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Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 2

Köln, 2-27-'10

We must find our way into life through learning. We shouldn't enter life with one-sided, critical views If we test everything that science, art and various world views offer us in accordance with the present state of science we'll find three threatening powers on our path, namely, doubt, superstition, and the illusion of personality. Don't avoid them, investigate them independently, for we shouldn't close ourselves off from modern science, neither from its inventions nor from its research results. It's even our duty to take them into account, although in our theosophical circle we receive a quite different teaching that's ridiculed and laughed at by science. From its standpoint science can't accept it, because it only knows matter and it can only connect its investigations with existing material and physical things. In doing justice to science we should let doubts about what we are taught here arise in us; we shouldn't be afraid of doubting, so that we arrive at inner clarity by ourselves. Thereby we wrestle through to occult teachings out of our own consciousness.

And what's meant by the conquering of superstition? We call the fetish that an African sees and reveres in his idol or block of wood superstition. It's superstition as long as he doesn't think of something spiritual that stands behind it. We can also speak of superstition when we see how modern savants build up a fetish in their hypotheses of atoms and molecules, which also remains hypothetical matter if one doesn't admit the existence of the spiritual that stands behind it. We shouldn't let this kind of superstition arise in us.

A third thing is added to doubt and superstition. This is the illusion of personality. These three forces that surge up and down in man want to control him. But if we have wrestled through to a knowledge of truth via strong doubts, and through superstition to a belief in the spirit that lies behind all matter, we'll also be able to overcome the illusion about our personality. This is often the most difficult one. Even if we sometimes feel that we're inwardly free men and that we think that we're confronting individuals and things in the world without prejudice, all too often this is only reflected to us by the illusion of our personality.

Attention must also be drawn to something else. Don't take our teachings to other kinds of social gatherings, only talk about them when you come together for that purpose. Don't argue about them with outsiders, and don't speak about them at mealtimes where only casual conversation is in order. It would be best to avoid gatherings where they only discuss everyday affairs. But if you must go to them because your position in life or other considerations force you to do so it'll be with a different attitude than before. Then you won't do it out of an inner pleasure, but as a duty so that you won't offend anyone through your nature. I'm not saying this to give a moral sermon, for I forbid absolutely nothing, but I must nevertheless tell you this.