Rudolf Steiner Archive 

Calendar of the Soul

Northern Hemisphere
Week 13

And when I live in senses' heights,
There flames up deep within my soul
Out of the spirit's fiery worlds
The gods' own word of truth:
In spirit sources seek expectantly
To find your spirit kinship.

Southern Hemisphere
Week 39

Surrendering to spirit revelation
I gain the light of cosmic being;
The power of thinking, growing clearer,
Gains strength to give myself to me,
And quickening there frees itself
From thinker's energy my sense of self.

—Translation by Ruth and Hans Pusch

See GA 40 for full calendar and German text.

The Riddle of Man
GA 20

New Perspectives

The purpose of this book is to indicate germinal points in the world views of a series of thinkers from Fichte to Hamerling. The contemplation of these germinal points evokes a feeling that these thinkers drew from a source of spiritual experience from which much more can flow than they brought forth. What matters is not so much one's acceptance or rejection of what they expressed, but rather one's understanding of the character of their striving for knowledge and the direction of their path. One can then arrive at the view that there is something in this character and direction that is more promise than fulfillment. And yet it is a promise with innate power, bearing the guarantee of its fulfillment within itself.

Through this one gains a relationship to these thinkers that is not one of adherence to the dogmas of their world views, but rather one leading to the insight that: Upon the paths they took, there lie living powers for seeking knowledge that did not take effect in what they themselves recognized but that can lead out of and beyond it.

This need not mean returning to Fichte, Hegel, and the others in the hope that, by taking better paths from their starting points, one will thus arrive at better results.

No, that cannot be the point for us — to be “motivated” by these thinkers in this way — but rather to gain access to the sources from which they drew and to recognize what still lies hidden within these sources as motivating powers, in spite of the work of these thinkers.

A look at the spirit of the modern, natural-scientific way of picturing things (Vorstellungsart) can make one feel how much the idealism in world views living in the above thinkers is a promise awaiting fulfillment.

Through its results in a certain direction, this natural scientific way of picturing things has demonstrated the efficacy of its cognitive means. One can already find this way of picturing things essentially prefigured in a thinker who was at work when its development began — in Galileo. (In his vice-chancellor's address to the Vienna University in 1894, the Austrian philosopher and Catholic priest Laurenz Müllner discussed the significance of Galileo in the most beautiful way.) What was already indicated by Galileo reappears, in an evolved state, in the directions taken by the research of the adherents of the modern natural-scientific way of thinking. This way of thinking has attained its significance by letting the world phenomena arising in the field of sens e observation speak purely for themselves, within their own lawful interconnections, and by wishing to allow nothing of what the human soul experiences from these phenomena to flow into what this way of thinking admits as knowledge. No matter what view one might hold about the natural-scientific picture of the world — whose fulfillment of the above cognitive demand is already possible or even achieved today — this cannot detract from one's recognition that this demand provides a sound basis for a valid picture of natural existence. If the adherent of an idealistic or spiritual-scientific world view takes a negative stance toward this demand today, he shows by this either that he does not understand the meanings of this demand, or that something of a natural-scientific way of picturing things are under the misconception that through such a world view something or other of the results of natural science is called into question.

To anyone who penetrates into the true meaning of modern natural science, it is clear that this science does not undermine knowledge of the spiritual world, but rather supports and ensures it. One will not be able to arrive at this clarity, however, by imagining oneself, through all kinds of theoretical arguments, to be an opponent of a knowledge of the spiritual world, but rather by turning one's gaze upon what makes the natural-scientific picture of the world sensible and meaningful. The natural-scientific way of picturing things excludes everything from what it studies that is experienced through the inner being of the human soul. It investigates how things and processes relate to each other. What the soul, through its inner being, can experience about things serves only to reveal how things are, irrespective of these inner experiences. This is how the picture of purely natural occurrences comes about. This picture will in fact fulfill its task all the better, the more it succeeds in excluding this inner life. But one must now consider the characteristic traits of this picture. What one presents to oneself in this way as a picture of nature — precisely in the case where it fulfills the ideal of natural-scientific knowledge — cannot bear within itself anything that could ever be perceived by a human being nor any other soul being. The natural-scientific way of picturing things must provide a picture of the world that explains the relationship of natural facts but whose content would have to remain unperceivable. If the world actually were as pure natural science must picture it, then this world could never arise within a consciousness as a content of mental pictures. Hamerling is of the opinion: “Certain oscillations of the air produce sound in our ear. Sound, therefore, does not exist without an ear. A rifle shot, therefore, would not ring out if no one heard it.” Hamerling is wrong, because he has not grasped the determining factors of the natural-scientific picture of the world. If he did, he would say: When a sound arises, natural science must picture something that would not sound even if an ear were there ready to hear it sound. And natural science is acting correctly in this. In his lecture, “The Limits to Our Knowledge of Nature” (1872), the natural scientist, Du Bois-Reymond expresses himself quite aptly on this subject: “Silent and dark in itself, i.e., without any qualities” is the world for the view — gained by natural-scientific study — which, “instead of sound and light, knows only oscillations of a primal substance, without qualities, that has turned into weigh able matter here and into unweighable matter there”; but to this he adds the statement: “God's words in Moses' depiction — ‘Let there be light’ — are physiologically incorrect. Light first came into existence when the first red ‘eyespot’ of an infusorian [euglena] distinguished light from darkness for the first time. Without optical and aural substance this world around us, glowing with color and filled with sound, would be dark and silent.” No, this second statement cannot be made by someone who in fact understands the full implications of the first. For, this world, whose picture is correctly sketched out by natural science, would remain “silent and dark” even when confronted by optical and aural substance. One fools oneself about this only because the real world, from which one has gained the picture of a “silent and dark” world, does not actually remain silent and dark when one perceives in it. But I should no more expect this picture to correspond to the real world than I would expect the portrait of a friend to step out of his picture as a real person. Just look at the matter from all sides, without preconceptions, and you will certainly find that if the world were as natural science depicts it, no being would ever experience anything about it. To be sure, the world pictured by natural science is there, in a certain way, within the reality from which man perceives his sense world; but lacking in this picture is everything by which it could be perceived by some being. What this way of picturing things must posit as underlying light, sound, warmth does not shine, sound, or warm. Only by experience does one know that the pictures arrived at by this way of thinking were drawn from something shining, sounding, warming; one therefore lives in the belief that what one pictures is also something shining, sounding, and warming. This mistaken belief is the most difficult to penetrate when one is dealing with the sense of touch. There it seems to be enough that something material — precisely as something material — is spread out around us and, through its resistance, stimulates a tactile perception. But something material-spatial can also only exert pressure; the pressure, however, cannot be felt. What seems to be the case deceives us here the most. But one does have to do in fact only with what seems to be the case. What underlies tactile sensations also cannot be felt by touch. Let it be expressly stated here that we are not merely saying that the world lying behind sense impressions is in fact different from what our senses make out of it; we are emphasizing that the natural-scientific way of picturing things must think of this underlying world in such a way that our senses could make nothing out of it if it were in actuality as it was thought to be. From observation, natural science draws forth a world picture that through its own nature cannot be observed at all.1NoteGoesHere!

What we are dealing with here came to light in a world historic moment of spiritual evolution: When Goethe, out of the world view of German idealism that lay in his whole nature, rejected Newton's color theory. (For nearly three decades, the present writer has sought in various writings to draw attention to this decisive point in the assessment of Goethe's color theory. But what he said in an 1893 lecture in Frankfurt's “Independent German Academy” still holds good today: “The time will come when even for this question the scientific prerequisites for an understanding among scientists will be present. Today, precisely the investigations of physics are heading in a direction that cannot lead to Goethean thinking.”)

Goethe understood that Newton's color theory could provide a picture representing only a world that is not luminous and does not shine forth in colors. Since Goethe did not involve himself in the demands of a purely natural-scientific world picture, his actual opposition to Newton went astray in many places. But the main thing is that he had a correct feeling for the fundamental issue. When a person, by means of light, observes colors, he is confronting a different world from the only one Newton is able to describe. And Goethe does observe the real world of colors. But if one enters a realm such as this — whether of colors or of other natural phenomena — one needs other ideas than those depicted in the “dark and silent world” imagined by the natural-scientific way of picturing things. In this picture, no reality is depicted that can be perceived. Real nature simply does in fact already contain within itself something that cannot be included in this picture. The “dark world” of the physicist could not be perceived by any eye; light is already spiritual. Within the sense-perceptible the spiritual holds sway. [2] To wish to grasp this spiritual with the means of natural science is committing the same error as someone who demands of himself as a painter that he paint a man who can walk around in the world. For Goethe, even as a physicist, the ground on which he moved was the spiritual. The world view for which he used the term “in accordance with the spirit” (geistgemäss) made it impossible for him to find in Newton's color theory anything in the way of ideas about real light and real colors. But with the natural scientific way of picturing things, one does not find the spirit in the sense world. That the world view of German idealism had a correct feeling about this is one of its essential characteristics. It may be that what one or another personality has said out of this feeling is only a first germ of a complete plant; but the germ is there and bears within itself the power to unfold. But to this insight — that in the sense world there is spirit which cannot be grasped by the natural-scientific way of picturing things — another insight must be added: modern natural science has already demonstrated, or is on its way to demonstrating, the dependency of ordinary human soul life — running its course in the sense world — upon the instrument of the body. One enters a realm here in which, as though by entirely obvious objections, one can seemingly be refuted in a crushing way if one declares one's belief in the existence of an independent spiritual world. For what could be clearer than that man's soul life, from childhood on, unfolds as the physical organs develop and declines to the extent that the organs age? What is clearer than that the crippling of certain parts of the brain also causes the loss of certain spiritual abilities? What seems clearer, therefore, than that everything of a soul-spiritual nature is bound to matter and without it can have no continued existence, at least not one about which man knows? One does not even need to take counsel on this from the brilliant results of modern natural science; De la Mettrie, in his book Man: A Machine (L'homme Machine) written in 1746, has already expressed in a sufficiently correct way what is so self-evident in this assertion. This French thinker says: “Since a feebleminded person, as one can usually observe, does not lack brains, his problem must be due to the faulty nature of this organ, its excessive softness, for example. The same applies to imbeciles; the flaws in their brains do not always remain hidden to our investigation; but if the causes of feeble-mindedness, imbecility, and so on are not always recognizable, where should one seek the causes for differences between all human spirits? These causes would escape lynx and Argus eyes. A nothing, a tiny fiber, a thing that even the finest anatomy cannot discover would have turned Erasmus and Fontenelle into two fools — an observation that Fontenelle himself makes in one of his best dialogues.” Now, the adherent of a world view in accordance with the spirit would show little insight if he did not acknowledge the telling and obvious force of such an assertion. He can take this assertion even further and say: Would the world ever have received what Erasmus's spirit accomplished if someone had killed him when he was still a child?

If a world view in accordance with the spirit ever had to resort to denying such obvious facts or even to belittling their significance, it would be in a bad way. But such a world view can be rooted in ground that no materialistic objection can take away from it.

Human soul experience, as it manifests in thinking, feeling, and willing, is at first bound to the bodily instruments. And this experience takes shape in ways determined by these instruments. If someone asserts, however, that when he observes the manifestations of the soul through the body he is seeing the real life of the soul, he is then caught up in the same error as someone who believes that his actual form is brought forth by the mirror in front of him just because the mirror possesses the necessary prerequisites through which his image appears. Within certain limits this image, as image, is indeed dependent upon the form of the mirror, etc; but what this image represents has nothing to do with the mirror. In order fully to fulfill its essential being within the sense world, human soul life must have an image of its being. It must have this image in consciousness; otherwise it would indeed have an existence, but no picture, no knowledge of it. This image, now, that lives in the ordinary consciousness of the soul is fully determined by the bodily instruments. Without these, the image would not be there, just as the mirror image would not be there without the mirror. But what appears through this image, the soul element itself, is — in its essential being — no more dependent upon the bodily instruments than the person standing before the mirror is dependent upon the mirror. The soul is not dependent upon the bodily instruments; only the ordinary consciousness of the soul is so. The materialistic view of the human soul succumbs to a deception caused by the fact that ordinary consciousness, which is only there through the bodily instruments, is mistaken for the soul itself. The essential being of the soul flows just as little into this ordinary consciousness as my essential being flows into my mirror image. This essential being of the soul, therefore, also cannot be found in ordinary consciousness; it must be experienced outside of this consciousness. And it can be experienced, for the human being can develop a different consciousness within himself than the one determined by the bodily instruments.

Eduard von Hartmann, a thinker who has come forth from the world view of German idealism, has clearly recognized that ordinary consciousness is an outcome of the bodily instruments, and that the soul itself is not contained within this consciousness. But he did not recognize that the soul can develop a different consciousness, which is not dependent upon the bodily instruments, and through which the soul can experience itself. Therefore he believed that this soul-being lay within an unconscious element about which one can only make mental pictures by drawing conclusions, from ordinary consciousness, about a “thing-in-itself” — that itself actually remains unknown — of the soul. But in this, like many of his predecessors, Hartmann has stopped short before the threshold that must be crossed if a well-founded knowledge of the spiritual world is to be attained. One cannot cross this threshold, in fact, if one is afraid to give one's soul forces a completely different direction than they take under the influence of our ordinary consciousness. The soul experiences its own essential being within this consciousness only in the images produced for it by the bodily instruments. If the soul could experience only in this way, it would be in a situation comparable to that of a being who stands before a mirror and can see only its image, but can experience nothing about itself. The moment this being became livingly manifest to itself, however, it would enter into an entirely different relationship to its mirror image than before.

A person who cannot resolve to discover something different in his soul life than is offered him by ordinary consciousness will either deny that the essential being of the soul can be known, or will flatly declare that this being is produced by the body.

One stands here before another barrier that the natural-scientific way of picturing things must erect, out of its own thoroughly justified demands. The first barrier resulted from the fact that these demands must sketch the picture of a world that could never enter a consciousness through perception. The second barrier arises because natural-scientific thinking must rightly declare that the experiences of ordinary consciousness come about through the bodily instruments and therefore, in reality, contain nothing of any soul. It is entirely understandable that modern thinking feels itself placed between these two barriers, and out of scientific conscientiousness, doubts the possibility of arriving at a knowledge of a real spiritual world that can be attained neither through the picture of a “silent and dark” nature, nor through the phenomena of ordinary consciousness, which are dependent upon the body. And whoever — merely from some dim feeling or out of a hazy mysticism — believes himself able to be convinced of the existence of a spiritual world would do better to acquaint himself with the difficult situation of modern thinking than to rail against the “raw, crude” mental pictures of natural science.

One gets beyond what the natural-scientific way of picturing things can give only when one experiences in the inner life of the soul that there is an awakening out of ordinary consciousness; an awakening to a soul experience of a kind and direction that relates to the world of ordinary consciousness the way the latter relates to the picture-world of dreams. Goethe speaks in his way about awakening out of ordinary consciousness and calls the soul faculty thus acquired “the power to judge in beholding”. (anschauende Urteilskraft). [3] In Goethe's view, this power to judge in beholding grants the soul the ability to behold that which, as the higher reality of things, conceals itself from the cognition of ordinary consciousness. In his affirmation of this human ability, Goethe placed himself in opposition to Kant, who had denied to man any “power to judge in beholding,” Goethe knew from the experience of his own soul life, however, that an awakening of ordinary consciousness into one with the power to judge in beholding is possible. Kant believed he had to designate any such awakening as an “adventure of reason,” Goethe replied to this ironically: “Since I had, after all, ceaselessly pressed on, at first unconsciously and out of an inner urge, toward that primal archetypal element, since I had even succeeded in building up a presentation of this which was in accordance with nature, nothing more could keep me then from courageously undertaking the adventure of reason, as the old man of Konigsberg himself calls it,” (The “old man of Konigsberg” is Kant, For Goethe's view on this, see my edition of Goethe's natural-scientific works.) [4] In what follows now the awakened consciousness will be called a seeing consciousness (schauendes Bewusstsein). This kind of awakening can occur only when one develops a different relationship to the world of thoughts and will than is experienced in ordinary consciousness. It is entirely understandable today that the significance of such an awakening would be regarded with mistrust. For, what has made the natural-scientific way of picturing things great is the fact that it has opposed the claims of any dim mysticism. And although only that awakening in consciousness has validity as spiritual-scientific research which leads into realms of ideas of mathematical clarity and consistency, people who wish to arrive in an easy way at convictions about the greatest questions of world existence confuse this valid awakening with their own mystical muddle-headedness, which they claim is based on true spiritual research. Out of the fear that any pointing to an “awakening of the soul” could lead to such mystical muddle-headedness, and through seeing the knowledge often presented by such mystical illuminati, people acquainted with the demands of the modern natural-scientific way of picturing things keep aloof from any research that wishes, by claiming an “awakened consciousness,” to enter the spiritual world. [5] Now such an awakening is altogether possible, however, through one's developing, in inner (soul) experience, a certain activation differing from the usual — of the powers of one's soul being (thought and will experiences). The indication that with the idea of the awakened consciousness one is continuing in the direction taken by Goethe's world view can show that our study here wishes to have nothing to do with the mental pictures of any muddled mysticism. Through an inner strengthening, one can lift oneself out of the state of ordinary consciousness and in doing so experience something similar to the transition from dreaming into wakeful mental picturing. Whoever passes from dreaming into a waking state experiences how will penetrates into the course of his mental pictures, whereas in dreaming he is given over to the course of his dream pictures without his own will involvement. What occurs through unconscious processes when one awakens from sleep can be effected on a different level by conscious soul activity. The human being can bring a stronger exercise of will into his ordinary conscious thinking than is present there in his usual experience of the physical world. Through this he can pass over from thinking to an experience of thinking. In ordinary consciousness, thinking is not experienced; rather, through thinking, one experiences what is thought. But there is an inner work the soul can do that gradually brings one to the point of living, not in what is thought, but rather in the very activity of thinking itself. A thought that is not simply received from the ordinary course of life but rather is placed into one's consciousness with will in order that one experience it in its thought nature: such a thought releases different forces in the soul than one that is evoked by the presence of outer impressions or by the ordinary course of one's soul life. And when, ever anew within itself, the soul rouses that devotion [6] — practiced only to a small degree, in fact, in ordinary life — to thoughts as such, when the soul concentrates upon thoughts as thoughts: then it discovers within itself powers that are not employed in ordinary life but remain slumbering (latent), as it were. These are powers that are discovered only through conscious use. But they predispose the soul to an experience not present before their discovery. The thoughts fill themselves with a life all their own, which the thinking (meditating) person feels to be connected with his own soul being. (What is meant here by “seeing consciousness” does not arise from ordinary waking consciousness through bodily [physiological] processes the way ordinary waking consciousness arises from dream consciousness. In the awakening from this latter consciousness into day consciousness, one has to do with a changing engagement [Einstellung] of the body relative to outer reality. In the awakening from ordinary consciousness into seeing consciousness, one has to do with a changing engagement of one's soul-spiritual way of picturing things relative to a spiritual world.)

For this discovery of the life in thoughts, however, the expenditure of conscious will is necessary. But this cannot simply be that will which appears in ordinary consciousness. The will must also become engaged in a different way and in a different direction, so to speak, than for experience in mere sense-perceptible existence. In ordinary life one feels oneself to be at the center of what one wills or what one wants. For even in wanting, a kind of held-back will is at work. The will streams out from the “I” and down into desire, into bodily movement, into one's action. A will in this direction is ineffective for the soul's awakening out of ordinary consciousness. But there is also a direction of will that in a certain sense is the opposite of this. It is at work when, without any direct look at an outer result, a person seeks to direct his own “I.” This direction of the will manifests in a person's efforts to shape his thinking into something meaningful and to improve upon his feelings, and in all his impulses of self-education. In a gradual intensification of the will forces present in a person in this direction there lies what he needs in order to awaken out of his ordinary consciousness. One can particularly help oneself in pursuit of this goal by observing the life of nature with inner heart's (Gemüt) involvement. One seeks, for example, to look at a plant in such a way that one not only takes up its form into one's thoughts, but also, as it were, feels along with its inner life, which stretches upward in the stem, spreads out in the leaves, opens what is inside to what is outside with its blossom, and so on. In such thinking the will is also present in gentle resonance; and there, will is a will that is developed in devotion and that guides the soul; a will that does not originate from the soul, but rather directs its activity upon the soul. At first, one quite naturally believes that this will originates in the soul. In experiencing the process itself, however, one recognizes that through this reversal of the will, a spiritual element, existing outside the soul, is grasped by the soul.

When will is strengthened in this direction and grasps a person's thought-life in the way indicated, then, in actual fact, out of the circumference of his ordinary consciousness, another consciousness arises that relates to his ordinary one like this ordinary consciousness relates to a weaving in dream pictures. And this kind of a seeing consciousness is in a position to experience and know the spiritual world. (In a series of earlier books, the author of this work has presented in a more detailed way what is only indicated here briefly, as it were. In such a short presentation, objections, misgivings, etc., cannot be taken up; this has been done in my other books; and there one can find many things presented that provide the deeper foundations for what is expressed here. The titles of the relevant books are listed at the end of this book. [7]

A will that does not tend in the direction just indicated, but rather toward everyday desiring, wishing, and so on, cannot — when this will is brought to bear upon one's thought-life in the way described — lead to the awakening of a seeing consciousness out of the ordinary one; it can lead only to a dimming down of this ordinary consciousness into waking dreams, phantasmagoria, visionary states, and such like.

The processes that lead to what is meant here by a seeing consciousness are entirely of a soul-spiritual nature; and their very description protects what is attained by them from being confused with pathological states (visions, mediumism, ecstasies, and so on). All these pathological states push consciousness down beneath the level it assumes in the waking human being who can fully employ his healthy physical soul organs. [8]

It has often been indicated in this book how the science of the soul developed under the influence of the modern natural-scientific way of picturing things has moved away entirely from the significant questions of soul life. Eduard von Hartmann has written a book, Modern Psychology, in which he presents a history of the science of the soul in the second half of the nineteenth century. He states there: “Modern psychologists either leave aside the question of man's free will (Freiheit) entirely, or occupy themselves with it, in fact, only so far as is necessary to show that, on a strictly deterministic basis, just that amount of practical freedom arises which suffices for judicial and moral responsibility. Only in the first half of the period under discussion do a few theistic philosophers still adhere both to the immortality of a self-conscious soul substance and also to a residue of undeterministic freedom; but mostly they are content with wanting to found the scientific possibility of their heart's wish.” Now, from the point of view of the natural-scientific way of picturing things, one can actually speak neither about the true freedom of the human soul nor about the question of human immortality. With respect to this latter question, let us recall once more the words of the significant psychologist Franz Brentano: “The laws of mental association, of the development of convictions and opinions, and of the germinating of pleasure and love, all these would be anything but a true compensation for not gaining certainty about the hopes of a Plato and Aristotle for the continued existence of our better part after the dissolution of the body. ... And if the modern way of thinking really did signify the elimination of the question of immortality, then this elimination would have to be called an extremely portentous one for psychology:” Now for the natural-scientific way of thinking, only ordinary consciousness is present. This consciousness, however, in its entirety, is dependent upon the bodily organs. When these fall away at death, our ordinary kind of consciousness also falls away. But seeing consciousness, which has awakened out of this ordinary consciousness, can approach the question of immortality. Strange as this may seem to a way of picturing things that wishes to remain merely within natural science, this seeing consciousness experiences itself within a spiritual world in which the soul has an existence outside the body. Just as awakening from a dream gives one the consciousness that one is no longer given over to a stream of pictures without one's own will involvement, but now stands connected through one's senses with a real outer world, so the awakening into seeing consciousness gives one the direct and experienced certainty that one stands, with one's essential being, within a spiritual world, and that one experiences and knows oneself in something which is independent of the body, something which actually is the soul organism inferred by Immanuel Hermann Fichte, which belongs to a spiritual world and must still belong to it after the destruction of the body.

And since, ill seeing consciousness, one becomes familiar with a consciousness rooted in the spiritual world and therefore different from ordinary consciousness, one can no longer revert to the opinion — because our ordinary kind of consciousness must indeed fall away along with its bodily instruments — that with the destruction of the body all consciousness must cease. In a spiritual science that regards the seeing consciousness as a source of knowledge, something becomes reality of which — out of the idealism of German world views — the school director of Bloomberg, Johann Heinrich Reinhardt, had inklings (see pages 54ff. of this book): that it is possible to know how the soul, “in this life already, is elaborating the new body” that it will then carry over the threshold of death into the spiritual world. (To speak of a “body” in this connection sounds materialistic; for, what is meant of course is precisely the soul-spiritual element that is free of the body; but it is necessary in such cases to apply to something spiritual names taken from what is sense-perceptible, in order to indicate sharply that one means something spiritually real, not just a conceptual abstraction.)

Relative to the question of human freedom [9], a particular conflict in our knowledge of the soul presents itself. Ordinary consciousness knows free human resolve as an inwardly experienced fact. Faced with this experience, ordinary consciousness cannot actually let any teaching take this freedom away from it. And yet it seems as though the natural-scientific way of picturing things could not acknowledge this experience. For every effect it seeks the causes. What I do in this moment seems to it dependent upon the impressions I have now, upon my memories, upon my inborn and acquired inclinations, and so on. Many things are working together; I cannot survey them all, therefore I appear free to myself. But the truth is that I am determined in my action by the working together of all these causes. Freedom would therefore appear to be an illusion. One does not escape this conflict as long as, from the standpoint of seeing consciousness, one does not regard ordinary consciousness as only a mirroring — effected by the bodily organization — of the true soul processes, and as long as one does not regard the soul as a being rooted in the spiritual world and independent of the body. Something that is merely a picture can, through itself, effect nothing. If something is effected by a picture, then this must occur through an entity that lets itself be determined by the picture. But the human soul is in this situation when it does something for which its only motivation is a thought present in ordinary consciousness. The image of myself that I see in a mirror effects nothing that I, with the image as motivation, do not effect. The matter is different when a person does not act according to a conscious thought but rather is driven, more or less unconsciously, by an emotion, or impulse of passion, while his conscious mental life only looks on, as it were, at the blind complex of driving forces.

Since it is therefore the conscious thoughts in man's ordinary consciousness that allow him to act freely, he could after all know nothing through ordinary consciousness about his freedom. He would only look at the picture that determines his action and would have to ascribe to it a causal power. He does not do this, because instinctively, in his experience of inner freedom, the true being of the soul shines into ordinary consciousness. (The author of this book, in his Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Philosophie der Freiheit), has sought to shed light upon the question of human freedom in a detailed way out of the observation of human soul experiences.) Spiritual science seeks, from the point of view of seeing consciousness, to shed light into that realm of the true soul life from which the instinctive certainty of man's inner freedom streams into ordinary consciousness.

*    *    *

Man experiences the picture-world of dreams through the fact that the level of life possessed by him in the sense world is toned down. A person with healthy thinking will not seek instruction from dreaming consciousness about waking consciousness; rather, he will make waking consciousness the judge over the world of his dream pictures. A spiritual science that takes the point of view of seeing consciousness thinks in a similar way about the relationship of seeing consciousness to ordinary consciousness. Through a spiritual science such as this, one recognizes that the material world and its processes are in truth only a part of a comprehensive spiritual world, of a spiritual world that lies behind the sense world in the same way the world of sense perceptible material processes and substances lies behind the picture-world of dreams. And one recognizes how the human being descends into sense existence out of a spiritual world; and how this sense existence itself is a manifestation of spiritual being and spiritual processes. It is understandable that many people, out of their habitual thinking, scorn a world view such as this because they consider it estranged from reality and because they believe it makes them less fit for life. It frightens such people to hear that, compared with a higher reality, ordinary reality has something dreamlike about it. But does anything about dream consciousness change through our seeking — from the vantage point of waking consciousness — to understand its nature in reality? A person with a superstitious relationship to his dream-pictures can cloud his judgment in waking consciousness thereby. But our waking judgment can never damage our dreams. In the same way, the adherent of a world view that does not wish to gain entry into the spiritual world can cloud his judgment about the spiritual world; but genuine insight into the spiritual world cannot adversely affect our true assessment of the physical world. Seeing consciousness, therefore, cannot reach disruptively into our life of ordinary consciousness; seeing consciousness will affect it only in a clarifying way.

Only a world view that acknowledges the point of view of seeing consciousness will be able to bring the same understanding both to the modern natural-scientific way of picturing things and to the cognitive goals of modern idealism in world views that works toward knowing the essential being of the world as something spiritual. (Further elaborations on the subject of knowledge of the spiritual world are not possible within the limits of this book. The author must therefore refer the reader to his other works. His purpose here is only to present the basic character of a world view that acknowledges the viewpoint of seeing consciousness insofar as is necessary to indicate the value for life of German idealism in world views.)

The natural-scientific way of picturing things is justified precisely through the fact that the viewpoint of seeing consciousness is valid. The natural scientist and thinker bases his cognitive work on the presupposition that this viewpoint is possible, even though, as a theoretical observer of his own world picture, he will not admit this. Only those theoreticians fail to see this who declare the world picture of the natural-scientific way of picturing things to be the only one justified in a world view. Theoretician and scientist can of course be combined in one person. For our seeing consciousness, sense-perceptions undergo something similar to what dream-pictures undergo when a person wakes up out of sleep. The working powers that bring about a world of pictures when he is dreaming must give way, when he wakes up, to those working powers by which he makes for himself pictures and mental pictures that he knows are conditional upon the reality surrounding him. When seeing consciousness awakens, a person ceases to think his mental pictures in terms of this reality; he knows now that he pictures things in terms of the spiritual world surrounding him. Just as dream consciousness regards its picture-world as reality and knows nothing of the environment of waking consciousness, so ordinary consciousness regards the material world as reality and knows nothing of the spiritual world. The natural scientist, however, seeks a picture of that world which manifests in the mental pictures of ordinary consciousness. But this world cannot be contained in the mental pictures of ordinary consciousness. To seek it there would be like expecting one day to dream what a dream is in its essential nature. (Thinkers like Ernst Mach and others, in fact, foundered on the obstacle indicated here.) As soon as the natural scientist begins to understand his own way of research, he cannot believe that his ordinary consciousness can enter into a relationship with the world that he depicts. In actuality, seeing consciousness enters into this kind of a relationship. But this relationship is a spiritual one. And the sense perception of ordinary consciousness is the revelation of a spiritual relationship that plays itself out — beyond this ordinary consciousness — between the soul and the world the natural scientist depicts. This relationship can only first be seen by our seeing consciousness. If the world depicted by the natural-scientific way of picturing things is thought of as material, it remains incomprehensible; if it is thought of in such a way that something spiritual is living in it which, as something spiritual, speaks to the human spirit in a way that can be known only by our seeing consciousness, then this picture of the world becomes comprehensible in its full validity. Ancient Indian mysticism is a kind of counterpart to the natural-scientific way of picturing things. Whereas natural science depicts a world that is unperceivable, Indian mysticism depicts one in which the knower does indeed want to experience something spiritual, but does not want to intensify this experience to the point of having the power to perceive. The knower does not seek there, through the power of soul experiences, to awaken out of ordinary consciousness into a seeing consciousness; rather, he withdraws from all reality in order to be alone with his knowing activity. He believes, in this way, to have overcome the reality that disturbs him, whereas he has only withdrawn his consciousness from it, and, as it were, let it stand outside himself with its difficulties and riddles. He also believes himself to have become free of his “I” and, through selfless devotion to the spiritual world, to have become one with that world. The truth is that he has only darkened his consciousness of his “I” and is living unconsciously, in fact, altogether in his “I.” Instead of awakening out of ordinary consciousness, he falls back into a dreamlike consciousness. He believes himself to have solved the riddles of existence, whereas he is only holding his soul gaze averted from them. He has the contented feeling of knowledge, because he no longer feels the riddles of knowledge weighing upon him. What a knowing “perceiving” is can be experienced only in knowing the sense world. If it has been experienced there, then it can be further developed for spiritual perceiving. If a person withdraws from this kind of perceiving, he robs himself entirely of the experience of perception and takes himself back to a level of soul experience that is less real than sense perception. He regards not-knowing as a kind of deliverance from knowing and believes that, precisely through this, he is living in a higher spiritual state. He falls into merely living in the “I” and believes himself to have overcome the “I” because he has dimmed down his consciousness that he is weaving entirely within the “I.” Only the finding of his “I” can free the human being from ensnarement by his “I.” (See also the discussions on pages 117ff. of this book [Hamerling begins in an entirely Kantian way: ...]) One can truly have to say all this, and yet have no less understanding and admiration for the magnificent creation of the Bhagavad-Gita and similar productions of Indian mysticism than someone who regards what has been said here as proof that the speaker has “no organ, in fact,” for the sublimity of genuine mysticism. But one should not believe that only the unreserved adherents of a world view know how to value it. (I write this in spite of my awareness that I experience no less from Indian mysticism than any of its unreserved adherents.)

What Johann Gottlieb Fichte brings to expression lies in the direction of a knowledge relating to the world in the way characterized here. This is clear from the way he has to use the image of human dreaming in order to characterize the world of ordinary consciousness. He says: “Pictures exist: they are all that there is, and they know about themselves in the manner of pictures — Pictures that float past; without anything there for them to float past; pictures that relate to each other through pictures of pictures ... All reality transforms itself into a strange dream, without a life that is dreamed about, and without a spirit who is dreaming; transforms itself into a dream that is connected with a dream about itself.” That is a description of the world of ordinary consciousness; and it is the starting point for a recognition of the seeing consciousness which brings an awakening out of the dream of the physical world into the reality of the spiritual world.

Schelling wishes to regard nature as a stage in the evolution of the spirit. He demands that nature be known through an intellectual beholding, He therefore takes a direction whose goal can be seen only from the point of view of seeing consciousness. He takes note of the point where, in his consciousness of inner freedom (Freiheit), the seeing consciousness shines into ordinary consciousness. He seeks finally to go beyond the mere idealism in his Philosophy of Revelation by recognizing that ideas themselves can only be pictures of something, out of a spiritual world, that has a relationship with the human soul.

Hegel senses that within man's thought-world there lies something through which man expresses not only what he experiences from nature, but also what the spirit of nature itself experiences in him and through him. Hegel feels that man can become the spiritual onlooker of a world process playing itself out within him. Lifting what he thus senses and feels up to the point of view of seeing consciousness also lifts man's world picture — which for Hegel is only a reflecting upon the processes that occur in the physical world — up to the beholding of a real spiritual world.

Karl Christian Planck recognizes that the thoughts of ordinary consciousness do not themselves participate in the working of the world, because, correctly viewed, they are pictures of a life; they themselves are not this life, Therefore, Planck is of the view that precisely the person who rightly understands this pictorial nature of thinking can find reality. Insofar as thinking wishes to be nothing itself but speaks about something that is, thinking points to a true reality.

Thinkers like Troxler and Immanuel Hennarm Fichte take up into themselves the forces of German idealism in world views without limitlng themselves to the views that this idealism brought forth in Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Troxler and I.H. Fichte point already to an “inner man” within the “outer man,” to a spirit-soul man, therefore, which the viewpoint of seeing consciousness recognizes as an experienceable reality.

The significance of the viewpoint of seeing consciousness is particularly clear when one considers that tendency in world views which, as the modern teaching of evolution, stretches from Lamarck, through Lyell and others, to Darwin and the present-day view of life. This evolutionary teaching seeks to portray the ascent of the higher life forms out of the lower ones. It thereby fulfills a fundamentally valid task. But, in so doing, it must act the same way the human soul does, in dreaming consciousness, when dealing with dream experiences; it lets the later go forth from the earlier. In actuality, however, the motive forces that conjure a subsequent dream picture out of the previous one are to be sought within the dreamer and not within the dream pictures. Only seeing consciousness is in a position to sense this. Seeing consciousness, therefore, can no more consent to seeking in a lower life form the forces that cause a higher one to arise than waking consciousness can consider one dream really to emerge from the preceding one without considering the dreamer. While experiencing itself within true reality, man's soul being observes the soul-spiritual element that it sees working in present human nature as also working already in the evolutionary forms that led up to the present human being. This soul being will not anthropomorphically dream the present human entity into the phenomena of nature; but it will know that the soul-spiritual element that seeing consciousness experiences within present-day man is at work in all the natural happenings that have led up to man. Its knowledge will be such that the spiritual world becoming manifest to the human being also contains the origins of the natural configurations that preceded man. This represents a correct development of what Wilhelm Heinrich Preuss — out of the motive forces of German idealism — was striving for in his teaching which “rescues the concept of species insofar as is factually possible, but at the same time transfers the concept of evolution set up by Darwin into its realm and seeks to make it fruitful.” From the point of view of seeing consciousness, one cannot indeed say what Preuss said: “Now the center of this new teaching is man: the species homo sapiens that appears only once upon our planet”; rather, the center of a world view that encompasses human reality is the spiritual world that reveals itself within man. And seen in this way, what Preuss believes seems true: “Strange that earlier observers started with the objects of nature and then went so far astray that they did not find the path to man, which even Darwin in fact achieved only in a most sorry and thoroughly unsatisfactorily way by seeking the progenitor of the lord of creation among the animals, — whereas, the natural scientist would have to start with himself as human being in order, proceeding through the whole realm of existence and thinking, to return again to mankind. ...”

The viewpoint of seeing consciousness cannot lead to an anthropomorphical interpretation of natural phenomena, for it recognizes a spiritual reality of which what appears in man is just as much the revelation as what appears in nature. This anthropomorphic dreaming of the human entity into nature was a forbidding specter for Feuerbach and the Feuerbachians. This forbidding specter became for them the obstacle to their recognition of a spiritual reality.

This forbidding specter worked on also in Carneri's activity as a thinker. It crept in disruptively when he sought the relationship of his ethical view of life, which was based upon the soul being of man, to the Darwinistically tinged view of nature. But the motive forces of German idealism in world views drowned out this disruption, and so it came about that he started with the soul-spiritual element in man, which is ethically predisposed, and, proceeding through the whole realm of existence and thinking, returned again to a mankind that is perfecting itself ethically.

The direction taken by German idealism in world views cannot flow into any acknowledgment of a teaching that dreams unspiritual motive forces into the evolution of higher forms of existence out of lower ones. For this reason, Hegel already had to say: “Thinking observation must rid itself of these nebulous mental pictures, which are basically taken from perception, — especially such pictures as the so-called emergence of plants and animals from the water, for example, and then the emergence of more developed animal organizations out of lower ones, and so on.”

And the feelings with which Herman Grimm assigns the natural-scientific world picture its place in man's larger world view are born from this idealism in world views. Herman Grimm, the brilliant art historian, the stimulating portrayer of great interrelationships in the history of mankind, did not like to express himself on questions relative to world views; he preferred to leave this realm to others. But when he did speak about these things, he did so out of the direct sense of his own personality. With respect to his judgments, he felt secure in that field of judgment which encompassed the German idealistic world view and upon which he knew he stood. And from foundations of his soul like these there came the words he spoke in his twenty-third lecture on Goethe: “Long before, already in his (Goethe's) youth, the great Laplace-Kant fantasy about the rise and eventual downfall of our globe had taken effect. Out of the rotating world mist-children already get this in school — a central drop of gas takes shape from which the earth afterwards arises and, as a solidifying globe, through inconceivable ages of time, passes through all its phases — including the episode of its habitation by the I human race — in order finally, as burnt-out slag, to plunge back into the sun; a long process — but fully comprehensible to the public — needing for its realization no further I input from outside than the efforts of some external power or other to maintain the sun at the same temperature. — A more barren perspective for the future cannot be conceived than this expectation, supposedly forced upon us today by scientific necessity. A carrion bone, avoided even by a hungry dog, would be a refreshing and appetizing morsel compared to this final excrement of creation, the earth, as they picture it ultimately falling prey again to the sun; and the intellectual curiosity with which our generation takes up such things and professes to believe them is one sign of a sick imagination that scholars of future ages will one day have to expend much keen thought to explain as a historical phenomenon of our time. — Never did Goethe allow such bleak prospects to enter ... Goethe would have taken good care not to draw the conclusions of the Darwinian school from what he first discovered from nature in this direction and then expressed.” (With respect to Goethe's relationship to the natural-scientific way of picturing things, see my introductions to Goethe's natural-scientific writings in Kürschner's “German National Literature” and my book Goethe's World View. [10]

*    *    *

Robert Hamerling's reflections also move in a direction that finds its justification in the viewpoint of seeing consciousness. From the human “I” that thinks itself, he leads his observation over to the “I” that experiences itself in thinking; from the will that works in man, he leads his observation over to the world-will. But the “I” that experiences itself can only be seen when, in soul experience, an awakening within spiritual reality occurs; and the world-will penetrates into our knowledge only when the human “I,” in experience, grasps a willing in which the “I”, does not make itself a point of departure but rather an end point, a goal, in which it directs itself toward unfolding what occurs within the world of one's inner life. Then the soul lives into the spiritual reality in which the motive forces of nature's development can also be experienced in their actual being, Passages from his Atomism of Will like the following show how Hamerling's reflections lead to a sense that one is justified in speaking of this kind of awakening of the “I” that knows itself to be within the spiritual world: “In the half-light of bold mysticism and in the light of free speculation, this riddle, this wonder, this mysterious ‘I,’ interprets and grasps itself as one of the countless forms of manifestation in which infinite being (Sein) attains reality, and without which the ‘I’ would be only a nothing, a shadow,” And: “To want to trace a thought in the human brain back to the activity of thoroughly lifeless, material atoms remains for all time a vain and foolish undertaking. Material atoms could never become the bearers of a thought if there did not already lie within them something that is of the same nature as the thought. And this original something, which is related in nature to living thinking, is also without a doubt the atoms' true core, their true self, their true being (Sein),” With this thought, Hamerling does confront the viewpoint of seeing consciousness, but with mere inklings of it. Certainly, to want to trace the thoughts of the human brain back to the activity of material atoms does remain “for all time a vain and foolish undertaking,” For this is no better than wanting to trace back the mirror image of a person merely to the activity of the mirror. But in ordinary consciousness thoughts appear, after all, as the mirroring — determined by the material element of the brain — of something living and full of being that works with power in these thoughts. but unconsciously as far as ordinary consciousness is concerned. Only from the viewpoint of seeing consciousness does this “something” first become comprehensible. It is that real element in which seeing consciousness experiences itself, and to which also the material element of the brain relates like a picture does to the being that is pictured. On the one hand the viewpoint of seeing consciousness seeks to overcome the “half-light of bold mysticism” by the clarity of a thinking that is logically consistent in itself and that has full insight into itself; on the other hand, it seeks to overcome the unreal (abstract) thinking of philosophical “speculation” by a cognitive activity that in thinking is at the same time the experiencing of something real.

*    *    *

Understanding for the experiences undergone by the human soul through the way of picturing things that manifests in the series of thinkers from Fichte to Hamerling will prevent a world view that regards the viewpoint of seeing consciousness as justified from falling back into attitudes of soul that, like the ancient Indian, seek an awakening into spiritual reality more through a dimming down of ordinary consciousness than through an intensification of it. (As the author of this book has indicated again and again in his books and lectures: that belief has gone astray which maintains that a modern person can gain anything for spiritual knowledge by reviving such older directions in world views as the Indian one; to be sure, this has not kept people from repeatedly confusing the spiritual-scientific world view advocated by him with such fruitless, anti-historical attempts at revival.)

German idealism in world views does not strive for a dimming down of consciousness, but rather, within this consciousness, seeks the roots of those soul powers that are strong enough to penetrate, with full experience of the “I,” into spiritual reality. In German idealism the spiritual evolution of mankind has taken up into itself the striving, through strengthening the powers of consciousness, to arrive at knowledge of the world riddles. But the natural-scientific way of picturing things, which has led many people into error about the carrying power of this idealistic stream, can also acquire enough freedom from bias to recognize the paths to knowledge of the real world that lie in the directions sought by this idealistic world view. One will misunderstand both the viewpoint of German idealism in world views and that of seeing consciousness if one hopes through them to acquire a so-called “knowledge” that, through a sum of mental pictures, will lift the soul up out of all further questions and riddles and lead it into possession of a “world view” in which it can rest from all further seeking. The viewpoint of seeing consciousness does not bring cognitive questions to a standstill; on the contrary, it brings them into further movement, and in a certain sense increases them, both in number and in liveliness. But it lifts these questions into a sphere of reality in which they receive that meaning which man's knowing activity is already seeking unconsciously before it has even discovered this meaning. And in this unconscious seeking is created what is unsatisfying about those standpoints in world views which do not want to grant validity to seeing consciousness. From this unconscious seeking there also arises the view — which thinks itself to be Socratic but in actuality is sophistic — that that knowledge is the highest which knows only one truth: that there is no truth.

There are people who worry when they think that man could lose his impulse for progress in knowledge as soon as he believes himself equipped with a solution to the riddles of the world. No one need have this concern with respect either to German idealism or to the viewpoint of seeing consciousness. [11]

There are also other ways for a rightful appreciation of modern idealism in world views to root out the misunderstandings that confront it. Of course, one cannot deny that many adherents of this idealism in world views, through their own misunderstanding of what they believe, have given cause for opposition, just as the adherents of the natural scientific way of picturing things, by overestimating the carrying power of their views for knowledge of reality, have evoked undeserved rejection of their views, The significant Austrian philosopher (and Catholic priest) Laurenz Müllner, in an essay about Adolf Friedrich Graf von Schack, has expressed himself in a forceful manner, from the standpoint of Christianity, on modern natural science's thoughts about evolution. He rejects the assertions of Schack that culminate in the words: “The objections raised against the theory of evolution all stem from superficiality.” And after this repudiation he says: “Positive Christianity has no reason to act negatively toward the idea of evolution as such, if natural processes are not conceived merely as a causal mechanism based from all eternity upon itself, and if man is not presented as a product of such a mechanism.” These words came from the same Christian spirit out of which Laurenz Müllner spoke in his significant inaugural address, on Galileo, as president of the Vienna University: “Thus the new world view (he means that of Copernicus and Galileo) often came to appear as antithetical to beliefs declaring themselves, with very dubious justification. to be descendants of Christian teachings, It was much more a matter of the antithesis between the wider world consciousness of a new age and the more narrowly limited consciousness of classical antiquity; it was a matter of antithesis toward the Greek world view and not toward the rightly understood Christian world view, which, in the newly discovered world of the stars, could only have seen new wonders of divine wisdom through which the wonders of divine love accomplished on the earth could only attain greater significance.” Just as in Müllner we are presented with a Christian thinker's beautiful freedom from bias relative to the natural-scientific way of picturing things, so a similar freedom from bias is certainly possible relative to German idealism in world views. Such a freedom from bias would say: Positive Christianity has no reason to act negatively toward the idea, as such, of a spiritual experience in the soul, if this spiritual experience does not lead to the death of the religious experience of devotion and moral edification, and if the soul is not deified.

And the other words of Laurenz Müllner, for an unbiased Christian thinker, could take the form: The world view of German idealism often came to appear as antithetical to beliefs declaring themselves, with very dubious justification, to be descendants of Christian teachings. It is far more a matter of the antithesis between a world view that acknowledges the spiritual being of the soul and a world view that can find no access to this spiritual being; it is a matter of antithesis to a misunderstood natural-scientific way of picturing things, and not toward the rightly understood Christian world view, which, in the genuine spiritual experiences of the human soul, could see only the revelations of divine power and wisdom, through which the experiences of religious devotion and moral edification — as well as the powers of human duty sustained by love — could only attain further strength.

*    *    *

Robert Hamerling felt the impulse toward idealism in world views to be the basic impulse in the being of the German folk spirit (Volkstum). The way he presented his search for knowledge in his Atomism of Will shows that for his age he is not thinking of a revival of any ancient Indian stream in world views. But he does think of German idealism as striving — out of the being of his folk spirit, in the way demanded by a new age — toward the spiritual realities that were sought in bygone ages by the strongest soul forces of Asiatic humanity of that time. And he does not think of the cognitive striving of this idealism in world views, with its direction toward spiritual realities, as dimming man's gaze upward into divine heights, but rather as strengthening it; he is filled with this belief because he sees this cognitive striving itself to be merged with the roots of the religious attitude. As Robert Hamerling is writing his German Migration in 1864, he is filled with thoughts about his people's task, which is an expression of this essential characteristic. This poem is like the depiction of a vision. In primeval times, the Germans migrate from Asia into Europe. The Caucasus is a resting place for the wandering people.

The evening sinks away. Like golden landmarks
In twilight's final gleaming glow the summits
Of Caucasus, and as from distant worlds
They look down full of meaning on the groupings
Of people resting, filling up the valleys
With all their weapons, steeds, and canopies.

From out the glow of sun's self-sacrifice
At last like phoenix climbs the moon's full disk
And hovers high above the orient's plane.

But now the people rest. Yet Teut the youth,
Of kingly gaze and mien, has stayed awake,
His blond head deeply sunk in meditation.

And then, as from a brief dream wakening, upward
He turns his eye, a light, a clear one, falls
Like dew upon him. See! It seems to him
As though in heights above, the golden globes
Of heaven joined their shining rays together
Into a shimmering pair of starry eyes:
As though towards him a marvel,
A mild and earnest countenance inclined,
As though, before his proud and sun-like flights,
With noble features, primal mother Asia
Did eye to eye to her brave son appear.

And primal mother Asia reveals to Teut his people's future; she does not speak only hymns of praise; she speaks earnestly about the people's shadow and light aspects. But she also speaks about that essential trait of the people that shows cognitive striving to be in complete unity with an upward gaze to the divine:

Your joy in dreams, divine inebriation,
Your ancient Asian homeland's blessed warmth
And heartiness will go on living in you.
Of peaceful permanence,
This holy ray will be a temple fire
Of mankind, free of smoke — with purest flame
Will glow on in your breast and will remain
Your soul nurse and the pilot at your helm!
Because you love, you strive: your boldest thinking
Will be the zeal to sink itself in God.

The introduction of these words of Robert Hamerling is not meant to indicate that the idealism in world views characterized in this book nor the view put forward by the viewpoint of seeing consciousness could in any way vie with the religious world view, let alone supersede it. Both would misunderstand themselves entirely if they wished to create religions or sects, or wished to impinge upon anyone's religious beliefs.


1. Please see note on p. 164

2. What one now calls the “theory of relativity” must orient itself according to mental pictures of this sort; otherwise it does not escape from logical theories into ideas that are in accordance with reality in the sense that this concept of “accordance with reality” has been characterized in this book in describing Planck's views.

3. What you behold in this way is self-explanatory; i.e., seeing it and understanding (“judging”) it are synonymous. What you “see” is pure, self-evident meaning. – Ed.

4. Page 55ff., Rudolf Steiner's Goethean Science, Mercury Press, 1988. – Ed.

5. Someone whose concern is for a real knowledge of the spiritual world is very happy when a gifted artist like Hermann Bahr, in his brilliant comedy “The Master,” portrays the comedies of life that often attach themselves so insistently to endeavors seeking a science of the spirit.

6. Hingabe: literally "a giving oneself over to" something. – Ed.

7. Please see p. 167.

8. What is meant here should not be confused with the attitude of soul underlying ancient Indian striving for knowledge, as will be indicated in what follows. See page 72 above.

9. Freiheit. Please see footnote to page 35. – Ed.

10. Published in English as Goethean Science (1988) and Goethe's World View (1985) by the Mercury Press. – Ed.

11. Please see note on p. 166.

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