Goethe’s metamorphosis of consciousness

Some of you may have noticed this photo of me on my blog:

If you look closely, you will see that I am holding a small glass prism in my left hand. The background to this photo is that it was taken during one of the many lectures I have given on Goethe’s theory of colours.

This is not going to be a blog about Goethe’s theory of colours, as that would take me a long time. However, I use his experiments in colour in order to demonstrate to students his notion of dwelling in the phenomena as opposed to our normal state of consciousness where we allow our conceptual thinking, our mental models, expectations and world views to affect our seeing.

Over the last few weeks I have been developing ideas on how to develop these exercises further, to cover Goethe’s work on plants. If we study Goethe, it provides us with a methodology which can take us out of our limited mechanistic way of thinking, into a more organic, holistic, intrinsic and dynamic way of seeing and thinking.

I learnt much of Goethe’s work on plants not just from philosopher Henri Bortoft, but from Margaret Colquhoun, a Goethian scientist who I wrote about recently after visiting her centre in Scotland.

My thoughts and ideas are blossoming quite nicely, and at some time I will be writing about these. But in the meantime, I thought I would just show a video I have made from my studies using my camera, as I have been thinking about how I could potentially bring Goethian thinking into photography.

I have also been looking at extending the way in which I teach Goethe’s theory of colours as well. Here are some photos I have been taking, trying to capture Goethe’s primary spectrum, the cool blues on the one side, and the warmer reds and yellows on the other.

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