For those unfamiliar with the term, the idea and practice of Goethean Science is set out in a wide range of resources (see below) but, briefly, Goethean Science requires developing the awareness of how the observer takes up an observer role.
All science is fundamentally a stepping back, a separating from what is observed. However, there is no knowledge without relationship. When scientific theory and practice does not include awareness of the relationship of the observer with what is observed, the science is constrained by the necessary emphasis on quantity. This leads to powerful technology, but there are consequences to this narrowing of focus eg. the environmental crisis arising from the breakdown of our relationship with Nature.
When the ‘stepping back’ of separation becomes abstraction and alienation, theories and ideas themselves become the drivers for further separation, until reductionism and materialism reach the inevitable imaginations of the atom and the gene, turning science into just technological manipulation. At the same time, paradoxically, the assumed particulate nature of the atom vanishes with quantum physics and the assumed causative nature of the gene vanishes with epigenetics, resulting in a polarisation of all our ideas about the world.
If the chosen investigative instrument is a hammer, then the search for knowledge will inevitably produce disconnected fragments.
Goethean Science is a disciplined approach to observing phenomena, which seeks to retain wholeness and relationship while ‘stepping back’, by means of a training of the ‘observer consciousness’.