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Anthroposophy and Science

Schmidt Number: S-4424

On-line since: 31st July, 2009

Lecture V

Stuttgart — March 21, 1921

I have tried to show how it is possible to rise to supersensory modes of cognition, how through them we gain access to new realms of experience — realms that are completely accessible only to a super-sensory approach. I spoke of the development of imaginative cognition — how by means of it we can understand what takes place in the activity of the human senses, and also understand the nature of the plant world. We learn these things through imaginative cognition as we understand the physical-mineral phenomena of the world through a mathematical approach. Further, I pointed out that through a continuation of these exercises we can attain to a higher form of knowledge — namely, inspired cognition. This opens the way to certain realms of experience through which we can begin to understand what I have called the human rhythmic system.

I would like to look at the whole problem once again from a certain angle. When one tries to gain a real understanding of what is included in the sphere of human rhythmic activity, one sees — if one is honest — that the processes taking place here elude the kind of comprehension by which physical processes are understood through mathematics. Nor will one find that they can be comprehended through what I have called imaginative cognition. Everything that has to do with the senses and which is developed in the nervous system in the course of life as I have described — thus also providing a basis for the experience of the life panorama when imaginative cognition has been developed: all of this only clarifies the term, nerve-sense organization.

In fact, our sensory organization can only be fully understood when this capacity of imaginative cognition has been acquired by us. Even external natural science has noticed that it is not really possible to understand a particular human sense when it is explained in terms of the general human organization. You will find, if you study what individual scientists have to say in this regard, that the facts themselves — in external phylogeny, or embryology, or ontology — simply point to the necessity of accepting the eye, for instance, as being formed from without. The structure of the eye cannot be understood in terms of the rest of the human organism — as, for example, the structure of the liver or the stomach. It can only be understood as brought about through outer influences, through action from without. But how do we grasp this process of "in-forming from without" in the human organism? Only imaginative cognition makes it comprehensible to us, as a mathematical approach makes physical phenomena comprehensible.

From all this you may now begin to see why external science gives us essentially a deficient physiology of the senses. Before I myself was able through imaginative cognition to develop a physiology of the senses, something in me always resisted any wish to subject the realm of the human senses to the sort of measures applied by conventional physiology and psychology. I always found that what they offered to explain the senses was incomplete for the sense of hearing or sight, for example. Particularly the psychological explanations are deficient in this respect. Basically they always start by asking: how are the human senses constructed in general? Then, having given a general characterization, they proceed to specialize for the various senses. But it never occurs to them that their customary descriptions, particularly in the psychology text books, are really only applicable to the sense of touch. There is always something in their theories that does not fit when one tries to apply them unchanged to any other sense. We can understand this when we remember that the physiologies and psychologies use exclusively the ordinary logic of the intellect to put together the facts which external research presents. However, for someone who is examining the question carefully, it is simply impossible to do justice to the sensory phenomena by only the putting together of physical facts. When we apprehend each separate sense with imaginative cognition (when doing this, I was forced to extend the number of senses to twelve) and not just intellectually, we arrive at their true individual forms. We see that each separate sense is built into the human being from certain entities, certain qualities of the outer world. This reveals again — to one who will see it — the bridge that is thrown across from what I have called clairvoyant research to what is given by empirical observation.

Certainly it can be said that a person endowed with healthy human understanding may still have no inclination to give up a certain point of view, and therefore may find no reason to be interested in clairvoyant research. But there really is an objection to this. When we subject the facts to a thorough analysis, there is a point at which we reach an impasse when we apply only sense observation and the ordinary logic of the intellect. We simply cannot clear up the problems. They leave an unsolved remainder. For this reason we must develop our logical thinking further to imaginative perception. Part of what imaginative perception discloses to us is the individual forms of the various human senses, as well as the gradual formation of the human nervous system.

There is something to add to this — I will explain with a short story. Once I was at a meeting of the society that at that time called itself the Giordano Bruno Association. The first to speak at the meeting was a stalwart materialist who elaborated on the physiology of the brain; by this he believed he had given sufficient explanation for the association of mental images and in fact for everything that takes place in mental life. He made drawings for the different parts of the brain and showed how they are assigned different functions — one to seeing, another to hearing, and so on. Then he tried to show how it might be possible, following the neurologist Meynert, to see the connecting paths as physical formations responsible for connecting the individual sensory impressions, the individual mental pictures, and so on. Whoever wishes to learn about this can read about these extremely interesting investigations by the important neurologist Meynert, for they are still significant even for the present day. Well, after this materialistically tinged but still quite ingenious explanation, in which the brain was presented not as the mediator but as the producer of mental life, another man stepped forward, just as stalwart an Herbartian as the man before him was a materialist. This man said the following:
 Diagram 1
Diagram 1
Click image for large view
Yes, I see what you have sketched, the various parts of the brain, their connections, and so forth. We Herbartians, the philosophers, could actually make the same diagrams. I could draw exactly the same thing. Only I would never intend it to represent parts of the brain and neuronal tracts. Rather, I would draw the mental images directly — thus, and the soul forces that are active in this picturing activity as they go from image to image. The drawing actually comes out the same, he said, whether I, an Herbartian, draw the psychic processes, or you, a physiologist, draw the parts of the brain and their connections. And it was truly interesting how one drew his diagram —I will draw it here schematically — and then the other drew his. The drawings were identical. The one drew to symbolize the life of the soul, while the other drew brain processes, which he also symbolized. In this way the two of them then disputed the matter — of course, without one convincing the other — but they actually drew two altogether different things in exactly the same way.

This is in fact a characteristic experience in the field of knowledge, because when one tries to illustrate mental pictures symbolically through diagrams, as Herbart did (it can also be done in other ways), one actually arrives at something very similar to what one gets when one sketches processes and parts of the brain. How does this happen? This is something that becomes clear only to imaginative cognition, when we see in the retrospective life panorama how the independence of the soul life develops. We see how the etheric body actually organizes — and, in fact, has already at birth to some extent organized — the brain. It permeates the brain in its organization. Then we are not surprised to find out that the brain grows similar in formation to the entity which permeates it. But we do not come to real insight in the matter until we are able to perceive that there is an activity of soul working on the organization of the brain. This is similar to when someone paints a picture and what he paints resembles what he is copying. It is similar because the image he has in his mind works on in his painting and brings about the similarity. In the same way, what is found in the brain — actually in the entire nervous system — as the consequence of a forming activity on the part of the soul, will be similar to the soul's forming activity, or to the soul content itself. But if we wish to understand the activity that works itself into the nervous system, we must simply say: in its origin and development, the whole nervous system is an expression of a reality that may only be viewed imaginatively.

The brain and the entire nervous system are, of course, external physical formations. But we do not really grasp them unless we comprehend them as imaginations that have become physical. Thus what the spiritual investigator generally calls imagination is not, as one might suppose, absent from the phenomenal world — it is indeed present, but in its physical image. This fact occasionally makes itself manifest in a striking way, as in the case of those two men, the one a physiologist, the other a philosopher, who portrayed two different things in the same way.

But this has still another aspect. I have already referred to the research of the psychiatrist, physiologist, and psychologist Theodor Ziehen. Theodor Ziehen undertook to explain mental life in such a way that he replaced it by brain activity in every particular. His explanation is essentially the following: he contemplates mental life; he then considers the brain and nervous system anatomically and physiologically (to the extent that present empirical research permits) and shows which processes, in his opinion, are present in the brain for a particular mental activity (including memory). I have pointed out, however, that his explanation — which is truly valuable for the study of mental life and brain activity — is forced to come to a standstill before our life of feeling and our life of will. You will find this in Ziehen's Physiologische Psychologie (Physiological Psychology). There is, however, a shortcoming in this psychology. Although he makes everything so enticing by explaining mental life in terms of processes in the brain, in the end he does not completely account for such things as the forms that are present in the brain. To do this it is necessary to bring in an artistic principle; and this again is nothing else than the outward expression of imaginative cognition. Were Ziehen to consider this, his explanation of mental life through brain processes would not be fully satisfying to him either. When he wants to move on to the realm of feeling, he finds himself completely at sea. He is not able to account for feelings at all. So he tacks a “feeling coloration” onto the mental images. This is nothing but a word; when one cannot go any further, one makes do with a word. He says: Yes, in certain cases we are dealing not just with mental images, but with feeling-tinged mental images. He comes to this because he is unable to fit feeling into the brain, where it might enter into mental life. Also he does not find an organic basis for feeling that would permit him to make a link to mental life similar to that of the brain and nerves.

In the case of brain and nerve activity it is easier because researchers like Theodor Ziehen are — most of them — extremely clever when it comes to an intellectual or mathematical understanding of the entire natural realm. I mean that exactly — without irony. In science these days an extraordinary amount of intellectual acumen has been applied in this direction. If you should decide to become better acquainted with the whole anthroposophical movement, it would become clear to you that in no way do I favor dilettante talk about abstruse nebulous anthroposophical conceptions while arrogantly disputing what present-day science presents, or that I approve when a speaker does not know present-day science well enough to acknowledge it in all its proper significance. I hold firmly to the standpoint that one can pass judgment on present-day science from an anthroposophical point of view only if one is really familiar with this science. I have had to suffer continually from the actions of anthroposophists who, without having an idea of the importance and task of contemporary science, talk loosely about it. They think a few fine anthroposophical phrases they have learned entitle them to pass judgment on what has been achieved through years of painstaking, conscientious, and methodical work. This stage we must of course leave behind us.

Now, to continue, what actually happens is this: one arrives at the point of finding the relation between mental life and nerve-sense activity. But something is always left unexplained. Something always eludes one's attention. One swims slowly from the point of view of rational, logical, mathematical construction into a realm where things become unclear. One examines the senses and sees their continuation in the nervous system — and that is where one should take the next step into imaginative thought. But to some degree every human being has a dim feeling of the transformation of well-defined mathematically constructible figures into something that cannot be grasped mathematically and yet manifests itself clearly in the brain and nervous system. As a result of this feeling it is said that someday we shall also succeed in penetrating those parts of sensory life and nerve life that evade direct, purely mathematical construction. In other words, something is put off as a future ideal that is in fact attainable now if one will simply admit that it is not possible to penetrate the realm of the senses and nerves merely by rational cognition. This must be led over to something pictorial, something evoked just as consciously as a mathematical figure, but going beyond the mathematical. I mean, of course, imagination.

Perhaps for some of you it would be helpful to make an exact picture of how ordinary analytic geometry relates to so-called synthetic or projective geometry. I would like to say a few words on this subject. In analytic geometry we discuss some equation of the kind y=ƒ(x). If we stay, for instance, in the x-y coordinate system, then we say that for every x there is a y, and we look for the points of the y-coordinate, which are the results of the equation. What is actually occurring here? Here we have to say that in the way we manipulate the equation, we always have our eye on something that lies outside of what we ultimately seek, because what we are really looking for is the curve. But the curve is not contained in the equation — only the possible x and y values are contained in the equation. When we proceed in this manner, we are actually working outside the curve; and what we get as values of the y-coordinate in relation to the x-coordinate we consider as points belonging to the curve. With our analytic equation, we never really enter the curve itself, its real geometric form. This fact has significant implication as regards human knowledge.

When we do analytic geometry, we perform operations which we subsequently look for spatially; but in all our figuring we actually remain outside of a direct contemplation of geometrical forms. It is important to grasp this because when we consider projective geometry, we arrive at a very different picture of what we are doing. Here, as most of you know, we don't calculate, we really only deal with the intersection of lines and the projection of forms. In this manner we get away from merely calculating around the geometrical forms, and we enter — at least to some degree — the geometrical forms themselves. This becomes evident, for example, when you see how projective geometry goes about proving that a straight line does not have two, but only one point at infinity. If we set off in a straight line in front of us, we will come back from behind us (this is easily understood from a geometrical point of view), and we can show that we travel through exactly one point at infinity on this line. Similarly, a plane has only one line at infinity, and the whole of three-dimensional space has only one plane at infinity.

These ideas — which I am only mentioning here — cannot be arrived at by analytical means. It is not possible. If we already have projective-geometric ideas, we may imagine we can do it; but we cannot really. However, projective geometry does show us that we can enter into the geometrical forms, which is not possible for analytic geometry. With projective geometry it is really possible. When we move out of mere analytic geometry into projective geometry, we get a sense of how the curve contains in itself the elements of bending, or rounding, which analytic geometry describes only externally. Thus we penetrate from the environment of the line, the surroundings of the spatial form, into its inner configuration. This gives us the possibility of taking a first step along the way from purely mathematical thinking — of which analytic geometry is the prime representative — to imagination. To be sure, with projective geometry, we do not actually have imagination yet, but we approach it. When we go through the processes inwardly, it is a tremendously important experience — an experience which can actually be decisive in leading us to an acknowledgment of the imaginative element. Also, this experience leads us to affirm the path of spiritual research, inasmuch as we can form a real mental picture of what the imaginative element is. When I was reading the memoirs of Moriz Benedict — a good natural scientist and physician of our day — I found them in general to be unpleasant, blase and arrogant, but at one point I felt real sympathy. There he says something which seems to me quite correct; he finds that medical doctors lack the preparation that the study of mathematics can give. Of course, it would be a very good thing indeed if physicians had more mathematical preparation, but in this regard we must just register the shortcomings in contemporary training. From my point of view, however, while reading his memoirs, I could not help feeling: No matter how good their mathematical conceptions, doctors would still not be in a position with them to properly account for the kinds of forms that exist, for example, in the sense and nervous systems. There one can only succeed by transforming mathematical knowledge and advancing to imaginative knowledge. Only then does the specific nerve or sense structure reveal itself to us in a similar manner as a physical-mineral structure reveals itself to the mathematical representation.

Matters such as these allow you to see how, in every area, the doors stand open for contemporary science to enter into what spiritual research wishes to give. In the coming days, if we manage to enter, even a little bit, into medical-therapeutic aspects, you will see how wide open the doors really are for spiritual research to enter and throw light on all that cannot be revealed through the usual methods of investigation. Let us now suppose we proceed on this path, but we do not wish to proceed any further than imagination, which I will describe further tomorrow. Let us suppose we do not wish to move forward to inspiration. We will then not have the slightest possibility of even recognizing something in the human organism as the approximate image or bodily realization of a soul-spiritual nature — so that two men with completely opposite ways of thinking will draw these structures similarly. Only through inspired cognition will we have our first opportunity to become aware in the human being of the rhythmic system, encompassing primarily the processes of respiration and blood circulation. Only at this point are we able to tolerate — if I may express it thus — the outer lack of similarity between the physical structures and the soul-spiritual. The life of feeling does in fact belong directly to the rhythmic system in the same way as the life of mental representation belongs to the nervous system. The nerve-sense system, however, is a kind of external physical image of mental life, while the rhythmic system — what is accessible to external sense-empirical investigation — shows hardly any resemblance to what takes place in the soul as feeling. Just because this is so, external research never discovers that this similarity exists; it only reveals itself when we come to another kind of cognition than that of imagination. With this step, as I indicated yesterday, we approach a path of knowledge which was followed in a more primitive, or instinctive way in the practice of yoga in ancient India.

Those who practiced the yoga system, (as already pointed out, to try to renew this yoga would be wrong, because it is not suited to the changed constitution of modern man) tried for short periods of time to replace the ordinary, normal, but largely unconscious respiratory process with a more consciously regulated respiration. They inhaled differently from the way we ordinarily do in our normal, unconscious breathing. The breath was then held, to bring to awareness of how long it was held and then it was exhaled in a particular manner. At best, such a method of breathing could give additional support to present spiritual life. In India, however, this process was done by those who wanted to reach the awe-inspiring Vedanta philosophy or the philosophical foundation of the Vedas. This is no longer possible todäy. In fact, it would contradict what the human constitution actually is today. Nevertheless, much can be learned from this way in which a rhythmic process is willfully made conscious by an alteration of normal breathing. What otherwise takes place quite naturally in the course of living is lifted into the domain of conscious will. Thus respiration — all that takes place in the human life-process during breathing — is carried out consciously. Because it is carried out consciously, the entire content of human consciousness changes. In breathing we draw what is in the environment into our own organization. In the kind of consciously structured breathing process I have described, something of a soul-spiritual nature is also drawn into the human organization.

Now consider the following. When we contemplate the human organization as a whole, if we are not satisfied with abstraction but want to move on to reality, then we cannot really say: We are only what is within our skin. We have within us the respiratory process, it may be about to begin, or it may be proceeding with the transformation of oxygen and so on. But what is in us now was outside us before and it belonged to the world. And, what is in us now, when exhaled, will again belong to the world. As soon as we approach the rhythmic system, we do not find ourselves individualized organically in the same way as we picture ourself when we consider only what is not of an aeriform nature within our skin. When the human being becomes fully aware that he exchanges his aeriform organization quite rapidly — now the air is without, now it is within — he cannot help but appear to himself as a self-conscious finger would appear to itself, as a part of our organism. The finger could not say: I am independent — it could only feel part of the whole human organism. As a breathing organism, we must feel the same way. We are members of our cosmic surroundings precisely by virtue of the respiratory organism and the only reason we do not pay attention to the fact that we are a part of it is because we perform this rhythmical organizing activity naturally, almost unconsciously.

When, on the other hand, this fact is raised to consciousness through the yoga process, one notices that, in fact, it is not just material air that is inhaled and combined with one's self, but along with the air something of a soul-spiritual nature is inhaled and assimilated. When exhaling, something of a soul-spiritual nature is returned to the outer world. One comes to know not only one's material connection with the cosmic surroundings; one also comes to know one's soul-spiritual connection with the cosmic surroundings. The entire rhythmic process is metamorphosed so that a soul-spiritual element can incorporate itself.

Just as the cosmic environment integrates itself into the process of mental representation, so into the breathing process (which otherwise is an inner physical-organic process), something of a soul-spiritual nature is incorporated. In this way the transformed yoga breathing becomes a more pantheistically-tinged way of knowing, in which the separate entities are less individualized. Thus in the Indian, a different consciousness takes shape from the ordinary one. He experiences himself in another state of consciousness in which he is, as it were, surrendered to the world. At the same time, this has the effect of leading him into an objective relationship with his accustomed mental world as he moves down, as it were, with his consciousness into the respiratory-rhythmic system. Before this, his conscious life was in the nerve-sense system, in the form of the sum total of his mentally-viewed images. Now he experiences himself, precisely what he experiences he doesn't know, but as soon as it becomes objective it comes into inner view, and through this he learns to recognize the true nature of his accustomed image world. He now experiences himself one level lower, so to speak, in the rhythmic system. When we become acquainted with this inner process of experience, then we can understand in a new way what is breathing through the Vedas. The Vedanta philosophy is not only something that has taken a different form than it takes in the west; it grows out of something immediately experienced — from the experience that is simply given in a consciousness displaced into the breathing process.

There is still a further experience when we descend into this respiratory process. Before I mention it, however, I would like to review more precisely what I indicated the day before yesterday. I said that the yoga-process is not for us any more, and the human constitution has advanced since then. In our age we are no longer capable of entering into the yoga process, simply because our intellectual organization is so strong today; because our mental images are so inwardly “hardened” — this is just meant figuratively — that we would send much more power into the respiratory system than did the Indian with his “softer” mental life. Today the human being would be inwardly numbed or he would disturb his rhythmic system in some other way if he proceeded as the Indian did in the yoga process. As I have pointed out — and as I will describe later in greater detail, we are in a position to advance from a further development of the memory faculty to a development of the process of forgetting. By entering into the depth of the forgetting process, we take hold of respiration from above, and can leave it as it is. We do not need to change it. The right way for modern man is to let it be. With an artificially enhanced forgetting, we shine down, as it were, into the respiratory system. We transfer our consciousness into this region. But now it is possible to do this in a more fully conscious way, with greater penetration of the will than the ancient Indian could use.

In this way, we now have the possibility to recognize the rhythmic system in its association with human feeling life. When we gain the ability to retain a mental imaging capacity in this region, when it becomes possible for us to have inspired mental images, we no longer feel the need for the sense-perceptible structure to be similar to the soul structure — as is the case where the brain structure is similar to the connections between mental images. In fact, the external, sensory structure can be so different from the related soul element that it completely escapes the notice of conventional physiology, as in Theodor Ziehen's case. Looking at the world in a more spiritual way, looking at it purely spiritually, we find that in fact it is the feeling life that enables us to penetrate consciously into the rhythmic system. Thus we begin to see why in earlier times (the Indians, after all, are simply representative of what came from the earlier stages of human development), when human beings strove to go beyond an ordinary everyday understanding of the world, their path to knowledge led them down into the life of feeling. Cognition remained an activity of mental picturing, but it penetrated into the feeling life, it was suffused with feeling. Modern research only speaks of a coloration of feeling. What the yogi of old, and human beings in general in older cultures experienced, was a sinking down into the realm of feeling. Yet this was without the vagueness typical of this realm. The full clarity of conscious mental life remained, and yet not only was feeling not extinguished, but it appeared more intense than in ordinary everyday life, thereby suffusing everything that normally had a sober, prosaic character. At the same time the mental images, in going through a metamorphosis, a deepening, took on other forms. These transformed mental images were so suffused with feeling that the will was directly stimulated. What this human being of earlier times then did was something that we do today in a more abstract way, when we take something we are carrying in our soul and use it as a subject for drawing or painting. What was experienced in yoga in this way was so intense that the mere drawing or painting of it would not have been enough. It was an entirely natural step to transform it into an external symbolism embodied in external objects.

Here you have the psychological origin of all that appeared in the form of rituals in ancient culture. To find the motive for these rituals, one must look at their inner nature. It was not out of some form of childishness, but out of his way of experiencing knowledge that the human being of old came to perform ritualistic ceremonies and to regard them as something real. For he knew that what he molded into his ritual was something inward put into outer form, something rooted in a cognition from which he was not estranged, but which connected him with reality. What he impressed into his ritual was what the world had first impressed into him. When he had reached this state of knowledge, he said to himself: Just as the physical breath from the surrounding cosmos lives within me, now the spiritual essence of the world lives in my transformed consciousness. And when I in turn make an outer structure, when I build into the objects and rituals what first formed itself in me out of the spiritual cosmos, I am performing an act that has a direct connection with the spiritual content of the cosmos.

Thus for the human being of an ancient culture, the outward cultic objects stood before him symbolically in such a way that through them he felt again the original connection with the spiritual entities he had first experienced through ordinary knowledge. He knew that in the elements of the ritual something is concentrated in an outer visible form. This something does not exhaust itself in the outward expression I see before me, for the soul-spiritual powers that live in the cosmos are alive in the ritual while it takes place.

What I am relating to you is what went on in the souls of those human beings who as a result of their inner experiences gave form to the rituals. One reaches a psychological understanding of such rituals when one is willing to accept the idea of inspired cognition. These things simply cannot be explained in the usual external way. One must enter deeply into man's being and must consider how the various functions of the entire human race developed in sequence — how, for instance, in a certain epoch particular rituals developed. The religious ceremonies of today are actually rernnants of something that took form in ancient times and then stood still afterward. This is why it is becoming so difficult for a person today to understand the reason for the religious ritual, for he feels it is no longer a justifiable way of relating to the outer world.

Furthermore, we can see another aspect of how the soul works in the course of mankind's development. Deep knowledge, as I have described, underlies the creation of a ritual or the carrying out of a ritual. But humanity has developed further and another factor has entered in, which still lives more or less in the unconscious. What shows itself most clearly when we reach imaginative cognition is that the nervous system is formed out of our soul-spiritual powers. This too has developed in the course of human history. Particularly since the middle of the fifteenth century, humanity in all its various groups has developed in such a way that this instinctive incorporation of the soul-spiritual powers into the nervous system has become stronger than it was formerly. We simply have a stronger intellect today. This is obvious when one studies Plato and Aristotle. Our intellect is organized differently. In my Riddles of Philosophy I have demonstrated this from the history of philosophy itself. Our intellectual functioning is different. We simply overwork that element of the soul which has grown stronger in the course of human development. And this element which has grown stronger has also become more independent. The increasing independence of our intellect from the nervous system simply has not reached the attention of the philosophers — or of mankind in general. Because the human being has grown stronger on the inside, so to say — because he has penetrated his nervous system with a stronger organizing power from the soul-spiritual realm, he feels the need to make use of this intensified intellectual activity in the outer world. In ancient times, knowledge attained inwardly was used in the creation and the exercise of rituals; there was a striving to carry over what had been originally experienced inwardly as knowledge into what was performed outwardly. In the same way today, the longing arises to satisfy our stronger, more independent intellect in the outer world. The intellect wants a counterpart that corresponds to the ritual.

What is the result of such a wish? Please accept the paradox, for psychologically it is so: Where inner experience is expelled, as it were; where the intellect alone wishes to arrange a procedure so that it can live in the object just as cosmic life was once intended to live in the “object” of the ritual: what results from this is the scientific device, serving the experiment. Experiment is the way the modern human being satisfies his now stronger intellect. Thereby he lives of the opposite pole from the time when man satisfied his relation to the cosmos through the cultic object and ritual ceremony. These are the two opposite poles. In an ancient culture of instinctive clairvoyance, the impulse was to give outer presence to inner cosmic experience in what could be called ritualistic exercise. Our intensified modern intellect, on the other hand, is such that it wishes to externalize itself in controlled movements that are devoid of all inwardness, in which nothing subjective lives — and yet the experiment is controlled just precisely through the subjective attainments of our intellect. It may seem strange to you that the same underlying impulse gives rise on the one hand to the ritual, and on the other to the experiment, but one can understand these polarities if one considers the human being as a whole.

Starting with this as a foundation, we will continue our discussion tomorrow.




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