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The Spiritual Hierarchies

Schmidt Number: S-1980

On-line since: 16th August, 2005

LECTURE 8

To-day we have reached a point in our description of the higher Beings and their relations to our world and solar system, which, to the men of the present day who have received their ideas about the world from ordinary popular science, would seem the most impossible of all; for we shall have to touch on things of which the modern scientist can have no idea. This is naturally not the result of any feeing of opposition; but if one is firmly grounded in Occultism one can survey from this standpoint the facts of modern science. In what has been said in these lectures you will nowhere find anything which contradicts the facts of modern science, but naturally the harmony is not always easy to establish. But if you have the patience to follow it all, you will gradually see how all the separate facts combine to form one stupendous and harmonious whole.

Much that has been mentioned in these lectures has been also demonstrated from different standpoints, in lectures held in Stuttgart, and in Leipzig; and if you take those lectures and compare them superficially with each other, you may indeed find some contradiction between this or that expression. This happens only because it is my task to speak in these lectures not of speculative theories, but about the facts of clairvoyant consciousness, and because facts appear in a different way when they are considered from one side or from another. To use a comparison — a tree you are painting from one side will appear different when you paint it from the other side, yet it will still be the same tree. It is the same with descriptions of spiritual facts, when the light is turned on them from different sides. Certainly, if one starts with one or two ideas only, and builds a whole system upon them, it is easy to form an abstract system; but we are working from below upwards, and the unity of the whole will first be revealed in the crown. With each statement you must reflect in what sense, and in what direction it has been made.

When it is said, for instance, in a popular work, that the air and gas on Jupiter are as thick as tar or honey, and that from the point of view of spiritual science this is a grotesque idea — the turn of phrase which I used was intended to convey its grotesqueness — one can from the standpoint of the science of the present day certainly answer: do you not know that modern physics can produce air of such thick condition that it will be as thick as tar or honey? Certainly, this is a self-understood fact in science; but this is not the point, for these studies do not move along these lines. That which science calls air can certainly be thickened to that extent; but for the observations of spiritual science it is nothing more nor less than that other fact, that water can be made to become as hard as a stone — to become ice. Ice is certainly water, but the point is whether one considers the things in their living functions or in the lifeless, inanimate sense of modern science. It is self-understood that ice is water; but if someone who is accustomed to have his mill turned by water throughout the whole year was advised to move it by the means of ice, what would he say? Thus, we have not to do with the abstract idea that ice is water, but what we have to do is to comprehend the universe in its activity. Here quite different standpoints have to govern as to what one entertains in the abstract about purely material metamorphoses in relation to density. Just as one cannot move a mill by means of ice, one also cannot inhale air which is as thick as honey. This is what we have to consider in the study of spiritual science. For we do not look on the world globes in the way they are considered to-day as lumps of matter of different sizes moving about out there in universal space; and in which the modern astronomical ‘mythology’ sees only material globes. We consider them in their living soul and