12 December 1907, Berlin
It is not the only reproach against occult science that it is dreamy and fantastic, but also many people believe that dangers are connected with it. Downright bizarre views exist in certain circles about these so-called dangers of spiritual science. At first one points in general to such dangers even without trying to qualify the supposed dangers or to say in what they consist. For where one speaks so much of these dangers sometimes, a profound unawareness prevails what the occult science entails. One has only the uncertain idea that it entails something dangerous. One also does not dwell on this on which one should absolutely dwell: whether occult science itself is the dangerous or only the deeper penetration in it while one familiarises with the methods, the exercises that lead the human being into the invisible and indiscernible spiritual world surrounding him. However, he who generally wants to speak of dangers in this field must differentiate this.
Often it does not at all concern a tip to certain dangers only, but one says: oh, this occult science or this theosophy makes the human beings unworldly, it removes them from that what they would have to deal with, actually, in life in which they should be interested. — Some circles regard it as tremendously deplorable that this or that member is apparently wrested from it because he/she starts being interested in theosophy or in occult science underlying it. For that reason the often enough pronounced judgement probably originated that theosophy makes the human being impractical, allures him from the immediate duties of life, betrays him into asceticism and unworldliness.
Although it has already been mentioned here from the one or the other side, I would like to draw your attention again to the fact that it is the most unfair and at the same time the most impossible reproach against occult science and its working that it makes the human being anyhow unworldly or entices him into asceticism. I have emphasised repeatedly that a spiritual world underlies our world of the senses, our world of the physical life. Therefore, someone must be called unworldly who does not mind the true and real forces of existence and confines himself to the outer world only, on that what the senses say and what they can enjoy. There can be no talk that theosophy urges its supporters to an ascetic life, to privations or to unworldliness. However, it is true that someone who becomes interested in occult science has other sympathies and antipathies than many people have.
Nevertheless, in many cases it is not in such a way that those who approach occult science attain this interest only within a spiritual-scientific or theosophical circle. People bring these emotions with them as a rule; the interests carry them into the theosophical circles, and theosophy wants to offer nothing but what they demand. Not because they are expelled from the circles which say: they become strange to us, because theosophy takes them away, but these circles themselves alienate them more and more because they are lifeward and have selfish interests. If such a circle complains that this or that member is taken away from it, it should ask itself: has theosophy taken this member from us or have we expelled it by boredom? If one compares the life, as it should be in the theosophical circle with the life of a worldly circle, which says one must not dedicate himself to asceticism, then I answer that the theosophist does not withdraw because he wants to escape from life, but because he wants to get to the true, real life.
Those who are interested in spiritual science experience no bigger asceticism, no bigger privation than dedicating themselves to the activities that one calls “life” in many circles. If one calls this “life:” getting up in the morning, reading his newspaper, doing this or that which has a practical use, taking part in this or that banal activity in the evening — if one calls this “life,” indeed, it is “asceticism” for the theosophist, an awful privation, namely if one makes him participate this life. If then in spite of all resisting forces, the interest in theosophy becomes bigger and bigger, it is only an evidence that more and more people want to escape from the “ascetic” life of the usual pleasures and give themselves up to the real life. The human beings would have to realise this if they communed with their hearts once, since the life in spiritual science does not mean wailing and whimpering because of sufferings and privations. Life praxis is a chapter that we have also already discussed in the various talks.
Those who are so often vain of their life praxis say, theosophy with its quixotic ideas puts a bug into the ears of the people, and the people who dedicate themselves to such a thing never accomplish a real work in life. However, if they looked only at the world and at the practice on the one hand, at impractical idealism on the other hand, perhaps they would speak different.
The German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte said: the idealists know as well as the so-called practical people, maybe better, that ideals are not to be applied immediately in life. However, the fact that certain people cannot realise that all life flows out of the life ideal, from that which is not yet there what should become first shows only that one does not count on them in the plan of the improvement of humanity. Hence, God may give them rain and sunshine, food, and clever thoughts at the right time! — The theosophist may console himself out of an objective consideration of life if one points to the danger of the so-called impractical. There one can cite an example of a clever board of practitioners in a southern German country. When one wanted to build the first railway in Germany, one requested whether it is good if this railway were built. The board said — everybody can convince himself that the document exists —, one should build no railway, because the human beings would suffer serious damage of their nervous systems. However, if people wanted to drive with a railway, and it were built, one would have to erect high wooden walls on both sides, so that those whom it goes past do not get concussions. — This is not long ago! It is not still long ago that a man who was no practical person, but an “impractical teacher” advised to introduce the cheaper postcards (?) instead of the expensive postage. The impractical person was Rowland Hill (1795–1879). There was a postmaster who said, I cannot realise that one has an advantage introducing this way of paying postage (pre-payment by the sender with stamps instead of direct payment by the receiver). If the traffic developed in such a way, the post-office buildings would no longer be sufficient to take up and convey all letters and postal items. — Judgements of this sort appear from circles of those people who are hostile to theosophy.
The dangers that are described there resemble those, which the people experience from the railway, after they drive with it now since decades. The future will produce the evidence. As little as the Bavarian Medical Board could prevent the construction of the railway, the postmaster in London could prevent the increase of the post traffic, just as little the necessary expansion of theosophy can be stopped by similar objections in our time.
However, many concerns do not oppose the general; one senses something particular. Hence, one may also speak of that once publicly which gives cause, perhaps, for such concerns and such talking of dangers. At first, we must not forget: something that should work that should have significance and power in the world works different on the different human beings. It works in the way as it can influence and impress human beings. Now theosophy is something like a sort of a purifying thunderstorm in our spiritual atmosphere and will be it more and more. What fulfills this spiritual atmosphere? It is fulfilled with all possible confident and sure of victory judgements, which appear the surer of victory, the less deeply they introduce in the being of the things. In particular, it is the materialistic thinking and feeling, the materialistic disposition that regards itself as infallible with immense arrogance as the only true doctrine and douses everything with scorn that wants to point to the spiritual world, as if it only concerns fantasies.
True, someone who trains his thinking in that logic necessary to control the areas that are beyond the sensuous world is always in danger that the logic of the materialists could sicken him. However, the superficial judgements that are quite usual ones today and appear with an unequalled certainty and an arrogance of infallibility are sometimes very short-winded. Their flimsiness becomes obvious very soon if that logic faces them which goes with inner thinker's patience from concept to concept as it is necessary if one cannot advance on the bridge of the outer sensuous experiences but wants to have a sure support in himself and inner certainty. Already in this respect, the thinking flowing from occult science for the present must often appear to us as a purifying thunderstorm. It appears for the human masses in such a way and for the single human being. There we cannot help stressing that this is, nevertheless, no risk. There is the risk for the great majority at most that it brings uncertainty into the judgements that are worth to be presented that way.
With the single human being, the matter is worse. Something comes into question that works in the innermost soul, a disharmony between feeling and judging. This disharmony is the biggest with those persons who believe to be most certain in any materialistic creed. A materialistic creed namely has the peculiarity that it can satisfy, after all, the reason only, the abstract judgement only. The deeper interests of the soul, all wishes, all feelings, and all sensations are much truer and deeper with all human being than their judgements often are. While everybody sticks with his judgment, with his materialistic concepts and his materialistic disposition to the surface, in the depth of his soul — often quite unconsciously to him — the urging and the longing for something spiritual lives. To someone who observes this more precisely it appears rather clear sometimes if one sees how many disharmonies are in the speeches and remarks of the human beings. There one can realise that they, actually, do not at all feel corresponding to that what they say. To a minor degree that applies to a big percentage of the human beings what a poet expressed absurdly with the words, which he lets one of his figures say: as true a God is in heaven, I am an atheist. — This is the emotional adherence — only radically, absurdly pronounced — to something traditional-conventional and the adherence of the superficial judgement to a radical denial. That appears with few persons in this radical form. However, for someone who can observe more precisely almost every conversation offers examples that the human beings live in their souls in such a way.
In which condition can one live this way? One can live in the condition that one remains superficial in his soul life. For nobody who descends into the depth of his soul can tolerate such a disharmony as it often exists today. That becomes apparent to someone who is used to logic in the entire materialistic or — as one calls it more sophisticatedly — monistic literature. Imagine a person who is embedded in the atmosphere of our time and wants to get out it not with inner freedom, not with inner strong urge: he remains embedded; he lives on dully but contently in general. However, it does no longer depend on the things with which many people want to stop, whether the human being can live so dully. Numerous people can no longer live this way. What the popular literature — magazines, books, even newspapers — offers is not at all something for sophisticated heads and deeper minds that answers the big questions of existence, but it only causes new questions.
Yes, also the modern science itself, as it appears with it adherence to the facts gives answers only to the superficial mind. For the deep-minded human being, for the sophisticated one this science is something quite different. It is a sum of question marks. Where many people believe that they can be ready if they frame a worldview from the scientific facts, the questions only just start for many people. However, people who believe to be ready notice nothing of it. Thus, you see numerous human beings reaching for a book like Haeckel's World Riddles to get the world riddles solved. When they have read this book, they only start putting the big questions. Because no solutions are in it but questions, which are put there. Then such minds and such heads can be once brought to theosophy, on this or that way.
They face theosophy with its strict, in itself logical thinking which has the origin of certainty, like mathematics, in itself, and an immense disharmony between that which they were used up to now from the outside world, and the requirements which are suddenly put to them. They stuck to the surface of the things up to now; they look into abysses now. They have often lost half a life and more. They are anxious whether the rest of life would be still sufficient to pour everything that faces them in the holes of their souls, which the world has cut. On the other hand, however, they come from these or those circles and cannot break away from them; then the most dreadful obstacles originate. The most practical and most certain way would be if they got involved in the spiritual-scientific research, however, thousand threads pull back them. There the disharmonies face them that must appear if the soul longs for deepness compared to the superficial, the exterior. There a peculiar phenomenon appears with some persons that we make clear to ourselves best of all by a comparison. Imagine, in any corner of a room one would not have cleaned for weeks, a lot of dirt is there — you forgive for the comparison. If now in this room no proper lighting exists, those who look into it can believe that everything is clean. However, if one once illuminates it properly, the mess strikes. It depends only on the fact that one illuminates properly.
Something similar applies to the soul. It is used to casualness. It is maybe forced to be superficial among superficial ones. Now, however, it comes to the light which lights up this superficiality that allows this superficiality to appear in its entire inferiority. If this soul is feeling, what happens then? If it is accustomed to superficial judgements, the light that shines on it has to distract it above all. Hence, we see that numerous souls are maybe somewhat distracted by the contact with the spiritual-scientific truth. Does occult science bear the blame for it? Indeed, he who thinks here logically does not put the blame on occult science that is the light, but on the fact that the soul has so much addicted itself to the superficiality of judgement.
The matter still goes further. We see human beings who are not up to our complex civilisation suffering from our complex civilisation. Why? They do no longer find their way with their judgement! Theosophy or occult science is the means to find the way in our civilisation, and it can work recovering for someone whom our civilisation has sickened. However, cannot anything else still happen? We can also realise this using a comparison. A dish can be externally healthy; however, it can bring an upset stomach. Even if the dish is rather healthy for the healthy, the upset stomach cannot stand just this healthy dish. This applies to many cases if the human beings with ill souls come out of our civilisation into the cheerful and beatific air of occult science. Then it may happen that they cannot stand the healthy dish with their ill souls. Nevertheless, these are exceptional cases.
However, about them is mostly written in the world. One says, theosophy is something that makes the people crazy. — I do not deny that it can also annoy this or that soul, as the healthy dish the upset stomach. However, has the healthy dish caused the upset stomach? Many so-called ditched souls approach theosophy; it is virtually remarkable how many ditched souls approach it. Someone who is obliged to work in this movement could tell some sad chapter, could tell that the cry for help comes from here and there: I do no longer find my way rightly in the world; I do no longer know how to satisfy the longing of my heart. — The most wailful cries for help come in numbers every day. Our materialistic civilisation has caused this passing stones instead of bread to the human beings — you forgive the trivial turn of expression. The superficiality of judgment could be sometimes satisfied. The wishes and interests resting in the soul could not be satisfied. For a while, they can be forced back and deadened, then, however, they forge ahead, and the human being come with their cries for help. One cannot deny that some people come then too late.
However, spiritual science cannot be pursued in such a way that it turns to choice ones. One has to bring the things to the public. The elementary basic concepts cannot be denied to anybody, and today the ABC of initiation, as it was indicated in the last talk, cannot be refused to anybody. If today single human beings, ruined by the contemporary civilisation, approach theosophy and when these ditched souls are even more disarranged by the purifying thunderstorm at first, should the remedy be kept, therefore, from all souls, only because single ones were ruined mentally by their wrong way of thinking? Any fanaticism does not talk this way, the experience in the field of the spiritual life of our time talks this way.
Admittedly, on the other side, there is a serious danger for the relationship between our contemporaries and the spiritual-scientific worldview. This danger is caused by the fact that our contemporaries approach the spiritual scientific worldview with their worldview and such characters, which our time has bred. Which prejudices, which superficial judgements they introduce in this spiritual-scientific worldview! How much danger exists that the theosophical worldview is spoilt by the trend of our time here and there! Here a danger does exist. One has there to point to some matters, so that we are able to look deeper and deeper into the so-called and into the real dangers of the spiritual-scientific striving.
Spiritual worlds are round the human being — we have shown this in the preceding talks, and we penetrate deeper and deeper into these profundities. These worlds relate to the usual sensory world like the world of colours and light to the world of touching with the blind human being; and there is a world that is much higher than what the blind person experiences if one operates him and light and colours shine to him from the darkness. These worlds are round us. However, these worlds are not only worlds of paradise and bliss, although paradise and bliss are in them, but they are also worlds that can be dreadful for the human being, dangerous because of their facts and beings. If the human being wants to get knowledge of the great and beatific of these worlds, he cannot help making acquaintance of the dangerous, of the dreadful that they contain. The one is not possible without the other. Now we must realise once to what extent a danger exists. Imagine a human being who is near a powder magazine without knowing it. He knows nothing about it. However, suddenly he comes to know it and he gets immense fear thinking that he could be busted in the air if the powder magazine explodes. Outdoors nothing has changed; nevertheless, his life has changed. The only thing that is different from before is that he knows about the danger now. This knowledge distinguishes him from that who knows nothing. That applies also to the higher worlds. The danger, the dreadful that is included in them is always round the human being. Yes, immense dangers lie in wait for the human soul in the worlds of which the human beings have no idea. The only difference concerning these dangers and dreadful things and beings is for that who has never moved up to spiritual science, and that who has moved up to it that the latter does know about this danger and the former not. Nevertheless, it is not completely in such a way, namely for the following reasons: we enter the spiritual world in which the spiritual is effective. The powder magazine does not become dangerous because you have fear that the powder explodes; but your fear signifies something in the spiritual world!
It is a difference whether you have it or not. Your thoughts are inserted as something real in the spiritual world. A feeling of hatred that you have for a person is more real in the spiritual world and much more efficient than a blow that you give the person concerned, with a stick. Even if the dreadful does not happen immediately before your eyes, it is this way. Indeed, fear and anxiety, such negative feelings are something that puts the human being in a fateful relation to the spiritual world. For in the spiritual world there are beings to whom fear and anxiety emitted by the human beings, are welcome nourishment. If the human being is not afraid and does not fear, these beings are starving! They who have not yet penetrated deeper into the soiritual world, may take this as comparison. However, those who know this matter, know that it concerns something real. If the human being emits fear, anxiety, and panic, these beings indeed find welcome nourishment, and they become mightier and mightier. These beings are hostile to the human beings. Everything that feeds itself from negative feelings, from fear, anxiety and superstition, from hopelessness, from doubt, are powers in the spiritual world that are hostile to the human being, and that make cruel attacks on him if and when they are fed by him. Hence, it is necessary, above all, that the human being who enters the spiritual world, makes himself strong against fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and doubting.
However, these are just rather modern cultural feelings, and materialism is suitable because it cuts off the human beings from the spiritual world to call these hostile powers against him by hopelessness and fear of the unknown. To express myself quite clearly, I have to say, when the human being sees that gate of death, he also sees numerous pernicious forces hampering him. Most human beings attract forces by fear of death. The bigger the fear of death, the stronger is their power. The fear of death is generally a part of the feelings of fear. These powers appear like dried up bags if the human being makes himself strong and knows that he cannot change the event of death by the fear of death.
The human being is only able to overcome the fear of death and to face death courageously if he knows that an immortal everlasting core is in his inside for which death is only a change of the way of life. As soon as the human being finds the immortal core in himself with the help of occult science, he educates himself more and more for overcoming all such feelings, last also the fear of death. However, the more materialistic the human being becomes, the more he is frightened at death. No occult science can protect the human being to see the truthful behind the scenery. It has to show how the everlasting life, how karma entails the big balance in the spiritual life. This spiritual science has to show various things. It cannot show the beatitudes behind the scenery of life without showing the dreadful powers at the same time, the enemies who lie in wait for him. This is true. However, it also shows how he can overcome any fear of these enemies. It shows how he can face all that with free, courageous eye. It teaches him to become objective and impartial if he leaves himself patiently to its education.
However, many human beings come to theosophy with the usual feelings of our time. What they hear here works on them sometimes deeply depressing, as something that attacks their souls frightfully because they have fear of life because of their materialistic thinking. Many people bring this immaturity into theosophy and they overcome it only gradually. Again, theosophy or occult science does not bear the blame for it. It does its bit not to shock the human being too strongly. If it revealed the complete truth of something obvious to the human being, it would say how the cowards separate from the intrepid ones, and some of you would be shocked how big the number is on the one and the other side.
However, the immature human beings bring some immature matters into the theosophical movement, while they translate certain concepts that theosophy and occult science give simply into the usual trivial language. As strange as it sounds, here a big danger exists sometimes in the relations between theosophy and our contemporaries. Thus, immature theosophists and such people who approach theosophy externally say repeatedly that the first demand is to become unselfish, to overcome any egoism. Some people can never assert often enough if they want to say anything rather theosophical to anybody: all that I do and want is quite unselfish. I want to work only for the other human beings. — They mostly do not sense how selfish this belief is. It is true that by the acquaintance with the truth of occult science the human being comes gradually to that which is indicated so nicely in Goethe's words:
From the force that binds all creatures
That man is delivered who masters himself.
It is true, but almost everything is necessary that occult science can offer, its highest and its deepest, to reach this ideal. One reaches it best of all if one speaks of it as little as possible and strives for it very directly.
Those are unselfish least of all who boast mostly of their unselfishness, as those are normally the most false who use the word “truly” after every third sentence. A deep law underlies that in occultism. First, it concerns penetrating deeper and deeper into the truth and knowledge of occult science, and not taking such ideals as, for example: you shall overcome your ego. — With such a phrase nothing at all is done. Nothing is done if, for example, a stove stands here and I say to it: you should be a good stove; you must make the room warm. — You can stroke it and treat it affectionately, but with it, nothing is done. Not before you give wood to the stove, it heats. Thus, it is also useless at all to preach virtue, unselfishness, and freedom to the world. The right thing is to heat, to give the human being heating material; and the heating material is the spiritual-scientific truth. As the wood and the coal make the stove warm, the real spiritual-scientific truth makes the human being unselfish gradually. Why? Because it detracts the interest in many respects from the small point, which one calls the ego. The theosophical or spiritual-scientific truth is so great, so mighty, and significant, and claims us so strongly that we feel very uninteresting as a single personality. One learns only how uninteresting the single personality is. This learning, how uninteresting the single human personality is, if it is caused by the heating material of the spiritual-scientific truth, only frees the human being from egoism.
If you look at the things basically, then egoism is not at all anything that is not included in the divine world order from a higher viewpoint. It is something very healthy from a higher viewpoint. Imagine once if many human beings of our time did not refrain from this or from that if they did not do that or this out of selfishness because they know for selfish reasons what may result. Imagine which pests they would be in the human development! Really, the world wisdom planted egoism into the human being to lead him to a developmental stage to seize his self, so that he makes it as important and valuable as he can only do it.
It is a high truth on the one side and a shocking phrase on the other side if one says to the human being, you have to sacrifice your personality. — At an example I want to make clear to you how it can be that something is elated once and rhetorical another time. Imagine, you ask a person who has a ten-pfennig coin in his pocket to sacrifice it for anything. He makes this sacrifice easily. However, if you ask a person, who has 20,000 mark by chance with him — perhaps his whole property — to sacrifice them, this is another thing. The imposition to somebody who has not yet worked on himself who has not yet raised his personality to renounce his personality is something different from that who has worked on it for a long time to make it as competent as only possible. The one sacrifices a genius on the altar of human development, the other a fool.
It does not depend on the fact that one sacrifices, but what one sacrifices. To be able to present a personality for humanity, one has to develop this personality at first. Thus, it is once a phrase to speak of the sacrifice of personality; on the other side, it is a great significant truth. Hence, it is useless at all; if in theosophical books, the demand of the sacrifice of personality is pronounced and is not demanded at the same time: make your personality as strong as only possible.
We learn this by a real thinking that has its roots in the spiritual world. True theosophy is that logic which does not put one-sided principles but knows that every sentence as every coin has two sides, maybe even more sides, that teaches to look from the appearance at the inside. It does often not at all teach what one calls theosophy superficially today. One calls danger only that which is not a superficial, but a real danger.
I was still very young, when I sat with somebody together who had celebrated his fiftieth birthday recently in another country, who had interests in common with me concerning my studies of Goethe. The man said in those days, he did not want to go among the authors. He was in those days, although still relatively young, already older than many who write today. He bethought, I will not write reviews. I want to write something else, because only someone should write reviews who has big experience of life; actually, only old people should write reviews. — This was, in any case, a very good idea of the man. Most people do not believe that maturity is necessary to work in the cultural field. The further we grow into the times, the younger become in particular the people who write under the line, and because the reader usually does not think and has, actually, no means to investigate how young the writer is, he has no notion by whom he is taken in.
Everybody knows that today it is not difficult to write wittily. Indeed, still some people are surprised that the one or the other writes wittily. A person who has maybe dealt since his fifteenth, sixteenth year with nothing else than reading such stuff who has learnt the craft substantially needs to publish only something, and he can impress by his radical or blurred judgments enormously. It is possible there that a person seriously suffers from dementia. As strange as it sounds: somebody can be crazy today and he can write wittily for the world, so that he is admired as a witty author. This case is possible. Decades ago, it was already a correct judgement if anybody said, it is not difficult in our time to make a good poem; culture and language versify. — Today, this applies even more, so that some pupils can write newspaper articles. Quite different powers judge there, which use the human beings for their purposes. More and more humanity must demand maturity from that who should have true judgements. Real maturity just also belongs to the work in spiritual-scientific field. Hence, it is also necessary, that those who are leaders of secret schools work only in their circles and do not appear before an age of 35 years to the world and proclaim spiritual-scientific truth. Before, they can bring judgements about philosophy in the world. However, one only becomes mature to scoop from the spirit when one does no longer have to use the spiritual power to the construction of the body. As long as the body is growing, the forces from which a logical judgement builds itself up must go into the body. Hence, it can be possible that a poet got real poems before the middle years.
However, the human being misjudges so easily that the biggest maturity of life is necessary to penetrate really into the depth, so that one understands not only anything for his satisfaction and for his advance, but gets around to stepping before humanity and representing spiritual-scientific work with full responsibility. This biggest maturity can only be reached at an advanced age. However, you do not need any maturity to talk in theosophical platitudes.
This is something peculiar that maturity belongs to the highest matters if one shall work on them thoroughly. However, they can be treated also as phrases because many people are unable to realise the deepness but they adhere to the phrase. Everything that can be spread in theosophy can be serious and deep to the highest degree, can be a force of life. If one reverses it into its opposite, it can be the most terrible phrase. Therefore, we experience just on this field so often that phrase by phrase blossoms, and that just immaturity works permanently. Besides, that who represents the immature damages himself more than the world. The world rejects what comes from this side. If you are involved in this direction, you do not make progress. For someone who works outward in the spiritual-scientific field has to make sacrifices. There is a great difference if spiritual science is protected like a secret in the chaste soul or if it is cast out in the world. The word applies there that one says about the treasure seeker: he must be taciturn. If he speaks a word, the treasure cannot be attained. Thus, the depths of the higher world are also attained the better, the more one can be quiet. For that who has understood these matters there is no talking generally if he is not forced to it if the world does not demand it from him. Nobody shall talk without being asked. The demand does not need to come from here or there, this demand can come from invisible, from supersensible powers.
With it, one can say, because our time is so little able to think properly about maturity and immaturity, it forms a sort of theosophy. It can be the highest; but in its reversal, it is a caricature and a risk. It does not bear the blame. It will gradually replace the absurd judgement with the correct one concerning maturity and immaturity. Nobody may be surprised that it is that way. If he were surprised, he should also be surprised about the fact that where strong light is also black shades are. Where less strong light is, even weaker shades are. Theosophy possibly throws black shades; this is only an evidence of the fact that it should be a strong light. Where one speaks of the so-called dangers, one must take stock of the fact that against the big danger simply a bulwark is there that no real teacher in this field exposes the human beings to this serious, big danger, and that everything that looks like a danger does not come from theosophy but from that which opposes it. If one knows this, one will be quiet, even if apparently bad effects appear. These can also appear. One can experience that persons, as long as they have no connection to theosophy, are reasonably decent persons. If they come to theosophy, they become vain, ambitious, and haughty. Why? For very simple reasons. As long as a person towers only a little above the judgements of his surroundings, he cannot be particularly bad, but also not particularly good. However, if he comes to something original, the possibility of the good increases but also the possibility of the bad.
What appears here already with the usual theosophist can appear with the pupil all the more. With him, the mistakes that exist on the bottom of his being if he must gain his free judgment appear with big clearness. However, this is necessary. If anybody wants to develop quicker, a sum of bad qualities may come out with him overnight. These qualities would maybe have spread over sixty years. If one dissolves a drop of colour in a big quantity of water, one sees nothing of the colour. That also applies to the pupil. What should come out in some days becomes noticeable. However, if one acts out anything for sixty years, one notices nothing of it. Yes, in secret science there appear some devils of arrogance. Relatively soon, one had to experience that persons who are not haughty in themselves approach one with wishes. Then they come and say, I want to start being a pupil and becoming an adept as quickly as possible. — One does often hear that. It is experience that the devil of arrogance seizes somebody. Towards the great, they often become the haughtiest, and then they hard understand that this feeling is the biggest obstacle for their further development, and that it is the best for the further development to renounce arrogance. — However, this is connected also with the fact that we are great laughers and great blabbers.
With it, I have spoken about the dangers of occult science. I made no secret that there are such cases, I have also tried in the course of these talks to point where, actually, the more dangerous cases are. Today, I wanted to point only in general to what one finds everywhere in theosophy and occult science. He who searches occult science is not deterred by the dangers of it, but he finds the welfare, the recovery of the soul just in occult science. He knows that it does not cause damage that it does not bring dangers, but that it uncovers damages and points to dangers where they also exist, otherwise, and where they would keep on working if they were not led to recovery. Hence, this so-called danger shall deter nobody from penetrating into the spiritual fields. As we are led by all the other considerations and viewpoints, we are also led here to realise that the human being shall not refrain from developing the forces and abilities slumbering in him to penetrate into nature. For what is material is revelation of the spirit. As around us are dreadful beings if we look into them, they are in nature. Only because the human being closes his eyes he avoids this fact. Those who knew something of occult science also knew this. Already in his youth, Goethe heard some objections against the penetration into the inside of the things. He heard the words of the Swiss naturalist Haller (Albrecht von H., 1708–1777) who said:
No created mind penetrates into the being of nature.
Blissful is that to whom she shows her appearance only.
Goethe who dared to look into her knew that the human being can penetrate into nature everywhere. Hence, he felt repeatedly urged to say:
Considering nature you have to regard
Everything always as the same.
Nothing is inside, nothing is outdoors,
Because what is inside is outdoors ...
In his peculiar kind, Goethe still opposed the quotation that limits the human cognitive faculties. He protested against it with the words, which just are suitable to point a soul to the practical-active of the theosophical worldview, while he reminded of Haller's words in old age:
To the Physicist
“No created mind penetrates
into the being of nature.”
O you Philistine!
Do not remind me
And my brothers and sisters
Of such a word.
We think: everywhere we are inside.
“Blissful is that to whom she shows
Her appearance only!”
I hear that repeatedly for sixty years,
I grumble about it, but covertly,
I say to myself thousand and thousand times:
She gives everything plenty and with pleasure;
Nature has neither kernel nor shell,
She is everything at the same time.
Examine yourself above all,
Whether you are kernel or shell.