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Spiritual Science: A Treasure for Life
GA 63

I. The Spiritual World and Spiritual Science

30 October 1913, Berlin

As now already since a number of years, I will also try in this winter to hold some talks from the fields of spiritual science. I will also try in this winter to light up different fields of life and knowledge from this spiritual-scientific point of view. Hence, I may ask you today like during the past years again to consider the today's talk not so much as a single one, but to look at the whole cycle of these talks as a more or less unified whole, although I will possibly try to round any single talk, too.

I would like to touch the fields of the spiritual, the moral, and the artistic life in this course of lectures to show how spiritual science can become an enlightening cultural factor for the most different questions that the soul of the present must realise justifiably. It is by no means an approved or popular viewpoint in the present from which I hold these talks. On the contrary, the viewpoint of spiritual science is treated in adversary way and is often misunderstood. Immediately from the start, I may say that about this view of spiritual-science someone is surprised least of all, who stands on this point of view. Since how much is brought forward from the mental pictures and the habitual ways of thinking of the present against this spiritual science—with supposed right—even today; someone understands that best of all who has penetrated just into this spiritual science thoroughly. Contradiction, opposition, and misunderstanding are quite comprehensible to me. One can find misunderstandings in different fields. There on side one believes that this spiritual science establishes on some old, Oriental or other confessions because one believes to recognise a certain resemblance of single points with that what such confessions have represented. The fact that it behaves with such resemblances quite different, one can recognise only in the course of spiritual science. However, I do this indication only.

I want to say as a prologue that spiritual science has nothing to do with any traditions, but that it is based on immediate research results that one can attain without any tradition. From another side one misunderstands spiritual science in as much as one regards it as a kind of new confession, as a kind of sectarian religion. However, it is just as little a confession like any other science of the present. Just as little as one is allowed to say of the chemists that they are a sect of chemistry, one can call spiritual science a sectarian religion. However, the opposition against spiritual science comes from quite different requirements. The different denominations believe that they have to fear any new denomination that it endangers the religious life generally. One will convince himself gradually that the same applies to this spiritual science as it applied to the natural sciences when they began their modern development in the age of Copernicus.

As one believed at that time that the Copernican worldview would endanger the religious life of humanity, as the different confessions exiled Copernicanism for centuries, which may also apply to spiritual science that has a similar task concerning the spirit as Copernicus had a particular task in natural sciences. In the end, one will realise that a similar relation exists between spiritual science and the religious science, like between Copernicanism and religious confessions. One will also realise that one cannot achieve anything against that what culture demands just as little in the fields of the spirit as one was able to do so in the fields of scientific knowledge. I want only to touch these matters at first and then expand on them in the course of the talks.

However, another weighty objection comes from the side that should consider spiritual science as a kind of continuation of its own attempts, which believes to stand on the firm ground of scientific research and thinking. I want today to draw your attention only figuratively to the relation of the modern spiritual science to the current of scientific knowledge. Nobody can acknowledge the high value and great cultural power of the modern scientific way of thinking more than just someone who stands on the ground of spiritual science. Who could let a spiritual current flow in the civilisation that would oppose the scientific thinking? Such a man would not understand how deeply not only in the contents, but also in the whole way of the questions and riddles of knowledge the natural sciences have intervened. I will indeed argue nothing against the entitled demands of science in the course of these talks. Humanity saw this science emerging, saw it entering in our technology, in our traffic, it saw it transforming the outer material world civilisation and conquering the social life of the nations.

However, just because the modern spiritual science understands that, it draws the knowledge from that which natural sciences can perform. If natural sciences are grasped vividly, not abstractly, not theoretically or dogmatically, something can result from natural sciences and their habitual ways of thinking that informs the human soul not only about the outer laws of the sensory world but also about the soul life. This encloses the questions of death and immortality and the whole extent of spiritual life. Since I want to emphasise this from the start that spiritual science (German: Geisteswissenschaft) is meant here not as a summary of various cultural sciences for which today one also often uses the name “Geisteswissenschaften” (humanities)—for history, sociology, art history, legal history and the like. However, that spiritual science is meant as knowledge of a real spiritual life which is as truthful as the physical life round us, and to which the human being belongs with his mind and soul.

However, with it one stands straight away on a field where many spirits of the modern time cannot yet go along because for them the whole way how this spiritual science approaches the spirit and the riddles of life is something quite fantastic and dreamy as basically also the Copernican world view was fantastic and dreamy to the contemporaries. Nevertheless, natural sciences and spiritual science relate to each other possibly in the following way: if a farmer harvests his fruits in the autumn, the biggest part of these fruits is used as human food.

However, a part of these fruits must be sowed again if life should go on. Thus, the biggest part of that what natural sciences have performed as great achievements is determined to go over to the technical, the social, and the traffic life, it is determined to fertilise the material civilisation and to develop the progress of humanity. But in it something is also included that can be handed over again to the human soul without going over to the material life that can be processed in this human soul in the way as I suggest it immediately later, and that appears then in the soul like the seminal grain that has been put in the earth. What the human soul can take up that way is transformed in it and becomes that clairvoyant force—far from any superstition—which can glance at the spiritual world. Since this distinguishes spiritual science from other branches of knowledge: the fact that it requires a development of the human soul beyond the viewpoint which counts, otherwise, in the modern scientificity. In this scientificity one takes the human being in such a way as he observes the world around us and the principles of nature—equipped with his power of cognition, with the sensory observation and his intellectuality—and forms science that way. One takes, I say, the human being as he is, and the human being takes himself, as he is to penetrate into this scientificity.

This does not apply to spiritual science. The spiritual world is for the human being a concealed world at first, it does not exist for the senses and the usual reason. It lies behind the world of the senses, although that what the human being is in his deepest nature belongs to this supersensible world. The human being with his power of cognition if he understands himself in such a way, as he is, belongs to this sensory world and this world of reason. In the deeper sense, he belongs to the spiritual world; but he must develop this deeper sense first. To put it another way: as true it is that the human being takes himself for the usual science as he is, it is also true that he only must transform himself for spiritual science, for the knowledge of the spirit, so that he can penetrate into the spiritual world. One has to develop the cognitive forces for the spiritual world only; the human being must transform himself only, so that the slumbering cognitive faculties awake in him. However, these slumbering cognitive faculties are in him, and he can wake them. However, this is a viewpoint which is rather comfortable, but is incomprehensible in many a respect for the present. Since this present is inclined so much if it concerns questions of higher life to put the question first: what can the human being recognise?—And then some people who live in the habitual ways of thinking of the present rightly say: the human cognitive faculties are limited and he cannot penetrate into a spiritual world. On one side, there are many people saying that there may be such a spiritual world, but the human cognitive faculties are not able to penetrate into it. Others are more radical and say that a spiritual world appears to nobody, consequently, there is none. This is the view of materialism or as one calls it nobler today, of monism.

One cannot argue about that at all that the human being, as well as he is, cannot penetrate into the spiritual world if he wants to grasp it scientifically if he does not only want to believe in it. However, such a mere belief is no longer sufficient for humanity today—and will be less and less adequate for it, because the scientific education has taken place during the last centuries. However, one has to develop the conditions by which the human being can penetrate into the spiritual world.

One normally imagines if one assumes that such a thing is possible that particularly abnormal forces are necessary. These must be forces that are caused by abnormal conditions. This is a misunderstanding, too. What it concerns is that the knowledge, those soul forces by which the human being penetrates into the spiritual world exist in the human soul that they control the soul in our usual life. However, they are subconscious in our everyday life, they control subordinated fields of life, or if they control more important fields, they control them in such a way that one does not notice these forces and their influence. What always exists in the soul what is absent in no soul what exists, however, in the everyday life only to a minor degree must give—developed to a certain height and strength—cognitive forces for spiritual science. I want to draw your attention to a soul quality—because I want to talk not abstractly, but immediately concretely—to a quality that everybody knows that plays a role that gives, however, a basic strength for spiritual science, brought only from its low level to a certain intensity. Every human being knows what one calls directing the attention of the soul to something.

We must turn our attention, our interest to the most various objects; since we need to make mental pictures of these most various objects that remain in our memory and influence our soul perpetually. Which role attention or interest play in the human life, someone will notice who has already reflected once about the good or bad memory. He knows that a good memory is a result of the possibility in many a respect to turn his attention to the things, to pursue them with interest. Something that we are intensively attentive to, something that we were involved with our full interest imprints itself in our soul; this you keep in your soul life. Who passes the things briefly has to complain of a bad memory. Still in other respect attention, interest is important in this human life. Since the inner integrity of our soul life depends on the fact that we keep the things as mental pictures with which we were once connected. Everybody knows that it is necessary for the healthy soul life that the human being keeps the coherence between the present and the experiences. Someone who would not know in a great measure how his self-consciousness, his ego has behaved during the past years, so that he, looking back, would not recognise that he has experienced it, for someone to whom the ego would always be a new experience would have no healthy soul life. In the end, our healthy soul life goes back to the fact that we are able to turn our attention to the things of life. This basic soul force plays a role in life that is always there.

Somebody could say now: hence, you tell to us reporting about spiritual science somethingevery day and you assert that this attention must be further developed. Nevertheless, it is in such a way! This attention may be weak in life, may be weak compared with the intensity that it assumes with the spiritual researcher. Since the increase of attention is something that the spiritual researcher must practice over and over again that he must bring to such an intensity compared with which the level of attention is low in the usual life. One could say that it could be apparently easy to reach the ground of the spiritual-scientific research because it only concerns the development of something that always exists in the usual life. However, the words in Goethe's Faust(verse 4928) also apply: “it's easy, to be sure, but easy tasks take effort.” Many years' exercises spent in perseverance of the soul are necessary to develop the soul strength, and we call this increased life in attention concentration of the spiritual life in spiritual science. We call it concentration of the spiritual life because the human mind or the human soul, as well as they are, spread out their forces in the everyday life about a wide area, about an area that embraces everything that the outer sensory world offers and that the reason forms in this outer sensory perception. In the usual life, the soul forces spread about everything that the human being wants; briefly, the soul life is diffuse at first.

What the spiritual researcher has to form as the spiritual-scientific apparatus he must prepare to himself in the spiritual area as the chemist prepares his apparatuses in the laboratory. It is necessary to collect these soul forces, otherwise dispersed, in one point as it were, to turn the attention to one point. To which point? To a self-chosen point in the inner experience of the soul. That means that: the spiritual researcher has to form any mental picture, any soul impulse, and to put it in the centre of his soul life. A mental picture that has to do nothing with any outside world at first is the best: an image, a symbol.

I take a simple example: if we take a sentence, which has no outer truth at first, but it does not depend on that: I imagine light—light of a star, light of the sun—touching me. This light is wisdom flowing through the world. A symbol. Now I concentrate my complete attention to this symbol. Not that is the point that something true is in it, but that all soul forces are concentrated in this one point. Hence, it is necessary that you choose that as preparation what you can read in the book How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds? where the different methods are given. Here I want only to point to the principle. It is necessary for it that you develop the strong will to concentrate your whole soul life onto this one point. That means, however, that you are able to cause artificially what happens, otherwise, in sleep naturally. In sleep our senses grow tired; the world stops being sense-perceptible for us. Colours, tones, and smells stop making impressions on us. However, besides, at the same time our consciousness dwindles there. With the spiritual researcher, it must be just the consciousness that quietens all outer impressions arbitrarily, and, nevertheless, you have to keep it completely at the same time.

In the same way, one has to stop what immediately stops after falling asleep: all intentions must become completely quiet. Everything that, otherwise, the human being spends to stand vigorously in the world must become completely quiet for the spiritual researcher. He must divert his consciousness from everything that it is otherwise directed to, and concentrate the whole soul only upon one point that he has chosen himself. Then just those soul forces gain strength that remain hidden, otherwise, in the everyday life, and now something happens gradually that I would like to compare with that what takes place in the area of the outer material life if the chemist investigates, for example, the composition of water. The spiritual researcher stands before the human being in the world, as the chemist stands before the water. The human being is for the spiritual researcher an intimate compound of mind and soul with the bodily as for the chemist the water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen. Just as little the chemist could get the idea what the water is if he investigated the hydrogen only, just as little one can get an idea what the human being is in his mind or soul if one looks at the physical human life only. In this field the spiritual researcher must be frightened just as little to be considered as a dualist as the chemist may be frightened in his field, if he separates water in hydrogen and oxygen. One is not more right to call the spiritual researcher a dualist because he practices “spiritual chemistry” in his field than the chemist, because he does not accept that the water is a unity but consists of hydrogen and oxygen, and that he must separate the hydrogen from the oxygen to get to know the nature of water.

The spiritual researcher works with the same means, only in his fields. What I have just indicated: the concentration, the increased attention wakes the forces slumbering in the human soul during the everyday life, but by which soul and spirit, which are, otherwise, in unseparated connection with the physical-bodily, are separated from this bodily as the material hydrogen is separated from the water with the chemical experiment. The spiritual researcher experiences this if he exercises this increase of attention vigorously, often for many years. It is fact for him that the mental-spiritual that one can easily doubt, otherwise, becomes an immediate experience. Therefore, he can say because of immediate experience, I experience myself independent of my body in the spiritual-mental; now I know only what the spiritual-mental is because I experience myself in the spiritual-mental!—It does not concern so much that the spiritual researcher would have to add knowledge of the same kind, as the scientific ones. However,, although his way of research is completely in accordance with the scientific spirit, his research method is, nevertheless, quite different; and just because it wants to remain loyal to the scientific laws, it must take on a form different from the scientific methods which are immediately directed to the material field.

Thus, the spiritual researcher attains a consciousness of the following. In our present one will ask with a certain right: have natural sciences delivered even if not proofs, but the hypothetical authorisation of the view at least that the human thinking is a function or a result of the brain? Here in this point everything starts mostly that opponents of natural sciences or followers of spiritual science bring forward in a not quite modern sense, namely not in the sense that is meant here as the modern one. Many people say who would like to acknowledge the spirit and, hence, oppose such statements from the start: the human thinking is bound to the central nervous system; it is an outflow of the central nervous system. One polemicizesa lot against that what natural sciences have not proved, indeed, but have put up as a hypothesis that the human thinking is a function of the brain.

Many people immediately consider spiritual science as threatened if one admits that the human thinking is bound to the brain that one cannot think without the central nervous system. In this point spiritual science has not even to contradict the justified requirements of natural sciences; since it is true that thinking, as we develop it in the usual life, is bound to the central nervous system and to the remaining nervous system. However, true spiritual science teaches us to recognise that that form of the brain, of the central nervous system that is necessary for thinking in the everyday life has flowed out of the spirit that the spirit builds up our body only in such a way that this body can become the tool of thinking. Spiritual science does not descend only in the thinking, it does not assert that thinking, as it appears in the everyday life, is everlasting and immortal, but it teaches us to recognise that our spirit and soul build up our mental apparatus, that what is behind our mental apparatus what generally lives behind our physical nature. The spiritual-scientific methods, as I have suggested them, lead to these active, creative forces that stand behind all material.

Thus, the spiritual-scientific method advances, because it must be in the inside at the same time what it separates from the body, to another way of experience and to a soul condition different from the way of the experience and the mental condition of the usual life and the usual science. I would like to emphasise one thing from the start because I want to speak about concrete facts. What expresses itself, otherwise, in our thinking and imagining, and what is bound to the brain in the everyday life really separates from the bodily by concentration as I have indicated. The spiritual researcher experiences that he is strengthened that he is beyond his central nervous system and that he faces the own corporeality in this mental-spiritual experience. In other words, as you experience yourself in the usual life within your body, you experience yourself beyond your body if you apply the spiritual-scientific methods to yourself. You experience yourself beyond your brain if you apply these methods of concentration. You know only then how the cerebral tools are. Since I tell no fairy tales but something that the spiritual researcher experiences. He feels like in the vicinity of his brain. He knows what it means to think not in such a way as one thinks in the usual life, but to think only in the spiritual-mental element and to feel the brain beyond this element—nay, to feel it even like something that offers resistance against which one stumbles as one stumbles against an outer object. I have described this increase of such experiences to a more ample experience already here once; I have also described it in my little writing A Way to Human Self-knowledge.

If the spiritual researcher continues his exercises and has the devotion to concentrate his whole soul life not upon one picture, but upon hundreds and hundreds of pictures, so that the forces increase more and more, then that experience takes place that I have called a stupefying event in the just mentioned writing. It takes place for the one in one form, for the other in another form; however, it has always something typical. It will appear to everybody as I describe it. The human being can advance so far, even in the middle of the everyday life if he has done exercises for a long time that he says to himself: what wants to reveal itself to you from the everyday imagination?—It is something that wants to penetrate you like something that ascends, otherwise, only from your own soul. However, it can also penetrate as for example a dream if you awake from sleep what is, however, again endlessly more than a dream about which you say to yourself: what happens now?—Something happens that appears possibly like a lightning striking in the space that you feel penetrating yourself. You can say to yourself, it is, as if your body drops from you and is destroyed. Now you know: you can be in yourself inside without being in your body!

Then you know if you experience for the first time what the spiritual researchers have meant who said: someone who experiences the everlasting in the human being, the mental-spiritual must approach the gate of death. You experience the death in yourself pictorially. You experience in the real, not imagined Imagination what it means: the mental-spiritual separates from the body and continues existing if it separates when the human being goes through the gate of death. We still speak about that; today I want to indicate like in a preface only the nature of the spiritual life and the spiritual science connected with it.

A sum of inner experiences appears that bring to mind at first what it means to do “spiritual chemistry,” to “separate the mental-spiritual from the bodily,” to investigate the destinies of the mental-spiritual and to know that there is a real separation of the spiritual from the bodily and an independent life of the spirit compared with the body.

This is the fruit of the increased attention, the increased concentration. You already notice this on relatively elementary stages, this standing beyond the body, in particular concerning the central nervous system. If you feel thinking and imagining attracted by the spiritual world beyond your brain, beyond your body, you are urged repeatedly because you stand as an earthly human being in the usual life to return to the usual imagination and to think as you just think in the normal life. However, you experience the moment when you must say to yourself: now you were beyond your body. You must return in your body and you have to form what you have experienced beyond the body in such a way that you let your brain be grasped by the fact that the thoughts that you have had beyond the body become cerebral thoughts!

This experience of entering the brain is connected with something that must be well prepared that can be well prepared if you have gone through the exercises which are described in the book How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?. Then you know, while you immerse yourself with your thinking in the brain that the brain offers resistance, and that, indeed, the process of thinking in the usual life is a destruction of the central nervous system that sleep, however, repairs. However, if you advance in spiritual practising, you experience yourself immersing in a process of disintegration; and this expresses itself—if you have not developed the right feelings during the preparation—in the fact that you are frightened to submerge again in the organism. The human being stands now beyond his earthly body. He feels submerged in an abyss. Hence, you must do such exercises that give you serenity for that which may appear, otherwise, as fear. A certain soul condition expresses itself in that power of cognition, in those research methods for the higher worlds.

One has to add something else if real revelation shall come from the spiritual worlds into the human soul. You have to increase another quality up to the highest intensity: devotion, love of that what meets you. You need this devotion up to a certain degree in the usual life. However, you have to increase this devotion so far that the human being learns to renounce completely down to his deepest organism, to suppress any activity. Practice gradually increased suppresses the voluntary movements that come from the egoity of the human being and causes that you are completely given away to the current of existence, so to speak. Not only this has to occur, but you have also to feel involuntary movements as something external up to a certain degree. Up to the vascular organs, the human being learns to feel himself with these exercises. Then he can say about the spiritual world: you experience it beyond your body; you experience it as a structured world in which beings appear as in nature physical beings appear. By concentration and meditation, that is by an increased devotion, the human being finds the way into the spiritual world as he finds the way into nature if he looks at it with the outer eyes and with his reason. However, if the human being has separated the mental-spiritual from the bodily by a process of spiritual chemistry, he grasps himself also in his infinity; then he grasps himself in the existence that lies beyond birth or conception and death.

Then he recognises himself in this everlasting being in such a way that he grasps that idea of development about which I still speak in these talks. This idea corresponds in the area of the human spiritual life to that theory of evolution to which natural sciences owe so much in their fields. Then the human being grasps the idea of the repeated lives on earth, the fact that the complete human life consists of repeated earth-lives between which lives are in wholly spiritual worlds. The idea of reincarnation distinguishes the life in the body between birth and death and the life between death and new birth in a wholly spiritual existence.

Those who believe to stand firmly in the scientific habitual ways of thinking very easily regard all these matters as daydreams and fantasies. One shows by the researches about dream, hypnosis, suggestion, autosuggestion and so on how from the depths of the subconscious soul life a number of things can appear that can cause a deceptive consciousness in the human being. You experience something that has significance beyond your bodily life. All these things are theoretical objections. Someone who penetrates deeper into spiritual science will no longer do them. Since we will make many objections in the course of these talks and will show how spiritual science has to position itself to them. I would like to draw your attention to something fundamental only.

One can easily say the following. If the spiritual researcher has experienced his spiritual-mental in its independence and believes then to look back as in an enlarged memory at former lives on earth or at his last life on earth. This is nothing else than his transformed wishes that exist in the subconscious and shine from below into the day consciousness whereby he abandons himself to delusions, hallucinations and so on.

It is comprehensible that the uneducated thinking speaks in such a case about self-formed wishes, illusions, and hallucinations and so on; but one does not know what it concerns. Someone who has separated his spiritual-mental life from the bodily by spiritual chemistry notices if he really experiences such a retrospect into a former life on earth that it is not a transformed wish or something that can appear from his sub-consciousness. Since one may say, what one experiences in the spiritual is usually very different from that what one would have dreamt. You can find a lot of nonsense in the field of spiritual science. In no other field charlatanism is so widespread as in the field of spiritual science; and one can hear someone speaking who has looked at spiritual science who has absorbed some of its teachings and is convinced that these teachings are true: this or that human being has experienced this or that in a former life. Now, one can experience a lot of nonsense in this field. Normally one can notice that the statements that are done in this field correspond to certain human wishes. Since what the people want to have been, this takes on mysterious shapes sometimes. Mostly these incarnations are rather famous, excellent persons whom one can get to know not by spiritual-scientific research but by history! However, to someone who penetrates into the spiritual worlds really the things are represented quite different. Hence, the following example: somebody casts a glance, after he has applied the spiritual-scientific methods to his soul, at a former life on earth, as it is possible and even natural if the spiritual-scientific methods have become effective up to a certain degree; then the picture of experiences of a former life on earth appear.

However, one will notice that these experiences are in such a way that one has no use for them at the present moment when one sees them in the enlarged retrospect; except that they enrich the knowledge one has no use for them in the usual life. One realises that one had certain skills, certain knowledge and so on in a former life. Now they appear pictorially. However, one is too old in the present life to attain these skills and knowledge again. As a rule this will happen what one would not have dreamt what no imagination can invent; as a rule the real life is completely different from the fantastic picture which one imagines about a former life on earth. It can also be that one notices: in the past life, you had a relationship to this or that person. However, if one wants to draw the conclusions in the age when one discovers this for the present life, the living conditions do not permit it, and then one is urged to this what one calls the spiritual principle of causality. One recognises,—but one cannot apply the knowledge to the present life. You must also develop a devoted soul life and say to yourself, what you have developed once as relation to persons will enjoy life; but you must wait, until the spiritual connections bring the causes of former lives on earth to effect in the present one. What one wants to dream in spiritual field does not happen if the knowledge is a real one.

If you look at that existence which passes between death and a new birth where you are in a wholly spiritual life, any conceptual thinking does not help to get mental pictures of your life in that time. What you have to consider as the next form of your life-tasks, of your interests at first of which kind your surroundings are in which you have grown up in the outer material world what you have developed as wishes, desires, and emotions which character your mindscape has, all this is mostly completely contrary to that what you have experienced in the spiritual world before you have descended to the present embodiment. What you have desired there does not correspond to the wishes in the earthly life.

We take an example. In the earth-life, you can be affected very easily by a stroke of fate painfully. Then you may easily believe if you feel anything as painful and if this painful feeling does not correspond to any wish, not even in the sub-consciousness, that in the spiritual world where you were before your whole life of desires, your position to the spiritual world was similar as now your position is towards life. However, this is not the case. The feeling in the spiritual world before your embodiment is drastically different.

Hence, you have to imagine that you yourself caused everything to experience this pain. What you do not want in the life on earth you get to know that you have wished it before your life on earth. Since you can attain perfection of your soul life experiencing and overcoming this pain. Since the fateful question becomes a question of perfection by the spiritual-scientific knowledge.

If we imagine the spiritual life this way, indeed, a spiritual environment appears to the increased inner life as the natural environment appears to the senses and the reason. The spiritual researcher has to overcome many things to put as science what he can observe. Since you can imagine that the experiences which the spiritual researcher must have must be attained first. They are attained in such a way that they appear weak that the weakest memory pictures of the usual life are strong compared to these manifestations of the spiritual world, and that these pale recollections of the spiritual must be strengthened. They are strengthened only gradually while one settles down more and more in the spiritual conditions. This strengthening of the soul life is the basic condition of the spiritual research. Then, however, something else must be added.

We see in the course of the talks that it is unfounded to say, what is attained by concentration and meditation this way does not differ at all from the illusions and hallucinations of a morbid soul life. One may say if one considers the matters externally that the experiences of the spiritual researcher do not differ from them. One may even say, if the spiritual researcher describes these matters, it is real in such a way, as if a dreamer describes his dreams. In the dreams, memories of the outer world express themselves. Hence, one can say in a certain sense, what the spiritual researcher separates as his mental-spiritual from the bodily and puts as beings of an imagery before his soul is taken from the qualities of the pictures of the beings of the outer world.

Someone who reads my Occult Science. An Outline may say if he absolutely wants to do so: the matters which you describe and which are to be attained only in the supersensible worlds for spiritual science are matters that one also finds in the outer world, even if not arranged that way. One may say this in certain way, although the objections that are raised today from some side against what spiritual science says are somewhat naive. Somebody says, for example, what one can read in such a writing as Occult Science is arranged like by a kind of pressed inner experience, and it is such a representation, actually, speculative fiction and no reality. That just shows what kind of logic it is. Since if one dwells on it, one notices that it is the same logic, as if a child that has only seen a wooden lion up to now says if it sees a real lion: this is no real lion, because the real one is wooden. The opponents of spiritual science often do so. Because they know the matters not properly, they accuse the spiritual scientist that the matters are not in such a way, as they know them from the usual life. Nevertheless, one can object that the portrayals of the spiritual researcher's memories are from the usual life. However, this objection is as valuable as for example the objection of that child.

What one attains and beholds so directly must not go over from the observation of the spiritual world to the sensory world; but it is necessary that you learn to read in that what you behold. Since that what you have beheld you have to read correctly. However, you learn this reading with the exercises at the same time by which you familiarise yourself with the spiritual world. If anybody regards the portrayals of spiritual science only as memories of the usual world and says: these are only concepts if there is spoken about former lives on earth, which are also found, otherwise, in life only not arranged that way, then such a human being resembles someone who looks at a letter and says to another: do you want to experience anything new from it? I already know everything that you can read in it; because there are only letters in it which I already know, there is nothing new at all! The same applies if one says: what the spiritual researcher describes, nevertheless, is only memories of the sensory world! But that is the point with these portrayals what is behind as something essential that reveals itself there.

Hence,spiritual science is the result of the spiritual researcher's experience. It is hard that spiritual science complies so little with the life goals of today that the spiritual researcher must always be involved with that what becomes experience, observation for him that he does not put his body on the market, as it were, but his soul if he speaks about the conditions in the spiritual world. While the usual world separates the human being if he should recognise something “objective,” the spiritual-scientific researcher must submerge in that which his science refers to, must become one with it. However, one regards that as “subjective” experience only. One does not notice that the indicated methods make the mental-spiritual independent of everything that we experience subjectively. Since if we experience it ever so much, and if it is called “mysticism” ever so much: what we experience subjectively is experienced in the body. However, what the spiritual researcher experiences is experienced beyond the body, but can be understood in the body with the usual reason.

Since also that objection is not justified that someone who wants to get knowledge of the spiritual worlds must be himself a spiritual researcher. In order to find and investigate the spiritual facts and beings one must be a spiritual researcher but not to understand the spiritual-scientific communications. It is sufficient that one absorbs them with common sense as one absorbs what the chemists or physicists find with their methods.

If one considers spiritual research this way, it appears as that which natural sciences must lead into as it were. As natural sciences have shown material goals to humanity, spiritual science will transform the mental-spiritual experience of humanity in such a way, as it is commensurate to the goals of the present and of the future of humanity. About these goals, one may say what a man of the present said, namely what Wilson (Woodrow W., 1856-1924, The New Freedom (1912)), the president of the United States of America, said concerning something external that applies, however, to the goals of spiritual science generally. Wilson speaks in the book that recently appeared about the reforms that he has experienced. He says that the outer material life has changed completely that instead of the old patriarchal relation of employers and employees quite different relations have taken place. Trade unions of employees face the employers, and the former conditions have changed completely.

The fact that it has happened that way is a result of modern life; this is, above all, for someone who realises the matter properly a result of the knowledge of nature of the present humanity. Now Wilson says, what one has as forms of the legitimate living together still often corresponds to that what one considered as right in former times when the single worker faced his employer in a patriarchal relation. Wilson now demands that one creates harmony between the legitimate living together of modern human beings and that what civilisation has created. Many things culminate in the exceptionally interesting literature of the American president. What he says about external conditions one can say about the complete mental human experience today. One would like to mention thinkers—if one considers such a thing in connection with the spiritual goals—who belonged to quite different times of human development: Archimedes, the founder of mechanics, and Plato, the great Greek philosopher. They were of the opinion that the application of science to the technology of life weakens the human mind. One can understand that excellent spirits of other times had this opinion; but according to such opinions, the course of the world complies just as little as with that what one believes today, indeed, less what, however, people believed when the first railway should be built in Germany. At that time, the Bavarian Medical Board had to deliver an expertise whether one should build railways or not. This board meant that one should not build railways, because if one built them, the nervous systems of persons who would drive in them would be injured very much. However, if railways were still built, one should build high wooden walls on the left and on the right at least, so that the persons living nearby would not be injured by the sight or noise of the trains.

One may smile at this medical board. However, even if one smiles at it, one can find it still reasonable. Since one can oppose or stand up for it even if the Bavarian Medical Board very much exaggerated the issue, nevertheless, it has become true for someone who knows history not only externally, but internally what it had assumed. One can say that this board had a good view. However, one does not need to oppose it. Why not? Because history stands up for it! It is indifferent what the single human beings may think about the fact that the course of the global development goes on, and that the human being has to adapt himself to the course of development. This is also the demand that Wilson puts up: the course of development has brought certain cultural processes, and the human being has to adapt himself to them.

If one extends this to the soul conditions, one can say that in that what the souls have received in the course of time, the goals came about which are infinitely more complex than those of the past times have been. For the outside world, one can imagine this reversal easily; but also that life has changed concerning the needs of the soul daily. Someone who would believe that one could do this with the soul forces in the same way even today that directed the human being into the spiritual worlds once does not regard what takes place in the world development. He does not regard that we have not only four centuries of natural sciences behind ourselves, but what is more important that we have four centuries of scientific education behind ourselves, and that it has become necessary today to bring the results of spiritual science to the hearts and souls. Even if it may also correspond to the details that the course of world history does not always permit this, nevertheless, one must say:

If today anybody opposed anything against that what spiritual science wants to be, then it could be that he would resemble the Bavarian Medical Board that wanted to erect wooden walls beside the railways, so that people living nearby would not be injured: the course of worlddevelopment passes over him. However, the human being is must not position himself to the goals of the global development in such a way that he leaves it to its own devices, but he got the strength to contribute to the conditions. However, that what approaches the human soul as demands in the outer life and from the outer life what appears as outer goals demands inner goals of the soul. The inner goals of the soul are the goals of spiritual science; natural sciences have changed the outer worldview, the body of civilisation. However, civilisation needs a soul. This soul should be the creation of spiritual science. It is the goal of spiritual science to penetrate the body of civilisation with soul and spirit. Then one can easily realise that the spiritual researcher can calmly consider everything that spiritual science experiences as contradiction and misunderstanding. The living conditions demand such a kind of knowledge of the spiritual world in which the soul feels so strong that it attracts forces for its being not only from the sensory world but from that what a knowledge of the spiritual world can give. More and more one will recognise that the soul needs forces for the modern life that flow not only from the knowledge of the sensory existence, but also from the knowledge of the spiritual existence. With these strong forces, the soul will penetrate itself like with an elixir of life, will feel the sense of its being exceeding birth and death, experiences that quality in itself that one calls “immortality,” and will cope with the tasks that the present and future of human history must set to it.

I wanted to outline the present and future of the human soul with some words only. I give all other explanations in the following talks. In this preface, I wanted to cause a feeling of that only what the spiritual researcher bears in himself. To speak from the spiritual-scientific point of view in such a way, as I like to do it in these talks, can happen only on two conditions. What the spiritual researcher has to inform of the real spiritual research differs at first from that what one often thinks and considers as correct, so that someone who asserts this spiritual-scientific is a charlatan, a blatherer or a frivolous human being—or that he can know in himself that truth is what he has to say. There may be the most different nuances of these two extremes; but intermediate stages do almost not exist. With the consciousness that one can be considered as the one or the other, one speaks anyway as a spiritual researcher. Someone who stands in this spiritual science can develop the consciousness and the strength to speak about this spiritual research only because he also knows how to estimate its power of cognition and its strength of truth and that he can withstand the misunderstandings and consciously wrong accusations because of this consciousness of truth and knowledge on one side. However, on the other side spiritual science also leads into the immediate spiritual life, as well as into the spiritual life of our time and teaches the spiritual researcher that the representation of spiritual science is a necessity now.

Even if the contemporaries do not clearly express this necessity of spiritual knowledge, it exists as a dark need of spiritual knowledge. In the depths of the souls, one perceives the cry for spiritual knowledge, even if this cry itself is not often audible to the conscious thinking of our fellow men. Since our time needs the knowledge of the spirit. All other science that is commensurate with our time would lower this spirit, would extinguish it from the souls as it also works from other currents of the spiritual life if spiritual science does not stir up it. The spiritual researcher knows that the human soul needs the spirit, and, hence, he hopes that it will belong to the goals of human development in the future to maintain this spirit.

We have realised that the human soul must transform itself if it wants to attain the spirit. From that, it is evident that it is more comfortable to leave the spirit where it is and not to care for it, than to enterprise in the soul what leads to the spirit. It is more comfortable, however, also with that what arises to common sense and to a healthy feeling of truth to realise the material connections of nature simply, than to develop a sharper reason and to use it to realise what spiritual science says. One lives more comfortable without spirit. Nevertheless, the spirit has the quality that it brings damage if one wants to live without it as it brings benefit if one wants to live with it. If one wants to live with it, it animates the soul; it penetrates it with all skills that we want for life. If one denies it, it withdraws and kills the soul life to the same degree, as this does not want to know anything of it. If one denies it, it takes much optimism gradually and gives desperation and timidity.

Indeed, one can deny the spirit; however, one cannot destroy it. If one denies it, it appears in its counter-image inside the soul—and asks in the human soul for itself. The spiritual researcher who speaks of spiritual science as a goal of the present feels this. Therefore, he relies on it: it will settle down because humanity can close the eyes before the spirit, but it cannot prevent it. However, in the end this impact changes into the demand to look at this spirit. I would like to express that in the following way. One can deny the spirit, because it is more comfortable to understand the world and to live in it without spirit than with spirit. However, one cannot resist the demands of spirit denying it. Hence, that what spiritual science wants to incorporate as an elixir of life in the civilisation it incorporated by its own strength. Since the human soul often denies the spirit; however, it will demand it always out of its innermost nature, out of its deepest goals!