007:23)
Circulating inside us, the oxygen is not the same as it is where it surrounds us externally. Within us, it is living oxygen, and in like manner it becomes living oxygen the moment it passes, from the atmosphere we breathe, into the soil of the Earth. Albeit it is not so highly living there as it is in us and in the animals, nevertheless, there too it becomes living oxygen. Oxygen under the earth is not the same as oxygen above the earth.(Steiner 2007:23)
Answer: The old method will undoubtedly prove beneficial, only you must treat it specifically, according to the nature of your soil — whether it be more sandy or marshy. For a sandy soil you will need rather less quicklime. A marshy ground will need rather more quicklime on account of the formation of oxygen. (Steiner 2007:40)
And how should we expect it to be otherwise? They talk of combustion-processes inside the body. In reality there is not a single combustion-process in the body. The combination of any substance with oxygen inside the body has quite another significance than that of a combustion-process. Combustion is a process in mineral or lifeless Nature. Quite apart from the fact that a living organism is essentially different from a crystal of quartz, what is commonly called combustion in the body is not the dead combustion-process which takes place in the outer world, but is something altogether living, nay, sentient. (Steiner 2007:66)
STEINER, Rudolf. 2007. The Agriculture Course. (Trans.: George Adams) Shrewsbury: Wilding & Son Ltd.