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What can the Art of Healing Gain through Spiritual Science

Schmidt Number: S-5843

On-line since: 30th April, 2012


Lecture 2 (21st July, 1924) of the series of three given by Rudolf Steiner at Arnheim, Holland. Lecture 1 appeared in “Anthroposophy,” Easter, 1928. Published by kind permission.



 N the last lecture I tried to point out how by means of the kind of knowledge cultivated by Anthroposophy, man may be seen in his whole nature — consisting of body, soul and Spirit. I tried to show also how an inner knowledge of the conditions of health and disease can only be arrived at when the entire nature of man can be perceived in this way; and how in learning to know the true connections between the things which take place within man and the external processes and conditions of substances in Nature, we also succeed in establishing a connecting link between pathology and therapy.

Our next task will be to explain in detail what was only given in general outline in the first lecture. And for this it will above all be necessary to observe how disintegration is proceeding in the human organism and how, on the other hand, there is a constant process of integration. Man has, to begin with, an external physical organisation which is perceptible by means of the outer senses, and whose manifestations can be comprehended by the reason. Besides this physical body there is also the first super-sensible body of the human being: the etheric, or life-body. These two principles of the constitution of man serve to build up (integrate) the human organisation.

The physical body is continually renewed as it casts off its substance. The etheric body — which contains the forces of growth and of assimilation — is, in the entirety of its constitution, something of which we can gain a conception when we behold the growing and blossoming plant-kingdom in the spring; for the plants, as well as human beings, have an etheric or life-body. In these two members of the human organisation we have a progressive, constructive evolution.

In so far as man is a sentient being, he bears within himself the next member, the astral body. (We need not feel that such terms are objectionable; we should perceive what they reveal to us.) The astral body is essentially the mediator of sensation, the bearer of the inner life of feeling. The astral body contains not only the upbuilding forces but also the forces of destruction. Just as the etheric body makes the being of man bud and sprout, as it were, so all these processes of budding are continually being disintegrated again by the astral body; and just because of this, just because the physical and etheric bodies are continually being disintegrated, there exists in the human organisation an activity of soul and Spirit.

It would be quite a mistake to suppose that the soul and Spirit in man's nature inhere in the upbuilding process and that this process at last reaches a certain point — let us say in the nervous system — where it can become the bearer of soul and Spirit. That is not the case. When eventually (and everything points to this being soon), our very admirable modern scientific research has made further progress, it will become apparent that an anabolic, a constructive process in the nervous system is not the essential thing; it is present in the nervous organisation merely in order that the nerves may, in fact, exist. But the nerve-process is in a continual, though slow state of dissolution; and because it is so, because the physical is always being dissolved, a place is set free for the Spirit and soul.

In a still higher degree is this the case as regards the actual Ego-organisation, by means of which man is raised above all the other beings of Nature surrounding him on the Earth. The Ego-organisation is essentially bound up with katabolism; it is of greatest moment in those parts of the human being that are in a state of disintegration.

So when we look into this wonderful form of the human organism, we see that in every single organ there is construction, integration (whereby the organ ministers to growth and progressive development), and also destruction, whereby it ministers to retrogressive physical development, and by so doing gives foothold for the soul and Spirit. I said in the last lecture that the state of balance between integration and disintegration which is present in a particular way in every human organ, can be disturbed. The upbuilding process can become rampant; in that case we have to do with an unhealthy condition. When we look in this way into the nature of the human being (to begin with I can only state these things rather abstractly; they will be expressed more concretely presently), when we proceed conscientiously, with a sense of scientific responsibility and do not talk in generalisations about the presence of integration and disintegration, but really study each individual organ as conscientiously as we have learnt to do in scientific observations to-day — then we shall be able to penetrate into this condition of balance that is necessary for the single organs and so find it possible to obtain a conception of the human being in health. If in either direction, either with respect to constructive or with respect to destructive processes, the balance of an organ is upset, then we have to do with something that is unhealthy in the human organism.

Now, however, we must discover how this human organism stands in relation to the three kingdoms of Nature in the outer world — the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms — from which we have of course to extract our remedies. When we have studied this inner state of balance in the manner described, we shall see how everything that is present in the three kingdoms of Nature outside man is, in every direction, being overcome within the human organism.

Let us take the simplest example: — the condition of warmth in man. Nothing of the outer conditions of warmth must be carried on unchanged when it is once within the human organism. When we investigate the manifestations of warmth outside in Nature, we know that warmth raises the temperature of things in the outer world. We say that warmth penetrates into things. If we, in our organisation, were to be penetrated in the same way by warmth we should be made ill by it. It is only when, through the forces and quality of our organisation we are able to receive this warmth-process which is being exercised upon us, into our organism and immediately transform it into an inner process, that our organisation is in a state of health. We are harmed by either heat or cold directly we are not in a position to receive it into our organisation and transform it.

In respect of warmth or cold everyone can see this quite easily for himself. Moreover the same holds good for all other Nature processes. Only careful study, sharpened by spiritual perception, can lead to the recognition that every process taking place in Nature is transformed, metamorphosed, when it occurs within the human organism. We are indeed incessantly overcoming what lives in our earthly environment.

If we now consider the whole internal organisation of man we must say that if the inner force of the human being which inwardly transforms the external events and processes that are always working in upon him — for example, when he is taking nourishment — if this force were removed, then all that enters man from outside would work as a foreign process, and in a sense — if I were to express it crudely or trivially — man would be filled with foreign bodies or foreign processes. On the other hand, if the higher members of man's being, the astral body and the Ego-organisation develop excessive strength, then he does not only so transform the outer processes of his environment that enter into him as they should be transformed, but he does so more rampantly. Then there is a speeding-up of the processes which penetrate him. External Nature is driven out beyond the human — becomes in a certain sense, over-spiritualised; and we are faced with a disturbance of the health.

What we have thus indicated as an abstract principle is realty present in every human organ and must be studied individually in the case of them all. Moreover the human being is related in a highly complicated manner, to all the different ways in which he transforms the external processes.

He who strives to get beyond the undisputed testimony of up-to-date anatomy and physiology, who tries to develop his understanding so that he can transform the conception of the human organism yielded by a study of the corpse or pathological conditions, observing them not merely in regard to their “dead” structures but according to their living nature, will find himself faced with endless enigmas of the human organism. For the more exact and the more living our knowledge becomes, the more complicated does it appear. There are, however, certain guiding lines which enable us to find our way through the labyrinth. And if I may be allowed to make a personal observation here, it is that the discovery of such guiding lines was a matter with which I occupied myself for thirty years before I began to speak about it openly — which was about the year 1917. As a comparatively young man, in the early twenties, I asked myself whether there was any possibility of research into this complicated human organisation. Were there certain fundamental principles which would enable one to arrive at a comprehensive understanding? And this led me —(I have just said that the study took me thirty years) — to the fact that one can regard the human organisation from three different aspects: the system of nerves and senses, the rhythmic system, and the metabolic and limb system.

What we can call the organisation of nerves and senses predominates over all the others. It is, moreover, the bearer of all that can be described as the life of concepts. On the other hand, what we describe as the rhythmic organisation is, in a certain respect, self-contained. There is the rhythm of the breath, the rhythm of the circulation, the rhythm manifested in sleeping and waking, and countless other rhythmic processes. It was by making a practical and accurate distinction between the rhythmic organisation and the nerves-and-senses organisation that I first discovered how one could distinguish between the different constituent parts of the human being. I was compelled to ask myself the question — it is now nearly forty years ago, and to-day human hearts are more than ever burdened with baffling physiological problems — I was compelled to ask myself whether on this basis it is really possible to say that the whole inner life of thinking, feeling and willing is bound up with the system of nerves and senses. At the same time I felt that there was a contradiction: how can thinking, feeling and willing be bound up with the nerves and senses? Naturally I cannot go into all this detail to-day, I can only indicate it; but when we come to consider the domain of therapeutics much will be explained. For instance if from the physiological standpoint we carefully and accurately study the effect of music upon the human organisation, if we know the intimate connection that exists between our experience of music and the rhythmic processes within us, if we understand the quality of soul in music itself, and study the measure of our feelings with regard to melody and harmony, we say to ourselves at first that the feeling-life of man is not altogether directly connected with the nervous system; on the contrary, it is experienced in the rhythmic system. It is only when we rise to a higher conception of what we feel at first to be directly connected in musical experience with the rhythmic system that we find that the conception of it is actually carried by the nervous system. Thus we come to the conclusion that the nervous system and the rhythmic system are really inwardly organised as two entirely separate things.

Take modern physiology with all that it has to offer, especially all that it can tell you with regard to the experiences you can have in connection with music. If you study, for instance, such a thing as the human ear as it perceives the different sounds and tones, you will certainly say that audible phenomena (i.e. one particular class of sense-perception), are first of all incorporated into the rhythmic system of man, rise rhythmically to the sense-organisation, rhythmically approach the nervous system and then become a concept created by means of the nervous-system. The rhythmic system is in immediate connection with the nervous system, which is the bearer of thought — but it is the bearer of feeling only in so far as we become aware of our feelings through thoughts and these thoughts are carried by the nervous system. We can proceed in the same way if we apply physiology to the metabolic-limb-system. It may seem strange to connect metabolism and limbs together; but you need only consider how everything that has to do with movement and which belongs to the limb-system, reacts upon the metabolism. The metabolism and the limbs taken together are certainly a uniform whole.

When we investigate these things accurately and not in a confused way, it becomes evident once more that the system of metabolism and limbs is the direct bearer of all manifestations of the human will. Once more, then, it is as follows: — When that which is taking place in the metabolic-limb-system as the bearer of the manifestations of will, works upwards, sends its force up into the rhythmic system, then it passes into the realm of feeling. We unfold our feelings in our will and our will is directly inherent in our metabolic processes — absolutely directly. We experience the will as ‘feeling’ in the rhythmic system, indirectly. And we make thoughts for ourselves about our volitional acts because the metabolic system and rhythmic system drive their forces up into the nervous system.

Thus we have guiding lines for penetrating into the human organisation. For if we first of all perceive what has been given in regard to the nervous system — (to begin with we will leave the rhythmic system lying between the two others) — then we shall find a polar antithesis in every direction: the nervous system and the metabolic system are polarically opposite. As the metabolic-limb-system builds up, so the system of nerves and senses destroys and vice versa. This and many other things demonstrate the polarity. Everything that constitutes the Ego-organisation is intimately bound up with the system of nerves and senses; everything that constitutes the etheric body is intimately bound up with the metabolic and limb system; everything that constitutes the astral body is bound up with the rhythmic system; the physical body permeates the whole, but is continually overcome by the three other members of the human organisation. Only when we observe the human organism in this way can we leam to penetrate into the so-called normal or abnormal processes.

Let us take first the organisation of nerves and senses. But first, so that I may not be misunderstood, I would like to make a short digression. A very sceptical naturalist who had heard in quite a superficial way about these members which I posit as the basis of man's nature, said that I had attempted to distinguish between “head-organisation,” “chest-organisation,” and “abdominal organisation:” thus that I had in a sense located the system of nerves and senses only in the head, the rhythmic organisation in the chest, and the metabolic-limb system in the abdomen. But that is a very unjust statement. For without separating the systems spatially, the nerves and senses may be said to be organised principally in the head, but they are also to be found in the other two systems. The rhythmic system is principally located in the middle organisation; but it again is spread over the whole man; similarly the metabolic organisation. It is not a question of making a spatial separation between the organs, but of understanding their qualitative aspect and what is living in and permeating the single organs.

When we study the system of nerves and senses from this standpoint, we find that it spreads throughout the whole organism. The eye or the ear, for example, are organised in such a way that they pre-eminently contain the nerves and senses, in a lesser degree the rhythmic, and in a still less degree the metabolic system. An organ like the kidney, for instance, does not contain so much of the nerves and senses system as of the rhythmic or metabolic organisation, yet it contains something of all three. We do not understand the human being if we say: here are sense-organs, or there are digestive organs. In reality it is quite different. A sense-organ is only principally sense-organ; every sense-organ is also in a certain way a digestive and a rhythmic organ. The kidneys or the liver are to be understood as being principally assimilatory or excretory organs. In a lesser degree they are organs of nerves and senses. If, then, we study the whole organisation of man with its single organs from the point of view of the system of nerves and senses (in its reality, and not according to the fantastic concepts often formed by physiology), we find that man ‘perceives’ by means of his separate senses — sight, hearing and so on; but we also find that he is entirely permeated by the sense-organisation. The kidney, for instance, is a sense-organ which has a delicate perception of what is taking place in the digestive and excretory processes. The liver too, is — under certain conditions — a sense-organ. The heart is in a high degree an inner sense-organ and can only be understood if it is conceived of as such.

Do not imagine that I have any intention of criticising the science of to-day; I know its worth and my desire is that our view of these things shall be firmly grounded upon it. But we must nevertheless be clear that our science is, at present, not able to penetrate fully and precisely into the being of man. If it could, it would not relate the animal organisation so closely to the human in the way it does in our time. In respect of the life of sense, the animal stands at a lower level than the human organisation. The human nerves and senses organisation is yoked to the Ego-organisation; in the animal it is yoked to the astral body. The sense-life of man is entirely different from that of the animal. When the animal perceives something with its eyes — and this can be shown by a closer study of the structure of the eye — something takes place in the animal which, so to say, goes through the whole of its body. It does not happen like that in man. In man, sense-perception remains far more at the periphery, is concentrated far more on the surface. You can understand from this that there are delicate organisations present in animals which, in the case of the higher species, are only to be found in etheric form. But in certain of the lower animals you find, for instance, the xiphoid process which is also present in higher animals but in their case it is etheric; or you may find the pecten or choroid process in the eye. The way in which these organs are permeated by the blood, shows that the eye shares in the whole organisation of the animal and is the mediator to it of a life in the circumference of its environment. Man, on the other hand, is connected with his system of nerves and senses quite differently and therefore lives, in a far higher sense than the animal, in his outer world, whereas the animal lives more within itself. But everything which is communicated through the higher spiritual members of the human being, which lives itself out through the Ego-organisation by way of the nerves and senses, requires — just because it is present within the domain of the physical body — to receive its material influences from out of the physical world.

Now if we closely study the system of nerves and senses at a time when it is functioning perfectly healthily, we find that its working depends on a certain substance, and on the processes that take place in that substance. Matter is something which is never at rest; it merely represents what is, actually, a ‘process.’ (A crystal of quartz, for instance, is only a self-contained, definitely shaped thing to us because we never perceive that it is a ‘process,’ though indeed it is one which is taking place extremely slowly.) We must penetrate further and further into the human organism and learn to understand its transformative activity. That which enters into the organism as external physical substance has to be taken up by it and overcome, in the way described in the introductory lecture.

Now it is especially interesting that when the system of nerves and senses is in a normal, i.e. a healthy state (which must of course be understood relatively), it is dependent upon a delicate process which takes place under the influence of the silicic acid which enters the organism. Silicic acid, which in the outer realm of Nature forms itself into beautiful quartz-crystals, has this peculiarity: when it penetrates into the human organism it is taken up by the processes of the nerves and senses; so that if we look at the system of nerves and senses with spiritual sight, we see a wonderfully delicate process going on in which silicic acid is active. But if we look at the other side of the question — as when I said that man has senses everywhere — then we shall notice that it is only in the periphery, that is, where the senses are especially concentrated, that the silicic acid process is intensified; when we turn to the more inner parts of the organism, to the lungs, liver or kidneys, it is far less strong, it is ‘thinner’; while in the bones it is again stronger. In this way we discover that man has a remarkable constitution.

We have, so to say, a periphery and a circumference where the senses are concentrated; then we have that which fills out the limbs and which carries the skeleton; between these we have the muscles, the glands and so on.

In that which I have described as the “circumference” and the “centralised,” we have the strongest silicic acid processes; we can follow them into the organs that lie between these two, and there we find that they have their own specific silicic acid processes but weaker than those in the circumference. Thus in respect of the outer parts, where man extends in an outgoing direction from the nerves into the senses, he needs more and more silicic acid; in the centre of his system he requires comparatively little; but where his skeleton lies, at the basis of the motor system, there again he requires more silicic acid. Directly we perceive this fact we recognize the inexactitude of many assertions of modern physiology. (And again let me emphasise that I do not wish to criticise them, but merely to make certain statements.) For instance, if we study the life of the human being according to modern physiology, we are directed to the breathing-process. In certain respects this is a complex process, but — speaking generally — it consists in taking in oxygen out of the air, and breathing out carbonic acid. That is the rhythmical process which is essentially the basis of organic life. We say that oxygen is breathed in, that it goes through certain processes described by physiology, within the organism; that it combines with carbon in the blood, and is then ejected on the breath as carbonic acid. This is perfectly correct according to a purely external method of observation. This process is, however, connected with another. We do not merely breathe in oxygen and combine it with carbon. Primarily, that is done with that portion of the oxygen which is spread over the lower part of the body; that is what we unite with the carbon and breathe out as carbonic acid.

There is another and a more delicate process behind this rhythmical occurrence. That portion of the oxygen which, in the human organisation, rises towards the head and therefore (in the particular sense which was mentioned previously) to the system of nerves and senses, unites itself with the substance we call silica, and forms silicic acid. And whereas in man the important thing for the metabolic system is the production of carbonic acid, so the important thing for the nerves and senses system is the production of silicic acid. The latter is a finer process which we are not able to verify with the coarse instruments at our disposal, though all the means are there by which it can be verified. Thus we have the coarser process on the one hand, and on the other the finer process where the oxygen combines with the silica to form silicic acid, and as such, is secreted inwardly in the human organisation.

Through this secretion of silicic acid the whole organism becomes a sense-organ — more so in the periphery, less so in the separate organs.

If we look at it this way, we can perceive the more delicate intimate structure of the human organism, and see how every organ contains, of necessity, processes related to substances each in its own distinct degree.

If we are now to grasp what health and illness really are, we must understand how these processes take place in any one organ. Suppose we take the kidney, for sake of example. Through some particular condition or other — some symptomatic complication, let us say — our diagnosis leads us to assume that the cause of an illness lies in the kidneys. If we call Spiritual Science to the aid of our diagnosis, we find that the kidney is acting too little as a sense-organ for the surrounding digestive and excretory processes; it is acting too strongly as an organ of metabolism; hence the balance is upset.

In such a case we have above all to ask: how are we to restore to it in a greater degree the character of sense-organ? We can say that because the kidney proves to be an insufficient sense-organ for the digestive and excretory processes, then we must see that it receives the necessary supply of silicic acid.

Now in the anthroposophical sense, there are three ways of administering substances that are required by a healthy human organism. The first is to give the patient a remedy by mouth. But in that case we must be guided by whether the whole digestive organism is so constituted that it can transmit the substances exactly to that spot where they are to be effective. We must know how a substance works — whether on the heart, or the lungs, and so forth, when we administer it by mouth and it passes into the digestive tract. The second way is by injections. By this means we introduce a substance directly into the rhythmic system. There, it works more as a ‘process;’ there, that which in the metabolism is a substantial organisation, is transformed at once into a rhythmic activity and we directly affect the rhythmic system. Or again, we try the third way: we prepare a substance as an ointment to be applied at the right place, or administer it in a bath; in short we apply our remedy in an external form. There are, of course, a great many different methods of doing this.

We have these three ways of applying remedies. But now let us observe the kidneys which our diagnosis reveals as having a diminished capacity as a sense-organ. We have to administer the right kind of silicic acid process. Therefore we have to be attentive, because, in the breathing process as described just now, where the oxygen combines with silica and then disperses silicic acid throughout the body, and because during that process too little silicic acid has reached the kidneys, we must do something which will attract a stronger silicic acid process to them. So we must know how to come to the assistance of the organism which has failed to do this for itself; and for this we must discover what there is externally which is the result of a process such as is wanting in the kidneys. We must search for it. How can we find ways and means to introduce just this silicic acid process into the kidneys?

And now we find that the function of the kidneys, especially as it is a sense-function, is dependent upon the astral body. The astral body is at the basis of the excretory processes and of this particular form of them. Therefore we must stimulate the astral body and moreover in such a way that it will somehow carry the silicic acid process which is administered from outside, to an organ such as the kidney. We need a remedy that, firstly, will stimulate the silicic-acid process, and, secondly, which will stimulate it precisely in the kidneys. If we seek for it in the surrounding plant world, we come upon the plant equisetum arvensæ, the ordinary field “horse-tail.” The peculiar feature of this plant is that it contains a great deal of silicic acid. If we were to give silicic acid alone it would, however, not reach the kidneys. Equisetum also contains sulphurous acid salts. Sulphurous acid salts alone work on the rhythmic system, on the excretory organs and on the kidneys in particular. When they are intimately combined as they are in Equisetum Arvensæ (we can administer it by mouth, or if that is not suitable, in either of the other ways) — then the sulphurous acid salts enable the silicic acid to find its way to the kidneys.

Here we have touched upon a single instance — a pathological condition of the kidneys. We have approached it quite methodically; we have discerned what can supply what is lacking in the kidneys; and we have erected a bridge that can be followed step by step, from pathology to therapy.

Now let us take another case. Suppose we have to do with some disturbance of the digestive system — such as we usually include under the word ‘dyspepsia.’ If we again proceed according to Spiritual Science, we shall discover that here we have to do principally with a faulty and inadequate working of the Ego-organisation. Why is the Ego-organisation not acting strongly enough? That is the question. And we must search somewhere in the functional regions of the human organism for what it is that is causing this weakness of the Ego-organisation. In certain cases we find that the fault lies in the gallbladder secretions. If that is so, then we must come to the assistance of the Ego-organisation (just as we came to the assistance of the kidneys with the equisetum) by administering something which, if it reaches the required spot by being prepared in a certain way, will there strengthen the inadequate working of the Ego-organisation. Thus, even as we find that the silicic acid process (which lies at the root of the nerves-and-senses system) when introduced in the right way to the kidneys enhances their sense-faculty, so we now find that such a process as the gall-bladder secretions (which corresponds primarily with the Ego-organisation) is really connected in quite a special manner (also in relation to other things) with the action of carbon. Now a remarkable thing to be observed is that if we wish to introduce carbon into the organism in the correct way for treating dyspepsia, we find that carbon — (though it is contained in every plant) — is contained in chichorium intybus (chicory) in a form that directly affects the gall-bladder. When we know how to make the correct preparation from chicorium intybus, we can lead it over into the functions of this organ as a certain form of carbon-process, in the same way as is done with regard to the silicic-acid process and the kidneys.

With these simple examples — which are applicable either to slight or in certain circumstances to very severe cases of illness — I have tried to indicate how, by a spiritual-scientific observation of the human organism on the one hand, and on the other of the different natural creations and their respective interchanges with each other, there can be brought about firstly an understanding of the processes of illness, and secondly an understanding of what is required in order to reverse the direction of those processes. Healing becomes thereby a penetrating Art. This is what can be achieved for the art of medicine, the art of Healing, by the kind of scientific research that is called Anthroposophy. There is nothing of the nature of fantasy about it. It is that which will bring research to the point of extreme exactitude with regard to the observation of the whole human being, both physically, psychically and spiritually. The condition of illness in man depends upon the respective activity of the physical, the psychic and the spiritual. And because man's constitution consists of nerves and senses system, rhythmic system, metabolic and limb system, we are enabled also to penetrate into the different processes and their degrees of activity. We learn to know how a sense-function is present in the kidneys as soon as we direct our attention to the essential nature of sense-functions; otherwise, we only seek to discover sense-functions under their cruder aspect as they appear in the senses themselves. Now however, we become able to comprehend illness as such.

I have already said that in the metabolic and limb system processes take place which are the opposite of those that take place in the system of nerves and senses. But it can happen that processes which primarily are also nerves and senses processes, and are, for instance, proper to the nerves of the head where they are ‘normal’ — it can happen that these processes can in a certain sense become dislodged by the metabolic and limb system; that through an abnormality of the astral body and Ego-organisation in the metabolic-limb-system something can happen which would be ‘ correct’ or ‘normal’ only if taking place in the system of nerves and senses. That is to say, what is right for one system can be in another system productive of metamorphosis or disease. So that a process which properly belongs, for instance, to the system of nerves and senses makes its appearance in another system, and is then a process of disease. An example of this is found in typhoid fever. Typhoid represents a process which belongs properly to the nervous system. While it should play its part there in the physical organisation, it plays its part as a matter of fact in the region of the metabolic system within the etheric organisation — within the etheric body — works over into the physical body and appears there as typhoid. Here we see into the nature of the onset of illness. Or it can also happen that the dynamic force, or those forces which are active in a sense-organ —(and must be active there in a certain degree in order that a sense-organ as such may arise) — become active somewhere where they should not. That which works in a sense-organ can be in some way or another transformed in its activity elsewhere. Let us take the activity of the ear. Instead of remaining in the system of nerves and senses, it obtrudes itself (and this under circumstances which can also be described) in another place — for example in the metabolic system where this is connected with the rhythmic system. Then there arises, in the wrong place, an abnormal tendency to produce a sense-organ; and this manifests itself as carcinoma — as a cancerous growth. It is only when we can look in this way into the human organism that we can perceive that carcinoma represents a certain tendency, displaced in respect of the systems, to the formation of a sense organ.

When we speak of the fertilisation of medicine through Anthroposophy, it is a question of learning how abnormal conditions in the human organism arise from the fact that what is normal to one system transplants itself into another. And only by perceiving the matter thus is one in a position really to understand the human organism in its healthy and diseased states, and so to make the bridge from pathology to therapy, from observation of the patient to healing the patient.

When these things are represented as a connected whole, it will be seen how nothing that is said from this standpoint can in any way contradict modern medicine. As a first step in this direction I hope that very soon now the book [Fundamentals of Therapy, by Dr. Rudolf Steiner and Dr. Ita Wegman. (Anthroposophical Publishing Co.) Price 7/6.] will be published that has been written by me in collaboration with Dr. Wegman, the Director of the Clinical and Therapeutic Institute at Arlesheim. This book will present what can be given from the spiritual-scientific standpoint, not as a contradiction of modern medicine but as an extension of it. People will then be able to convince themselves that it has nothing to do with the kind of superficiality which is so prevalent to-day. This book will show, in a way that will be justified by modern science, the fruitfulness that can enter into the art of healing by means of spiritual scientific investigation. Precisely when these things can be followed up more and more in detail and with scientific conscientiousness, will those efforts be acknowledged which are being made by such an Institution as the International laboratories of Arlesheim, where a whole range of new remedies is being prepared in accordance with the principles here set forth.

In the third lecture it will be my endeavour to consolidate still further (in so far as that can be done here in a popular manner), what has already been indicated as a rational therapy, by citing certain special cases of illness and the way in which they can be cured. Anyone who can really perceive what is meant will certainly not have any fear that the things stated cannot be subjected to serious test. We know that it will be the same in this as in all other domains of Anthroposophy; to begin with, there will be rebuffs, abuse and criticism by those who do not know it in detail. But those who do learn to know it in detail will stop their abuse. Therefore, in my third lecture I will go more into the particulars which will show that we are not evading modern science but are in full agreement with it, and that we proceed from the desire to enlarge the boundaries of science by spiritual knowledge in the sphere of anthroposophical medicine.

Only when this is understood will the art of healing stand upon its true foundations. For the art of healing concerns man. Man is a being of body, soul and Spirit. A real medicine can therefore only exist when it penetrates into a knowledge which embraces man in respect of all three — in respect of body, soul and Spirit.

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