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The Eternal in the Human Soul. Immortality and Freedom

Schmidt Number: S-3475

On-line since: 31st August, 2018


The Human Being as Being of Soul and Spirit


Berlin, 7 February 1918


Speaking about the problem of immortality and about the riddle of freedom spiritual-scientifically is the task of the whole cycle that I would like to hold in this winter here. These are the two questions that admittedly the scientific worldview cannot approach and in which the only philosophical world consideration will always smash as it arises from my book The Riddles of Philosophy and from an unbiased consideration of the historical development of philosophy.

I would like today to consider a partial question possibly in a concluded whole: the question of the human being as a being of soul and spirit. Already while pronouncing these words, one touches, actually, the question of the human soul in a way that is very far from the present worldview. The present worldview — if it generally gets involved to look at something else than that which experimental psychology, biology, physiology give — speaks of a duality of body and soul. I would like to show that this arrangement of the human being must lead to serious misunderstandings that divert a scientific consideration, actually, from the highest human riddles. One believes today that in the so-called soul riddles the riddle of spirit is already enclosed, and you will find, while you dedicate yourself to this misunderstanding, the applause of some scientific world viewers and also of some soul viewers. Spiritual science generally is in a peculiar relation to the scientific and to the philosophical worldviews.

You know that I have stressed repeatedly that spiritual science stands everywhere completely on the ground of scientific research, and just because it stands more than the scientific worldview on scientific ground, it feels forced to ascend from the mere consideration of nature and her life to the consideration of the real spiritual life. Only the scientific worldview that became ingrained in a big part of our contemporaries also behaves in their choicest representatives in such a way that spiritual science has a rough ride to find understanding anyhow. I would like to say some introductory words about it because they will be necessary in case of our further consideration.

Today one can find that in certain areas the scientific worldview has almost got to a kind of ideal limitation of its field. We have works in the scientific realm that you can regard as exemplary in the way, how they restrict their task with the realisation of single problems. After the unilaterally Darwinian-Haeckel romanticism of the last third of the nineteenth century biology, for example, has advanced so far that we have such an exemplary work as the work of the Berlin researcher Oscar Hertwig (1849-1922) about The Origin of Organisms. A Refutation of Darwin's Theory of Chance (1916). We also have ingenious achievements for such areas, which touch the borders of that what should be regarded here methodically, as for example the Guide to Physiological Psychology (1891) by Theodor Ziehen (1862-1950, German neurologist, psychiatrist). One may say that the anthroposophically oriented spiritual science espouses such methodical research where it depends on the consideration of the actually scientific area. I myself always oppose with all that I would like to contribute to spiritual science the sometimes indeed well intentioned, but dilettantish worldview constructions that arise from some inadequate attempts of knowledge.

However, just this methodical scientific worldview gives spiritual science a hard fight to find understanding with our contemporaries. Even in the so exemplary book by Oscar Hertwig we find as it were the scientific conviction that natural sciences can deal only with the finite and cannot consider the infinite. However, natural sciences can explore the finite in all directions. Hertwig repeats Nägeli's (Karl Wilhelm N., 1817-1891, Swiss botanist) words from his scientific point of view rightly, and Theodor Ziehen also says that he wants to look at everything in the human soul life that has parallel phenomena in the human body, so that physiology can give information about these parallel phenomena. One must leave everything else to metaphysics or the like. Then, however, Ziehen says again that that is more important which the present physiological-psychological research puts forward in its details, which are, actually, nothing special which do not say anything particular about the big riddles of soul and spirit, than everything that was tried to perform about the supersensible in the soul life and the like for centuries. If we add the dictum which already before decades the great physiologist Du Bois-Reymond (Emil Du B.R., 1818-1896) did that real science is only allowed to deal, actually, with the sensory world because science stops where the supersensible begins, we find that by which the scientific worldview wants to pull the rug out under the feet of any spiritual science. On one side one always says rather benevolently: one has to leave all questions which exceed the sensory consideration to metaphysics or something similar, nevertheless, on the other side one argues again that real science can be performed only in the area of sensory consideration.

Thus, we realise that science blanks out everything mental and spiritual, and it solely claims the character of scientificity for that which is left. Compared with such attempts I would like to stress that spiritual science stands even in the question of the so-called old vitality absolutely on the ground of such researchers like Du Bois-Reymond, Hertwig and others. Since this vitality which haunted in science until the middle, until the end of the second third of the nineteenth century is a product of speculation.

Because one believed that the phenomena in the living organism were not explicable with physical and chemical laws, one speculated on an uncertain vitality to which one ascribed everything that one could not explain chemically or physically. Du Bois-Reymond said in his excellent preface of his Researches on Animal Electricity (1848-1864) already at the middle of the nineteenth century with a certain right that the progress of physiology necessitated, actually, that once somebody would come who banishes this vitality from physiology. Spiritual science can agree even with such a hard condemnation of vitality. Since it can figure everything out that is brought forward from physiological-biological side rightly against such a hypothetical, speculative vitality, and can consider what appears today again as so-called neovitalism only as a reaction which is caused by the fact that one realises sporadically: we cannot already recognise that what lives simply as the only physical and chemical. However, this reaction returns more or less to the old speculation of an uncertain vitality.

Spiritual science represented here can also not agree with this reaction against the purely mechanistic natural sciences. For it, however, it must arrogate something else to itself. With those cognitive forces and abilities which lead just to the big, significant scientific results one cannot exceed the only physical and chemical. Of course, the living beings are subject to physical and chemical laws because they have physical bodies. These must be investigated with physics and chemistry, and one is not allowed to contrive any vitality. But the mere cognitive forces and abilities as natural sciences apply them rightly are not sufficient to understand life, soul and spirit, and one only has the option either to stop in the area of physical and chemical laws and then to renounce understanding life, soul and spirit, or to appeal to quite different cognitive forces.

With it, however, you are confronted again with a widespread prejudice. Most people do not believe that the human soul striving methodically gets to cognitive forces and abilities that are quite different from those of natural sciences. So you face a double possibility only not to comprehend soul and spirit or to cross the Rubicon to familiarise yourself with the advancement of the human souls. It can thereby get to such cognitive forces that are more important to you than that what natural sciences can say, just if they are perfect. You are confronted with a severe prejudice. You must say from the viewpoint of spiritual science, natural sciences behave, actually, to spiritual science in such a way as somebody who can only describe the letters that are printed on any page behaves to that who can read them. Spiritual science tries to read that which natural sciences can only describe. That what it has to say about the phenomena of the world, about its contents and about the significance of the processes behaves like something read to the description of the letters that compose the words. There is the possibility to penetrate really into life, soul, and spirit, while one attains an ability of reading nature. This ability behaves compared with the mere physical consideration like the free ability of reading to the mere description of letters.

Now many contemporaries if such a thing is said remember of course that this is a reference to all kinds of fantastic visionary activities of the soul. However, that does not at all apply. Spiritual science is rather something for which one has to work hard and methodically, as natural sciences have to do it. But spiritual science has a rough ride today to penetrate because since centuries already any human worldview has intended to blank out the spiritual from the soul more or less, to consider the soul as the whole inwardness of the human being, and to think it more or less dependent or also independent of the body, but to search no such relation of the soul to the spirit as it is searched on the other side by the soul to the body. Someone who only with pure soul experiences — even if these would be mystically increased soul experiences — wants to find out something about the real nature of the human being as a spiritual being resembles someone who wants to inform himself because of hunger and thirst of those processes which take place in the human body, and which are the basis of that which the soul experiences as hunger and thirst.

Everybody easily realises that hunger and thirst are the inner experience of something that happens in the body. The scientific worldview says, if the human being feels hunger and thirst, a chemical change has taken place in the blood or as the case may be. It points to the fact that in the body something has happened that expresses itself as the experience of thirst and hunger in the soul. However, one has to look at the soul experiences, if one wants to investigate what goes forward in the body. Of course, you cannot investigate in a living being that has no hunger how the hunger expresses itself bodily, but you can never find out for yourself that you only consider the inner experience of hunger or saturation with which bodily processes this inner experience is associated. Just as little you can get to know something from this mere play about that which forms the basis of the soul as something spiritual, even if you immerse yourself ever so mystically. As well as natural sciences must proceed from the experience of hunger and thirst with their methods to something that is not observed in the usual soul life — for the human being knows nothing of the chemical process in his body, while he suffers from hunger and thirst —, you have to change into something spiritual if you consider everything that can be experienced by imagining, feeling and willing in the soul.

However, how can you find this spiritual being? The sensory places itself before the senses, while the human being faces nature; the spiritual does not do it in the same way. The spiritual confronts the human being only if he rouses the cognitive abilities from his inside that I have called “beholding” in my book The Riddle of Man that slumbers in the usual life as it were. Now I would like to talk not about something abstract, but I would like to show immediately at a concrete example that — as the naturalist can go over by his method from the subjective hunger and thirst to the bodily processes which are unconscious in the usual experience — it is as possible to go over from the soul phenomena to the spiritual phenomena which relate from one side to the soul as from the other side the soul relates to the body. Already with such concrete questions you are confronted straight away with opposition of the common consideration of the soul life. This wants to consider, actually, the passive soul life only because it takes the scientific methods as starting point. You cannot consider the active soul life scientifically that is active in its being from within, and it is often lost generally out of sight. Today natural sciences often consider the mental experience only how mental pictures form a group, how a mental picture is maybe caused by outer perception, how it causes another which is stored in memory, or also many other. One observes how the mental pictures associate with gradations of feeling, with will impulses or the like. One does not attain methods that you can compare concerning the spiritual with the strict methods of the scientific worldview. If you take the Physiological Psychology by Theodor Ziehen, you realise how everything results in the fact that our whole soul life is built up on such associations if it exceeds the mere sensory life. However, this kind of consideration just does not get to the impartial beholding of the soul life.

Such consideration, for example, shows the following: you can realise if you get to a real observation or introspection of the soul, as I will show it after, that we are dependent in the usual life with our soul experience on that what life gives us as mental pictures. If the human being lets his soul life to its own resources, the mental pictures play in it that have come from the impressions of the outside world into his soul. He is a kind of slave of his mental pictures in a way. Theodor Ziehen says with a certain right, we cannot think as we want, but we must think as the just available associations determine it because this or that impression has been done on us that causes another impression. Thus we are given away — after Ziehen — to the play of impressions. We are not so free in the usual life in relation to our imagining as we mean. However, we are also not as dependent as Theodor Ziehen means. Someone who can advance to the soul observation knows that, indeed, the strong dependence on impressions is there, but it lasts for a certain time. This is something to which modern psychology does not give thought at all. However, a mental picture that is caused by an impression tyrannises us. If I have seen a friend, this mental picture pursues me, it causes other mental pictures of other friends, of common experiences with these friends and so on, and you are dependent on these mental pictures, but only for some time. This time can be determined even internally experimentally. This time takes two to three days. However, after this time the power changes with which such an impression works on our soul. Then we can emotionally relate to an impression in such a way as the impression has related to us before.

We were its slaves before; we become its masters after two to three days. You can do this, for example, in the following way. If you have a feeling for the inner soul life, you can ask yourself, which difference exists between being given to the inner soul life, as it takes place by itself for some time, and reading a book? If I read a book, I cannot be carried from one mental picture to another. I would not advance reading if I were carried by mental pictures that an impression has caused in me, I must dedicate myself rather to that what flows from the book as mental pictures. There I come under the control of the author. The author controls the course of my mental pictures. I become similar with my ego to that what happens if my mental pictures are controlled by the mental pictures that come from the book if I have lived with any impression for two to three days, concerning this impression. Then I leave myself not to the association that this impression wants to cause, but I have the inner power to associate this impression with others. An entire change of an image impression proceeds in the human soul if it has lasted for two to three days in the soul.

You can already convince yourself of the truth of the just said without being a spiritual researcher by usual, more intimate observation of the soul life, indeed, in an area that is considered only cursorily nowadays, and that the so-called analytic psychology or psychoanalysis despises. However, I do not want to go into that. However, I would like to point out that someone who can really observe dreams knows that the involuntary appearance of dreams is always associated anyhow with the impressions of the last days, actually, only of the last two to three days. However, do not misunderstand me! Of course, bygone events appear in the dreams as memories.

However, it is something else that evokes these bygone events. If you can observe the dream exactly, you always realise that any mental picture of the last two to three days must be there. That only evokes bygone events. For two to three days, the impressions of the outside world have the power to generate dreams. Then the other things are associated with them. Unless such mental picture can generate the dream, it cannot originate. However, you have really to observe what I have indicated now, because the usual consciousness cannot observe it. This is just so unknown to many people today because it proceeds in the unconscious. As a rule, the human being attains no knowledge how he relates different to a mental picture that is not yet present for two to three days in his soul, and to such which is present already so long. One can observe all these things exactly and properly only as a spiritual researcher. However, he needs a certain strengthening of the usual soul life to the real observation. The imagining applies for the usual soul life, actually, only to that which it repeats and develops in a way what the senses perceive from the outside. This soul life can now be strengthened, so that these pale, uncertain mental pictures of the everyday life can appear in another way in the soul so that its power matches a sense perception. However, this must happen if you want to do researches really in the spiritual area. With the usual cognitive forces, you cannot do these researches. I have described the method in detail in my books How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds? and Occult Science by which you can lift up imagining and by which you change it into Imagination, into the beholding percipience.

I would like only to emphasise some things of the big wealth of that which the soul has to carry out with itself to strengthen its life. I want to refer to that what I have recently emphasised in my last book The Riddles of the Soul, the continuation of my book The Riddle of Man: the fact that the human being if he activates his usual soul life in science gets to certain so-called limits of knowledge. These limits of knowledge can face you if you familiarise yourself with the worldviews of profound thinkers. If I may bring in something personal here: experiences have led me to this form of spiritual science thirty to 35 years ago which I could gain in the worldviews of such persons to whom knowledge is not an external occupation, but something that constitutes the core of their longing and feeling. If you are confronted, for example, with the thinker Friedrich Theodor Vischer (1807-1887) with words which have come to him when he had thought about the connection of body and soul, with words like: the soul cannot be in the body, but it can also not be beyond the body, then you get in living connection with an original, elementary thinker to such limits in which the human soul life must come if it wants to be cognitively active.

The usual thinking just puts limits of knowledge in such points of the soul life. Du Bois-Reymond spoke of “seven world riddles” which cannot be solved; however, one could bring in hundreds of such so-called limits of the human soul life:


  • if you do not content yourself with such limits, but if you try to go through everything that the soul has to go through while it says to itself, you have to put questions which the natural outside world cannot answer, also that what comes up from your soul cannot answer them,

  • if you combine in your innermost soul life with these questions,

  • if you have patience to struggle with them not only logically, but internally,

  • if you put them repeatedly to your soul not only to get to know what they say logically, but what they release vividly in the soul,


then something emerges from such questions gradually in the soul. One experiences something emotionally that I want to bring to mind in the following way by a comparison. Just the scientific worldview often thinks that the lowest living beings only have an inner life activity at first, develop it in contact with the outside world and thereby transform their still undifferentiated organisms, so that it touches the outside world not only in an uncertain way, but that this touching is differentiated to the sense of touch, and from the sense of touch the other senses should have gradually developed phylogenetically. That which the being experiences in living matter can be really compared with that which the soul experiences if it is confronted with such limits. If you get to know the mental experience of such limits really, you feel that with it nothing is meant that deals with the origin of outer sensory tools. If you have patience to settle down in such riddles, a sort of mental groping develops, then something arises from it like a differentiation of the soul life. Today most people do not believe in that, of course. However, one will believe in it more and more if one realises that only in such a way one can attain real knowledge of the phenomena of the world and in particular of the riddle of the human being. The human being gradually does not only reach questions of limits, but he develops his soul with it, and thus those higher organs of beholding originate by which the soul learns gradually to penetrate into the spirit. This is only one of those exercises that the soul has to practise to transform the undifferentiated soul life, so that it can really penetrate into the spiritual world.

I would have to bring in a lot of that what you can read in the mentioned books if I wanted to explain how imagining becomes something else than in the usual life. Imagining is something passive that follows the sensory percepts. Because the soul life is invigorated by many exercises, it becomes something else from imagining. The imagining becomes active so that as it were an ego asserts itself which is much more concrete than the usual one, and the human being gets to know that he can really observe the soul phenomena with such increased soul life.

If I now return, after I have developed the nature of real self-knowledge, to that what I have asserted up to now, I have to say, what happens there, actually, while the mental pictures change from that state which they have for two to three days into the other state which they have later, one can figure this out only with such reinforced soul life. Since you get to know then that the human being becomes as free compared with the mental pictures that subjectively prevail for two to three days, after this time, as he is usually free from his usual body. The human being gets to know what he is in his inside what controls the mental pictures in such a way, as we control the hands and legs if we grasp or go with our usual ego. The human being gets to know the higher ego that remains usually unconscious and moves within the mindscape as the usual ego moves in the bodily life. That means we come after two to three days from that which is subjective to the objective of the soul life.

We enter that which outer impressions do not control, and which we learn to recognise as that which carries the outer impressions through the whole life between birth and death. We learn to recognise something second in the human being to which we feel as we feel towards our body in the usual life. We get to know what I have called in one of the last numbers of the magazine Das Reich (The Empire) the body of formative forces, a supersensible body that is there, as well as the usual physical body is there. However, it remains unconscious for the usual soul life. As well as the hand of the physical body is moved by the usual ego, the human being learns to recognise how he works within that which carries the imagination which lives in the imagination and this is only the spirit. The spirit is not the imagination, but what lives in the imagination in such a way as the usual soul lives in the body. However, while the usual psychology considers, actually, the whole soul life only as it prevails for two to three days, calculated from the impressions, it does not get at all from the soul to the spirit, blanks out the spirit. For the usual soul life, it is blanked out in a way.

A self-consideration shows this of which we can speak now, after I have already indicated what its being consists of. You all are clear in your mind that the ego stands in the centre of the soul life. However, today the psychologist is less clear about that in his mind. It is interesting what, for example, such an excellent psychologist like Theodor Ziehen says in his book Physiological Psychology just about the ego. This book contains printed lectures. There he says to his listeners, if you think about that which the ego is, actually, where to do you come there, actually? If you really think about it, at first your body will come into your mind, then everything that you have as relations to the outside world; then everything that you have as relatives and possession, your name and title, your dominating mental pictures and your main inclinations, your past will come into your mind. Indeed, Theodor Ziehen says, the reflective consciousness distinguishes now — except everything that comes into your mind in such a way — the ego as that which prevails inside, which moves and works from the inside imagining. Nevertheless, it is a fiction of epistemology or of speculative psychology. Physiological psychology has nothing to do with that.

This is such a place again by which the ground should be pulled away under the feet of spiritual science. However, can anybody really allow himself for the usual consciousness to think with his ego only of everything that Theodor Ziehen thinks? Does he not feel the inner activity of a central being in his soul life? Does he only think really of his relatives and properties, of his title and name and the like? No, there can be no talk of it! The human being is aware that in his inside something prevails. Still he comes, actually, to nothing if he characterises the ego. The scientific psychology is right in a limited sense if it cannot say much about this ego. How does this ego behave in the usual consciousness? An introspection shows this again.

If this ego becomes something else by the exercises that I have described, then one also notices what the ego is, considered with the usual consciousness. One distinguishes two states in the human life after the outer appearance: sleeping and waking, and thinks, they alternate between day and night. One does not know that for a real consideration of the soul something else arises. We sleep not only at night, but a part of our being also sleeps by day, sleeps perpetually. The invigoration of the ego is in a certain sense a real arousal of the ego that sleeps perpetually. We know nothing about the contents of our sleep; we know only that it interrupts our usual life. If we survey our life from birth to death, we look back, actually, always only at the daily experiences, the night experiences are nothing. If we look at our life in such a way, then is that which we are in sleep as if it were not there. It is excluded from our field of observation. However, that applies also to the ego in the usual soul life. It is not there strictly speaking for the imagining and other consideration; the real ego escapes from the usual soul life because the human being sleeps concerning his ego in his present stage of development also by day.

We know only negatively about our ego, we know about it in such a way as the eye looks with the blind spot that it has inwardly. We know that there is nothing. We know also about the ego as about a black spot on a coloured surface. Although no colour phenomena come from there, we see a black place. Thus, we see that nothing is surrounded by our usual experiences, and thus we have the consciousness of the sleeping ego. It is aroused because the soul forces are increased in such a way as I have described it. Thus, only the real essence appears in the human being gradually. You learn to recognise the connections of the soul life with the spirit, as well as you learn to recognise from natural sciences if we have hunger and thirst that a body is there in which chemical transformations of the blood take place which express themselves in the soul life as hunger and thirst. As there a body is connected with the soul life by certain processes about which the human being knows nothing at first in the usual life, you learn to recognise on the other side that the soul is connected with the spirit. While the body is recognised from without, the spirit is recognised, while you become aware of the sleeping ego.

As well as the ego is crowded together in one point, the human being as a spiritual being is recognised by the usual consciousness. If you strengthen the inner soul force, you realise that this ego really gets contents as you attain the contents of the bodily for the only inner sensations by methodical scientific research. You get to a real investigation of the spirit as you get to know the chemical transformations which take place in the blood or, otherwise, in the body if the human being has hunger or thirst or feels saturation.

Thus, you learn to recognise how a mental picture that lives in you and is a mere mental picture at first is fulfilled with pictorial contents that are not as abstract as the mental picture of the usual consciousness. The spiritual researcher lifts these contents up in the consciousness so that the mental picture becomes like a perception of these pictorial, Imaginative contents. The spiritual researcher beholds Imaginative processes that change. If, for example, a mental picture becomes warmer what proceeds for the usual consciousness in the subconscious, then something else originates from the mental picture. Then something originates from it that is not only a cognitive or perceptual image, but also an image motivating the will.

This is a very significant progress for the spiritual researcher, if he can ascend to such a knowledge by which he realises how the cognitive image changes into a will image because its Imaginative contents change which pass then to that what becomes or can become active in us. There you realise that the spiritual stands behind the mental and is perpetually changing. As we can describe chemical and physical processes in the body, we can describe spiritually how behind imagining, feeling, and will impulses changes are which go from the Imaginative to the Inspirative and to the Intuitive. As from the chemical transformation of the body subjectively hunger and thirst appear, the spiritual appears vice versa subjective, either as a perceptual image or also as an image of feeling which changes then into an image of will. Thus, you become able to describe that which lives behind the soul as a spiritual being as the bodily lives behind the soul towards the other side. Then you recognise that this becomes really concrete in the human being what can appear before the strengthened soul life so that we feel that which I have called “body of formative forces,” as we feel the physical body usually only. Then you also get to know that which lives outdoors in the world beyond the sensory as something supersensible in quite concrete way.

Sometimes I anticipate something in a former talk that I explain more exactly in later talks. Thus, it is also with the following. However, today I already want to point to it. The plant is composed not only of that which physics and chemistry, or biology or physiology can investigate but it contains something else. If we have brought ourselves to the point where we feel the body of formative forces in ourselves as we feel usually in the physical body, we can perceive the supersensible in the remaining world with this body of formative forces. Then we behold the spiritual in any plant, in any animal and in the physical human that is then not anything visionary in trivial sense, but also is there before the strengthened soul like the contents of sensory perception before the not strengthened soul. However, we have to replace the spatial concepts with temporal ones everywhere. In what way do we perceive, actually, the supersensible in the plant? By perceiving our own supersensible in the body of formative forces as if a tone perceives the other in a melody.

The perception of the supersensible in the plant realm is completely based on the fact that the life of our body of formative forces proceeds much slower than the life of the plant body of formative forces. I have more exactly explained this in a small writing The Human Life from the Viewpoint of Spiritual Science (1916, now in Philosophy and Anthroposophy, GA 35). There you will find how everything depends on these different speeds. Because our body of formative forces can interact like a higher, malleable organ with the much faster proceeding life of the plant, we really perceive the other kind of the life in the plants. Thereby something else will face our soul than the old, speculative vitality. We perceive, to put it another way, something supersensible in the sensory.

It is hard to speak impartially of these things already today. Only if one feels obliged in certain sense to the knowledge of truth, one does this. Since many people mean of course that such things are not based on scientific spirit, but on speculative fiction or daydreaming. Only slowly and gradually, humanity will learn that this is no daydreaming, no speculative fiction, but is based on a methodical research of the spiritual. Certain denominations needed up to 1822, until they acknowledged the Copernican worldview as a truth. I hope it will not last so long with the recognition of this spiritual truth, also for social reasons that should be stated in the talk, which I hold in this cycle about the historical life of humanity.

However, the most paradox prejudices exist concerning the whole and concerning the details of spiritual knowledge. I have already mentioned two weeks ago that recently Pastor Rittelmeyer has written a treatise (On Rudolf Steiner's Theosophy) in The Christian World about that which spiritual science intends, and what it can become as a deeper basis of the religious life. One has argued against that: if already the human soul should rise to a spiritual world, it must not happen in such a way that the human being carries his mental into the spiritual world arbitrarily by exercises, but this has to happen spontaneously. One can say nothing more ignorant than this. Since just if this settling in the spiritual world happens by itself if it appears without the involvement of the human being, the human being does not come into the real spiritual world but only in the mania of some mental pictures which are not spiritual because the human being does not behave actively but passively. He gets to a life which is again dependent on the body, on some organic processes in the body, and then it is pathological, or is dependent on mere soul processes, and then it is autosuggestion or as the case may be. The real penetration into the spirit is based just on the fact that one notices that this can be only reached by activity, by the will. This only carries us into the real spiritual world. Someone who says, it is doubtful that exercises are demanded by which the human being should arbitrarily reach what he can only receive like by grace understands nothing at all of the real significance of spiritual science. However, today many people know nothing about the real spirit. Hence, they cannot get to a real consideration of the everlasting, of the immortal and the free in the human soul.

On two ways, you come out from that what either is only inner life in the soul or is dependent from the body. On that way one does not come out on which, for example, the Physiological Psychology by Theodor Ziehen tries it. If Ziehen says, we cannot think what we want, but we must think as the associations determine it, then he just shows that he distracts, actually, from the spirit with his whole consideration. One can say, Ziehen looks at the soul life in such a way that he oversleeps the real spiritual impulses of the soul. Hence, Ziehen can say, the main principle of the human soul life is that a mental picture combines with others either after their inner resemblance or after their temporal succession. If I have seen a friend at a certain place and see the friend later again, the place that was temporally connected with him can associate itself with him again. If the soul life proceeds in such a way, only according to these principles of association, then it proceeds in such a way as the body lets this mental proceed. There just the spirit sleeps. The spirit submerges in the soul life that is only dependent on the body. Since the spiritual begins everywhere where we make ourselves independent from the associations by inner activity. The spiritual begins everywhere where Ziehen stops talking, and where generally scientific psychology stops talking.

In two directions, one comes out from the mere soul life. On one side, we can come out and rise to the spirit, so that we can behold the supersensible in the outer world, after we have become conscious in our real ego, while we feel the body of formative forces, as we feel, otherwise, the physical body. However, we get to an even higher mental picture of our ego, then we realise, why to the usual consciousness this ego is hidden: this ego arises as little from the usual soul life as from the lung the air originates that we breathe. Someone who believes that the true ego is generated anyhow in the body believes the same in this area as someone who believes that the breath is anyhow generated from the lung. No, our true ego is inside the world that we perceive Imaginatively. There on one side we find the ego, while we arouse it, while we get from the mere sensory perception to the supersensible. In this ego, we find one side of the everlasting, that side which shows the seedlings of everything that we become when we go through the gate of death and settle in the spiritual world to return to following lives on earth.

On the other side, we find the ego again. It is the same. The human being oversleeps the real being of his ego in the usual life, however, he also oversleeps the real being of his will. If the body of formative forces dawns on him, that awakes in certain way which lives in the will. What does the human being know about that which lives in the will in the usual life? If he lifts his hand, he knows, it comes from his mental picture. However, the human being oversleeps completely in the usual awake consciousness how this works how it goes over in the physical body. This also wakes gradually, even if not in the body of formative forces.

Then we experience from which deeper impulses our actions put themselves in the world, we experience something supersensible behind our will about which the usual consciousness knows nothing. While on the other side we exceed our usual soul life to the spirit, we experience the spirit in the will, that spirit which was active in us, before we entered by birth or conception into the physical existence by which we have come from the spiritual world in the physical existence. Thus methodically exceeding the usual soul life, the spiritual researcher experiences his everlasting.

I explain in the next talks: how this everlasting is included in the contents of the beholding consciousness how really this everlasting is found because we can hold side by side that to which we come, while we pursue the imagining beyond the only sensory perception in the supersensible, and that to which we come while we pursue the will beyond the only mental-bodily into the spiritual.

With it, I have given something of the program of the next talks at the end of this talk. I hope, spiritual science will get beyond that dictum of Du Bois-Reymond with which he wanted to take away the ground under the feet from any spiritual research, while he asserted the principle that only that which comes from the senses can be, actually, science, and where supra-naturalism starts, science stops. No, it should be just shown by our worldview that in future a general conviction will be there which is based on the fact that where real supra-naturalism, real penetration into the spiritual world stops, science must die away also compared with the view of nature. Thus, we also realise that natural sciences themselves have more and more dead, dying away concepts, because the living contents can come only from the spirit. The spirit is the creator of life, and it can be the only creator of real, lively, scientific concepts if it is recognised.




Last Modified: 02-Dec-2018
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