[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib



Highlight Words

Truths and Errors of Spiritual Research

Schmidt Number: S-2726

On-line since: 30th June, 2017

Spiritual Science and Natural Sciences — their Relationship to the Riddles of Life

Part 1

Karlsruhe, 1 March 1913

In the present, one does not speak about something popular and accepted if one speaks about spiritual science in the sense as it is meant here, and this is comprehensible. As a representative of spiritual science, one would be more surprised if this spiritual science met with universal approval than if it evokes opposition of most people everywhere. This is comprehensible because the strength of our time and of everything that has led to this strength is based by no means on the reasons on which spiritual science has to be based.

The triumphs of humanity are in that area which arises from natural sciences and their knowledge. As the single human being if he should completely devote himself to an activity has often to divert his attention from everything else and has to concentrate upon that which he should do, it is also with the genius of humanity. This genius of humanity had to devote himself, because of a historical necessity, to the outer sensory knowledge that is bound to the reason that depends on the brain. He had to devote himself completely to that worldview; he had to turn his attention completely to that. Therefore, it happened that from it habitual ways of thinking have gradually developed which are hostile to research results from the area of spiritual life.

One cannot only criticise this fact disparagingly; one has to understand it. One has to understand that it is comprehensible if considerations as those of today only cause disparaging remarks of those who are not closer to the thing, no matter from which side these remarks come. Spiritual science does not concern those areas with which the scientific knowledge deals in our time at first. Spiritual science differs from this scientific way of thinking not only by that which is considered, but it also differs especially by the whole way in which one considers. Just this way is quite unpleasant, actually, to our contemporaries.

Spiritual science completely acknowledges natural sciences. They have to deal with that which approaches the human being from without, and they have to look at his outside. They cannot penetrate into the inside of the things just because of their strength — for reasons which we get to know this evening. However, this is the task of spiritual science, because of its nature, to penetrate into the inside of the things. Once again, I would like to remember a Goethean word about knowledge which goes back again to the word of the great naturalist Haller (Albrecht von H., 1708-1777), one could say that, actually, with this Goethean word he leads from the outer view of nature to the inner one, the Goethean way of consideration. The naturalist Haller had said:

No created mind penetrates
Into the being of nature.
Blissful is that to whom she shows
Her appearance only!

and Goethe who was completely pervaded by the spiritual said against it:

I hear that repeatedly for sixty years,
I grumble about it, but covertly,
I say to myself thousand and thousand times:
She gives everything plenty and with pleasure;
Nature has neither kernel nor shell,
She is everything at the same time.
Examine yourself above all,
Whether you are kernel or shell.

Indeed, Goethe had the right to speak this way. However, one must say, at the same time he led from the outer view of nature to the view of spirit. If he says in this poem:

everywhere we are inside,

we can still say, we are only inside of nature if we can recognise the creative spirit behind the physical that she has in her core. Then we stand inside of nature. Then the question is only: how has one to imagine this penetration into the inside of nature in the spiritual-scientific sense?

With the cognitive way with which one looks at the things in the usual life and which one takes as a basis of the usual actions which are also valid in science one cannot penetrate into the spiritual inside of the things. Therefore, one has to say, this way of knowledge belongs to the outer view of nature.

For the consideration of the spirit self-education of the soul is inevitable to get another way of knowledge and a quite different state of soul or consciousness The soul has to make something different of itself than it is in the usual life and in the usual science if it wants to investigate the spiritual depths. Which development, which self-education has the soul to go through if it wants to appropriate those forces which do not exist in the usual life and with which one penetrates into the inside of the things?

To get to an understanding with each other I have to ask you to do a comparative consideration with me which is meant, however, by no means as a comparison, but which leads us really into the inside of our whole point of view, as it should be developed. We take a big change in nature as starting point that faces us yearly, the development of the plant in the course of the year, in the seasons. We know that without sunlight, without forces that flow from the outside towards the plants the earth could not produce them. We see the relationship of the earth to these cosmic world surroundings if we see the plant sprouting in the spring. In autumn, those forces withdraw which elicit the plants. We see these world forces kept away as it were from that part of the earth where winter is; then we see the earth left to its own resources.

Let us now assume that a human being is organised in such a way that at the beginning of the spring he is stunned with something and experiences a kind of sleeping state during the spring and the summer that he wakes up then in autumn and gets to know that only which autumn and winter offer. Let us assume that this may happen anyhow. Let us also assume that the earth is inhabited by such beings only that see the earth only in its lifeless state; they would only see the earth if it held the seeds of the plants; and that which is outside would remind at most in the perennial plants of the fact that there is also a spring, a summer. Such beings would believe that the earth is something else for the human being than it is. They would see its winter side only and would regard the earth as that which produces lifeless things. Imagine once how the view of the earth would be for such beings.

If we extended the view even further, we could say, such beings would walk around the earth to experience the winter on one half of the earth and then on the other half of the earth, so that they would never experience the summer. Then they did not need sleep. Then they would always look away from life. They would get to know the earth only in the state of death. We turn the view at that which would be hidden to such beings. Everything that reveals itself to the human being at summertime that makes the earth a source of living existence would be a concealed world to such beings.

Not concerning the earth, but concerning something else this phenomenon exists on earth about which I have here spoken, namely this phenomenon appears in the human being himself. However, the field of observation is not the earth but the human being. Self-knowledge of the human being for the usual life is in a way as the earth knowledge would be to a being as I have brought in now. Why?

If we consider the human being in his everyday life, this everyday life changes between a sleeping state and a waking one. We want to look at the human being how he represents himself in sleep. All his experiences that surge up and down in him from awakening to falling asleep, all desires, passions, ideals, feelings, and the like are quiet. We consider what is outwardly visible at the sleeping human being. What do we face there? A being that we can probably compare to a plant. We face a being that completely has the value of a plant. About such a being, we must say that it has its living in a similar way as the plant cover of the earth has it. As we can only understand the plant cover of the earth if it sprouts under the impression of the cosmic forces, we can also understand this sleeping human body only if we imagine it as the plant. If one wants to imagine that in the human being life sprouts, one normally takes a quite wrong viewpoint: one normally compares the wake life of the human being from morning up to the evening to the sprouting plant life from spring until autumn. However, this does not correspond to reality if one assumes that the human being merges into a kind of plant state when he falls asleep. That means that the spring comes when he falls asleep and that he goes into the summer, the longer he sleeps at night. If awakening is approaching, it is autumn in the human being, and from awakening up to falling asleep, so in the wake day life, we have wintertime in the human being.

Even natural sciences have got on to verify this. We have wintertime in the wake human being because the day life works destroying - as well as the winter must be restored for the earth —, and must be restored at night by everything that is sprouting life. As well as the winter works destructively across the earth, the wake day life works destructively in life, and at the soul summertime when the human being is in the plant state that is caused in him which is like the sprouting life of the plants on earth at summertime.

Hence, we can say, that which the human being unfolds in his wake state relates to his whole being in such a way as that which the cosmic world forces work on the earth during wintertime. From it, we can only understand our wake imagining life. It is as the life on earth at wintertime. It is the wake life of the soul wintertime. This is the real consideration of the human being.

Now we return to our first mental picture. The human being goes through a soul summertime, and when he enters into this time, he becomes unconscious — as well as a being that falls asleep in the spring would never see the plant growth and would face a concealed world in the summertime. As the cosmic forces do not intervene in the life on earth at winter, as they are not suitable in winter to draw what reveals itself in the plant growth, the winter forces of the human being, his thoughts, his sensations, and his conscious life are not able to make summertime in the human being.

The following question must be associated with this: is in this soul summertime of the human being anything concealed that one can compare with that which remains concealed to our hypothetical beings that cannot perceive the plant growth of the earth because of their sleeping state? This question can be answered only if it is possible to change that unconsciousness in which the human being lives in his soul summertime into consciousness. That means if it is possible to cause a state in him by which he can perceive in such a way that before him the soul summertime spreads out with all its beings. Is it able to do this? — Another question is: have we to assume rightly that if the human being makes himself aware of the soul summertime something reveals that can be compared not only with the plant cover, but also with that which can be rightly called a higher world? From the following consideration arises that we are allowed to assume such a thing.

If we consider the world, we find that the human being is placed in the different realms of nature. It is not at all haughty if the human being assumes that to his creation certain higher forces are necessary which one does not find in the other realms of nature. These creative or formative forces restore the human being at night after we have worn our forces during our day life. Indeed, we cannot realise from that which happens at night immediately what the formative forces of the human being are like. However, while we destroy human vitality during the day and restore it at night, nevertheless, we find the productive forces that only escape from our observation. Thus, we can suppose that these formative forces of the human being reveal themselves if we can consciously invade into the soul summertime. Someone has to invade into the soul summertime consciously who wants to become a spiritual researcher.

What are the mental pictures, ideas, and concepts to the spiritual researcher that he has in the wake state? — They are those inner beings of the human being that exist towards the soul summertime. It is no special comparison but reality: he has something in his soul summertime, when in him everything is blossoming, that relates in his being as the seed which rests in the bowels of the earth in winter to the fully developed plants of the summer. If we can call the developing winter seeds into life in ourselves, we do the same in reality what happens with the earth when it develops the seeds towards springtime.

That who consciously wants to penetrate into the soul summertime would have to unfold that which is like the earth lying fallow in the winter in the human being — thoughts, sensations, and feelings —, to a vivid existence, as in the spring and in summer the seeds of the plant cover of the earth develop. What appears as a demand can really happen. We can really consider, so to speak, our thoughts, as we experience them consciously, as the seeds outliving the soul winter, and we can do something to call these seeds into life. This happens by concentration, contemplation, and meditation.

At first the spiritual researcher takes the feelings and sensations as starting point which he has experienced in the usual life, so at the soul wintertime, and which show nothing of that into which they can evolve. The human being who wants to become a spiritual researcher must arouse this winter seeds of his soul to a more vigorous existence than they have in the usual life. This happens by meditation, concentration, and contemplation. One makes the particular discovery if one does not use concepts, sensations, and feelings so that they depict an outer existence only but that they live in our soul so that we live with our souls in them and are taken up in them completely.

We take a simple mental picture to develop the full power. It does not depend on the contents of this mental picture. While our thoughts wander from mental picture to mental picture in the usual everyday life, the spiritual researcher fully concentrates on one mental picture, on one sensation. He rests on it by a will impulse for some time. It is necessary for it to abstain from outer sensory impressions, also from that which we think, imagine, or remember, for example, worries and the like. With a strong will development, the human being has to advance so far to cause a state that is very similar to falling asleep, and, nevertheless, is quite different from it. In this condition, he does no longer use his limbs, allows the body to rest like in sleep, does not perceive with the senses, allows the mind to sleep, and manages with his own will to dedicate himself to this mental picture and to rest on it for a while, to experience it completely. Without asking what it signifies, one has to pay attention only to that which it causes in the soul, which it gives as power; one has to concentrate only upon this mental picture.

What I have here described forms the contents of a science in principle. About that, you find additional details in my books How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds? and Occult Science. An Outline. Here I can indicate the things only in principle. It is important that the soul dedicates itself to a single mental picture some time. One has to delve deeply into the mental picture; it does not need to take much time. One must grow together with the mental picture. However, it is not enough to do such a thing few times, but one has to continue such exercises for years, according to the talent of the person concerned. If the soul repeatedly dedicates itself to such exercises, one makes the discovery that the feelings and mental pictures of the usual life are as seeds that can develop that can produce something new, something special. One gets around by such a strong self-education to forming his images and feelings gradually in such a way that one can realise a world internally which is not bound to the outer senses, but is conjured up as seeds that outlive the soul wintertime. Then we experience the rising of the soul spring, the soul summertime. The spiritual researcher has to experience this consciously. He has to experience how he wakes up a soul springtime, a soul summertime in himself, how he places another world in the world that he has, otherwise, in the soul wintertime. Then he realises a new world, indeed, a world that he has not known before.

Only one thing is necessary: that he learns to behave towards this world that he realises now as he behaves, otherwise, towards the world of the soul wintertime.

I said, this inner world rises at the soul summertime. However, at first this world resembles another world which meets us to our sorrow and which is due to pathological soul states. The resemblance is only an outer one because that which I have just described is quite different from that which arises from pathological states like hallucinations, delusions and the like because it can arise only from a healthy soul life. They are only externally similar to each other because both ascend from the soul.

However, the phenomena that arise from pathological states are a quality, which we have often to deplore. They work overpowering on the human life, even beguiling. Since the soul does not regard a hallucination as a reflection of its being, but it regards it as an objective-real world. This is a big error! We know how strongly this error can work. Somebody who lives with such persons knows that one can never persuade them from their hallucinations. This is in such a way because — if the human being exceeds the normal soul life — something appears from it that exists, otherwise, also in him. We return to our comparison, which is, however, more than a comparison.

When the human being feels spring and summer approaching, and if he is gifted for the manifestations of nature, his heart would like to shout out, then his heart is attached to this sprouting life; he is given away to it. The devotion to that which faces us increases if we go from the snowy earth to the sprouting life of the spring and the summer. However, that also happens if we face that which ascends in the soul as a world that is not the usual world of the soul wintertime. If at the horizon of the pathological soul life visions, hallucinations emerge which do not exist in the usual life in the soul winter life, then the soul feels at first attracted and given away to that which arises there like a new world. However, this is nothing but the outflow of the soul itself. If the human being likes the outer activities towards the spring and the summer, he loves himself in that which emerges from his own soul. This is the secret. From this life, which emerges from the inside, his concealed own life faces him. Therefore, he is attached to these phenomena, cannot break free from them.

One notices only in this area how strongly the human being loves himself. One can understand this if one knows that the human being faces himself [in his visions]. He would have to extinguish himself, so to speak, if he did not believe in his visions. The increased self-love works like a power of nature that makes the visionary believing in his visions.

It does not matter that that who becomes a spiritual researcher produces new feelings from those feelings, which outlive the soul winter, but that he cultivates his will. Since the spiritual researcher has immediately to say to himself that which the ill soul never says to itself, which only the soul says to itself if it is healthy if the world, which I have just described, appears before him. He has to defeat the increased self-love. He has to extinguish this not only in thoughts, but also with a strong will, which the spiritual researcher develops by training. Not before he is successful, he is correctly prepared for spiritual science.

How would a human being be who could not extinguish as a spiritual researcher arbitrarily what spreads out there? Such a human being would be in the area of the spirit like a person who faces an object in the sensory world, looks at it, but could then never look away from it as if he were tied up to this object. Thus, a spiritual researcher would be who would leave that standing which emerges from his soul summertime. He has to be able to extinguish all pictures that ascend there. The right instruction just leads to that which can arise only in a completely healthy soul to extinguish everything that ascends there. As we would never face the plant world properly if we could not freely turn our eyes from one point to the other, we would never approach a spiritual world if we could not turn away from that which I have just described. This is a necessary quality of the real spiritual researcher that he must have defeated the selfishness to such degree by self-education that he is able any time to extinguish the world which he has conjured up with strong inner power. That means to extinguish himself because it is his own soul world.

Defeating oneself is the first stage on the way into the spiritual world.

If this great experience has taken place, the spiritual researcher experiences an objective spiritual world. Then the objective spiritual world appears after the spiritual field has been cleared by extinguishing. Here is the abyss that the soul must cross if it enters into the spiritual world. If the soul has crossed this abyss if it has defeated self-love, then the world that it faces can also give it something.

One can say if one has only materialist ideas and ignores what spiritual research can offer, how do you differentiate what ascends there in the soul from the outer reality?

Only life decides such things, as well as in the outer life only life itself decides whether anything is percept or mental picture. One can distinguish this. I have always appreciated Schopenhauer completely. I myself wrote an introduction to his works. However, if Schopenhauer says that the world is only our idea or mental picture, one can easily disprove that. If one has a piece of red-hot iron, one may say, this is only my mental picture. If, however, one touches it, one perceives very well whether it is only a mental picture or reality. There is not a logical proof of the just said; there only life decides this. Spiritual research induces us in spiritual field to distinguish percept and mental picture that is to distinguish reality and imagination correctly.

We realise by which spiritual research differs from natural sciences. Natural sciences stop at the cognitive forces that the human being brings with him into life and develops in life. Spiritual science only attains something while the human being goes through the described stage; that is he develops his soul so far that you can compare it with the soul condition of the child in the third, fourth years if it awakes to self-consciousness. Everybody knows this awakening where the consciousness of the child becomes self-consciousness. On a higher level, something similar happens with the spiritual researcher: he awakes to such higher spiritual life, compared with which the usual wake day consciousness is a kind of sleeping state.

The soul has to experience a second awakening to penetrate into a new world. The human being is — if he really does research in the spiritual — in the same state in which the sleeping human being is, nevertheless, he is in a contrary condition. The sleeping lets his body rest completely. He does not let any sensory impression get into himself. The spiritual researcher is in the same state, save that that which is unconscious with the sleeping is conscious in him and perceives the spiritual world.

If the human being perceives the spiritual world this way, he does not get to know the spiritual in general only, but he also gets to know single facts and single beings. People forgive in the least today that one speaks not only of soul and spirit, but also of single beings. Today materialism is declining, and people already concede that one speaks of spirit and soul. One already permits that one speaks of single phenomena in nature and says not only, nature, nature, and nature. However, concerning the spiritual, one does not permit even today that spiritual science speaks of single beings and says not only, spirit, spirit and soul, soul. The spiritual researcher penetrates into a spiritual world full of beings that is added to the outer sensory world as a new world. There he beholds the forces that shape the outer world, he realises what forms the basis of the outer world as a spiritual. He really penetrates into the inside of nature at first, however, in his own inside. He is immediately in his own inside.

I have pointed out how the spiritual researcher has to extinguish what he has conjured up in his soul summer at first. He can extinguish this, or more precisely, he can extinguish himself in the world that appeared as a new one to him. However, he cannot extinguish something of it. A rest always remains. If the spiritual researcher settles in this rest, he gets to know his inner being. This is his real essence. If he goes through the described processes and attains real self-knowledge, he gets to know his core as someone who finds the zygote of a lower animal in a mud pool. If then the lower animal originates, the person concerned knows that from the zygote the lower animal has originated. The animal embryo must only have been there; it has attracted the matter, but the lower animal would never have originated unless a zygote had existed.

Thus, the human being beholds into the objective world with his spiritual-mental. He probably beholds how a human being develops in mysterious way from the first hour of his existence on and on. The features of the child, which are uncertain at first, become more and more certain. Science knows that the brain takes shape more and more plastically. From year to year, the human body develops more. Then the human being looks at father and mother, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on, and he says to himself, I find these qualities with my ancestors, however, that which forms the basis of these qualities is the spiritual-mental core that has been discovered on the way of spiritual research. Here spiritual research is at a point where it has to perform something similar as natural sciences had to perform for the present in the seventeenth century when Francesco Redi, a great naturalist, said, life cannot originate from anything lifeless - life can only originate from something living. — Redi was pursued as a heretic. Spiritual science is today in a similar situation. The spiritual researcher is today compelled to say, the knowledge of the human spiritual-mental essence shows that the human being comes from a spiritual existence which he experienced before birth, and that he experienced former lives on earth before this spiritual existence. People do no longer say, this is heresy, but they say, it is humbug. One tries also today to silence those people who pronounce such things. One does not burn them, indeed — the customs have become somewhat milder, one also speaks of tolerance —, but today strictly speaking only another method is applied to the same. It was heresy of Redi in the seventeenth century what one acknowledges today as a scientific fact. Even today, one regards it as a pipe dream if spiritual science speaks of the fact that the spiritual-mental essence of the human being is not rooted in the line of physical heredity, but is rooted in a spiritual-mental experience in former lives on earth. This life on earth in which we live now is the beginning and the embryo of a new life on earth.

What the spiritual researcher recognises as spiritual-mental essence that he cannot extinguish is completely different from that which you experience in the wake day life. This spiritual-mental essence is as the developed plant compared with the seed. It is the true mental-spiritual reality which creates in the human being which receives what is given by father and mother and unveils itself to get to a physical existence, as the seed which was left from a preceding plant and now develops again to a spiritual-mental being. This spiritual-mental core exceeds birth and death.

Here spiritual research is at a similar point as the naturalists Copernicus and Giordano Bruno were during former centuries. They could look out into the cosmic space and say, what the human being has believed up to now that the sky ends with that which human eyes see, that is not true. Giordano Bruno saw the world enlarged, and he recognised that these borders exist only because the human cognition is weak. He expanded the horizon of human cognition of the physical world. The spiritual researcher has to perform the same today again. He has to bring the knowledge to the present humanity that the human being comes from a former life on earth and that he has to live through other lives on earth. Spiritual science expands the view to spiritual-mental infinity. As Giordano Bruno postulated countless worlds in space, the spiritual researcher has to extend time, which belongs to the human being in which he unfolds his spiritual-mental core in many lives back and forth.

Thus, spiritual science places itself beside natural sciences without contradicting them but acknowledging them completely. Yes, just from the same attitude, as natural sciences have it compared with nature, spiritual research would like to come to a science of the spirit. It would like to penetrate into the inner forces of existence as natural sciences penetrate into the outer forces of existence. It will become obvious if once spiritual science will be accepted in the intellectual life of our time that one can only grasp the complete reality, while one approaches this reality from two sides, scientifically and spiritual-scientifically. Thus, one finds the true reality, while one co-operates from nature and from spirit in oppose directions until both directions meet.

Natural sciences had their aurora, when Copernicus sent his significant worldview into the world. Now spiritual science is at the same point and faces the spirit with the same attitude. If one investigates the outer life scientifically, and if one investigates the mathematical laws, one comes to a certain point, which one names with the word life. If the naturalist investigates the plant, he wants to approach life more and more. Life is like the big goal that one heads in natural sciences. It is the big ideal of natural sciences to investigate life. They dig in the tunnel this way.

The world of the spiritual researcher also has such a certain point up to which one comes which one sees in the distance as it were. This point that one approaches, as the naturalist approaches life, is death for the spiritual researcher.

The spiritual researcher has to reach a certain level where he says to himself, I figure the spiritual world out to a certain degree, which spreads out there before me. Then something stands there that one is not allowed to touch with this inner experience to which one must rather hand over the inner experience. — One recognises all possible beings and facts of the supersensible world, and one realises that death stands at the end. One realises that our spiritual-mental essence must go through death, as it has to go through the spiritual world after death to live in this spiritual world. Then it has to return to a new life. One realises how life after life develops. The whole existence is composed of the life in the spiritual world between death and a new birth and the life in the physical world between birth and death.

One copes with death just as little in the spiritual research as one copes with life in natural sciences. The scientific cognition approaches life, spiritual research approaches death vividly recognising in spirit; it is the big goal of spiritual research. Thus, spiritual research relates to death. This is the other direction, it bores [the tunnel] from the other side, and both certainly meet because they must meet. Death can only be there because it originates from life — and vice versa. One strives for the same goal from two sides. This is something that has to place itself as attitude in the modern spiritual life with which natural sciences and spiritual science come to their own in the same way.

As well as natural sciences strive for recognising the outer world, spiritual science has to strive for recognising destiny, and it can recognise destiny only in such a way that it sees the cause prepared of the next life on earth in this life on earth. The causes of destiny, good luck, and misfortune become clear to us thereby. Life faces us as a transformation of death. Immortality faces us in such a way that we know: while we go through death, we bring our spiritual-mental essence to the spiritual world to be active again in a new life.

No empty infinity faces us, but an infinity in which links are strung together, so that we know, why the human being must be immortal. He must be immortal because life carries the forces from birth to death in its spiritual-mental core to produce new lives because we see the seed of the following life laid in one life.

Thus, the big riddles of life are answered, while natural sciences and spiritual science co-operate. Somebody who believes there to have to stop on the ground of natural sciences and wants to establish a worldview from this ground resembles someone in a way who says, the ores down there in a mine appear to me in the true light if I bore a hole and let the sun shine on them. Indeed, everything is lighted up, but the sun produces that only which is on the surface. The sun can light up that only which rests there down in the earth, but it cannot produce it.

Thus, that which unveils the human core may be taken away from the merely outer science. Then it may come to light up it; then the outer science can also understand that which the spiritual researcher investigates.

Here we get to a point where I have to eliminate an objection. Someone may say, what you tell to us there shows that spiritual science is significant only for the spiritual researcher himself. I must point there to my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?. You find closer explained in it that one is allowed to say, every human being has advanced so far today that he can become a spiritual researcher to a certain degree. However, it is laborious; one can attain it only with much concentration. However, as the ores arise from the earth and are lighted up then by the sun, one can light up with the usual understanding what the spiritual researcher has found. Then it can give the soul what it needs compared with the riddles of life what it needs for its security. The spiritual researcher also does not have more than that which someone can have who listens to him and reads his writings.

The spiritual researcher beholds the spiritual world. However, it is a science of the soul only if it is conceptualised so that our common sense can understand it. Hence, it is also a prejudice if one says, one cannot understand what spiritual research produces. One can understand it very well and can verify its results with the unbiased common sense. If people are of the opinion that natural sciences disprove spiritual research, they put a spoke in their own wheel.

If people point to heredity, the spiritual researcher will completely agree with them. They are fully right. However, by a comparison I would like to bring to mind how, indeed, spiritual research can stand beside natural sciences. It is like with two persons who say something different; one does not refute the other, the one is as true as the other is. If natural sciences say, the human being has these and those qualities from his ancestors, spiritual science agrees. However, as true it is that the human being has these qualities because he has laid the causes of them in a former life. The world will convince itself that natural sciences must see their strength just in the fact that they confine themselves to their fields and that they can exist beside spiritual science which is concerned with the spiritual in which we are interwoven with soul and body. In physics, one can show with spectral analysis that one can find the same substances here on earth as in the universe. As there the view was extended materially to the immeasurable outer space, we discern that in the wide world of the spirit the spiritual beings and spiritual facts exist to which the spiritual-mental nature of the human being is similar from which it is created. As well as the human being knows that he lives in the material substances which fulfil the whole universe, he can feel secure in the universal spiritual which spiritual science makes him understand. However, this will cause that as well as natural sciences have changed our outer existence, spiritual science will give humanity soul goods, which it needs more and more.

If once spiritual science seizes education deeply, it will educate the human being in such a way that he will know not only in the abstract that in him a mental core is, which goes through death, but he will transform this knowledge of the spirit into inner strength. He will feel this strength in himself vividly. He will feel if his hair turns grey if his skin wrinkles up if the limbs slacken that in him his spiritual-mental essence develops more and more. As in the growing plant the seed concentrates to become a new plant, the spiritual-mental essence concentrates in the human being more and more, the more we approach death. We feel it more and more distinctly; we recognise how we develop as human beings, although our limbs wither away as the foliage drops from a tree. This knowledge will give the human being security in good luck and misfortune. It will fulfil him internally with that which he needs, so that he has strength for his work, so that the whole outer life can prosper. Spiritual science is not mere science; it takes the experienced as starting point and it stops at the experience.

I can today report these things about the contribution of spiritual science and that of natural sciences only sketchily. It has become obvious at the today's representation that the kind of research in the spiritual is different from the kind of research in the outer sensory area. However, if one considers that certain habitual ways of thinking have developed under the long-standing influence of natural sciences, then one is not surprised that spiritual science cannot count on big acceptance and that one can argue against that which it has to say. One would be staggered of the contrary. It is true that Schopenhauer's sentence is right concerning truth:

“During all centuries the poor truth had to blush about the fact that she was paradoxical, and, nevertheless, it is not her guilt. She cannot accept the figure of the sitting enthroned general error. There she looks up sighing to her tutelary deity, the time, that shows victory and fame to her, but her wing beats are so big and slow that the individual dies away in the meantime.”

However, time and its development are in such a way that truth will be victorious. One regarded as truth later what was paradoxical once. That will also apply to spiritual science. Even if today opposition appears, one has to remind of Goethe's sentence that expresses the relationship of the human being to truth so nicely:

“You cannot disprove a wrong doctrine because it is based on the conviction that the wrong is true. However, the opposite can, must and should be pronounced again and again.”

It has to be with the truth of spiritual research this way. You cannot disprove the wrong teaching that spirit is only an appendage of the material existence, because it is based on the conviction that the wrong, the mere material existence, is true. However, the opposite of it is — that the spiritual forms the basis of the material existence and that the human essence is a part of this spiritual. This is the teaching that is not only more comprehensive than the one-sided teaching of the mere material truth, but also this teaching shows the truth, the true knowledge compared with this one-sided knowledge. Thus, it will happen that those who have recognised this truth can and must pronounce it in the spiritual-scientific sense against any contradiction. Then the genius of truth — the time — shows his power. Even if his wing beats are slow ever so much, finally, truth will be victorious. The genius of time will spread his wings over the spiritually recognised truth, over the primordial grounds and over the riddles of life.




Last Modified: 12-Jun-2018
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com
[Spacing]