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The Eternal in the Human Soul. Immortality and Freedom

Schmidt Number: S-3472

On-line since: 31st August, 2018


Aim and Being of Spiritual Research


Berlin, 24 January 1918


As already during the past years, I would like to hold a number of talks about objects of spiritual science here in Berlin in this winter. The talks will contain a common line of thought; however, I would like to form the single talks in such a way that every talk is a concluded whole for itself.

I intended the today's talk as introduction at first. It should deal with the aim and being of spiritual research as I mean here.

If one speaks of the aims of spiritual research, one refers, actually, to something that is an aim of every really human, humanely feeling heart and of humanity, of the human quest for knowledge at the same time. However, every age must try to reach this aim different. It is also in other areas of the human striving in such a way. If you let the different epochs of human development pass, you realise that from age to age the characters of the human attempts change. That is why humanity has to intend that which is ancient in an always-new form, even if the search is directed to the everlasting, imperishable aim of humanity. You need only to remember how different the human being considers the outer spatial world edifice today compared to how he considered it five to six centuries ago. In particular, spiritual science wants to consider this fact. It wants to pursue the highest aim of human quest for knowledge in such a way, as it just has to correspond to the character of the present and the next future.

Spiritual science is misjudged very easily and is still misunderstood largely. Besides, one thinks of something sectarian, fancies something that possibly wants to appear like a new religious foundation or as the case may be. This is wrong. Spiritual science wants to be an immediate continuation of the scientific worldview that intervenes so deeply in any human thinking and imagination. At first spiritual science has not arisen at all from a religious impulse, but from that which has to position itself necessarily beside natural sciences with their great achievements and insights into the outer existence. I have to emphasise repeatedly that spiritual science acknowledges the scientific achievements, appreciates them in the deepest sense; but just that which has made natural sciences great by which they got their great results has stopped them at the same time from finding means and ways to penetrate into the spiritual life of humanity. I need only to point to the real aim of the human spiritual striving, and you will recognise at once if you look around at the present scientific life that I am right.

The significant philosopher Eduard von Hartmann (1842-1906) wrote a history of psychology at the end of his life (Modern Psychology, 1901). In this history of psychology, he said that, actually, since the middle of the nineteenth century already the academic psychology could not touch two main questions of psychology. These two main questions are the question of immortality and that of human freedom; and everything culminates that strives in this area for knowledge in gaining sure, truthful knowledge about these two questions. Just for these two questions, one will not find means and ways in the modern scientific psychology.

One of the maybe most significant psychologists of our time is Franz Brentano (1838-1917) who died in Zurich last year. He already said during the seventies of the last century looking at that which can be “soul science” from the scientific spirit of the present: this soul science deals with how a mental picture is tied up with the other how attention relates to the human soul which role memory plays how love and hatred work, how the feelings surge up and down; however, — Franz Brentano meant — if the precise investigation of all these things implicated that the answer of the question of immortality was impaired and had to give way to the results of a single research, then the single research, in spite of its precision and exactness, would be futile. One has to say, just that kind of scientific thinking of penetrating into the outer relations of nature is inappropriate to penetrate into the human soul life, namely for following reason:

The present naturalist must consider that as an ideal to pursue the phenomena of nature in such a way that nothing is mixed in it of that which comes from the human soul, from the subjective nature of the human being. One should exclude everything that does not come from the principles of nature, but that the human mind adds from itself. If the ideal of natural sciences must be to exclude the subjective, may you be surprised that a way of thinking develops which is inappropriate to penetrate into the soul life just because of that which makes it great?

This was not always in such a way. Someone who can trace back the course of the human spiritual development finds that natural sciences, as they are today, are not older than three or four centuries.

Before, the human being also looked at nature. However, one pursued only what the human being believed to know about nature: in any knowledge or putative knowledge about nature, something of the soul was always contained. One spoke about nature and her phenomena so that one always saw something that resembled the being of the human soul.

This kind of the consideration of nature disappeared with full right, and another kind has come up which excludes anything mental and spiritual. Somebody who stands on the viewpoint that we can look down today at the childish achievements of former centuries and millennia haughtily, will easier cope with these questions than someone who looks a little deeper into the human connections. One can be of the opinion that with reference to the great achievements of somebody like Helmholtz (Hermann von H., 1821-1894, German physiologist and physicist) or Julius Robert Mayer (1814-1878, German physician and physicist), these are the truths for which humanity has striven since centuries in vain. However, a more precise consideration shows that this is not in such a way but that any striving leads us back to the great ideas of Lessing that the development of humanity is an “education of humanity” for centuries and millenniums. Humanity progresses in such a way that it discovers that what it discovers to progress on and on and to go through the different forms of development. Thereby one gets around to imagining a special form of development not as a final truth. Since just as Copernicus thought different from the older astronomers before him, future times will think again different from Copernicus. However, one comes to the following line of thought. These modern times, in particular since the thirteenth century, unfolded a thinking about nature which forms one level of human development which can be characterised especially saying, the human being has learnt to expel anything spiritual from nature to consider nature in such a way that she shows her chemical, physical principles, in order to look for those forces which lead into the soul life, into the spirit, with stronger power in the own inside.

Thus, just natural sciences refer to the fact that one has to go the way of the spirit, indeed, after the pattern and the requirements of natural sciences and with the severity prevailing in them that, however, this way to the spirit is built on internal, own forces of the human soul. This leads us even so far that spiritual science presents “scientific” results and scientific security and aims at a form as natural sciences have that it has, however, to take ways different from those of natural sciences because it wants to prove equal to natural sciences. Besides, it must understand that one cannot penetrate with those thoughts, ideas, and mental pictures that are suitable for the physical knowledge into the human soul life.

There we can say that spiritual science just turns to cognitive forces that are different from those which science acknowledges and uses. Against this striving for such special cognitive forces, everything is directed that attaches itself as misunderstandings or even as dishonesty to spiritual science. I have to say, while this spiritual science tries to find the everlasting of the human soul, of that which is beyond birth and death, it must penetrate into the depths of the human soul which always exist, indeed, in every soul which cannot be searched, however, with the present methods of science and are also not searched.

It concerns that the human being searches his everlasting essence in himself first, that the forces by which they can be found must be brought up first from the inside of the soul. I am allowed to use the comparison that I have applied in my book The Riddle of Man: what leads the human being, actually, to the soul knowledge, “sleeps” in the usual life in the soul, it must be only woken. An awakening from the everyday consciousness is necessary, so that spiritual knowledge appears. Something must be brought up that is found down there in the depths of the soul. Now this series of talks will show how you can bring up it. Today I only want to indicate that it does not concern outer measures at all but an intimate inner way of the soul that is directed above all to make the usual soul forces more powerful than they are in the usual life. Exercises to be described and those I have described in my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds? and in other writings enable the soul to get such stronger forces from itself and to develop a more intensive thinking, a tenderer feeling, a clearer willing which are able then to look at the spiritual world in such a way as physical eyes look at colours and forms, as physical ears hear tones. By such exercises, the human being gets around to beholding with spiritual organs as one sees and hears, otherwise, in the outer life with physical organs.

He gets around to living in a human being who is as supersensible as one lives in the usual life in the sensory world. The human being lives with his whole soul being in — even if the expression does not match completely — in a “supersensible corporeality.” The human being carries this supersensible corporeality always in himself. It has to penetrate to the knowledge of the essence of the human being first from the inside. If you recognise nature, you have to recognise other than if you want to recognise the spirit; you have to behold with other forces into the realm of the spirit than in the realm of nature. Even if I want to describe the intimate soul processes only later which lead to the beholding of the spirit, nevertheless, I already bring in something that belongs to it.

Something peculiar appears, especially if you ask yourself, why does the human being know nothing in his usual consciousness about his everlasting essence? Spiritual research shows that this everlasting if one beholds it with the spiritual consciousness escapes exceptionally easily from the usual observation and thinking. The everlasting essence of the human being behaves in such a way, as for example tender feelings behave. They can live in the human soul, and they live most intensely if you do not look at them with the usual mind, because then they escape. It is similar with the everlasting essence of the human being. Our natural sciences strive for robust, trivial concepts easily to be understood; they adapt the observation in such a way that such concepts prevail in them. If you want to look at the soul life and at its everlasting core with such mental pictures, it escapes. Thus, it escapes especially from those who believe to stand with all their mental pictures and ideas just firmly on the ground of modern natural sciences.

Something else takes place. Someone who approaches the spiritual world with such soul forces, as I have described them in the book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?, can note that the soul has a peculiar shyness, a kind of fear to penetrate in the depths of the soul where the everlasting of the soul lives. Most people do not know such fear because it is deep in the subconscious. On the other side, the human being strives with all fibres of his being for recognising something of the soul life; however, he regards the ways, which lead to it as difficult so that something like this shyness and fear afflict him. Just if the human being starts doing such exercises, not only this everlasting escapes in the described way, but also the fear and shyness become even bigger.

Something else is added. If we have grasped as a spiritual researcher something of these things and try to approach that just gained with spiritual-scientifically untrained, but with scientifically well-trained thinking, this just gained is confused. It is actual in such a way, as if that which is so greatly applicable to the outer nature banishes what the human being can bring out of his inside about his own being. Besides that, is added that the human being is inclined very easily to bring in the results of the soul research because of his wishes, his desires and prejudices what he would like to have in them that he colours that with his imagination which should arise objectively. All that brings obstacle about obstacle. Someone who wants to recognise how one approaches the spirit does not need at all so much to apply certain exercises to bring up certain abilities concealed in the soul; since if one lets them prevail as they want to prevail, they already come automatically, they do not come only for the cited reasons.

A big part of the efforts that you have to do within the exercises originates from the fact that you have to remove the just told obstacles. Someone who gets to know spiritual research cursorily, however, will easily think, now, our exact science demands more strict thinking, more trained development of ideas. However, someone who penetrates deeper into spiritual research realises that it requires more “thoughts” than the official science today. However, on the other side you can strengthen a weak thinking, a thinking that is developed in particular in the today's form by the fact that it can be carried from experiment to experiment and accustoms itself thereby to a certain passiveness. This thinking must become more powerful; only then you are able to adapt the observation in such a way that the results of the everlasting essence of the human being do not escape that they are not destroyed, and that shyness and fear are overcome.

To all that other things are added which are rather unusual to the today's human being, and which he must regard as paradoxical. I have to say repeatedly what I have already stressed at other opportunities: true spiritual research must absolutely work with inner means, it has to get the power of the supersensible beholding from the healthy human nature, to organise the supersensible human body in such a way that this can develop its supersensible organs regardless of the physical human body. These methods are contrary to those, which approach people everywhere today and are estimated or overestimated by this or that understandably, and have to lead into the supersensible, into the area of the everlasting of the human nature. Today one knows the wide area of the unconscious or subconscious soul life. One knows how one can bring the human nature by all kinds of measures to quite different performances than the so-called normal ones are; one knows what hypnosis and somnambulism can perform. Of all these things cannot be talk in the true spiritual research. All that does not make that out of the human being what spiritual research can do. It does not make him more independent from his physical body, but just more dependent. If one often reproaches spiritual research that it leads the human being to pathological conditions, this is not right. Since the ways and methods of spiritual research are just contrary to those attempts that want to come close in other way to the soul life; these attempts make the human being more dependent from his usual consciousness. On the contrary, he becomes more independent just by the methods of spiritual research than he is in the usual consciousness. On this way of spiritual research, the human being gets forces, which can penetrate, into the spiritual realm, which must seem, however, paradoxical to someone who wants to have no closer knowledge of them.

What the human being gets out of his soul looks quite different from the usual soul forces. You need only to point out that the human being needs the memory as a soul force to be competent daily in the usual life. You need only to consider what the human being would be if he had to live from day to day without the single points of his life being connected in memory. If the spiritual researcher gets around to calling a spiritual supersensible event to mind from the spiritual beholding which can really throw light on the everlasting core of the human nature, then it is just a special sign of this conquest of the supersensible that one cannot remember such things in the usual sense that such results of spiritual research are not subject to the usual memory. You have to do certain inner performances if you want to get to the spiritual beholding. You can remember these performances. If you have managed by these performances to behold a fact in the spiritual worlds, then this fact does not appear later if you want to return to that fact, you can remember only the soul performances that you have done. You have to cause that again, then you can bring along the soul again that it beholds the same. Just in such a way as you can grasp the objects round us in concepts and mental pictures — then it is no longer that which you have seen —, you can remember the concepts and mental pictures. If you really want to approach the soul life, you have already to do such differentiations. You must get used to the fact of the repeating of the soul performances. Without such condition, you cannot really approach the big questions of human existence. In the usual life, we know that something becomes more familiar if we repeatedly practise it. This causes the force of habit. What would the usual life be if we could not do something better by repetition that we should do. Nevertheless, in the end, any creating and working in life is based on the fact that we improve ourselves habitually.

With the spiritual experiences, it is different. That must seem again so paradoxical to the human being. It often happens that somebody does such exercises, as they should be discussed later, and that he does good progress relatively soon because the human soul always has reserve forces of the psychic. I know many people who were able to approach the supersensible doing the first exercises for only relatively short time. Then, however, they are surprised. They have done maybe quite significant supersensible experiences and have beheld rather significant things. However, after some time these experiences do not return, they cannot cause them again. Since it behaves with the spiritual experience just vice versa as in usual practising of the outer world. In the outer world, you bring a skill to higher perfection if you practise it often. In the spiritual beholding, that escapes from us by repetition, which we have already reached; it becomes weaker and weaker, it goes away. Hence, the efforts must become stronger and stronger. It is a characteristic of the spiritual exercises that one finds the possibility to do stronger and stronger efforts to prevent the spiritual world from escaping more and more. Of course, these things are to be understood in such a way that they can be overcome; but they are typical for the spiritual world.

A third is yet to be added. I tell these details today, because I do not want to talk in the abstract, but I would like to discuss the things already in the concrete. If we want to look at something in the outer world, we are used to directing the attention upon it very long. Presence of mind is necessary for the beholding of the spiritual. Since the most important and most essential approaches us from the spiritual world in such a way that it appears quite quick and scurries so that one cannot observe it.

Therefore, the secrets of the spiritual world escape from the human being because he does not have enough presence of mind. One of the best exercises to find the way in the spiritual world is that one gets already used in the outer life to developing presence of mind that one gets used not to hesitating in a situation not waiting for a quarter of an hour in order to decide to have these or those thoughts. The more presence of mind you have and especially in situations which require a quick thinking, the more you train yourself to grasp what the spiritual world offers. Hence, human beings who are quickly determined in certain situations of the outer life will be the most qualified ones to do spiritual observations. In later talks, I still show other things how the human being must develop the forces to behold into that world where his everlasting essence is.

Now I do not want that every human being who studies spiritual science should become a spiritual researcher by such exercises immediately. However, I mean this: as the chemist has to develop the chemical methods, the physicist the physical methods to get chemical and physical results, one has to develop the suitable spiritual-scientific methods if he wants to approach the spiritual world scientifically. However, if the results are investigated and shown, then the human being can understand these results with the usual mind, although it is also quite possible today that everybody who wants it can bring himself to the point where he can also convince himself by the immediate view of the truth of that which spiritual research has to say about the spiritual world.

If you cross the borders of the sensory world in the intimated way, you can convince yourself of the fact that those concepts and mental pictures which just are suitable to look at the outer nature in the sense of natural sciences are not suitable in the same way to approach the spiritual world. This faces us in an especially typical way if spiritual research has used one to feeling the riddles of life deeply with all possible intimacy that one does not yet approach them in such a way that they present everything that they could present. Spiritual research is also built on the same truth reasons of the human soul like natural sciences; but spiritual research works on the deeper impulses of the emotional life even if the emotional life cannot solve world riddles. It can just approach those riddles that one regards less, otherwise, if it is deepened with the ideas of spiritual science.

Let us state such a riddle which reveals itself if the human being faces a corpse. In its full depth, one does not often compare the human corpse with the living human being; since, otherwise, one would recognise that in it one of the deepest comparisons of life approaches us. Since the human corpse which presents the immediate problem of death and with it of immortality. We look at it, we examine it also as an anatomist, as a physiologist to solve some human riddles, but we think too little what it means: that this dead corpse is there; what it is now, it is no longer the “human being;” what it is now gets its significance because another is no longer in it that was in it once. The corpse in all its forms and connections does no longer have an original sense, actually: something gives it sense that is no longer in it. Spiritual research regards the usual imagining and thinking as an analogue of this corpse. As little, this dead corpse still carries life in itself, as it is true that it has no sense or significance without this life, it is true that our usual thinking cannot penetrate into the supersensible secrets.

Since the usual thinking and imagining is dead compared with the supersensible secrets, as a corpse is dead compared with life. Materialism is right: this scientific thinking is due to the fact that we carry this corpse of thinking in ourselves which is the tool of the usual mind. With full right the materialistic natural sciences say, when the usual life stops, the consciousness also stops. Since then another consciousness enters which you can only imagine with spiritual research. As the human body has its sense only with life, something else must penetrate into the human thinking. The usual thinking is only in that what we cast off as a corpse. However, we must become independent from that which can become a corpse. While spiritual research strives to immerse this thinking which itself is a corpse in that which ensouls the corpse, this thinking is invigorated and combines with a supersensible world where the corpse can never be. Just as little the corpse has its true being by that which it still is, as little this thinking has its being in itself. As life has to penetrate the human body, so that it becomes that which makes it an inspired being from a mere body, the human being can also combine in thinking with that which leaves the body. Spiritual-scientific knowledge is a real process, is no theoretical process. Since spiritual research immerses the human thinking and imagining in that which remains concealed to the usual consciousness just because the human being cannot submerge in these things in the usual life. The human cognitive feeling is deepened immensely if one draws these parallels between the corpse and the usual thinking. We get to know in the following talks, how just from the right investigation of this secret of life and death the riddles of immortality face us and how they express themselves, but can be anticipated already also from that which I have discussed today here. It is the purpose of spiritual research to connect the human soul with its everlasting part, which does not only live between birth — or conception — and death, but enters the earth with birth through the gate of life and leaves it through the other gate of death into a spiritual realm.

However, spiritual research searches those depths of the soul in which the human being does not only live his passing life by the senses, by his physical body but in which he lives his immortal life. With it, the question of immortality can be a scientific question, and this will be the way of the spiritual striving in the future. Already the present will want this striving that beside natural sciences a special spiritual science positions itself; and just then natural sciences will have the great pedagogic value if one does no longer look in their area for that which cannot be found there: the human soul and its activities. However, if one trains the soul with the spiritual methods on the other side after the ideal of scientific truth and truthfulness to get to a spiritual science like to natural sciences by the scientific methods, then immortality becomes immediate certainty for the soul.

One can say that many people aim at that today which spiritual research wants. One does not need to believe that the spiritual researcher presents himself with any stubborn idea to his contemporaries and wants to force something on them that inspires only just him. No, the spiritual researcher wants, actually, nothing but what also the souls of many people want. Some dissatisfied feelings, unsatisfied aspirations that can develop up to morbidity and nervousness are often there because people look for the secret of the spiritual world and do not really know that they are searching. The best, most scientific spirits belong to them. Now, indeed, it is not in such a way, but one can already say, before these sad times have occurred, it was in such a way that people looked in sanitariums and the like for healing of something that was in their souls and that in the wake of it appeared also in the physical life of them. People pilgrimaged to the sanitariums, and these pilgrimages were much bigger than the real pilgrimages of other times. However, if one properly understood today what spiritual science can be for the human soul, one would do other pilgrimages than to baths and health resorts, namely such pilgrimages which can lead the soul into the spiritual world from which the human being can get strength and health.

You will maybe learn already from the few indications that spiritual science does not want to be something theoretical, but something that deepens and strengthens the soul that can cause understanding of the real, true life. Spiritual science does not want to be any confused, unclear, dark mysticism; it wants to be something that can intervene in life that makes human beings “practical” in life in the modern sense. In a time of railways, telegraphs, telephones, airplanes and so on, it is impossible to think about spiritual things in such a way as one thought about the same objects in the Middle Ages. Today it is also impossible to develop the social living together properly if one cannot develop lively ideas. One can realise that in many phenomena of the present, which I mean with it. I would like to remind only of a book that appeared in the last time. This book does not deal with the questions of spiritual science, but indicates the longing for spiritual science everywhere. It deals with the matters of economy, with those matters, which are necessary for humanity if it wants to find a way out of the immensely catastrophic conditions of the present. Most of you will know the book by Walther Rathenau (1867-1922, German author, industrialist, and politician) On Coming Things.

It deals with the objects of economy, with the human needs, with that which should be performed as outer institutions for the future arrangement of life. However, through the whole book something runs like a red thread: the longing for viewpoints and concepts to be able to regulate the conditions of the soul life from the outer life. You need only to open yourself to few sentences of this book and you realise how that is meant which I say here. Walther Rathenau also speaks of those who want to make the spirit only a result of the outer body and of the outer economic conditions today in the age of mechanisation. He says, for example, in his book:

“Enough of these arguments. They require what they have to prove that the body is the first, that the spirit is the second that matter forms the mind. If we believe that we are creatures of flesh, then someone who wants it may sweeten life; then the struggle for God and our souls is futile, and those have the say who are there for the sake of the useful and benefit. If we believe, however, that the spirit forms its body that the will carries the world upwards that the divine spark lives in us: then the human being is his own work, then his destiny is his own work, then his world is his own work.”

A man speaks out of this book who has taken an interest in that what had to be performed within this war, a man speaks, after he has realised what has developed in the course of the last years, and he speaks about the causes of the outer catastrophic effects. The strange is that a practical man completely standing in life gets to the words:

“For the last time I have pointed in the year before the outbreak of war to the approaching turn: the serious must come not because of political necessity, but because of the transcendent law ...”

After these catastrophic events have lasted for two years, Walther Rathenau writes this book and looks back at that which has occurred up to now and which must come, and then he pronounces the following sentence:

“Political and military reasons are not decisive but transcendent ones!”

“The transcendent reasons”, that means those, which come from the spiritual world. One could increase this example endlessly. There speaks a person out of the lively need to make the needs of the spiritual-mental essence of the human being the leading principle of the social order. However, while one reads this book and compares it to the former books by Walther Rathenau, On the Critique of Time and The Mechanics of the Spirit, one has the feeling: the concepts are weak, they do not intervene in life because they themselves do not come from full reality. He speaks in abstract forms about the longing of the soul; but you can nowhere note that he really defers to the spiritual world. What one would think of a person who believes to stand in the scientific education and possibly would say, I am not interested in sulphur, silicon, and calcium; they all are only matter? One would say about him, he does not want to defer to the single. We do not speak about one matter unless we want to be abstract materialists but about seventy elements if we want to understand the real structure of nature.

Thus, one does not speak of the spirit generally, but of the concrete spiritual world which is a world of spiritual beings that intervene in our soul life, as there are single materials in the outer life. However, this is something that the human beings fear even today if one speaks in spiritual science of penetrating into the concrete spiritual life which seizes the spiritual reality in such a way that also strong, powerful concepts can be found which have the power to intervene in the outer social life.

It is necessary even today that I haven often to help myself of certain ideas and mental pictures about which some people say that they are difficult. I have a form of spiritual research in mind, which is simple and popular, so that every human being can take it up easily. This must be like that. Only single human beings need physics, astronomy and so on. However, everybody needs spiritual research. Spiritual research is yet far from the other research today. It has to position itself even today on a viewpoint that is equal to the attacks directed against it on the part of the remaining research. If it appeared today already “quick like a shot” in its simple form which it can have, it would be laughed out of court. Today it has to appear with more difficult concepts, so that it is forearmed against that which the official science counters. You have to make the best of it.

Above all, you have to familiarise yourself with the fact that this spiritual research has to introduce something in our cultural life that is especially necessary to the recovery of this cultural life.

If you dwell upon this spiritual research, you realise that its results have a character of which you can say: it aims at really confronting the spiritual world, but without any sentimentality, without any wrong mysticism and churchy-ness, without that what makes the human being weak. No, the human being should just become strong because he knows his relation to the spiritual world. Spiritual science does not want to assert itself in sectarian way; it does not want to establish a new religious form. It develops from the modern scientific way of thinking at first. However, it has to develop other concepts and cognitive abilities than the modern scientific research does. Hence, one has to search its origin in a modern scientific thinking. The fact that then spiritual science can just become the best support of the religious life is another question. This is a question which Rittelmeyer (Friedrich R., 1872-1938, German theologian, founder of the Christian Community) exhausted in an article in the magazine Die christliche Welt (The Christian World) recently. You can learn from this article what spiritual science can be just for the deepening of the religious life after the judgment of such a discerning man. Maybe it will be it just because it wants to put no new form of religious life, but because it is anxious to answer the question: how does one penetrate scientifically as seriously into the spiritual realm as one penetrates scientifically into nature?

I wanted to allege that spiritual science does not present itself arbitrarily today but summarises what the best spirits of humanity have always wanted, a summary of that which Goethe faced, for example, considering Haller's (Albrecht von H., 1708-1777, Swiss naturalist) statement: “No created mind penetrates into the being of nature.” Haller was a great naturalist. However, he stood on the side of those who have become more and more numerous since then who believe that the human cognitive faculties have limits. The cognitive faculties that we apply to the usual life have limits indeed. However, one can extend the cognitive faculties in such a way that we can penetrate to a certain degree into the riddle of the everlasting in the soul that one can combine with the riddle of the everlasting. Spiritual science will be able to show that with its research. It can confirm its method of research with Goethe's words with which I would like to conclude this talk. Goethe remembered Haller's words and said:



Indeed

To the Physicist

“No created mind penetrates
Into the being of nature.”
O you Philistine!
Do not remind me
And my brothers and sisters
Of such a word.
We think: everywhere we are inside.
“Blissful is that to whom she shows
Her appearance only!”
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.




Last Modified: 02-Dec-2018
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