Yes, then back today to the question of what is actually a virus. And if we want to look a little deeper than just at what science tells us, then we must still first know to some extent what science actually tells us. And that is why I have refreshed my knowledge. And you can actually say that a virus is very different in relation to a bacterium. Because a bacterium that lives thanks to the abilities of its host, a bacterium is a parasite, cannot live outside of a host. But a virus does not only live thanks to the products of a host, but a virus penetrates into the cell, sometimes even into the nucleus, and uses there not only the already produced substances, which the human being produces, but the producing itself is provided by the host, and that is something completely different. So a bacterium is a parasite, but a virus goes much further. A virus does not have the possibility to be there on its own, not even in a host, because a virus has only one nucleic acid available, small or large, long, RNA, or DNA, and that is all it is. Around it we then find a protein coat, but otherwise the virus itself has nothing available and has to use the host's abilities entirely.
That is the scientific conclusion. And it is now known that there are several classes of viruses, the viruses that have DNA as a being, you could say, they really penetrate into the nucleus of the cell, and the viruses that have RNA as a being, and they usually do not penetrate into the nucleus, so they stay in the cytoplasm. And then there are viruses with two-stranded DNA and also viruses with one strand, viruses with two-stranded RNA and also viruses with only one strand. That is more or less the definition that you find in modern university textbooks.
And you can say, yes, then I know that. I think that most students don't go any further than that, that they try to remember that, that they try to keep it in their minds, and that's it. But if you have the question, what is a virus really, you can of course go further, and that is that you don't just think about these different characteristics of bacteria and viruses, but that you think them thouroughly, that you imagine them, not only think and say now I know that, but that you form afterwards ideas about what it is when we have a parasite inside us that has cell processes itself, bacteria, or a parasite that does not have these cell processes itself and really has to live inside our cells, and even some viruses not only live inside the cell but really live in the nucleus.At the same time I publish on my page Philosophical Reflections a lecture from 2018, which I gave in Arnhem at that time. And this lecture is about the essence of the human being and his DNA. At that time I tried to delve into this DNA, into what it really is. And yes, you have to have this basic knowledge if you want to know what a virus actually is. Because if you do not know what DNA and RNA are, then you do not understand these viruses.
I also tried to point out that you cannot see DNA and RNA with your eyes at all, that you need an electron microscope for this and that this problem arises, which I also discussed last time, that it is a translation of reality and that you always have to ask yourself to what extent this translation, which is also done with the help of a computer programme, is really correct.
So when we see pictures of viruses, we are dealing with animations and not with facts. So you have to say to yourself again and again that you don't really know how these are, these living beings, or are they only half living molecules, and you have to say to yourself that you can't really perceive this with your eyes.
The question is, what are we actually dealing with? And this question can only be solved if we do what I have just said, namely imagine, not so much figuratively, but imagine the difference between bacteria and viruses. And if you do that intensively enough, then you get an idea that we are dealing with something quite different in the world of viruses than in the world of bacteria. I can then go into this further next time. But I would like to start by looking at another side of the problem.
For me, Rudolf Steiner is the spiritual teacher, you can see that here, he stands behind me with all his work, and that is really the case. I know that he was not a racist, I have described this in detail in my book The living Rudolf Steiner. And you can actually say, how do people manage to live without spiritual knowledge, that is really a big question for me, I would like to say that first. And then of course, in this crisis in which we are now, I have often sought refuge in the work of Rudolf Steiner. And he has said various things about microorganisms. The difference between bacteria and viruses was not yet so clear, at that time, it was still in the making, it was yet to come, so he talks mainly about bacteria and bacilli, and when he talks about bacilli, you get the impression that they might be viruses. So he talks about influenza bacilli. Yes, we know by now that these are viruses, for, of course, we are dealing with a spiritual science, from a century ago.
But nevertheless, there are certain general points of view in it, and which, yes, I would actually like all people to be able to absorb. For example, he gave lectures for the workers at the Goetheanum who built the building there, and they were invited to ask Rudolf Steiner questions, and he gave very interesting answers. And he also talks about the micro-organisms and then says, I wouldn't say that they are not there. Of course they are there, science can prove that they are there. The question is, does the disease come from the micro-organisms, or is it something else? And then he makes a comparison and says that when it rains, the frogs croak. You wouldn't say that by the croaking of the frogs it starts to rain. But I think that's what they say about infectious diseases. There are micro-organisms in the body and it is thought that they detect that they are there, that this is what causes the disease. No, says Rudolf Steiner, you actually have to learn to think the other way round, the body is already not healthy and these micro-organisms feel good in a body that is not healthy. This is a kind of wellness for them, they find it wonderful to be there, and that is why they multiply in a joyful way. So this is a turn of the points of view.
And that is something we can learn again and again from the spiritual point of view, that we take the courage to see things the other way around, you can just dare to do that and see what comes out, you have not left your science.
This is how Rudolf Steiner spoke to the workers at the Goetheanum. And then there's also, there are many more lectures and I will always bring some of them back with me over time, but then there's a lecture where he talks about these microorganisms and then in relation to the modern world view, and he says: Just as people believed in ghosts in the Middle Ages, they now believe in microorganisms. In both cases, faith is justified, because ghosts exist and micro-organisms exist, but you invite them by being afraid. This was the case with ghosts, it is the case with bacteria, and it is also the case with viruses.
And then he says that the worst thing we can do is to go to sleep in the evening with materialistic thoughts and ideas. That ruins the body in a certain sense. And then when you wake up in the morning, you will have found back a body that is not as healthy as it was yesterday. And so you become susceptible to micro-organisms, that is one thing, so you should avoid fear.
But the other thing, he says, and this teaches us something at this time, is that you should not take care of the micro-organisms either. Yes, of course, it goes without saying that one does not want to do that. But, as he says, you actually do it, you do it because when you are in an epidemic, you constantly fill your consciousness with ideas about the disease. What have we been through in the last six months,? Only Corona!
That is what I want to bring up this time. And I hope next time to continue with the question, what a virus is and then to gradually move on to the question, what a corona virus is. I will then add these relativising points of view from the spiritual sciences, so that we can perhaps get used to not really thinking from here to there, but also to coming the other way round, to dare to think things the other way round.Micro-organisms by Mieke Mosmuller