Course V - Lecture I
What Does the Modern Human Being Find in Theosophy?
March 8th, 1904
The theosophical world view is for those who need a more solid
foundation of their concepts and ideas with regard to the super-sensible world,
and for those who strive for such a more profound foundation of the knowledge
of soul and mind. Those are really not few in our time.
We see that the cultural scholars
made every effort for a long time to investigate the origin of the religions.
They search for the origin of the religions with primitive tribes, with the
so-called original peoples to recognise how the religious images have developed
in the course of time. In these religious images that is included basically
which ideas the human being made to himself in the different epochs, ideas of
the super-sensible, psychic and spiritual worlds. There we see that — on
the one side — the researchers make every effort to trace all religions
back to nature worship originating in the simple, childish, naive human beings.
On the other side, we see other researchers tracing back the origin of the religions
to the fact that the simple, naive human being sees his fellow man stopping
to live stopping to breathe, sees him dying, and that he cannot imagine that
nothing more should remain. We see that he forms the idea — on account
of his different experiences of the super-sensible world, of his dreams, of his
spiritual experiences which the primitive human being has to a greater extent
than the civilised one — that the forefather, the deceased ancestor, is
still there, actually, that he is effective as a soul, holding his hand protectively
over his descendants and the like.
So some researchers trace the origin
of religions back to the ancestor worship, to the soul cult. We could still
state a lot of other similar researches which should teach how religion came
into the world. The human being tries to get a solid support for the question:
are our images of a life after death, of a yonder realm which is not enclosed
within the sensory world, how are our images of an eternal life solidly founded?
How does the human being get to such images? — This is one kind how the
human being tries today to found these ideas of the super-sensible.
The theosophical world view is not
eager to offer this foundation to the present humankind. Whereas the cultural
studies come back to the experience of the primitive, simple, naive, childish
human being, the theosophical world view asks rather for the religious experience
of the most perfect human being, of that who has come to a higher level of the
spiritual view what he can develop as his view, as his experience of the super-sensible
world. What the human being who has developed his inner life, who has got certain
forces, certain abilities which are not yet accessible to the average person
of today what such a human being is able to experience of the higher world is
the basis of the theosophical world view. It is this higher experience which
goes beyond the sensory one, which rests on the so-called self-knowledge of
the soul and the mind, and forms the basis of the theosophical world view. What
is this higher experience? What does it mean to experience something of the
spiritual and astral worlds? Most of the human beings of today understand that
fairly hard. This was not the case in former times. Today, however, the human
being has moved with his experience to the sensuous world, the world of the
external phenomena. In this world of the external phenomena the modern human
being is at home. He asks how does this appear to the eye, how does that feel
to the touching hand how can one understand this or that with the reason. He
only sees the world of the external phenomena. Thus this world of the sensory
experience lies before him openly.
Let us have a look once at that
which this sensory experience can give us. We want to understand how this sensory
experience faces us. We look at something that belongs to these external phenomena.
We look at any being, at any thing of the world. We can show that all these
things of the world have come into being once; they formed and were not there
once. They were built up either by nature or by human hand, and after some time
they will have disappeared. This is the quality of all things which belong to
the external experience that they come into being and pass. We can say this
not only of the lifeless things; we can say this also of all living things,
also of the human being. He comes into being and passes if we look at him as
an external phenomenon. We can say the same about whole nations. You need only
to throw a glance at the world history and you see how peoples which have been
setting the tone for centuries which have done big, tremendous actions disappeared
from the world history, for example, the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. We move on
from there to the phenomena which one calls human creations, to that which is
regarded as the highest and most marvellous human performances. If we look at
a work of Michelangelo or of Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio), or to something other,
to a significant work of technology, you have to say to yourselves: such a work
remains for centuries or millennia; and may the human eyes feel contented at
the sight of the works of Raphael or Michelangelo, may human hearts be delighted
at the sight of such works — but you cannot ignore the thought that that
which appears here as an external phenomenon perishes once and disappears in
the dust. Nothing remains of the external appearance. Yes, we can still go on.
Natural sciences teach us today that our earth that our sun originated in a
particular point of the cosmic evolution and the physicist already states that
one can almost calculate when that point in time must have happened at which
our earth has arrived at the end of its development at which it goes to a state
of inflexibility, so that it cannot continue its development. Then the end of
the external appearance has come. Then everything sense-perceptible has disappeared.
Thus you can study the whole realm of external forms, of external phenomena
— you find everywhere in this world: coming into being and passing; or
if we go to the realm of the living beings: birth and death. Birth and death
hold sway in the realm of the forms, in that realm which is accessible to the
We ask ourselves: is this realm
the only one which is to us? We ask ourselves: is the realm, in which birth
and death hold sway continually, the only one which is accessible to the human
beings? For somebody who only accepts the sensory view who wants to know nothing
about self-knowledge of the mind, of abilities which exceed the mere consideration
of forms, the consideration of the external phenomena to him it may probably
appear in such a way, as if everything is contained in the appearing and disappearing
phenomena, in the processes of originating and passing, in birth and death.
You can also not get to a higher view if you consider nature and spirit as you
gain the external experience. You cannot go far beyond birth and death in the
same way, by means of the senses.
You need to become absorbed in higher
mental abilities; not in abnormal mental abilities which only particular people
have, no, only in those soul forces which are beneath the external superficial
layer. If anybody transports himself into that soul region, he is able to obtain
another view about the things and beings with deeper consideration. Look at
the simplest one: the plant life. There you see birth and death perpetually
changing. You see a lily originating from the germ and you see the lily disappearing
again, after it has delighted your eye some time and has pleased your heart.
If you do no longer see with the eye of your body, but with the eye of your
mind, you see even more. You see the lily developing from the germ and becoming
a germ after its development again. Then a new lily comes into being which produces
a germ again. Look at a seed; there you see how in this world a form comes into
being and passes, but any figure already contains the seed and the germ of a
new figure. This is the nature of the living; this is the nature of that which
one calls force which exceeds the mere form and the mere figure.
There we come to a new realm which
we can see only with the eyes of the mind which is as absolutely true for the
eye of the mind as the external form for the bodily eye. The forms originate
and pass; what appears, however, again and again what is there with every new
figure time and again is life itself. For you cannot seize life rationally with
natural sciences, with external observation rationally. However, you can see
it flowing through the originating and passing figures with your spiritual eye.
Which is the character of life? It appears time and again. As well as birth
and death are the qualities of the external phenomena and forms, rebirth and
perpetual renewal are the qualities of life. The form which we call alive has
enclosed in itself the force, the same force which is able to let come into
being a new figure in a new birth instead of the old one. Rebirth and once more
rebirth is the being, the typical in the realm of the living beings as birth
and death is the typical in the realm of the forms, the external figures. If
we ascend to the human being if the human being considers himself, takes a look
at his soul, then he finds that something exists in him that represents a higher
level than life which we have seen with the plant; that this life must have,
however, the same quality like the life in the plant, going from figure to figure.
We have said that it is the force
which allows the new figure to be reborn from the old one. Look at the little
seed; its external appearance is insignificant. What you cannot see, however,
is the force, and this force, not the external appearance, is the creator of
the new plant. The new lily comes from the insignificant seed because the force
of the new lily slumbers in the seed. If you look at a seed, you see something
externally insignificant, and of the way, as it has formed life, you can make
an idea of the force to yourselves. If you see, however, in your own soul with
your spiritual eye, then you are able to perceive the force in yourselves with
which this soul works, with which this soul is active in the world of forms.
Which are the forces of the soul?
These forces which cannot be compared at all with other forces, but are on a
higher level and are not immediately identical to the life-force of the plant,
these forces are sympathy and antipathy. The soul is thereby active in life
and does actions. Why do I carry out an action? Because any sympathy located
in my soul drives me. Why do I feel revulsion? Because I feel a force in myself
which one can call antipathy.
If you try to understand this perpetually
surging soul-life by means of internal observation, you find these two forces
in the soul again and again and you can attribute them to sympathy and antipathy.
That must induce the thoughtful soul observer to ask: what about it? Which forces
must exist in the soul? — If you asked: where from has the lily originated
— and you would say: this lily has originated from nothing, then one did
not imagine that it has come from the seed in which already the force was put
by the former plant; then one did not assume that from the seed a new figure
could originate. The new figure owes its existence to the old, dead figure which
has left behind nothing but the force of the creation of a new one. As we never
understand how a lily comes into being if not another lily releases the forces
to the creation of a new lily, just as little we can understand how the surging
soul-life which consists of sympathy and antipathy could be there if we did
not want to trace it back to the origin. Just as we must be aware of the question
that every plant and its figure must be traced back to a preceding one, we must
also realise that the force cannot have originated from nothing.
Just as little the force of the
lily can disappear into nothing, just as little the force of the soul can disappear
into nothing. It must find its effect, its further shaping in the external reality.
We find rebirth in the realm of life, we also find it — considering our
soul intimately — in the psychic realm. We only need to pay attention
to these thoughts in the right way. We only need to imagine that infinite consequence,
and we can easily move from the thought of rebirth or reincarnation on the force
which must enliven the soul, without which the soul cannot be thought at all,
if one does not want to imagine that a soul has originated from nothing and
disappears into nothing.
With it we also come in the psychic
life to reincarnation, and we only need to ask ourselves: how must reincarnation
be in the psychic life? — The matter here is that you do not keep to the
sensory view, but that you develop the view of the spiritual life in yourselves
to understand the perpetual change of the figures in connection with the unchanging
life. There you only need to take a great German spirit, then you will get an
idea how you can look with the spiritual eye at the life flowing from figure
to figure. There you only need to take Goethe’s scientific writings, which
are written so gracefully, where you have lively considerations of life seen
with the spiritual eye and you will recognise how one has to look at life.
If you transfer these considerations
to the view of the soul-life, you are led to the fact that our sympathies and
antipathies have developed that they have arisen from a germ, as well as the
plant has come from a germ with regard to its figure. This is the first primitive
mental picture that forms the basis of a main thought of the theosophical world
view, the idea of the reincarnation of the psychic life. What we ask from the
point of view of the thoughtful reflection is: how have we to imagine the intricate
soul-life if we do not want to believe in the reincarnation of the soul? —
One may argue: certainly, it would be a psychic miracle; it would be a psychic
superstition if I had to admit that my soul-life has originated all at once,
and that it has to have its effect, too. One could argue: yes, but the preceding
figure of the soul does not need to have been on our earth, and its effect also
does not need to be anywhere on this earth. — However, also there you
can overcome the apparent cliff with some thoughtful reflection. The soul enters
the world; the soul has a sum of dispositions, these are developed and have
not originated from nothing. As little the psychic from the physical, as little
anything psychic has originated from the material as little an earthworm has
come into being from mud. As well as life comes into being only from something
living, the soul can have originated only from something psychic.
The origin of the soul must be on
our earth. If its abilities came from distant worlds, they would not fit into
our world, and then the soul would be not adapted to the life of the world of
appearance. As well as any being is adapted to its surroundings, the developing
soul is adapted directly to its surroundings. Hence, you have not to search
for the preconditions of the present soul-life anywhere in an unknown world,
but in this world first of all. With it we have conceived the thought of reincarnation.
Thus everybody can get the idea
of the reincarnation of the soul only using pure thoughtful reflection if he
wants to become engrossed really. This has forced all the excellent spirits,
who understood the living nature, to the idea of transmigration in this sense,
in the sense of transmigration from form to form, a transmigration which we
call reincarnation, reincarnation or re-embodiment.
I still want to refer to one of
the most excellent spirits of the newer time, to Giordano Bruno
who expressed the reincarnation of the soul as his creed considering the human
being. Bruno died a martyr’s death because he agreed openly as the first
to the father of modern natural sciences, Copernicus. Thus you admit that he
knew to assess the external figure in its sensory appearance. However, he understood
even more. He knew how to look at life flowing from figure to figure, and that
is why he was led to the idea of reincarnation by itself.
If we go on, we find this teaching
of reincarnation with Lessing in his Education of the
Human Race. We find it touched also with Herder. We find
it indicated in various forms with Goethe even if Goethe did not express himself
very clearly in his careful kind. Jean Paul and countless
other writers could still be mentioned. What these modern spirits induced, on
whom our whole cultural life is dependent who also have influenced the most
important conceptions, is not only the endeavour to satisfy the human being,
but that, above all, an image is created by this teaching which makes the world
explanation only possible. The soul incarnates perpetually. Sympathy and antipathy
have been there and will always be there. The theosophical world view has to
tell this about the soul.
We return now to our starting point.
We have seen that figure transforms to figure, form to form in our sensory world
that everything emerges and disappears, is birth and death. We have seen that
also the most wonderful works which are created pass. If we ask ourselves, however:
is only the work involved in the work? Is with the creation of Raphael (Raffaello
Sanzio) or Michelangelo or with the simplest, primitive human creations, is
nothing else involved there than this work? — Nevertheless, we have to
distinguish the work and the activity which the human being has used, the activity
which any being has used to achieve a work or something that can be called a
creation. The work is given away to the external world of the figures and forms,
and in this external form the work is subjected to the destiny of these external
figures, to emergence and disappearance.
But the activity which takes place
in the being itself, that which took place in the souls of Raphael or Michelangelo
in those days when they created their works, this activity is also that which
the soul, so to speak, draws back again in its own being. This is the activity
which did not flow out into the work. As well as a seal impression remains in
the seal, this activity remained in the soul; and with it we get to something
that remains in the soul not only for a short time, but that remains as something
imperishable in the soul. If we look at Michelangelo some time later, has his
activity passed him without a trace?
No! This activity has increased
his internal abilities, and he moves up to a new work, he creates not only with
that which was before in him, but he creates with the help of that force which
has only originated from his activity in former works. His forces are raised,
are consolidated, have been enriched on account of his first activity. Thus
the activity of the soul creates new abilities which transform again in the
work, take action again, withdraw again into the soul and give forces to a new
activity. No activity of the soul can get lost. What the soul develops as an
activity is always the origin, the cause of a rise of the soul being, of developing
a new activity.
This is the activity and life of
the soul, this is the imperishable, and this is really formative force, this
is not only a figure, not only life, this is a creative force. With my activity
I create not only the work, but I cause a new activity, and I always create
a new activity through the preceding one.
This forms the basis of all great
world views. In a very nice way an old Indian writing tells how one has to imagine
this activity inside of a being. It tells how all figures disappear in an endless
world of figures how birth and death hold sway in the external world of the
forms how the soul is born repeatedly. But even if lily on lily comes into being,
a time comes when no new lily originates, a time comes when the soul does no
longer live in sympathy or antipathy. The living is born time and again; what
does not stop, however, is the activity which always increases which is imperishable.
This third level of existence, the
always increasing activity, is characterised by the fact that it does not belong
to the transient or to the constantly creative. On the first level our figure
is a sensuous being, it is a being born repeatedly as a soul, and it is an imperishable
higher being as spirit. The consideration of the spirit itself and its demands
shows us that sympathy and antipathy must originate and also pass, even if their
time of existence is much longer than that of the external figure. What does
the spirit demand from the human being if he immerses himself in this spirit?
This spirit has the quality to remind
us energetically and strongly time and again that it can never be content with
the soul only, with sympathy and antipathy. This spirit says to us that the
one sympathy is justified the other is not. This spirit is the guide of our
soul activity. We have the task if we want to develop as human beings to arrange
our sympathy and antipathy according to the demands of the cultural life, which
should lead us to the heights of development. With it the spirit has the control
over the world of mere sympathy and antipathy from the start, over the mere
psychic. If the spirit overcomes the world of the unjustified lower sympathy
and antipathy again and again, the soul ascends to the spirit. There are initial
states of the soul; then it is involved in the figures of the external reality.
At that time its sympathy went to external forms. But the higher developed soul
listens to the demand of the spirit, and the soul develops from the tendency
to the sensuous to the sympathy for the spirit that way.
You can still pursue that in other
way. The soul is a demanding being at first. The soul is fulfilled with sympathy
and antipathy, with the world of desire. However, the spirit shows the soul
after some time that it is not allowed to demand only. If the soul has overcome
the desire by the decision of the spirit, it is not inactive, and then love
flows from the soul just as desire flows from the undeveloped soul. Desire and
love are the opposite forces between which the soul develops. The soul which
still clings to sensuousness and external appearance is the demanding soul;
the soul which develops its relationship to and harmony with the spirit is that
which loves. This leads the soul in its run from reincarnation to reincarnation
that it turns from a desiring soul to a loving soul that its works become works
We have shown the third form of
the feelings, and we have represented the basic qualities of the spirit at the
same time, have shown its effectiveness in the human being and have shown that
it is the great educator of the soul from desire to love, and that it pulls
up the soul to itself like with magnetic forces. On the one side, we see the
world of the figures and forms, on the other side, the world of the imperishable
spirit, and both associated with the world of the psychic. In this discussion
I have merely taken a thoughtful self-reflection into consideration which every
human being — if he finds the necessary rest in himself and is involved
not only in external observation — can see with the eye of the spirit.
Somebody, however, who has developed the higher spiritual abilities in himself,
an occultist, learns something else. He knows not only how to reach these three
worlds with the apt consideration, but he has a view of life and spirit, just
as the external eye has a view of the external sensory reality.
As the eye distinguishes light and
darkness, as the eye distinguishes different colours, the spiritual, the developed,
open eye of the occultist distinguishes the higher, brilliant light of the spirit
which is no sensory light which is a brighter shining light in higher worlds,
in higher spheres, and this radiant light of the spirit is for the occultist
also reality as our sunlight is reality for our view. We see that the sunlight
is reflected at single things. In the same way the occultist distinguishes the
self-illuminating spirit from the peculiar glimmering of the light, which is
reflected by the world of figures, as psychic flame. The soul is reflected light
of the spirit, spirit is radiating creative light.
These three fields are the spiritual
world, the soul-world and the world of figures, because they appear to the occultist
that way. Not only are the fields of existence different. — The external
figure is for the occultist the emptiness, the darkness, what is basically nothing,
and the great, only reality is the sublime, shining light of the spirit. What
we feel as a brilliant light, what is put around the figures is the world of
the psychic which is born again and again, until it is got by the spirit, until
this has completely moved it up to itself and joins with it. This spirit appears
in manifold figure in the world, but the figure is the external expression of
the spirit only. We have recognised the spirit in its activity, in its always
increasing activity, and we have called this activity karma.
What is now the really important
and typical aspect of this activity of the spirit? This spirit cannot remain
unaffected in its activity by the action which it has done once on the level
which it had then. I would like to make clear to you how this activity of the
spirit must have its effect. Imagine the following: you have a vessel with water
before yourselves and you throw a warm metal ball into this vessel. This ball
heats up the water; this is the work of the ball. However, the ball itself has
experienced a change while it caused a change.
The change remains as long as a new change happens. If the ball has done this
work, then it has the imprint of its work, then it carries this character with
it. If you throw the ball into a second vessel, it will not be able to warm
up this second water again because of its first activity. Briefly how it works
the second time is a result of its first activity. By this simple metaphor one
can realise how the spirit works in its activity. If the spirit does a particular
work, then not only the work is characterised, but also the activity of the
spirit gets the same imprint. As the ball has cooled down and has received something
permanent that way, the spirit has got its permanent signature, its character
from its action. Whether good deeds whether bad deeds, the deeds do not simply
pass what clings to the soul. As well as the action was, the imprint exists
which the action has received and which it carries from now on.
That leads us to recognise that
— as the great mystic Jacob Böhme says —
on any action a sign is imprinted that cannot be taken away from it from now
on, only if a new action takes place, so that the old imprint is replaced with
a new one. This is the karma which the individual human being experiences. While
the soul progresses from rebirth to rebirth, the imprints of its actions remain
on it, the signature which it has attained during the actions, and a new experience
only results from old experiences. This is the strict teaching of karma developing
the concepts of cause and effect which the theosophical world view represents.
I am the result of my former actions, and my present actions have their effects
in future experiences. With it you have the law of karma. Somebody who wants
to consider himself in his actions completely as a spirit must consider himself
in this sense, he has to realise that any action has an effect that there is
also the law of cause and effect in the moral world as it is in the external
sensory world of forms.
These are the three basic laws of
the theosophical world view: birth and death hold sway only in the world of
forms, reincarnation holds sway in the world of life, and karma, or the perpetually
forming and increasing activity, holds sway in the realm of spirit. The form
is transient, life bears itself over and over again, and however, the spirit
These are the three basic laws of
the theosophical world view, and with it you have also received everything that
the theosophical world view can introduce in the human life. The spirit educates
the desiring soul to love. The spirit is felt by all within the human nature
if this human nature is engrossed in its inside. The single figure is only interested
in that which belongs to it as a single figure. Hence, this single figure works
only for itself, and this working for itself is working in selfishness, is working
in egoism. This egoism is all over the world of figures, of the external forms,
the principal law. But the soul does not consist only of the single figure;
it goes from figure to figure. It is longing for perpetually returning to a
new birth. However, the spirit makes every effort to develop the perpetually
transforming higher and higher, to form it from the imperfect to the perfect
figure. Thus the soul leads in its desire from birth to birth, the spirit educating
the soul leads from the undivine to the divine; for the divine is nothing else
than the perfect to which the spirit educates the soul.
The education of the soul by the
spirit from the undivine to the divine, this is the theosophical world consideration.
Thus you also have the ethics of the theosophical world view. As well as the
spirit cannot avoid educating the soul to love and to transform desire into
love, the theosophical world view has as its first principle to found a human
community which is built on love. The moral philosophy of the theosophical world
view has got to harmony with the eternal laws of the spirit that way. Nothing
else than what the spirit has to recognise as its innermost being, the transformation
of desire into love, has led to the foundation of the Theosophical Society encompassing
the whole humankind with the soul-fire of love. This ethical world view illuminates
the theosophical movement.
We ask ourselves now: does the modern
human being find his satisfaction in this world view? — The modern human
being is used to no longer believe in external traditions, in external observation
and in any authority. The human being rather develops in such a way that he
looks for a world view which satisfies his thoughts which satisfies the self-knowledge
of his mind. If the modern human being is eager to attain this self-knowledge,
then there is for him nothing else than this theosophical view which excludes
no confession basically, however, encloses everything. Because this theosophical
view really offers to the soul what it looks for. The soul continually puts
questions about the human destiny and his dissimilarity to itself. Can a thoughtful
soul endure that on one side innocent human beings live in bitterness and misery,
and on the other side, people live apparently in happiness who do not deserve
it? This is the big question which the human soul has to put to destiny. As
long as we consider life only between birth and death, we never find an answer
to this riddle.
We never find consolation for the
soul. If we look, however, at the law of karma, we know that any bitterness,
any misery is the result of causes which were there in former lives. Then we
say on one side: what the soul experiences today as its destiny is the effect
of former experiences. This cannot be anything else. Consolation becomes this
explanation immediately when we look at the future because we say: somebody
who experiences something painful or bitterness and grief today can complain
of his destiny not only, but he has to say to himself: bitterness, heartache
have effect on the future. What is your pain today is for your future life in
such a way as the pain of a child if it falls: it learns to go. Thus any grief
is the cause of a rise of the soul-life, and the soul finds consolation immediately
if it says to itself: nothing is without effect. The life which I experience
today must bear its fruit for the future.
I want to mention another phenomenon,
the conscience. This phenomenon is inexplicable at first. It becomes immediately
clear to us if we look at its development. If we know that every soul shows
a particular level of development, then we admit that the urge for figure lives
in the undeveloped soul. However, if the spirit has drawn the soul to itself,
has united more and more with it, the spirit speaks at any moment of sympathy
and antipathy. The human being hears the spirit speaking from his soul; he perceives
this as the voice of conscience. This conscience can appear only on a particular
level of the human development. We never see the voice of conscience with primitive
peoples. Later when the soul has gone through different personalities, the mind
speaks to the soul.
These are the main concepts of the
theosophical world view, and you have seen how clear this view is for that world
of the external forms. Yes, we would never understand this world of forms if
we did not understand them from our mind. However, somebody who lives only in
the external figure who can be carried away in the world of forms is on the
level of the transient, is on that level where he develops selfishness and egoism
because our external form only has interest in the form.
But he develops out of selfishness
because the spirit becomes more and more speaking. However, we only recognise
this spirit, which is the same in any human being, if we bring ourselves to
consider the eternally imperishable, the innermost core of the human being.
We recognise the human being only in his innermost being if we get to his spirit.
If we recognise the innermost core of the human being, we recognise the spirit
in ourselves. However, only that who regards the other human being as a brother
understands the spirit in the other human being; he understands him only if
he completely appreciates brotherliness.
That is why the theosophical movement
calls brotherliness the ideal which the spiritual development of humankind wants
to achieve under the influence of this world view.
Dear audience, the modern human
being finds this in the theosophical movement. Because this movement offers
to the modern human being what he looks for, it has spread in the course of
29 years over all the countries of the earth. We find it in India, Australia,
America, in all countries of Western Europe. It is to be found everywhere because
it brings clear conceptions to this modern human being. Theosophy offers this
to the modern human being. It is something that the modern human being looks
for, it is something that the modern human being feels, something that any human
being has felt clearly who knew how to look with thoughtful look at nature and
human life and found what applies itself to this view of the spirit and impresses
that which gives satisfaction, consolation, courage and life.
It is the view that the transient
that birth and death are not the only one, but that in this transient, passing
creative life of the external being the inner being of the spirit enjoys life.
Then we safely look at the past and full of courage at the future if this view
has become our conviction. Then we say from the deepest soul full of consolation
and courage what the poet expressed by full conviction:
Time is a flourishing countryside
And nature a big living being,
Everything is fruit, everything is seed.
Bruno (1548–1600), Italian Dominican monk, philosopher, mathematician,
astrologer and astronomer. c f. R. Steiner CW 7 Mystics after Modernism,
chapter on G. B.
Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781), German writer, philosopher. Die
Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts (On the Education of the Human Race) (1780)
Gottfried Herder (1744–1803), German theologian, poet, philosopher
(1763–1825), German writer
Jacob Böhme (1575–1624), German mystic. cf.
R. Steiner CW 7 Mystics after Modernism, chapter on J. B. (Anthroposophic