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The Riddle of Humanity

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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The Riddle of Humanity

On-line since: 29th July, 2002


  1. The house near the west portal is ‘Haus Duldeck’, the house of Dr Grosheintz.

  2. Otto Weininger, (1880 – 1903): Geschlecht und Charakter, 17th edition, Vienna and Leipzig, 1918.

  3. Otto Weininger: über die letzte Dinge, Vienna and Leipzig, 1904.

  4. For the sake of clarity, the exact astronomical calculations for the three cases discussed are shown here (one Sun-year / 365.26 days):
    1. Cosmic Jubilee Year: Mercury-orbit, 87.97 days x 354 3/8 x 49 = 4,182 years
    2. Jupiter Year: Jupiter-orbit, (11.86 years = 4,332.59 days) 4,332.59 days x 354 3/8 = 4,203 years
    3. Uranus: Uranus-orbit, (84.01 years = 30,688.39 days) 30,688.39 days x 49 = 4,117 years x 50 = 4,201 years

  5. Ludwig Buchner (1824 – 1899).

  6. Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919).

  7. Carl Vogt (1817 – 1895).

  8. Botocudian: The Botocudos are an Indian tribe of eastern Brazil. According to Chamber's Encyclopaedia of 1901 (Vol. 11, pp., 356-7), they are ‘the most barbarous of the Indian tribes of Brazil’. The tenor of the description that follows suggests how ‘botocudian’ could have become synonymous with extreme barbarism. The article concludes with the comment, ‘Ungovernably passionate, they often commit outrageous cruelties; but through systematically cruel treatment they have been almost annihilated, and now number not more than 4,000.’

  9. Jan Kasprowicz (1860 – 1926): The source of the cited text has not yet been discovered.

  10. ‘earlier lectures’: see An Occult Physiology, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1983.

  11. Carl Ludwig Schleich (1859 – 1922): Doctor, philosopher and poet. Vom Schaltwerk der Gedanken, Berlin, 1916.

  12. Christian von Ehrenfels (1859 – 1922): Philosopher. Kosmogonie, Jena, 1916. The cited passages are to be found on pages VII, VIII, 49-56.

  13. The experiment referred to was carried out by Franz von List, a professor of criminal law.

  14. The birth of Aphrodite: Compare lines 188 ff. of Hesiod's Theogony:

  15. But the members themselves, when Kronos
    had lopped them with the flint,
    he threw from the mainland
    into the great wash of the sea water
    and they drifted a great while
    on the open sea, and there spread
    a circle of white foam
    from the immortal flesh, and in it
    grew a girl, whose course first took her
    to holy Kythera
    and from there she afterward made her way
    to sea-washed Cyprus
    and stepped ashore, a modest lovely goddess,
    and about her
    light and slender feet the grass grew,
    and the gods call her
    Aphrodite, and men do too,
    and the Aphro-foam-born
    goddess, and garlanded Kythereia,
    because from the seafoam
    she grew, and Kythereia, because she came forth
    from wave-washed Cyprus,
    and Philommedea, because she appeared
    from medea, members ...

    (Hesiod, translated by Richmond Lattimore. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1959.)

  16. Schiller, when he wrote the words: The words in question are to be found in the poem, Die Kunstler (The Artist).

  17. Richard Wahle (b. 1857): Das ganze der Philosophie und ihr Ende. Ihre Vermachtnisse an die Theologie, Aesthetik und Staatspedagogik, Vienna and Leipzig, 1894.

  18. William James (1842 – 1910): American philosopher and psychologist.

  19. Charles Sanders Pierce (1839 – 1914): American philosopher.

  20. F. C. S. Schiller (1864 – 1937): English philosopher.

  21. Hans Vaihinger (1852 – 1933): Philosophie des Als Ob, System der theoreticshen, praktischen und religiosen Fiktionen der Menschheit auf Grund eines idealistischen Positivismus, 2nd edition, Berlin, 1913.

  22. Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853 – 1929): Dutch physicist; founder of the theory of electrons.

  23. Albert Schaffle (1831 – 1903): Die Aussichtslosigkeit der Sozialdemokratie. Drei Briefe an einen Staatsmann zur Erganzung der ‘Quintessenz des Sozialismus’, Tubingen, 1885.

  24. Hermann Bahr (1863 – 1934): Die Einsichtslosigkeit des Herm Schaffle. Drei Breife an einen Volksmann als Antwort auf ‘Die Aussichtslosigkeit der Sozialdemokratie’, Zurich, 1886.

  25. Emile Boutroux (1845 – 1921): French philosopher.

  26. Francois Pierre Gauthier Maine de Biran (1766 – 1824): French philosopher.

  27. Henri Bergson (1859 – 1941): French philosopher.

  28. Rudolf Eucken (1846 – 1926): German philosopher.

  29. Marie Jean Guyau (1854 – 1888): French poet and philosopher. Esquisse d'une morale sans obligation ni sanction, Paris, 1884.

  30. Julius Bahnsen (1830 – 1881).

  31. The twelve senses: Compare with this lecture the lecture given by Rudolf Steiner on 8 August 1920 in Dornach, ‘Man's Twelve Senses in their relation to Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition’. Available in English in typescript. (See Spiritual Science as a foundation for Social Forma — lecture 3)

  32. Ernst Mach (1838 – 1916): philosopher.

  33. ‘O Sun, of this world thou king ...’

  34. This verse is to be found among a series of similar verses in texts attributed to the fifteenth century author, Basilius Valentinus. They have been published repeatedly since the seventeenth century. The version used by Rudolf Steiner agrees with that in Basilius Valentinus, Chymische Schtiften, Hamburg, 1717, p.144.

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