Knowledge of Soul and Spirit
I. The Mission of Occult Science in Our Time
10 October 1907, Berlin
Someone who speaks about occult science today, or even of the mission of occult science in our time, may probably prepare himself for meeting the most different attitudes. On one side, we have to admit that the term “occult science” causes the opinion of our contemporaries that it concerns something dark to the highest degree or something mystic in the worst sense that only can originate or excite interest with persons with unclear thinking, at least only with such people who have no idea of the big progress in the field of knowledge. How many people say to you, only such human beings use the term “occult science” who stand apart from the big progress of natural sciences or other knowledge in our time.
If on one side already by pronouncing the term “occult science” some opposition arises, we are not at all allowed to deny that such opposition is justified to a considerable degree. Since, as weird as it may appear, one has to say the following. The real occult scientist who is aware of the progress of the so-called science or knowledge in our time and who only wants to go beyond the scope of certain superficialities must say that such opponents may be for him less dangerous contemporaries, less detrimental ones than others who count themselves among the followers, even among the apostles of the so-called occult science. It is weird that one pronounces such a thing, is it not? However, it is true. The term occult science has something tempting for many people. The opponents reproach the occultist so easily that people come running if one speaks about something mysterious, so that those who are of unclear mind or too lazy to put themselves on the ground of knowledge or too weak to open themselves to knowledge are of full interest if talk is of anything dark, full of secret. Thus, one says, the occultist is very popular, and in certain sense, he counts on this strange instinct in the human nature, on the pursuit of the spiritual in the worst sense of the word.
I do not deny that there are many people in our chaotic time who are only driven by this dark instinct of the human nature to occult science. If then the opponents of occult science see what such ostensible followers cause, what they often assert and how they relate to the knowledge of our time, then one does not need to be surprised if our opponents come to the just characterised judgement. If the occultist were afraid, one could maybe make the absurd, but true assertion that he would have to be much more afraid of a big number of his followers than of his opponents. For these opponents will have to accomplish such turnabout which I characterise maybe already in the course of this talk, however, in particular in the next talk about natural sciences. For today, it is my task to clarify the significance and mission of the so-called occult science in our time. I do that in narrative way.
If you see through the program of the winter talks, you see the term changed. With some talks, you read “occult” science, with other “spiritual” science. This has happened at every single place with full care, although the spiritual science, as I represent it here, is synonymous with occult science. Do not understand the word “occult” in the composition of occult science in such a way, as if with it anything secret and dark is meant. The talk itself shows you why I just use this term occult science for the sum of truth and knowledge about which we want to speak in the course of the winter.
If we want to say what occult science is based on, we must give a quite simple answer at first. We must say, the occult science rests on two convictions: first on the conviction that behind that which our senses show in the outside world which our mind can take up in sense-perception and experiences, behind that which eyes can see and hands can seize, there is a higher world, an invisible supersensible one. This is one conviction. The other conviction is that the human being is able to grasp and behold this supersensible, invisible world developing his own cognitive forces and abilities. If we pronounce these both things, we have said on what any so-called occult science is based.
Straight away, however, our contemporaries raise important objections here. Firstly, our education has a direction which says there, we do not need it at all to speak of any supersensible world, any invisible world; these are yesteryear's prejudices — thank God! Many people say so. And it is not yet long ago — today, indeed, such voices become quite rare — that those who considered themselves to be the most enlightened, the most advanced ones said, the orientation to invisible, to supersensible backgrounds of the things belongs to a childish, naive age of the human development. In those days, one did not yet stand firmly on the ground of scientific knowledge when one still believed to solve the riddles of existence by all kinds of fiction and imagination.
However, the newer time has taught the human beings that the research using the experience of the external senses does not need to fall back on such supersensible forces or beings, but that the world, as we see it by the senses, is explicable of its own terms. If we can explain the world from itself — so the materialists and monists say and many of our contemporaries are such — if we can discover the sensuous causes within the sensuous world, we have no reason to refer to extrasensory beings. This radical direction generally wants to break with all views of the supersensible. One cannot deny that this view has to allege weighty reasons for itself. Who wants to misjudge the enormous progress of the external natural sciences in the course of the last centuries and in particular in the last century? Who does not admire these research results, on one side going up to the phenomena of the starry sky, and on the other side diving down to the secrets of the smallest living beings, into the secrets of the substances and the sensuous existence? Who does not stand admiring even before ambitious speculations, as they go out from such great discoveries of single researchers as those of the radium? Moreover, who will not see that it has something brilliant if now those standing on the ground of such a radical positivism or materialism say, the researcher is still far away from solving all riddles of existence by sensuous investigation. However, have patience; the time will come when natural sciences make clear that which a thick veil still covers today. The time will come when the scientists unravel the past world in the layers of the earth and when they recognise nature in her creating, when the wholly sensuous research will illumine the past.
The time will also come — someone will say rightly who stands on the ground of research — when one adds certain materials to unliving substances in the laboratory, so that one will succeed in producing living substances in the laboratory. Perhaps, this still appears a bold idea today; however, the development goes in this direction, and then you, occult scientist, can pack up and go home because you do no longer have the right to speak of supersensible things when we have shown that even life originates by a combination of materials and forces.
The whole series of the talks has to give the answer to such objections. It would be careless to want to give an answer already today. I want only to say one thing that should show typically how ambiguous the objections are which one makes against the apparently arcane occult science. While the natural sciences assert with a certain right that once the time comes when from only unliving substances life comes into being, and this research thereby believes to state something that brings the occult science completely down, it is true that occult science has always known this! Yes, because it has known this, it could stand so firmly! One misjudges the true character of occult science completely if one makes such allegations against it. The entire answer will arise in the course of the talks.
There are other contemporaries who say, it may be quite good that there is something supersensible behind our sensory world; but the human being can know nothing of such a supersensible world with his talents and capabilities and, hence, he is not allowed to speak about it if should be talk of science.
This is an opinion that is much more widespread. One does not want generally to decide the question of the supersensible, one wants to leave it quite uncertain, to make it the object of a wholly subjective, arbitrary faith whether there are senses to be able to perceive the supersensible. The human being cannot look behind the external nature and he leaves the ground of knowledge, moves into the field of arbitrary faith if he tries to overstep the limits of the external nature.
Occult science faces this view in the following way. It says, you have examined the cognitive faculties of the human being. You have shown that he cannot come — applying his cognitive faculties — behind nature where the supersensible begins. Now you say, because we have proved this, occult science or the science of the supersensible is impossible. — Someone who speaks in such a way assumes that occult science disagrees with him. However, this is not the case. Occult science completely agrees with him, it stands accurately on the same point of view. Occult science says, you have examined your cognitive faculties; you have shown exactly how far one can come with them. You have shown that one cannot come with it in the supersensible realm. You are completely right; but you only make one mistake, the mistake that you do not keep to the positive that you do not claim only what you know, but also what you cannot know, while you state that nobody can know it.
Here we meet a characteristic of our contemporaries standing on the so-called scientific base that does not come from science, from knowledge but from a general feeling, an unspoken instinct of our time. Admittedly, this instinct becomes only obvious if one checks the events of our time a little as an impartial, quiet observer. Look at any journal, any newspaper, and any popular or even academic book that deals from any direction with such questions, as I have put them. You will find nothing more often than the saying that is from a higher spiritual point of view a fateful one: we are only able to know this and that. One cannot judge this or that. Convince yourselves whether you cannot always find this “one” or “we” if talk is of these things! It is rather insignificant, but it comes from a deeply nested instinct. It is the belief that everybody has a certain infallibility of knowledge because not only he himself can understand but also the human beings generally what “we” can know and cannot know. From this instinct, our contemporaries cannot bring themselves to believe that there can be a real development of recognising. Nevertheless, how absurd is this view if the human being considers it in relation to his own life! Imagine only, when does the point of time occur for the single human being when he can decide where the limits of his ability of discriminating are?
Is he able to decide where the limits of the cognitive faculties are at the age of 25, 36, sixty or even already of ten years? Is there not development in any life? Do we not put up other assertions in childhood than in the later life? Are we allowed to think that we cannot learn anything from anybody in the world, that nobody in the world can know more than we do? Nevertheless, this is as an instinct in the nature of our contemporaries that everybody determines the limits of the cognitive faculties of his own accord. This assertion has not only has arisen from this instinct, but numerous works, which deal on thousands of pages with it. They start, if one looks behind the scenery, from nothing but the belief that the human being lives in this instinct.
However, the occultist objects the following. He says, concerning that knowledge from which you think that it is clear to you, you are completely right, you cannot recognise more there. However, there is a development of the cognitive faculties. If you want to penetrate into the supersensible world, you have to develop the extrasensory cognitive faculties. This is possible! — Thus, the viewpoint of occult science does not at all contradict to that which these people say. It agrees with them. It says only, the human being still has another cognitive faculty in himself that is without these limits, and that he can develop. Now, does anybody have the right to say that anything like the development of the cognitive faculty is impossible if we consider it from the viewpoint of clear logical thinking? What can he say? He can only say, I do not know it, it is unknown to me. He can set the limit to himself through which he cannot look into such a development.
If he says, my limit of cognitive faculties is not sufficient to do this, he has to say, I do not know. — Then he is also not allowed to decide anything on such facts. Anybody who knows nothing of the extrasensory world is not allowed to say whether it exists or not, but only somebody who knows something of it. Occult science stands just on the viewpoint of positivism in its whole universality. The occultist says, nobody has to decide on what one can know or on what one cannot know, but everybody has only to decide on what he himself knows.
With it, an aspect of feeling is touched that is not without significance in our occult science. One says, occult science leads to spiritual arrogance because the spiritual scientists claim that they can go beyond the usual knowledge. However, just the reverse is the case. There is no bigger arrogance than that which wants to decide on its own accord on not only what he is allowed to know, but also wants to decide on what the human beings are allowed to know or not to know. This arrogance places itself as a norm for all human beings. Against it, it is spiritual humility if anybody who stands on the ground of occult science wants to decide on nothing else than what he can know. We do not talk about that which lies beyond our limits of knowledge. This is the attitude that leads to true humility. Hence, occult science must always have a personal character. This is no disadvantage. This also does not speak against the validity of the spiritual-scientific truths. We must get clear about the fact that the human being has to find what he wants to find and should find of the highest and supersensible things in his innermost soul by the power that he develops in the spiritual life always on his own accord. However, if this is true, everybody who wants to see the facts of occult science has to turn to his own inside. Many opponents derive their objections from this, while they say that something that is fathomed only in the human inside can be left only to the faith, and is not allowed to claim general validity.
This conclusion appears narrow-minded to the impartial observer. There is something that, admittedly, the least ones can use as comparison that offers, however, a very good example to someone who can do it. It is something that we must experience just as the spiritual-scientific truths in our inside; any external can be nothing but an example, a suggestion to us: the mathematical profundities. These are the most common truths at the same time. Who can use them by way of comparison will find this comparison completely suitable. The mathematical truth is something that the human being can never find by the external senses. You can measure the three angles of a triangle as often as you want, you can never find the steadfast truth that these three angles are together 180 degrees. You must recognise this inside. Thus, it is with all geometrical and all mathematical truths.
One has to consider two things compared with such truths that one recognises inside. The first is something unpopular in the strictest sense today. One says, how is one able to count with something that lives only inside of the human being on the approval of the fellow man? How can we believe that something is true that we recognise only in ourselves? — However, just the reverse is right. The majority decides nothing at all on truth. If you have convinced yourselves of any mathematical theorem, then two things are valid for you. First, if a million human beings contradict you and are not of your opinion, this does not shake you at all. Secondly, you are clear in your mind that everybody who produces the same conditions in himself as you do must have the same opinion as you have, even though you have found the truths inside. As true it is that majority decides nothing on mathematical truths, as true it is that — if the conditions are produced properly, and this can be taught to everybody — majority can decide nothing on the results of occult science.
We can find them in our inside, and nothing external can dissuade us from them if we have recognised them once in our inside. In ancient times, the followers of occult science, the Gnostics, called this occult science mathesis, not because they understood it as mathematics, but because this occult science has the character of mathematical truth. However, it is long ago that one looked at the character of occult science in this purity. It is unfortunate that many things accumulated there which cloud the look, so that those who stand on the viewpoint of science get a horror if they meet something like occult science.
Thus, we come to questions that point us to two concepts, which the human beings cannot apply often enough in the present: knowledge and faith. One says that one can know something of the matters on which science works, of the other things one can only believe something, this is a personal matter. Only because those can say this who do not see how one produces the conditions, so that any faith can become knowledge. Someone who cannot prove mathematically that the three angles of the triangle amount to 180 degrees must believe it. Who is not able to prove the life of the human being between death and new birth has to believe these matters. However, he will also find the possibility to prove for himself as we still see it in the course of the talks.
Many people object that it is sinful to investigate the objects of the supersensible world, they are something that can never come from the human nature, the human being must trust in a higher revelation, and it is presumptuous to fathom this. Then one has to reply that it is a sin to let lie fallow what exists in the world in a seminal state. For the divine primordial ground has sown the seeds in the world, so that they sprout, so that they yield blossoms and fruit. To someone who wants to limit the human power of cognition saying the human being should not be so presumptuous one can answer that it is just a sin to obliterate the power of cognition. We shall not obliterate it, but develop it; that is why we have it. Somebody who can bring to his mind what a sin it is against the human nature to let the forces lie fallow, to cordon off the supersensible world soon recognises this objection as quite impossible. Thus, occult science with its attitude positions itself in the currents of the time.
Today, I do not want to prove but to tell how occult science presents itself in our time. Its object and basis are rather unknown in wide sections of the population. It is unknown that there have always been single persons in the human development who devoted themselves to this occult science most seriously who from own experience knew the experiences which one can have in the supersensible world, to whom personal experience was what I want to show in these talks. It is also unknown that there are persons still today who are able to behold in the spiritual world this way.
You can ask now, why was such a thing hidden from the masses, why is there anything that was not announced in general? We shall see if we speak of the dangers of occult science why the true occultists had the principle to make occult science known only to those who had made themselves ripe by certain qualities of their life. Today, however, one has views about the spreading of knowledge that are quite different from the views, which were always usual in occult science. If anybody knows anything today, he can hardly expect to let it flow out in printed form into the world. However, the occultists had their reasons to hand over their knowledge only to those who had prepared themselves.
Why do single human beings appear today and report about the results of occult science? This has its good reasons. It is connected with the entire spiritual progress of humanity. What everybody can know by popular writings that are based on our quite usual sensory knowledge is, properly applied, a good preparation for occult science. On the other side, one completely misunderstands the facts if one believes that our natural sciences must lead to the denial of the supersensible. Rather these natural sciences, properly understood, lead to the full recognition of the supersensible! He who takes up the scientific facts properly^, which are accessible to everybody, and pursues them comes directly to the sphere of the supersensible and invisible. However, someone who continues this scientific truth wrongly comes to the materialistic world that does not yet unnerve today's humanity maybe so much but the future humanity most certainly.
Therefore, it is necessary today to show how to use the scientific truths, as far as they are accessible. During former centuries, it was not in such a way. Everybody had to go through a long preparation in which he trains his reasoning power, his logic, and his character. Today, the scientific thinking, properly applied, is already a training to understand the publications of occult science. This scientific thinking can become a boon for humanity.
We shall get to know three ways to the supersensible world gradually. If I speak of these three ways, I expose myself to the risk that people regard me as a dreamer and as a fool in particular if I describe the third way, although those who judge in such a way know nothing at all about that matter. Three ways are shown: Imagination or clairvoyance, Inspiration and Intuition (the spiritual-scientific concepts are capitalised to distinguish them from the usual ones). These three ways exist since millennia in the human development and were always pursued. There have always been human beings who could walk on the way to the supersensible world using the methods, which are taught.
Who are such initiates? Imagine that there are human beings who live in a distant area where no railways and no machines exist. Now one comes along on the way to Europe and sees that there are railways and machines. He goes home and tells his experiences, what he himself has seen. Then he is someone who is initiated in these matters. There are also such initiates with regard to supersensible things. They are led in the secret schools to an insight into the supersensible, invisible world and can tell about what they have found out there.
One divides these initiates into two classes: in real initiates and in clairvoyants. What is now an initiate in the narrower sense? There we have to familiarise ourselves with a quality of occult science which will not be recognised in general which still exists. For it is not necessary to be a clairvoyant to understand the spiritual-scientific truths after they have been announced to the human beings.
For clairvoyance is necessary for discovering, but not for understanding the occult truths. Everything that will be said in this winter course as a result of the research in the higher world could not be found without clairvoyance, not without developing the spiritual eyes and ears slumbering in every human being. I give further details here in connection with the initiation. However, if these results have been pronounced once and have been dressed in such forms that they correspond to the today's thinking, then everybody can understand them. The objection can never count that one has to be clairvoyant to understand the things which occult science informs. They are incomprehensible not to the non-clairvoyant one, but to someone who does not want to apply his logical mind completely. One can see everything if it is pronounced once, up to the highest areas.
Somebody who realises everything that occult science says without being clairvoyant is an initiate. However, someone who can enter these invisible worlds is a clairvoyant. In olden times that are not so long ago, a strict separation existed of clairvoyants and initiates in the secret schools. One was able as an initiate to ascend to the knowledge of the higher worlds without being a clairvoyant if one applied the mind only in right way. On the other side, one could be a clairvoyant without being an initiate to an especially high degree. It will become already clear to you how I mean this. Imagine two persons, a much-learnt man who knows everything that physics and physiology have to say about the light and its phenomena, but is so shortsighted that he can hardly see ten centimetres away. He does not see a lot, however, is initiated into the principles of the light. Thus, somebody can be initiated into the supersensible world and sees badly in it. Another can see excellently in the external sensuous world, but knows practically nothing about that what the learnt man knows. Thus, there can also be clairvoyants who behold in the spiritual worlds but have no science, no knowledge of them. Hence, one differentiated clairvoyants and initiates for a long time. In order to comprise the fullness of life, one often needed not one but many human beings. Some were not made clairvoyant to advance further. The others got the spiritual eyes and ears. What existed in occult science has come about by communication and exchange of ideas between initiates and clairvoyants.
In our time, this strict separation of clairvoyants and initiates can no longer be maintained. Today, it is necessary that everybody who has attained a certain degree of initiation at least has the possibility to attain a certain degree of clairvoyance. For the complete trust from human being to human being cannot be brought about in our time. Today, everybody himself wants to know and see. That deep faith full of devotion, as it has prevailed once from human being to human being, made it possible that one heard from a special kind of clairvoyants what they perceived in the higher worlds. Then others ordered systematically what these had perceived. Today, a kind of harmony is created in the development of the initiatory and clairvoyant abilities. Hence, a third kind, the adepts can withdraw very strongly. Our time is hostile to these adepts to the highest degree. You can get an idea of the difference between an adept and an initiate if you imagine the following: imagine a region where are railways and you have seen them. Now I ask you, are you able to construct a railway after you have been convinced by own looking that such a thing exists. Practise and still some other things are necessary in order to construct it.
Someone is an adept in contrast to a clairvoyant who has acquired not only clairvoyant knowledge but also practical handling of spiritual forces by exercises of which the modern human being hardly has any idea. A much longer preparation belongs to it than even to the clairvoyant. In addition, our present cultural development is still much more hostile to the use of spiritual forces than to the aspiration to penetrate by knowledge into the spiritual world.
It is the mission of occult science to generate awareness of the possibility to penetrate on these three ways into the higher worlds, to attain a deeper knowledge than the usual one is and to extend it. If we ask ourselves, is it curiosity, is it mere desire of knowledge which lead us to occult science, then we must answer: no, it completely concerns something else! It concerns something that deeply slumbers in the sensuous science of our time that can never come out, however, about which we can speak in the talk on natural sciences. Many human beings coming to occult science do not know it clearly but they have a dark idea of it. It concerns not recognising but life, the continuation, and the increase of life. Many people are afraid that occult science turns them away from the immediate life. However, just the opposite is right. It makes the human beings competent and puts them in life. They must only have the ability and strength to enter occult science.
Already for many years, I have held talks on manifold objects here. Discussions joined these talks. I do not amplify these discussions. However, if we speak of the mission of occult science in our time, I should mention a phenomenon because it is especially typical. It faced us especially lively when we spoke about Bible and Wisdom. There it was not only one person, but numerous ones who objected something to these matters out of the depth of their hearts. These objections came from deep sensations. Among them, one was just like the following. Occult science tells a lot of the seven-membered human nature, of reincarnation and karma, of the stay of the human beings in the supersensible world between death and new birth, of the development of the human being through the different planetary states et cetera; demands are put on our mind, on our thinking. However, we search not so much satisfaction of the mind but deepening of the soul, of inner life. We want to find the divine in the feeling, in the sensation.
This objection is done out of the depth of sensations, and just the human beings who stand firmly in the occult science can appreciate the significance of such an objection completely which says there: give us soul! We know that the divine that lives in us leads us into our own hearts, but does not bring mental pictures of the human being and the world, of birth and death; we do not search the spiritual.
Those human beings who say this have no idea that they are even the biggest obstacles for the solution of the question that is very dear to their hearts. They have no idea that by that which spiritual science gives their minds just their souls receive what they demand. They have no idea that talking in such a way they reject just what their souls need. Nothing instills the divine in the souls more than the knowledge of the world evolution. If we know that in such a way, as the rainbow has seven colours, the human being has seven members and do not harden us against these ideas, then just these ideas enliven our souls to overcome what opposes the contemplation of the spiritual. You meet objections of this kind, above all, with such people who mean it just as deeply as they want to find the deepening of the soul conveniently and who avoid penetrating into the real depth of their souls.
The occultist cannot get out the sensation from the souls of the human beings, but he has to lead them into the spiritual world by knowledge, has to show them how they can attain the highest deepening by knowledge, which one can aim at. A longing for satisfaction of the soul is the biggest enemy for the striving human being. However, just that discouraged many people from theosophy and spiritual science; they do not want to be immersed in the vigorous mental work that is a refreshment of the soul at the same time. Nothing raises the soul to the divine more than this knowledge, than the deepening in the spiritual world. With it, we are on the point where knowledge intervenes immediately in life where the spiritual-scientific aspects of soul and heart come to the fore. How many people are tormented by doubts, by all possible tortures in relation to questions of existence and world riddles. Then you can read in materialistic writings that a brain cannot come without morbid changes to such views as the spiritual science presents them. From the viewpoint of the psychiatrist, one can exactly indicate the mental illness that leads to such explanations as I give them here. If we wanted to give ourselves the pleasure to work as the psychiatrists do, we could range ourselves also in such a way that the scholar who does this otherwise would be very delighted with us. You can buy a booklet cheap, which reports something that is true. It concerns the following: in a number of newspaper articles arteriosclerosis was treated and the symptoms were given with which you can notice this illness with yourselves.
The author of the writing, a doctor, had to experience that many persons came to him who pretended to have the symptoms of arteriosclerosis. What is derived from that now? The fact that many people are in a condition — because of the chaotic conditions of our civilisation even if they imagine to have nerves like ropes — that they catch fear straight away if they hear about such an illness. They fall ill, even if in a psychic form. — One also says that many people hearing only talks by professor So-and-so or by the naturopath So-and-so get the illness about which one speaks. However, what one does not regard is that already a certain form of mental illness belongs to it to think generally that way! This is a pathological trait that appears as relatively harmless even today which, however, becomes more and more detrimental. We still speak about such questions and facts in the talks on the obsessions with illness and health.
The reasons of certainty on which the human being can be based must always come from the inside. However, the spirit must be stronger there. It must have the ability to find certainty in the inside. Mental weakness is not to believe in oneself, not to believe that one can find the reasons in oneself. Mental weakness is to believe only what eyes see and hands seize and to be able to take truth only with the hand. Materialism is a sign of spiritual decadence, a hollow of the inside. If it were only a theoretical hollow, it would be still relatively harmless. However, this theoretical hollow subverts the mental health first and then the physical one. The truth of this example is that ill, wrong thoughts generate illnesses really. However, we shall hear in the talks on the obsession with illness and health how health and physical welfare depend on our true or wrong thoughts.
We shall hear how theosophy should spread healthy thoughts how theosophy should distribute healthy life and provide useful human beings for the world. Already if we remain within the soul life, we realise that someone is unable to work who is perpetually tormented by doubts who cannot attain knowledge of the questions that concern his deepest soul needs. Finally, such a soul is incapable to keep the body healthy. Occult science transforms that only into action, into reality, which natural sciences have also anticipated. For example, a scientist like Karl Ernst von Baer (1792–1876, German-Baltic naturalist) says: it is a thought that penetrates the whole world that orders the planets that caused the living beings from matter which appears in its letters and in the manifold forms of life and is life itself. Then one is allowed to add: if this thought that can be only found in the supersensible world is nourished and cherished, if it finds entrance consciously in the human nature, it makes the human beings healthy, strong, and competent. Does it not dissipate the doubts first, calm minds, raise hearts and make the human nature healthy? This is a deeper mission of occult science in our time. — One has to attribute to a science that remains on the surface of the sensuous that the human being is hollowed out internally, and that the age of materialism is the age of nervousness and lacking concentration. These states would still worsen if those kept the upper hands who cling tight on to the outer existence only. Occult science creates certainty of the biggest riddles of existence. That is why one calls it occult science, not because it hides anything, but because its teachings must be found in the core. It is an occult science just as mathematics is an occult science.
I could only explain the attitude and mission of occult science in this preliminary talk. Occult science does not harbour illusions neither about its followers nor about its opponents. It has to brush all illusions aside. Thereby it gives the human being the big harmonious health in all directions. This attitude forms the basis of the single truths. This attitude matters. What does this attitude attain joining real occult science? The winter talks will show this, the today's talk should be only a kind of announcement, a kind of program.
Many things will now be argued against what I have said today maybe just from those who regard themselves as very clever. Perhaps one says, look at your followers! Nevertheless, they are not abreast with modern science! Not before you have people who are abreast with modern science, we believe in a future, believe in a mission of occult science. — Who speaks in such a way does not know the secret and intimate ways, which the spirit of humanity goes. He who stands firmly on the ground that we have characterised as the ground of occult science, who is aware that truth must be found in the soul and that approval does not matter confesses to a sentence that a great friend and researcher of truth pronounced. Such a truth researcher was Leonardo da Vinci who was a great researcher and a great painter and artist and knew the mysterious currents and principles flowing through the world. No thinking head believes that in his heart the real occult-scientific attitude did not prevail.
At a passage, he confesses the lonely found truth that has found its mission in the world. It contains the confession: “The lie is so despicable that if it tells great things about God it robs His grace of its divinity, and truth is so sublime that it makes quite low things precious if it praises them.” — Let us make such a principle the innermost motive of our soul life, and then we understand how someone who stands in the occult science thinks about the mission of occult science in our age.
The occultist faces two pictures. Someone who surveys the great cultural creation of Christianity today who wants to appreciate what Christianity has done in the world puts two pictures before his soul: First, the ancient imperial Rome in the first Christian centuries. He looks there at the ruins of the ancient Rome that tell of the events in the former educated world. He can summon up consolation and certainty from this picture if one says that the scholars and educated people want to know nothing about theosophy or spiritual science. What did those want who lived in these once magnificent, now decayed buildings? They wanted to look at — the performances of the Colosseum! What did they think of Christianity? They made the Christians links and burnt them! Let us recall that thoroughly.
We turn our look to the other picture. However, we have to search it at another place. We have to search it underground in the widespread catacombs of Rome where laborious and laden people lived who were apart from education and the predominant world. There they erected their altars, there they buried their dead and offered their holy sacrifices, and there we turn our look.
After we have evoked these pictures in our soul, we ask ourselves, how did the picture change in the course of the centuries? — Those, who were below, carried in the soul what conquered the world and what happened on top perished. It had to withdraw from that which rose from below, from the concealed sites. The course of the things was that way, and this is consolation and hope for us. We know for sure that we can get nothing but scorn and derision only because of the peculiar conditions of time. We realise that we have to work quiet and simply in similar way just with those whom the so-called enlightened ones maybe despise. However, we also know that the picture will be a similar one as at that time. We know that that which one despised in former times will seize the others or go along with them, or that it passes over them. A right viewpoint concerning occult science transforms our attitude, our feelings, and sensations. Thus, this first consideration gives us something of spiritual health already, which arises from the intention to work in the world, in the sense of the upward trend of humanity. It is the mission of occult science to perform this work in the sense of our present.