Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Spiritual Science: A Treasure for Life
GA 63

II. Theosophy and Antisophy

6 November 1913, Berlin

Already eight days ago, I have drawn your attention to the fact that just someone who stands within spiritual science is not surprised at all, if this spiritual science finds opposition and lack of understanding from the most different viewpoints of the present. Now I will not consider it as my task to discuss single oppositions or single viewpoints from which such misunderstandings and oppositions result; since there is another viewpoint, which one can take up as position considering this matter. This is to try to uncover the roots of any possible opposition against spiritual science. If one understands these roots, some opposition also becomes explicable. Now I would not like to define what I communicate as spiritual science as identical with that what one calls “theosophy” from this or that side. Since this offers little incentive to agree anyhow with it. However, not from the viewpoint of the contemporary prejudice that occupies the name theosophy but from ajustified viewpoint, spiritual science represented here can be called theosophical. With it, the topic of this evening justifies itself which shall explain the relation between theosophy and that what rebels in the human nature against this theosophy. One can call it a mood in the human soul that one can find easily, that turns against theosophy because of passions, of emotions, often, however, also because of a certain faith that I call antisophy here.

If you contemplate what I have said eight days ago, you remember that spiritual science or theosophy attains its knowledge if the human soul simply does not stop where it stands in the everyday life, but if it goes through a development by its own impulse and activity. From the indications which I have done in the first talk we have realised that the human soul comes by such a development to an inner constitution, different from that of the everyday life that its feeling and position in the world are different from that in the everyday life. Something is born as it were in the human soul by the development meant here that is like a higher self in the usual self that is equipped with higher senses that perceive a real spiritual world. The theosophical knowledge can only attained by developing the corresponding soul condition. However, one realises at once that a certain requirement forms the basis of the just said, a requirement that remains no big requirement for someone who practises the specified way really. What appears as a requirement becomes a real experience, an experienced fact for him. It appears as requirement what lives strictly speaking in every human soul as longing; it appears as requirement that the human being if he descends only deeply enough in his soul finds something in it that connects him with the divine-spiritual primordial ground of existence. Nevertheless, it is the goal and the longing of any self-conscious soul to find the point in its own self where it is rooted in the divine-spiritual primordial ground. Theosophy consciously confesses to this goal. One could grasp “antisophy” accordingly very easily in an idea, in a concept. It would be the opposition against everything that lives in the longing with the goal to grasp that deep point in the human soul where this human soul is connected with the everlasting primordial sources of existence.

How can such antisophy develop in the human soul? One could believe at first that it is paradoxical that an opposition may get up against that what one would have to appreciate as the noblest pursuit of the human soul. However, lo and behold, just spiritual science shows that antisophy is not anything quite arbitrary in the human soul, but on the contrary, it belongs to its nature in a certain respect. The human being is not theosophically minded from the start; he is antisophically minded from the start. One must go into some knowledge of spiritual science if one wants to appreciate this apparently paradoxical dictum properly.

If the spiritual researcher attains the other constitution of his soul, he enters into a real spiritual world. Then before his spiritual view, the outer nature is extinguished as it were. It still exists only as memory, and a real spiritual world appears in which the human soul is to be recognised not only in the time between birth or conception and death, but also it is to be recognised in the time between death and the next birth. I have already drawn your attention to the repeated lives on earth in the last talk. The human being is referred to that existence in which he is a spirit among spirits in which he is after death. This world is experienced as for the outer senses the outer nature is experience; in this world is the soul with those forces which face the human being not only in the usual consciousness, but compose this usual consciousness. Yes, this world builds up the tools of the usual consciousness and the complete corporeality with the whole nervous system. It becomes true for the spiritual researcher that we are built up as human beings not only by the force of inheritance, but also by that which intervenes in the system of these physical forces which descends from spiritual-mental regions. It is a system of spiritual forces that seize the physical organisation, and develops what we should become according to our former lives on earth. Spiritual science extends the memory about which I have spoken last time. It goes beyond the present earth existence to regions of spiritual experience.

If we consider the world and the human development in such a way, a certain border faces the soul in particular. The separating line lies in the first childhood of the human being. There we see the human being living in the very first childhood like in a dreamlike life that only must appropriate the full clearness of self-awareness, of remembering experiences. A vague consciousness is that of the first childhood. The human being sleeps or dreams, so to speak, into existence, and that by which we feel, actually, as human beings, our developed inner life with its distinct centre of self-consciousness only appears only at a certain turning point of our childhood. What presents itself in the sense of spiritual science before this turning point?

If the spiritual researcher looks at the child, before it has come to this turning point, he beholds the spiritual forces working that have descended from the spiritual world and have seized the organism to form it plastically in accordance with the former lives on earth. Because all spiritual forces that constitute the human soul pour forth into everything that lives in the organism that forms the organism, constructs, and organises it that way, it can become later the tools of the self-conscious being. Because all soul forces are used for the construction of this organism, nothing remains that could deliver a clear self-consciousness anyhow in the very first childhood. All soul forces are used for the construction of the organism; and a consciousness that uses itself for the construction of the organic being can be only dreamlike, however, is in a large part a sleeping consciousness.

What happens now with the human being at that turning point about which I have spoken?

There more and more resistance comes up from the organism, from the body gradually. One could characterise this resistance in such a way that one says that the body hardens gradually; in particular the nervous system hardens, the soul forces can no longer process it completely plastically, it offers resistance. That means that only a part of the soul forces is able to work in the human organisation; the other part is rejected as it were, cannot find working points to work on this human organisation. I may use a picture to show what goes forward there. Why can we see ourselves in the mirror standing before it? Because the beams of light are reflected by the shining surface. In the bare glass, we cannot see ourselves because the beams of light go through. The same applies to the child in its first age: it can develop no self-consciousness because all soul forces go through as the beams of light pass the glass. Only when the organism has hardened, a part of the soul forces is rejected, as well as the beams of light are thrown back by the reflecting glass. There the soul life reflects in itself; and the self-reflective soul life that experiences itself in itself is the emerging self-consciousness. This constitutes our real human experience on earth. Thus, we live if we arrive at the marked turning point in this reflected soul life. What does mean the development of the spiritual researcher now compared with this soul life?

This development is really a leap over an abyss. It is in such a way that the spiritual researcher must leave the region of the rejected soul life, and he must penetrate into those creative, formative soul forces that are before this turning point. The spiritual researcher has to immerse himself with the full consciousness in that which he has developed in the reflected soul life. There he submerges in those forces that build up the human organism in the tenderest infancy that one can no longer perceive because the organism transforms into a mirror. Indeed, the development of the spiritual researcher must overcome this abyss. From that soul life that is rejected by the organic nature, he must enter into the creative spiritual-mental life. He must advance from the created to the creative. Then he perceives something particular, if he submerges in those depths that are as it were behind the organic mirror.

Then he perceives that point where the soul unites with the creative origin of existence. However, besides, he still perceives that this rejection is meaningful. If the turning point had not taken place, the rejection would not happen; then the human being could never have attained the complete development of the clear self-consciousness. In this respect, the life on earth is the development of self-consciousness. The spiritual researcher can penetrate into the region, which, otherwise, the human being experiences only as a dream, by the fact that he has only got the preconditions of it within the life on earth that he has educated himself to self-consciousness, and then he penetrates into that region with this self-consciousness which one experiences, otherwise, without self-consciousness. However, it is evident from that that the most valuable that the human being can obtain for the life on earth is the awake self-consciousness that is normally secluded from the experience of the roots of existence. In the everyday life and in the usual science the human being lives within that what interweaves his soul life after this turning point. He must live in it, so that he can arrive at his goal on earth. One does not say with it that he is not allowed as spiritual researcher to leave it and to look around in the other region where his roots are. — I would like to express myself in such a way: the human being must leave the region of the creative nature to face and to find himself in his nature rejected in itself compared with the spiritual-mental nature that is connected with the sources of existence.

Because of this task on earth, the human being is really put outside of that region in which he must find as a spiritual researcher what can be found within spiritual science. If the human being — without the spiritual-scientific training — confused one day what he can experience in the one or in the other region, he would never be able to stand firmly in the world. The whole sensory existence of the human being is based on the fact that he is just put out of that where the sources and roots of existence where the spiritual world is to be found in their intimacy. The more the human being wants to live in the sensory world, the more he must leave the higher world. Our usual practical knowledge has just its strength because the human being has left this world.

Is it surprising on the other hand that the human being also learns to appreciate at first what he has, while he is expelled from the spiritual world? He does not stand in the spiritual world during his life. He had to put out this to live his earth existence suitably. He appreciates everything quite naturally at first that is not connected with the source of existence. Thus, it is natural that he refuses immediately to hear anything of the spiritual world within which he is not at first. Because of his life, he is not attuned to acknowledge what connects him with the core of the world but to acknowledge what holds him together in himself, as far as he stands beyond this spiritual-mental world. The human being is antisophical in the usual life, he is not attuned theosophically, and it would be naive to believe that the usual life could not be tuned antisophically. It can only be tuned theosophically if like a memory of a lost native country the longing in the soul emerges at first — and then more and more the desire originates to penetrate into the origin of the spiritual-mental world independently.

One must attain the theosophical attitude from the antisophical attitude at first. This is internally rather contrary to many souls. In our age where the outer civilisation has such wondrous achievements, a natural propensity has developed for the outer experience that forces back this longing. Just in our time, it is very comprehensible that the human soul is tuned antisophically. However, one must really acknowledge the necessity of a theosophical deepening of humanity on one side in the whole nature of the human development and on the other side just in that what presents itself today. Since so many things face the beholder of the human spiritual development. I would like to point to one thing that can show that in our time an antisophical attitude is natural.

Diogenes Laertius (Greek biographer, third century AD, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers) tells that once Pythagoras who was considered as a very wise man by the ruler of Phlius, Leon, was asked by him how he positioned himself in life, how he felt in life. Pythagoras is said to have said the following: life seems to me like a festival. People come who take part as fighters in the games; others come to make profit as traders; but there is a third sort of people, they come only to look at the thing. They come neither to participate personally in the games, nor to make profit, but to look at the thing. Life appears that way to me: the ones follow their pleasure, the others follow their profit; however, there are those like me who call myself a philosopher as a researcher of truth. They look at life; they feel transferred as from a spiritual home onto earth, they look at life to return to this spiritual home.

Now one must take such a quotation as a comparison, as a picture, of course. One would probably get the entire view of Pythagoras first if one added something without which this quotation very easily could be interpreted as if the philosophers were only the gazers and good-for-nothings of life. Since Pythagoras thinks of course that the philosophers can be useful with their looking not only for their fellow men, while they stimulate them to look, but while they search what is not directly useful for life. However, this leads to the roots of existence, so that that what is considered as “of no avail” leads to the everlasting in the human soul. One would have to add this. However, Pythagoras believed to express something particular, namely that one finds the impulse to immerse oneself in the forever imperishable in that what does not deliver anything useful in the development of the human soul in the outer use but in himself; and that one must develop something in the soul that can be applied not in the outer life directly, but that the human soul develops due an inner desire. The recognition of such a pursuit is found with Pythagoras in olden times.

We glance now at a phenomenon of the modern time which I do not mention in order to mention philosophical oddities, but because it is typical for the way of the cultural life of our time.

A worldview has spread from America to Europe that one calls pragmatism. This worldview appears rather weird compared with that what Pythagoras demands from a worldview. Whether something that the human soul expresses as its knowledge is true or wrong for others, this worldview of pragmatism does not ask at all, but only whether a thought that the human being develops as a worldview is fertile and useful for life. Pragmatism does not ask whether something is true or wrong in any objective sense, but, for example, it asks for the following. We immediately take one of the most significant concepts of the human being: should the human being think that a uniform self is in him? He does not perceive this uniform self. He perceives the succession of sensations, mental pictures, and ideas and so on. But it is useful to understand the succession of the sensations, mental pictures and ideas in such a way as if a common self exists; the internal conception is arranged thereby, the human being thereby accomplishes what he accomplishes from the soul like from a downpour; life is not fragmented thereby. We go to the highest idea. For pragmatism, it does not depend on the truth content of the God concept at all, but it asks, should one conceive the thought of a divine being? It answers, it is good that one has the thought of a divine being, if one did not believe the thought that the world is ruled by a divine old being, the soul would remain hopeless; it is good for the soul accepting this thought.— There one interprets the value of the worldview in a quite contrary sense as Pythagoras did. With him, the worldview should interpret what is not for the benefit of life. However, presently a worldview spreads out, and one can expect that it will seize many heads, which almost says — and in practice it has already done it: valuable is what is thought as if it exists, so that life proceeds most profitably for the human being!

We realise that the human development took place in such a way that one almost considers the opposite of a worldview as correct that one regarded as right, so to speak, at the beginning of the European philosophy. The human attitude developed from the Pythagorean theosophy to the modern pragmatic antisophy. Since this pragmatism is absolutely antisophy because it considers mental pictures of something supersensible under the viewpoint of practical value and benefit for the sensory world. It is significant that towards our time the antisophical mood penetrates the human souls. That is widespread today what once Du Bois-Reymond, a brilliant representative of natural sciences, explained on a naturalists' meeting in Leipzig (1872) in his ignorabimus speech! Du Bois-Reymond (Emil Heinrich Du B. R., 1818-1896) admits explaining it brilliantly that science has only to deal with the principles of the outer world of space and time, and never even with the slightest element of the soul life as such. Later Du Bois-Reymond even spoke of “seven world riddles” —the nature of matter and energy, the origin of motion, the origin of life, the apparently teleological arrangements of nature, the origin of simple sensations, the origin of intelligent thought and language, and the question of freewill. He says that science cannot grasp them because it must rely on “naturalism.” At that time, Du Bois-Reymond finished his explanations quite typically, while he meant that one would have to penetrate into something else if one even wanted to understand the slightest element of the soul life: may they attempt it with the only way out, with that of supra-naturalism. He added the meaningful words, not as an argument, but as something that he asserts out of his mood quite dogmatically: save that science ends where supra-naturalism begins.

What does such an addition mean compared with the other sentence that one must recourse to supra-naturalism, save that science ends where supra-naturalism begins? One can do a peculiar discovery if one looks around in the scientific life of the present. In order to prevent misunderstandings from the start, I note that these talks are intended here in no way as opposition against the contemporary science, but that I hold them in full recognition of this science, — in so far as it remains in its limits. I must say this because some people assert repeatedly that I hold these talks here in an anti-scientific sense.

However, this is not the case. Although an entire recognition of the great results of modern science forms the basis of all that I say here, nevertheless, I must draw your attention to the fact that one can strictly prove the following: one cannot find the smallest justification in science for the statement that science ends where supra-naturalism begins. You find no justification. One discovers that such a statement is done without any justification, out of a mood, out of an antisophical mood. Why does one make such a statement? Again, spiritual science can give information about that. One can externally understand such a mood due to everything that I have explained today. However, I have to assume something. There are many subconscious experiences in the human soul. There are depths of the human soul life that do not become concepts, mental pictures, acts of volition, at least not conscious ones, but only in the character of the human soul life. There is a subconscious soul life; and everything is there that can be in the conscious soul life. However, emotions, passions, sympathies and antipathies which we feel in the usual life consciously can also be in the subconscious regions, they are not perceived in it, but have an effect in the soul like a natural force, — save that they are mental and not physical. There is a whole region of the subconscious soul life.

The human being asserts, believes, and means many things not because he is completely aware of their premises; but he believes and means them from the subconscious soul life because unconscious emotions, inclinations urge him. Today even the empiric psychology already gets the idea that that what the human being asserts does not completely lie in the mere reason, in that what the human being consciously surveys. A whole branch of modern experimental psychology deals with it. Stern (presumably William S., 1871-1938, psychologist) is a representative of this direction which shows how the human being has something even in the most scientific statements that is coloured by his sympathies and antipathies, by his inclinations and emotions. The outer psychology will prove gradually that it is a prejudice if anybody believes that he could really survey everything in the everyday life or in the usual science that induces him making his statements. It is no longer an absurd statement today if one characterises the just mentioned discovery: where supra-naturalism begins, science ends. Indeed, this Du Bois-Reymond pronounces it as a basic mood, but it is also a basic mood of countless souls that know nothing about it. That is not surprising if one understands it as emerging from the subconscious soul life. Nevertheless, how does it emerge? What urges the soul to allege the sentence as a dogma: science ends where supra-naturalism begins?

What worked in the subconscious soul life of Du Bois-Reymond at that time, and what works today in the subconscious soul lives of many people who have the greatest say in life if the sentence is felt, as if it forms the basis of them subconsciously? Spiritual science gives the following answer.

We know an emotion very well which we call fear, fright, or timidity. Any human being knows when fear appears in the usual life. There are quite interesting scientific investigations about such emotions like fear; so, for example, I recommend to everybody to have a look at the excellent investigations of the Danish researcher Lang (Carl Georg L., 1834-1900) about the emotions; among them are also those about fear, timidity and so on. If we experience fear in the usual existence, something occurs — in particular if the fear reaches a certain level — that dazes the human being so that he does no longer control his organism completely. One becomes “frozen in shock,” one has a particular countenance, but all kinds of particular concomitants of fear also appear in the bodily life. Science has already described these concomitants quite well, as for example the mentioned researcher. Such fear has an effect down to the vessels of the person and presents itself symptomatically. Bodily changed conditions and the need in particular to hold fast onto something appear with fear. Many a man who was frightened said, I fall over. This points deeper to the nature of frightening than one normally thinks. This is because the organism suffers changes if the soul experiences fright. The forces of the organism are concentrated convulsively upon the nervous system; this is overloaded as it were with soul strength; certain vessels thereby tense up, and then this tension cannot have any effect.

However, spiritual research investigates the human soul when it is thinking and imagining, given away to the outer nature. One can investigate the nature of that activity in which a soul is which leaves the remaining body alone, in certain state and turns the outwardly directed thinking to the outer experiment, to the outer observation. If one faces the picture of such a human being spiritual-scientifically, it is just the same as that of a human being who is in light fright. As paradoxical this sentence sounds, it is in such a way that the distraction of the soul forces from the whole organism causes something quite similar as fright, as numbing fright. That “coolness” of thinking which one must generate in the scientific observation, as paradoxical it sounds, is related to the fright, in particular to the fear. A concentrated researcher who really lives in his scientific thoughts is in a state that is related to fear if his thoughts are directed outwardly or if he reflects about something that is in the outside world. This dedication to the outside world differs from the spiritual-scientific development as far as the latter is based on the fact that the soul activities are detached from the brain. Thus, that does not happen what is caused by a one-sided convulsive effort of the soul activity and letting one part of the body activity flow at the expenses of the other. This state, related to fear, produces what I have characterised just now. Of course, everybody can deny this fear, because it appears in the subconscious. However, it exists even more certainly there. In a certain respect, the researcher who turns his eye upon the outside is perpetually in such a mood that in the subconscious regions of his soul life the same prevails that consciously prevails in a soul that is in fear. I say something now that sounds simple that is not meant simply that can lead to an agreement because of its simplicity.

If anybody is frightened, he can come very easily to the mood that one can call with the words: I must hold fast onto something, because, otherwise, I fall over! This is the mood of the scientific researcher as I have described it just now. He must concentrate upon the one-sided thinking; he develops fear subconsciously and needs the outer sensory matter to which he can stick, so that he does not sink into the subconscious fear which — if it does not advance to theosophy —finds nothing to which it can stick and which, otherwise, sticks to the matter. Give me something that is in the outer material to which I can stick! This mood lives in the sub-consciousness of the usual scientist. This leads to the subconscious emotions to accept as science only what allows no fear because one holds fast onto the materialistic creation of the world. This gives the antisophical mood: where supra-naturalism begins, science ends — ends to which one can stick.

However, with it I have characterised something that must exist understandably in an age where one demands to be taken up in the outer observation and in the outer nature in many a respect. I indicate something with it that lives not in the single human beings personally. However, it lives in all who develop an antisophical mood now whether one says that theosophy is something that flies over science, that it leaves the reliable ground of science, or whether one says: theosophy leads only to inner or outer nonsense; nothing is scientifically reliable in these fields. One has to develop a mere faith which comes from here or there.

Whether anybody says, my family arrangement is torn if a family member confesses to theosophy, or whether another says, if I dedicate myself to theosophy, the fun of life is spoilt, —both views are not correct, of course, but one says something like that out of a certain mood. They dress the antisophical mood up. This antisophical mood is comprehensible. Since nothing is more comprehensible than the antisophical mood to the theosophically feeling human being who knows that the human soul must always search the coherence with the world for the sake of its welfare and health with which it is connected in its deepest roots. Any kind of opposition, any kind of misunderstanding is comprehensible. Someone who alleges such misunderstandings should consider always that he says nothing surprising —no matter how angry he may be against theosophy —to the theosophical feeling human being because the theosophist can understand him. He differs from the theosophical feeling human being only by the fact that that who rages in such a way normally does not know, why he does it because the origins are in his sub-consciousness which stimulates the antisophical mood of its own accord. The theosophically minded person can know at the same time that this antisophical mood is the most natural of the world as long as one has not understood the noblest pursuit of the human soul. One does not show that one has well judged, that one has thought logically, if one is in the antisophical mood, but only that one has not yet taken the step to understand that theosophy speaks out of the sources of existence.

Someone who is not a spiritual researcher can also understand this theosophy, can fully accept it and make it the elixir of his soul life. Why? Because that what the spiritual researcher experiences beyond the usual sensory experience can be expressed in the same language in which the experiences of the everyday life and science are expressed. I take care just in these talks that I use the same language for the spiritual regions —not the outer language, but the language of the thoughts-, as the outer science uses it. Indeed, one can experience the weirdest things, for example, that one cannot recognise the language with the adversaries of theosophy, which they accept for the outer life and science if they hold forth about the spiritual field.

Theosophy can give the human being a coherence with the primary source of his existence; it can make him aware of that point where the depths of his soul are connected with the depths of the world. Because the human being grasps the divine-creative forces in theosophy that organise him, he stands with theosophy within that world power which can give health and strength, assurance and hope and everything that it needs for life. As the human being penetrates with theosophy into the creative source of existence, he also penetrates into the creative source of existence concerning his moral life. Existence is increased in the best sense. The human being feels his determination, his value in theosophy, however, he feels his tasks and duties in the world too because he finds himself connected with that in which he is, otherwise, an unaware member only. The life beyond this source, the life in antisophy obliterates the existence of the soul. Strictly speaking, any barrenness of the soul, any pessimism, any scruples on existence, any incapability to manage his duties, any lack of moral impulses arise from the antisophical mood. Theosophy is there not to give any admonitions and the like but to point to the truth content of life.

Someone who recognises this truth content finds the impulses of life in the outer and moral fields. Theosophy raises the human soul to that level which it must have. Since it gives the soul that by which it really feels as transported into a foreign land to which it had to come. Since theosophy is not hostile to earth. If the human being understands himself with it, he understands himself in such a way that he must ascend again to the world where he has his roots where his home is in which he must be to attain his full human development. From this knowledge of its home that theosophy can give, optimism, life knowledge, clarity about its duties, about the impulses of life can flow to the soul— which always remain dark under the antisophical mood even if one believes that they are bright and clear. Theosophy creates that mood which can become a monistic mood, a feeling one with the spirit living and interweaving in the world. Theosophy means being in the spirit, so that one knows: the spirit penetrating any existence invigorates and pulsates through that what lives and weaves in me.

The best human spirits still felt one with this theosophyeven if they did not always ascend to that what can be given in the beginning of the twentieth century as world knowledge. If Fichte (Johann Gottlieb F., 1762-1814, German philosopher) tries to outline the nature of the human ego with sharp lines of thought, he gets a mood from quite different lines of thought as they are explained here which crystallised in the words: the human being who experiences himself in his ego really experiences himself in the spiritual world. This is the theosophical mood. This is something that has coined the nice words from this theosophical world consciousness just in Fichte. These words appear as a necessary consequence of the theosophical world consciousness. It is brilliant how Fichte coined some sentences in his lectures The Vocation of the Scholar (1794). There he summarises again that about which he had thought very much and that appears like a theosophical mood in the words: if I have recognised myself in my ego, being within the spiritual world, then I have also recognised myself in my vocation! We would say, I have found the point where it is connected in its own being with the roots of the world being. Fichte continues saying: “I lift my head boldly up to the menacing rocky mountains, and to the raging water fall and to the crashing clouds swimming in a fire sea and say: I am everlasting and resist your power! Everything shall fall down onto me, and you earth and you heaven intermingle in the wild tumult, and you all elements foam and rave and grind the last solar mote of the body which is mine —my will with its steady plan shall hover over the leftovers of the universe boldly and coldly. Since I have grasped my vocation, and it is more permanent than you are; it is everlasting and I am everlasting as it is.” This word comes from a theosophical mood. On another occasion, when he wrote the preface of his Vocation of the Scholar he spoke the meaningful words against the antisophical spirit: “We know the fact that ideals cannot be shown in the real world, we know it maybe as well as they do, maybe better. We state only that reality is assessed by them, and must be modified by those who feel the strength in themselves. Assuming that they could also not convince themselves of it, they lose very little, because they are what they are; and, besides, humanity loses nothing. It becomes only clear that one does not count on them in the plan of improving humanity. This will continue its way without doubt; the benevolent nature may rule and give them rain and sunshine, digestible food and undisturbed circulation of their juices, and, besides — clever thoughts!”

One feels united in the theosophical mood, even if spirits of the past times could not speak about the spiritual world in such a concrete way as it is possible today, one feels united with these human beings who had this theosophical mood. Therefore, I feel always in harmony with every word, with every sentence with Goethe and particularly with the theosophical mood that vividly penetrates everything that he thought and wrote. Thus, he could also say an appropriate word with reference to the theosophical and antisophical mood, a word with which I would like to finish this consideration about Theosophy and Antisophy. Goethe had heard a rather antisophical word which originated from a brilliant, significant spirit, from Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777, Swiss naturalist and poet). However, Albrecht von Haller lived in an especially antisophical mood, although he was a great naturalist of his time; nevertheless it is an antisophical word when he says:

No created mind penetrates

Into the being of nature.

Blissful is that to whom

She shows her appearance only.

Goethe felt this as antisophical mood, even if he did not use the words theosophical and antisophical. He characterises the impression somewhat drastically which Haller's antisophical words made on him. He expressed the fact that the soul has to lose itself under such an approach, so to speak. It would have to lose the strength and dignity that are given to it to recognise itself:


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.