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Spiritual Science as a Treasure for Life

Schmidt Number: S-2844

On-line since: 31st December, 2015

Spiritual Science and Denomination

Berlin, 20 November 1913

Before I change over to the single results of spiritual science in this series of talks, I want to contemplate on one of many misunderstandings that this spiritual science experiences.

You can repeatedly hear that objection among others that spiritual science allures the human being from his denomination, from his religious life. Why one should not fear that in the present, just if spiritual science wants in the real sense to be the continuator of natural sciences as they have developed for three to four centuries in our intellectual life. How should one not fear this, because wide circles of our present educated people just hold the view that a worldview that is built on the firm ground of natural sciences cannot be concerned with those requirements of the religious life? Many people hold the view that someone who works his way up in the present to that height which gives the human beings the “true science,” must free himself from that what one has called religious confession for long times. In many circles, one thinks that religious mental pictures, religious feeling, and religious thinking correspond to a level of childish development of humanity, whereas we have now entered into the mature age of human intellectual development that is called to remove the old religious preconceptions and to change over to purely scientific ideas and a worldview based on them.

Considering the present human beings, one finds such a mood, as I have just characterised, with many people. A historical overview of the latest phase of the cultural life, of the last times of the nineteenth century can also cause the impression that I would like to characterise in the following way. The religious human beings who worried about the religious sense felt constrained from a certain viewpoint to save the field of religious life from the attack of the modern scientific life. This continues until our days. Numerous writings set themselves the task to explain the necessity of the religious life for the human soul from philosophical or other points of view with respect to the scientific way of thinking and worldviews. However, I would have to explain a lot if I should point to the bases that entitle to such statements as they have been made. For example, I could point to the attempts of the theological school of Ritschl (Albrecht R., 1822-1889) and Herrmann (Wilhelm H., 1846-1922) showing that with single thinkers something lived that slumbered in the hearts of many people. I point to this school not to characterise it or that at which Ritschl and his followers aimed. To a lesser extent, I would like to give the contents of the view of Ritschl and Hermann but rather the mood from which it developed.

One recognises Ritschl as a deeply religious thinker who felt called to protect the religion against the attack of scientific knowledge. How did he try to accomplish this? He tried to accomplish it, saying that science as it has developed during the last three to four centuries shows how the human intellect has penetrated into the mysteries of the material outside world. Looking at this, Ritschl said to himself, one can squeeze nothing out of all that what the human soul should squeeze out as religious truth and religious confession. Hence, Ritschl and his followers look for another source of the religious confession. They say to themselves, religion is always endangered if one wants to support it with that knowledge, as it is standard in natural sciences, and always one faces the impossibility to squeeze out anything from the scientific way of thinking that could inspire and penetrate the human soul. Hence, one must refuse finally to add something to the religion that is an object of science. But for it there is an original religious life in the human soul which has to keep itself completely separate from any invasion of science and that it may come if it develops and revives internally to autonomic experiences, to internal facts which connect the human soul with the contents of the religious confession.

Thus, this school tries to save the religious confession, purifying it from any invasion of the scientific. If the soul renounces to have something in the religious life that could look similar even at a distance to that what is achieved scientifically and unfolds this self-purified life in itself, then that appears internally what signifies its connection with the divine primal ground of existence. Then it feels that it carries internally, as a mental fact, its connection with the divine in itself.

However, if one goes deeper into such attempts that control many, in particular theological thinkers even today, one sees immediately: concerning the human soul life one can get a somewhat often-distilled mysticism out of his soul in a way. But if it concerns of getting really religious truth, then such a school of thought feels constrained to fill the soul from anywhere with contents because the soul must be, otherwise, completely doomed to a narrow mystic life. Therefore, this Ritschl school takes up the Gospel again on the other side, takes up the truth which is provided by the Gospel and leaves a deep abyss between its demand to develop the religious truth only from the soul and that what the soul takes from the outside by the revelations of the Gospels. Yes, an even deeper abyss can arise, and the followers of this school themselves noted this saying: every human being is able to come in a certain connection with the divine if he abandons himself impartially to that what lives in his soul, and speaks to his soul. Your soul is connected with something divine-spiritual. However, the single souls cannot come to such internal experiences as Paul or Augustine had them. Hence, one has to receive such experiences also from the outside. Briefly, at the moment when such a direction which wants to attain the religious confession only by the religious feeling intends to pronounce as thought how the soul is connected with the divine, then it is forced to annihilate its own principle! We would be led to the same inconsistent views if we let the religious-philosophical views of the nineteenth century pass by, as they have developed until our time.

However, it is typical that many serious thinkers in the fields of religious research struggled only for a concept, for an idea, for a definition of religion, and that one cannot even find an adequate concept from what a religion emerges as religion in the human soul, from which impulses of the human soul it originates. This is something that is enmeshed in a wide net of polemic with the serious religious researches of the nineteenth century, and until our time. There some people speak of the fact that the human beings advanced from a certain kind of revering nature to suppose something divine behind the natural phenomena and then to revere this divine in nature. Other researchers think that the religious need originated from that what one may call soul cult. The human being saw, for example, the human beings dying who were dear to him, and he could not imagine that their innermost essence had passed; thus, he transported them into a world in which he revered them. Such researchers mean that ancestor worship, soul cult is the origin of the religious feeling.

Then the human beings advanced further, transferred what they felt and revered also to nature, so that the apotheosis of the natural forces originated from the fact that one assumed the souls of ancestors only as living on, but one raised such revered ancestor souls to the divine and made them rulers of natural forces and worlds. The third current whose opinion in particular the religious researcher Leopold von Schroeder (1851-1920, German Indologist) pronounced clearly that an impulse manifests in the human nature. Just the investigation of the most primitive peoples confirm to assume that behind all phenomena a good being lives who watches over the good in the world: One sees the development of this impulse in the different religions and religious confessions.

One can argue against any such view that it does not go well with anything that one if one simply has an understanding of the religious life and the religious confession has to call religion according to this understanding, because spiritual science wants to introduce itself as something new in the human development. It would be less useful if I discussed all these views of the bases, of the origin and being of the religious confession. For I have to say if one looks at all these discussions one question is not satisfactorily answered: what about the religious confession within the entirety of the human nature, the human personality? Hence, I will also proceed this time in similar way as I have proceeded last time with the consideration of “antisophy.” I tried just from the spiritual-scientific point of view to show first how antisophy is founded in the human nature, and that one has not to be surprised, if it appears there or there. I try also to describe the reason of religion in the human nature in order to show how spiritual science that goes into the entirety of the human nature or at least wants to go, places itself in life that wants to be carried by a religious confession.

Spiritual science is less destined because of its whole predisposition and nature to get itself into controversial discussions; it is destined above all to describe how the matters are and to leave everybody free which relation this spiritual science can have to the single branches and currents of the human soul life. Hence, it should also not be my task today to discuss the religious confession as such spiritual-scientifically, but to show what spiritual science wants to be, and what a religious confession can be and then to leave it to everybody to draw conclusions concerning the relation of both.

Spiritual science is based on the fact that the human soul is able to transform itself and outgrow the usual looking of the everyday life and also the usual views of the outer science and to soar a particular kind of knowledge. Spiritual science requires that investigations form the basis that come from a soul that has become independent concerning its experiences of the physical body. If such a soul experiences itself and the world, it gets observations that do not concern the sensory world but the spiritual world. The spiritual researcher transports himself by the specified exercises, which I discuss in the following talks, with his soul into the spiritual world. Then he is in the spiritual world and talks about the beings and processes of the spiritual world. One attains this projection into the spiritual world in different stages, as I have described them in my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?. We have to characterise these stages somewhat just for this consideration.

If by such an increase of attention, as I have suggested it in both previous talks, the human soul becomes able to experience independently from the physical-bodily, it experiences first that one can call the whole soul contents which the soul attains an Imaginative world. It is an Imaginative world not because this world is mere imagination, but because that what the soul experiences in itself appears like from the sea of the inside being and is at first a completely saturated spiritual imagery. It would be wrong if anybody regarded this imagery as a manifestation of the spiritual world; for this imagery, this Imaginative world testifies at first nothing else than that the inner mental has increased so that it can experience ideas, sensations, inner impulses not only referring to external sense impressions but that an imagery comes forth from its own laps. This imagery that one experiences in particular by an increase of attention is, so to speak, at first only a means to penetrate into the real spiritual world. Since as this imagery appears one can never say whether a picture corresponds to a spiritual reality or not; but there something else must be added that is attained again by an increase of devotion, so that now from another side, namely from the spiritual world, contents flow in these pictures.

Because of his further development, the spiritual researcher can say about such a picture: spiritual contents flow in; by this picture, which has arisen in your soul, a being or a process of the spiritual world reveals itself. As you look at the outer colours as expression of the outer sensory processes and beings, you can look at this world because the spiritual world soaks up in it as a picture of the spiritual world. You must reject other things. One learns to experience this imagery with reference to the spiritual world as the letters in the usual life. As the letters express something only if one joins them to words that are meaningful, the pictures of the spiritual world are manifestations of a spiritual world when they become means of expression for a world in which the soul of the spiritual researcher is able to transport itself. Indeed, a complete erasing of the Imaginative world takes place. Since the pictures transform themselves, combine themselves in various way. As the compositor takes the letters from the letter case and forms words, the imaginations are confused as it were in the spiritual percipience and become means of expression of a spiritual world if the spiritual researcher rises to the second stage of higher knowledge that one can call the inspired knowledge, the knowledge by Inspiration. Within this inspired knowledge, the objective spiritual world fits into these pictures. Nevertheless, in this Inspiration you attain the outside of the spiritual processes and beings only. You have to submerge in the things, so to speak, to come really into the spiritual world, must become one with the things of the spiritual world. This happens in the stage of Intuition, the third stage of spiritual knowledge.

Thus, the spiritual researcher rises by Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition in the spiritual world. With Intuition, he stands in the spiritual world in such a way that his own spiritual self has become independent of all bodily and is immersed in the spiritual beings of the world, as far as he is able of it. With it, I have characterised the relation of spiritual research to the spiritual, a life in the spiritual world, feeling one with the beings and processes of the spiritual world and an experience of the spiritual. One has to understand this as the characteristic feature of spiritual science.

Now it concerns the following: if such spiritual science originates, how can one imagine its relation to the religious confession?

This will arise as a result if we consider the human soul and the human personality in its entirety. There something appears to us that one could call the climax of soul development, I would like to speak of this climax of soul development today.

Indeed, the human soul develops in the real life inside; one would like to say, in four stages. So that no misunderstanding emerges, so that the belief could not originate, as if the word climax means that the one or other stage is nobler or higher, I want only to say that one can distinguish four different stages of the soul about the value of which I state nothing. There we have the stage of the sensory experience of the outside world at first. Indeed, in the sensory experience of the outside world, the human being is in the whole world process, and one cannot consider the human being different from being in the middle of the material world.

Concerning this view one experiences quite odd things today. When those who are now beyond their first half of life were young and perhaps pursued philosophical studies, the proposition by Kant and Schopenhauer was a given that “the world is my representation.” I have already drawn your attention to the fact that the quite usual experience, as trivial as it sounds, must upset this sentence. Since one has to say, if you want to place yourself into reality, in spite of all explanations that one has done in this field and which are based on nothing but on misunderstanding: the healthily experiencing human being must make a distinction between his idea and his perception. If there is no difference between idea and perception, if the whole tableau of the outside world is my idea or representation, the human being must feel a piece of hot iron of 500° C which he only imagines also if he puts it on his face as a real piece of iron of 500° C. The human being must stand while he perceives with his senses, within the current of the outside world. Now one can experience that philosophers try to restore as for example Bergson (Henri B., 1859-1941) what one called naivety in our youth. One called it “naive realism” if one saw the human being immediately standing in the stream of the material world. Bergson tries to show again, exactly the same way, as if philosophy begins with him that this view is the right one that one must imagine the human being as a sensorily perceiving being in the world of sensory laws.

There one stands sensorily perceiving in the world, and the typical is that the single senses perceive separate worlds, a world of colours and light, a world of tones, a world of the differentiations of heat, a world of hardness and softness and so on. The single senses are on this first stage of the human world experience in the stream of the world process. There we get a worldview on the way of perception. This worldview accompanies us through life; with this worldview, we are active, we act under its impression, it controls us, and we control again a piece of the world from this worldview. Thus the human being himself is as it were a piece of this world process, feels, experiences himself, and gets his worldview this way.

One can call the second stage of this world experience the stage of aesthetic experience, no matter whether it appears in the artistic creating or in the artistic feeling and looking. If one wants to realise only cursorily what aesthetic experience is, one must say that primarily the aesthetic feeling is an inner experience compared with the mere sensory one.

If one perceives light and colours, one is given away by the eye to light and colours; if one perceives tones, one is given away by the ear to the world of tones; you are given away as it were partially to the outside world and stand with a piece of your being in the world. However, everybody who has reflected about the artistic creating or about the enjoyment of art, about the aesthetic feeling knows that the aesthetic feeling is substantially more internal than the mere sense-perception; and secondly it is more extensive, while it originates from the uniform of the human nature. Hence, it is not sufficient for the aesthetic feeling that we see a sum of colours or hear a sum of tones; enthusiasm, the inner joy of the aesthetic experience must be added. If I only perceive, I perceive colours and I try to get a picture of the sensorily given things; if I look aesthetically, my whole personality lives with it. What goes over into me from a picture that has artistic contents seizes me completely. Joy, sympathy or antipathy, desire, exaltation flow through me; however, these seize the whole person. We hear in the course of the talk that to such an experience that is internalised even if it is attached to things of the outside world, to pieces of art or the nice nature the second member of the human nature is necessary. Even if one regards such an assumption as unacceptable in our present cultural life, the assumption justifies itself. If the human being faces the outside world with his senses, if he lets the stream of the outer events approach him, then he witnesses as an aesthetic looking person something that is internally connected much more with him, with his being. He experiences with that what we call the aesthetic human body or the aesthetic human being that is not bound to a single organ, but penetrates the whole human being as a unity.

The human being frees himself in the aesthetic enjoyment from this sensory world. The epoch of Goethe had more an idea of this relief than our time has. Our time is the time of materialism, of naturalism. It feels it already as something wrongful if the human being looking at pieces of art wants to separate himself from the outer sense-perception; hence, one forbids as it were such artistic creating in the modern naturalism that gets free from the outer sensory looking.

However, the Goethean epoch, in particular Goethe and Schiller themselves, did not accept as real art what is only an imitation of nature what puts something before us that is already in nature, but it demanded that that what art should be the human being has to seize deeply and to transform internally. However, it still has another idea. Goethe pronounces it especially nicely when he walks through Italy where his ideal to study the old art came true. After he had studied Spinoza's God at home with Herder (Johann Gottfried H., 1744-1803, theologian, philosopher) and others, he wrote home: “The lofty pieces of art were produced at the same time as the highest natural works by human beings according to the true and natural laws. Everything arbitrary collapses: there is necessity, there is God.” It is the same attitude when Goethe says once, art is a manifestation of secret physical laws that could not become obvious without it.

He says elsewhere that the artist does not deal with speculative fiction, but he comes almost by looking at the outer bodily into the artistic field. Hence, Goethe and Schiller talk of truth in art and connect the experience of the artist with the experience of the recognising human being. They feel that the artist separates himself from the outer nature that he is closer, however, in his experiences to that what works spiritually behind all natural phenomena. Hence, such human beings speak about something true in this aesthetic experience. Goethe says once very nicely when he discusses an aesthete, whom he admired, Winckelmann (Johann Joachim W., 1717-1768) that art is a continuation and human conclusion of nature, “because while the human being is put on the summit of nature he regards himself as a complete nature again which has to produce a summit once more in itself. Therefore he increases penetrating himself with all perfection and virtues, invoking choice, order, harmony and meaning and he finally ascends to the production of a piece of art.”

  It would lead too far if I wanted to show now again how the human being, separating himself from the outer view of nature in the aesthetic view, internally squeezes something true, how, indeed, for someone who can experience aesthetically it has a deep meaning once to say facing a picture, a drama, a sculpture or a piece of music: this has inner truth or the other time: it is untruthful without meaning that it imitates nature. It is something that is deeply founded in the human nature to speak about artistic truth in aesthetics. There is truth and fallacy in this field that only does not consist in the fact that one imitates the outer nature badly.

Nevertheless, one comes if one advances to the aesthetic looking from the field of that view which is called real in the usual sense to the field of fantasy, to an imagery. The imaginative world of art compared to the Imaginative world of the spiritual researcher presents itself in such a way that the world of fantasy looks like a real silhouette, indeed, but like a silhouette. However, the Imaginative world of the spiritual researcher is saturated with new reality. The imaginative world of art is that what withdraws from the immediate sensory view and keeps a connection with the human soul, a connection that is not identical to that with the sensory world. Hence, art is that what lifts the human being in free way out of servile absorbing the views of the sensory world.

Art is that what detaches the human being from the sensory world and gives him the consciousness for the first time: you experience, even if you do not let flow the sensory world into yourself; you stand in the world, even if you detach yourself from the world in which your body is put sensorily. This attitude gives the human being a feeling of his determination that he is not bound only to the physical world in his development. However, it is really in such a way, as if in art the imaginative life appears like in a silhouette. The imaginative life is much more saturated with life than the life of mere fantasy. This would be the second stage in the climax of the human soul development.

Now the third stage of this climax can be characterised by the fact that the human being internalises himself even more. In art he has moved from the outside inwards, has gone adrift from the outward appearance. Now it is conceivable that the human being refrains of the outer experience completely, lives wholly internally, does not let in what he imagines like in art, impregnates it with that what he has perceived but does not let any perception in himself. There he would be still farther away from the sensory world with his completely isolated, completely emptied inner life. The outer world would be dark and silent round him. There is a longing for anything in his soul, however, nothing is there if not from another side anything could come into this soul. Even as the material world approaches us from the outside if we offer our senses to it, the spiritual world is coming up to meet us internally if we let nothing into our soul in the described way and are there, nevertheless, waiting in the wake condition. What we can experience there can only convince us of our true human being; this shows us only in our true independence, in our true inwardness.

Religious ideas of all times testify that something comes from the outside. If the human being moves from sense perception to the aesthetic view, he moves as it were in the normal life to a stream of oblivion. He swims over this stream into his inwardness. If contents are added to his inwardness by another world, these contents are the religious contents. By these contents, the human being can know that there is a world after the sensory world. It can be reached by no outer senses, also not by such a processing of the sensory impressions, as it happens by fantasy, but lets flow in excluding the whole life of fantasy purely inner devotion from the invisible what carries now the soul spiritually from the inside. It goes without saying that the human being feels as a part of the extrasensory, spiritual world, as it is a given to him that the percipience of outer colours require objects if he perceives such colours.

I have now to draw your attention to something very important at this point. There were times in which it would have appeared as absurd to say: I feel something, but this feeling is not stimulated by a divine-spiritual world as it appears to the modern human being absurd that he feels warmth putting out his hand and does not say: there is an object which burns me. For the complete human soul life, it is healthy if one feels such a thing to say that a spiritual world projects in us as it is healthy if anything burns us to point to a burning object.

Here is now something that becomes clear to us if we consider views that have not completely become known but these views live already on the ground of the souls. The view spreads more and more by natural sciences that everything that the human being experiences is only his mental pictures. I have already pointed to that. It is already commonplace among the physical scholars: what I perceive as colours exists only in my eye; what I hear as tones is only in my ear; everywhere outdoors only moved atoms exist.

How often one can read that if I perceive a colour ether waves vibrate outdoors with that and that velocity; there is outdoors moved matter only! It is of course an inconsistency if one denies colours and yet to assume matter! Today, hence, there are already the so-called immanence philosophers who say that everything that we perceive is only a subjective world. It would be conceivable, but this still lies in the future that one says: the fact that I perceive light and colours with my eyes, is certain. However, it is impossible to know about something that induces light and colours. The fact that I perceive tones with my ears is certain; but it is impossible to know something about that what produces the tones. What those say in this field who want to be the scholars, many people advancing to the materialistic view already say since centuries about the inner experiences. As today the biased philosopher says, I have the colour which I perceive only in my eye; I do not know what induces it, humanity says to itself in general, I have my feeling in myself; in which way it is caused, however, by the spiritual world, about that one can know nothing.

Since centuries, since millennia one no longer refers the inner experiences because of a prejudice to something objective that would be something spiritual in this case as certain philosophers do not want to refer the impressions of the outside world to real processes of the outer life. However, a healthy human soul life feels with its feelings in the world of the spiritual as it feels its colour sensations in the sensory world. As it is absurd for the healthy soul life to believe that the colour speaks only from the eye, it is absurd for a healthy soul life to state that the feeling speaks only from the soul that a divine-spiritual world outside us does not stimulate. This healthy feeling of the soul corresponds to the third member of the human nature that leaves as we will show the physical body in sleep and is inside during the waking state: We called this member the astral body of the human being. Our etheric body provides the aesthetic views for us; our astral body experiences itself religiously. This part of our nature must experience itself religiously. It is no miracle that the human organism can deny the religious truth very easily; since the usual human experience is so organised that this astral body if it leaves the physical body in sleep becomes unaware. It has no experiences then for itself, but again when it submerges in the physical body when it perceives with the physical organs. Hence, own experiences of the astral body can only appear in the physical life like from dark, unknown undergrounds.

Thus, the religious experiences appear like from dark, unknown undergrounds in the usual human life that proceeds in the sensory world in the waking state. However, if the spiritual researcher strengthens his soul in such a way that it experiences itself consciously and independently from the physical body with that what remains unaware in the normal life during sleep, then this soul settles in that what lights up as religious contents and experience like from dark, unknown undergrounds of the soul. The religious experiences thereby justify themselves just in the spiritual-scientific view. What remains unknown to the human being if he returns in sleep into the bosom of spiritual life, and what he would experience there if he were conscious during sleep, this appears, stimulated by the outer life, in the religious feeling. In the spiritual-scientific research, however, it appears as an immediate view. Hence, the religious feeling of the everyday life becomes the spiritual view in the spiritual-scientific knowledge. Except in the world of the sensory in which we live with our physical body, we also live in the world of the spiritual. This world of the spiritual remains invisible at first for the outer human organisation. Nevertheless, the human being still lives in this world of the spiritual, and it would be absurd to believe that only that existed what the human being can see in the physical life. If he strengthens his soul life in such a way that he can behold the spiritual round himself, he just beholds the beings and processes of the spiritual world that stimulate, otherwise, only what ascends like from unknown depths as religious life. In his spiritual experience, the spiritual researcher attains the view of those beings and processes of the spiritual which remain usually unknown to the religious life but which have to send their impulses into the religious life and penetrate the human being with the feeling of his connection with the spiritual world. However, there we also realise that we must go into the human nature concerning the religious life. We come, so to speak, into the subjective of the human nature.

If we take this into account we also realise because this subjective is much more manifold than the outer bodily how in a higher measure that what comes from the spiritual world is dependent on the subjective nature of the human being as the outer physical reality is dependent on his outer nature. Indeed, we know that our worldview changes if our eyes see better or worse; we also know that there is, for example, colour blindness; but the outer bodily nature is more monotonous with all human beings than the inner individual nature. Hence, that will even more differ what becomes internally discernible, and it cannot appear as religious confession that is spread over the whole world if one only figures the matter out. The spiritual world, which is everywhere the same, appears in such a way that it is coloured according to the predisposition, the particular states of the human organisation. The human beings differ especially in their confessions according to the differences of climate, race, and the like.

Thus, we survey the earth, and in the course of the historical development, the different religions appear gradated according to the different individual of the soul life. If we consider the religious confessions as nuanced by the human nature but being rooted in the same spiritual world in which all human beings are rooted with their astral bodies, we do not have the right to attribute “truth” only to one religion. On the contrary, we have to say that these different religions are that what can ascend like from unknown undergrounds in the human soul. They are due to a particular manifestation of the spiritual world by the human astral bodies.

Now here one finds that the spiritual researcher ascends in the climax of the human soul development to the fourth stage where Intuition takes place. On this stage, the real experience of the full human inwardness appears only, but in such a way, that the human being is with his inwardness now really beyond his physical senses and lives in the spiritual world. He experiences the uniform spiritual world there, no matter how he is organised as a human individual on earth. The fact that we are this or that particular human being with feelings coloured this or that way is due to the fact that the mental-spiritual lives together with the physical. Thereby that individualises itself what we are. As a spiritual researcher, however, we become independent of the physical body. If we completely perceive beyond the physical body, we perceive the uniform spiritual world in which the human being is every night if he sleeps but unconsciously. The spiritual researcher has strengthened his soul life so that the still low forces that let the human beings be unaware in the spiritual world have gained strength with him, so that he is aware in that world in which the human being is unaware during sleep. Then he experiences the spiritual beings and processes, which send their impulses in the human astral body, which one can experience, however, in their true being only if the human ego has become completely independent. Then one experiences what those human beings have indicated as the greatest who tried to penetrate from their point of view into these depths of the human being. Goethe for example tried to show this in the marvellous poem The Mysteries where the different experiences, which the human being can have with the religions spread over the globe, are represented in twelve persons. They have joined in a cloister-like building to experience together what they have brought with them as individual confessions from the most different areas of the earth, from the different climates, races, and epochs, and what they now want to bring into mutual effect.

This happens under the guidance of a thirteenth who shows us that a uniform spiritual forms the basis of the different religious confessions. Goethe explains that a miraculous organism is poured out over the earth in the religious confessions which nuance themselves according to races and epochs, and that with the ascent to the real spiritual world one beholds that what lives in the single religious confessions in a great united whole. Thus, he anticipates as it were what just spiritual science should perform concerning the religious confessions: the fact that they should be recognised in their inner essence. Since spiritual science experiences the spiritual directly in spirit.

If one wanted to speak, for example, about the Christian religion from the viewpoint of spiritual science, one would have to show how the contents of the Christian religion are recognised by spiritual science, could even be recognised, even if there is no tradition nor any document I state this now hypothetically. We assume for a moment that nothing that is included in the Gospels would exist. The spiritual-scientific researcher positions himself beyond all these documents at first; then he would perceive if he observed the historical course on the spiritual field how humanity experiences a descending development of the inner experiences from the primeval times up to a point which lies in the Greek-Roman epoch, and how for an ascending development an impulse had to come. We call it the Christ impulse, which positioned itself in the human development, which is a unique impulse, as there can only be one centre of mass of a balance. From the spiritual knowledge, the whole position and function of the Christ being in the world would arise. Then one would approach the Gospels with such knowledge, would find these or those sayings in them as Christ appeared like out of uncertain depths, and positioned himself in the human development. However, one can recognise him if one advances to Inspiration and Intuition in the spiritual-scientific research. The religious life becomes visible from a uniform primary source before the spiritual-scientific view where it rises to Intuition.

Thus, in the climax of the human soul development it becomes obvious that Intuition is the life in the ego as the religious life is the life in the astral body as the artistic view is the life in the etheric body, and as the sensory percipience is the life in the physical body. As true in this climax expresses itself how the human nature is, as true it belongs to the whole human life that the human being unfolds a religious life; and as true this climax, this four-membered human soul development exists, as true the spiritual-scientific experience attains that directly what is experienced in the religious life from unknown depths. Hence, for an impartial judgement spiritual science can never be an enemy of a religious confession. Since it shows the primal source, the basic nature of the religious confessions. It shows also how these confessions originate from a uniform spiritual primordial ground, even if the attention must be drawn repeatedly to the fact that this view is poles apart from those abstractions and dilettantism which speaks of the equality of all religions and the equivalence of all religious confessions. Since these stand on no other point of view concerning their logic, as if one only always wanted to emphasise: the snail is an animal, and the deer is also an animal, and one must always look for the “same” everywhere.

It is only religious-philosophical dilettantism to speak about an abstract equality of all religions; since the world is developing. Someone who surveys the development from the spiritual world also realises that the single religious confessions tend in their different manifestations to subsume all religious confessions in Christianity. Christianity loses by its unique position arising from the Jewish monotheism nothing of its cultural task in the world by the fact that these things are considered spiritually.

However, I have still to say one thing if one wants to have some completeness representing the relation of the human being to the religious confessions. If we face the outside world, we face it with our physical body. We as human beings can only take a rather indirect share of the relation of the physical body to the whole physical-material outside world. Without our complete witness, the relation of our body to the whole universe is regulated. How much can the human being do if this relation is confused to recover it by means of a remedy and the like? How much is in the relation of the human being to the cosmic outside world that the senses can provide for us in which he does not share immediately? When, however, the human being begins positioning himself with his inside in the spiritual universe, everything in him witnesses what flows from this spiritual universe into him. Hence, the inner experiences assert themselves immediately if the human being becomes aware of his relation to the spiritual universe. He feels supported by this spiritual universe, and he feels his relation to it in such a way that he says to himself, there I am, I stand in the spiritual universe, and I want to feel the existence in this universe in my consciousness! The religious life becomes with it an inner experience in a sense quite different from the experience of the material universe by the physical body. The religious experience becomes inner experience. It expresses itself as admiration, adoration, feeling that one gets the spiritual as grace. This is the reason why this religious life expresses itself preferably in the feeling of the human being. There we get the reason why one can say: the religious confession is rooted in the feeling first of all. However, one must ascend to the knowledge why it appears in feeling. Spiritual science reveals what is felt what is there as spiritual processes and beings. Hence, we enter, while we penetrate religiously into the spiritual life, the emotional life of the human being, we enter into a region where he searches his hopes for his humanity in order to stand firmly in the world. Hence, the entry into the spiritual world on the detour of the religious is nothing else than that one arrives at it on the way of feeling. This becomes clear in particular to someone who learns to recognise how necessary it is that the human being, although he rises in spiritual science to knowledge that is valid for all, has to go as a preparation for the objective spiritual experience through his subjective emotional life. He has to experience it with all its joys and sufferings, its disappointments and hopes, its fear and anxiety.

I believe that anybody may say that my explanations have lacked what forms just the emotional element in the religious confession that warms up and fulfils the human soul. Nevertheless, someone who considers the whole attitude that is generated by spiritual science inevitably understands that the spiritual researcher simply puts the things, and the things themselves may produce the feeling. He would feel it as something unchaste if he captivated the feeling by his word like suggestively. Every soul should feel in freedom. Spiritual science has to put the things as they arise from the spiritual research.

I wanted today to discuss on basis of the four-membered human nature and of the climax of the soul development to which extent spiritual science can just illuminate and light up the reasons of the religious confession. The religious confession is rooted in the human nature. True spiritual science will never be an enemy of the true religious experience necessary to the human being. The fact that the human being experiences everything that he experiences spiritually in the same way as spiritual research experiences it with its methods will become apparent by various explanations in the following talks; and the fact that the objections against spiritual science, which are done from scientific side or from religious confessions, are unfounded. One will realise this if one considers the single results of spiritual science. Today, however, I wanted to show, not polemicizing against a single religious confession, how the religious confessions relate to the wealth, to the entirety of the human nature. As spiritual scientist one feels just in harmony with all those who have expressed their conviction in the course of the human development as it is revealed in spiritual science. I want to remind of Goethe once again.

Even if spiritual science did not yet exist as science at Goethe's time, his whole mood was, nevertheless, a spiritual-scientific, theosophical one. He intended and felt what originated from it in the spiritual-scientific sense. Hence, he felt that that science which dives in the things must find the spiritual and, hence, cannot be strange to religion. Therefore, he also felt that the human being if he frees himself in the art from the outer nature does not free himself, nevertheless, from that what forms the spiritual basis of nature. Goethe was convinced that one experiences the phenomena of the world with science and art in such a way as the religious human being must also experience them who feels his inside being rooted in the spiritual world. Hence, Goethe means, nobody can be irreligious who possesses science and art. If one faces the world with true science, one learns to recognise it wholly spiritually and can experience himself as positioned only in the spiritual world. If one finds the truth by art, the soul must experience this truth and become devout gradually, that means it experiences religiously what forms the basis of the world as spirituality. That is why, he also realised that area of the outer life where it cannot be different for someone who understands the things really than that in this area of the outer experience the divine can be felt immediately. Kant (Immanuel K., 1724-1804, German philosopher) still supposed that the so-called “categorical imperative” is necessary for the moral life: if the categorical imperative can speak in the soul, duty can settle in the human life. This is in such a way, as if from a world in which the human being does not live this imperative speaks to the soul. Goethe did not feel this way. However, he realised that someone who experiences his duty, experiences God who settles in his soul in the duty. Goethe's view was that someone experiencing the duty lovingly experiences God immediately in the moral life. Morality is an immediate experience of the divine in the world.

However, if one can feel God pulsating in moral through his soul, one is not far away from the point where he can experience Him in other regions. For Kant it was still a risky “adventure of reason” to experience the divine immediately. However, Goethe answered to him: “If we rise to a higher field of moral by faith in God, virtue and immortality and approach the first being, then it may be the same case in the intellectual that we make ourselves worthy looking at the perpetually creative nature — of the spiritual participation of her productions. I had striven only unconsciously and out of an inner desire tirelessly for that archetypal, typical, I was even successful in constructing a natural representation, nothing could hinder me to pass the adventure of reason courageously, as the old man from King's Mountain (= Königsberg, place of Kant's birth and death) calls it.” Kant called the immediate experience of a spiritual world an “adventure of reason.” Goethe already stands at the point where he wants to pass the “adventure of reason” courageously. However, he is convinced that one cannot enter the spiritual world different from revering, adoring — that is with religious mood. True religion opens the gates of the spiritual world. Hence, Goethe thinks that someone who already experiences quite scientifically or artistically brings religious mood with him and can experience the spiritual world. Therefore, spiritual science feels in harmony with Goethe. To sum up, we can also apply the confession that he pronounced with few words to the today's consideration what one can call “spiritual-scientific creed:” who possesses real science who has real art stands in life in such a way that he has the best preparation for the experience of a spiritual world. However, someone who has neither science nor art should try to arouse that longing in his soul by which he can attain religious adoration, and then he can enter the spiritual world by the detour via the religious mood. Goethe expressed this exactly with the words:

Who owns science and art

Has religion too,

Who does not have both,

Have religion!




Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
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