Goethe and the Power of Rhythm
A Biographical Essay
In fresh and spirited prose, John Barnes offers a captivating introduction to the life of Goethe as an inspiration for our times. He traces a powerful 18.6 year rhythm in Goethe’s biography, showing how his creative genius unfolded through repeated periods of crises and renewal. The fact that this rhythm corresponds exactly with cyclical movements of the earth and moon suggests a strong connection between the life of Goethe and the pulsing life of nature.
Goethe considered his participatory approach to nature to be his finest achievement in life, a contribution only now beginning to be appreciated as scientifically significant. Barnes focuses on Goethe’s development as a scientist, in the end applying Goethe’s own scientific method to his unfolding biography. In doing so, a remarkable archetypal lawfulness is revealed.
Goethe’s life and work inspire us to deepen our own connection to nature and to the pulsing rhythms of our lives. In light of the crises we face today, Goethe appears more than ever as a forerunner of a possible healing culture of the twenty-first century.