--| Crystals > Frozen Flames? |--- By: Ernst Lehrs It has puzzled many an observer that crystals occur in the earth with directions of their main axes entirely independent of the direction of the earthly pull of gravity. This riddle is solved by the phenomenon of snow-formation, provided we allow it to speak to us as an ur-phenomenon. For it then tells us that matter must be in a state of transition from lightness into heaviness if it is to appear in crystalline form. 'The crystals in the earth, therefore, must have originated at a time when the relation between levity and gravity on the earth was different from what it is today [as is done during the formation of snow crystals. (ed)]. The same language is spoken by the property of transparency which is so predominant among crystals. One of the fundamental characteristics of heavy solid matter is to resist light-in other words, to be opaque. Exposed to heat, however, physical substance loses this feature to the extent that at the border of its ponderability all matter becomes pervious to light. Now, in the transparent crystal, matter retains this kinship to light even in its solid state. A corresponding message comes from the peculiar colouring of crystals. These colours are known to result from quantitatively small metallic ingredients in the particular mineral. They mostly differ entirely from those of the corresponding metallic salts, where the same metal is the basis of the chemical compound; some of these salts are even colourless. On the other hand, metals are known to give the flame a particular colour if they are vapourised in such a flame, and in many instances these colours coincide with those of crystals coloured by the same metal. Read as a letter in nature's script, this fact tells us that precious stones with their flame-like colours are characterised by having kept something of the nature that was theirs before they coalesced into ponderable existence. In fact, they are 'frozen flames'. It is this fact, known from ancient intuitive experience, which prompted man of old to attribute particular spiritual significance to the various precious stones of the earth and to use them correspondingly in his rituals. [and which today is given over to airy-fairy new-age fantasy! (ed)] Crystallisation, seen thus in its cosmic aspect, shows a dynamic orientation which is polarically opposite to that of the earth's seismic activities. Just as in the latter we observe levity taking hold of ponderable matter and moving it in a direction opposite to the pull of gravity, so in crystallisation we see imponderable matter passing over from levity into gravity. And just as we found in volcanism and related processes a field of activity of 'functional sulphur', found in snow-formation and related processes a field of activity of 'functional phosphorus'. Both fields are characterised by an interaction between gravity and levity, this interaction being of opposite nature in each of them. Here, again, sulpher and phosphorus appear as bearers of a polarity of the second order which springs from the two polarically opposite ways of interaction between the poles of the polarity of the first order: levity-gravity. As in man there is a third system, mediating between the two polar systems of his organism, so between sulpher and phosphorus there is a third element which holds a middle place between them and is the bearer of a corresponding function. This element is carbon. To see this we need only take into consideration carbon's relationship to oxidation and reduction respectively. As it is natural for sulphur to tend towards the reduced state, and for phosphorus to tend towards the oxidised state, so it is in the nature of carbon to be related to both states and therefore to oscillate between them. By its readiness to change over from the oxidised to the combustible state, it can serve the plant in the assimilation of light, while by its readiness to make the reverse change it serves man and animal in the breathing process. We breathe in oxygen from the air; the oxygen circulates through the blood stream and passes out again in conjunction with carbon, as carbon dioxide, when we exhale. In the process whereby the plants reduce the carbon dioxide exhaled by man and animal, while the latter again absorb with their food the carbon produced in the form of organic matter by the plant, we see carbon moving to and fro between the two opposite conditions. Within the plant itself, too, carbon acts as functionary of the alternation between oxidation and reduction. During the first half of the year, when vegetation is unfolding, there is a great reduction process of oxidised carbon, while in the second half of the year, when the withering process prevails, a great deal of the previously reduced carbon passes into the oxidised condition. As this is connected with exhaling and inhaling of oxygen through carbon, carbon can be regarded as having the function of the lung-organ of the earth. Logically enough, we find carbon playing the same role in the middle part of the threefold human organism. Another indication of the midway position of carbon is its ability to combine as readily with hydrogen as with oxygen, and, in these polar combinations, even to combine with itself. In this latter form it provides the basis of the innumerable organic substances in nature, and serves as the 'building stones' of the body substances of living organisms. Among these, the carbohydrates produced by the plants show clearly the double function of carbon in the way it alternates between the states of starch and sugar. When the plant absorbs through its leaves carbonic acid from the air and condenses it into the multiple grains of starch with their peculiar structure characteristic for each plant species, we have a biological event which corresponds to the formation of snow in the meteorological realm. Here we see carbon at work in a manner functionally akin to that of phosphorus. Sugar, on the other hand, has its place in the saps of the plants which rise through the stems and carry up with them the mineral substances of the earth. Here we find carbon acting in a way akin to the function of sulphur.
This twofold nature of carbon makes itself noticeable down to the very mineral sphere of the earth. There we find it in the fact that carbon occurs both in the form of the diamond, the hardest of all mineral substances, and in the form of the softest, graphite. In the diamond's brilliant transparency, and in the dense blackness of graphite, carbon reveals its twofold relation to light. In Fig. 12 an attempt has been made to represent diagrammatically the function of Carbon in a way corresponding to the previous representation of the functions of Sulphur and Phosphorus. -- References: Ernst Lehrs, Man or Matter, pp. 233-236, RSP, ISBN: 0-85440-430-9, London, (1958).
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