Eight lectures held in Dornach between
August 23 and September 6,
Translated by Marjorie
Anthroposophic Press Rudolf Steiner
Hudson, New York London
The eight lectures in this book are
published in German under the titleZufall, Notwendigkeit und Vorsehung:
Imaginative Erkenntnis und Vorgdnge nach dein
Tode(Vol. 163 in the
Published in the United States of
America by Anthroposophic Press, Bell's Pond, Star Route,
Hudson, N.Y. 12534.
Published in the United Kingdom by
Rudolf Steiner Press, 38 Museum Street, London,
Copyright 1988 by Anthroposophic Press,
Library of Congress
[Zufall, Notwendigkeit und
Chance, providence, and necessity :
eight lectures held in Dornach between August 23 and September
6, 1915 / Rudolf Steiner ; translated by Marjorie
Translation of: Zufall, Notwendigkeit
1. Anthroposophy. 2. Chance. 3.
Providence and government of God. 4. Necessity
(Philosophy) 5. Free will and determinism. I.
299'. 935—del 9
ISBN 0-88010-261-6 cloth Anthroposophic
Press 0-88010-262-4 pbk.
ISBN 0-85440-335-3 cloth Rudolf Steiner
Press 0-85440-345-0 pbk.
Cover: Graphic form by Rudolf Steiner,
1921 Title lettering by Peter Stebbing
All rights reserved. No part of this
book may be reproduced in any form without the written
permission of the publisher except for brief quotations
embodied in critical reviews and articles.
Printed in the United States of
Lecture I, August 23, 1915 1
Probability and chance. Fritz Mauthner's
studies of improbability. The difficulty of the search
Lecture II, August 27, 1915 17
Consciousness in sleeping and waking
states. Perception of the aura. Nuances of
Lecture III,August28, 1915
Necessity and chance in historical events.
Waking, sleeping, and memory. The etheric body and our
Lecture IV, August 29, 1915 53
Necessity as past subjectivity. The
transition from the subjective to the objective
Lecture V, August 30, 1915 65
Necessity and past, chance and present.
Chance and karma. Providence and the experience of spiritual
worlds flowing into our souls.
Lecture VI, September 4, 1915 87
Imaginative cognition leaves insights of
natural science behind. The etheric body as instrument of
perception in imaginative cognition.
Lecture VII, September 5, 1915
The physical body binds us to the physical
world, the etheric body to the cosmos. The etheric body
younger in the course of the life. People
dying young bring ether bodies with will and love forces into
the spiritual world.
Lecture VIII, September 6, 1915
Physical body: dissolution at death.
Etheric body: “in- binding” of the ether body into
the ether world, in the process the spiritual world exudes
gratitude. The objective world is what the gods have
thought, expelled out of themselves, and forgotten. Just as
human beings have to pull up memories again that had been
forgotten in order to have ego consciousness, so the gods need
the world to have consciousness of themselves.
August 23, 1915
My task today will be to discuss how hard
it is for people to keep to the truth of a situation in
their ordinary trains of thought. I want to convey to you how
far from easy it is in thinking to keep all the factors
involved so before us that the course of our thoughts doesn't
go astray from reality, that we follow the thread of
The theme proposed for us today is
certainly more difficult than others we might choose. But there
is inner moral value to be derived from the realization that
truth is hard to get at and that it is very easy to go astray
as we forge ahead in a train of thought in the attempt to
arrive at the truth by means of strict logical
You will find that what I am going to tell
you today will make it easier to understand certain matters
that will occupy us in the next lecture. I will be speaking
then about the important concepts chance, necessity, and
providence. And I want to begin today with an introduction
that, though it has its difficulties, will nevertheless
contribute something vital and significant, not only to our
theoretical understanding, but to the feeling we will then be
able to develop for the way to seek truth.
I have often had occasion to mention the
fact that there is a contemporary philosopher by the name of
Fritz Mauthner who has written a Critique of Language.1 This Critique of
Language was intended to provide
our period with something better suited to it than Kant
provided for his time with his Critique of Pure Reason.2 For