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Social Understanding Through Spiritual Scientific Knowledge

A Lecture By
Rudolf Steiner
Dornach, October 4, 1919
GA 191

This lecture was given in Dornach, Switzerland on October 4, 1919. In the Collected Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works it appears as the second lecture in GA 191 which has the German title Social Verständnis aus geisteswissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis.

Copyright © 1982
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n the middle one of these three lectures there are a number of anthroposophical truths in particular that I would like to develop for you. We shall then see what a great impact on a person's everyday life these particular truths have, and that is what we will talk about tomorrow. Today I just want to draw your attention to some deeper aspect of the being of man.

People very often do not ask the question as to which of man's forces are used to acquire knowledge of super-sensible worlds. They try to answer this question merely by saying that there is a possibility of acquiring super-sensible knowledge by means of certain forces in man. But what the actual connections are between these forces and man's being, they do not usually ask. That is why so little importance is attached to making knowledge of super-sensible worlds really fruitful in ordinary life. It can be said that super-sensible knowledge is becoming more and more essential to man, just in our time. In that case it is vital to understand what its connection is with ordinary everyday life.

As you know, the first of the capacities that leads man into super-sensible realms is the force of Imagination, the second capacity is the force of Inspiration and the third capacity the force of Intuition. The question now is whether these capacities need concern us at all except in their connection with knowledge of super-sensible worlds or whether these capacities have any part to play in the rest of man's life? You will see that the latter is the case. As my little book Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy tells you, we can see human life running its course in three stages: from birth to the change of teeth, from the change of teeth to puberty, and from puberty till about the twenty-first year. If you do not regard man purely superficially, you will be struck by the fact that the nature of man's development is entirely different in the three different seven-year stages. The pushing through of our permanent teeth, as I have often mentioned, is connected with the development of forces that are not merely confined, let us say, to our jaws or their neighboring organs, but fill our whole physical body. There is work in progress within our physical body betwe