Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Original Impulses for the Science of the Spirit
GA 96

V. Spiritual Insight Offering Greatest Liberation I: Man's Share in the Higher Worlds

1 October 1906, Berlin

I am delighted to see you again after such a long time—the branch members and those of you who have joined the meetings in the course of the year. Let us hope that the winter which lies ahead will take our work and our spiritual movement some way forward again, and that we'll gain a little more depth in finding our way to the world of the spirit and living in it.

We have not seen one another for a long time but in a way this period is like all those other times when we were not together in outer terms. For the members of this branch are deeply and most eminently concerned to see this spiritual movement spread in the world as well as letting it enter into their own hearts. All our seeking in theosophy would be just a refined form of egoism if we were not also interested in having other people in this world hear of the movement and take an interest in it, just as we ourselves love being part of it.

The speaker has been able to talk to wider audiences and all kinds of different people in recent times, and it is good to know that people from all levels of society and of all classes have a longing for the world of the spirit, something which is also evident in the fact that the theosophical movement exists.

Perhaps we may just make a brief review of those wider audiences as we start our winter studies. The tour I was able to undertake to make the theosophical movement more widely known took me to Leipzig, Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, Alsace, Switzerland and Bavaria. I was able to speak in Leipzig, Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, Colmar, Strasbourg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Basel, Bern, St. Gallen, Regensburg, Nurnberg and Weimar. In some places I gave lecture courses. The course in Leipzig consisted of fourteen lectures, the one in Stuttgart took more than a fortnight,30‘Populärer Okkultismus’, Leipzig 28 June–11 July 1906 (notes from members of the audience in GA 94). At the Gates of Spiritual Science 14 lectures, Stuttgart 22 Aug.–4 Sept. 1906 (GA 95). Tr. E.H. Goddard, C. Davy. London: Rudolf Steiner Press 1976. during which time people interested in the theosophical movement had to meet daily. Such courses are probably the most effective way of helping the theosophical movement gain deeper entry into our time. It is not so easy to spread the theosophical movement with sufficient intensity if one can only give one or two lectures and arouse initial interest But when people are given an introduction to life in the spirit for a whole two weeks, they can begin to realize that a new world can open up for them.

There are, of course, infinitely many obstacles that prevent people from getting closer to the science of the spirit and from living with it One does have to go more deeply into the approach we have come to call theosophy, for only then will hearts and minds begin to get an idea, a feeling, that this higher world is something very real. Initially everything they hear is taken to be not only incomprehensible but also pure fantasy. People do not find it easy to let go of the accepted view that the things we speak of in theosophy are mere dreams and fantasies and to realize now that our spiritual movement is concerned with something that in a most profound sense is the very basis of the real world. Many think that people who talk of these things are remote from the realities of life. However one gradually comes to see the point of view that can be gained, and realize that this is something down-to-earth, not living in cloud-cuckoo-land, but is at deeper levels, giving us strength, insight and truth. It enables us to find genuine ways of achieving the great tasks humanity has been given in this world. It is prejudice to say that theosophy is inimical to life, that it denies life. One hears people say: ‘Theosophy presents the world in a very nice light, offering great ideals, but it deflects people from life itself, from the true enjoyment of and pleasure in life.’ It has even been said that theosophists may have nice things to tell, but that these are not wholesome.

This kind of prejudice will probably take longest to disappear. It will always be possible to find people who understand the things presented in theosophical literature and lectures. It will be harder for them to find their way out of the kind of inner responses and feelings that are part of their upbringing and acquired prejudices. Inner responses and feelings are harder to overcome than are thoughts that need to be discarded. You may even hear someone say: ‘Yes, of course, we want to devote ourselves to theosophy, but we also don't want to spoil things for people who want to make the most of life.’ They'll say that we must remember that young people should enjoy life. It is a question, of course, of what we take pleasure in, and the issue must really go deeper. For it is possible to look for better and more noble objects of pleasure and to work with these to take life to a nobler level. We can give life a new content and there is no need to spoil young people's pleasure in life, for we shall give them new kinds of pleasure and enjoyment. People often find it hard to understand that one may find the things others consider entertaining rather uninteresting—going to the cinema, and spending one's time talking about things that have nothing to do with the reality of life. Perhaps a day will come when we speak of today's popular amusements as of a cloud-cuckoo-land.

It probably does not happen very often that someone envies someone else the inability to enjoy things, but it does happen. We have a small theosophical group in one particular city. One of our theosophists, who takes a tremendous interest in the science of the spirit and has also adopted a certain theosophical life style, is living with someone else who is also interested in the science of the spirit but cannot yet give up his predilection for roast suckling pig, that is, he really loves to eat roast suckling pig. Sitting there eating his suckling pig he then gets pangs of conscience because he is still much given to this enjoyment. And he thinks the other individual is lucky because he no longer has a taste for suckling pig. The point is that the other individual has developed different needs. And the day may well come when people who are no longer looking for common amusements will be considered true examples, and people will look to them for the good.

Much deeper down lie the prejudices that come from learning and intelligence and prove an obstacle to humanity's progress. You can find an article in a journal about national epidemics. A well-known academic31Möbius, Paul Julius (1853–1907), neurologist and lecturer in Leipzig. Über den Begriff der Hysterie und andere Vorwürfe vorwiegend psychologischer Art, Neurologische Beiträge 1. Heft, Leipzig 1894. See also Nachrichten der Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung Nr 22 (Michaeli 1968) S. 30f. who works in the field of psychiatry and deals with issues that lie between psychology and psychiatry, writes about mass epidemics. He refers to a phenomenon that existed for 200 years, to the end of the Middle Ages, with excessive asceticism widely practised as a ritual, with people throwing themselves to the ground, scourging and torturing themselves, their fantasies going to extremes and leading to strange excesses. This may be seen as a disease. The psychiatrist calls it hysteria of epidemic proportions. He goes on to say that hysterics of that type are often open to suggestions that cannot be evaluated by thinking. When a person sees someone else who has hurt his arm, he'll feel compassion and do what he can to help. We need not go into the things that go on in normal people's minds. But there are others who feel the pain in their own arm, abnormally so, when someone gets hurt. This is due to suggestion. It can reach such levels that the individual is completely out of control, his inner life lacking all order and given up to all impressions coming from outside.

When a materialistic soul expert speaks of such a phenomenon affecting whole populations, he is referring to public suggestion coming from particular groups—in medieval times from the monasteries—and becoming widespread. A kind of ‘disease of the age’ develops. People are not inclined to ask what they should think about such a thing when it comes up. They are wholly caught up in the suggestion. Such an expert will speak of the matter in all seriousness, but he fails to notice one thing, which is that an independent person who is capable of insight into himself will be able to recognize and clearly distinguish another kind of epidemic among the masses. This has reached many social groups today, even highly educated people. It consists in people living under the influence of specific suggestions, both positive and negative. If you speak of the truths to be found in the science of the spirit to such people, the truths will act as a negative suggestion on them. Such people cannot understand them; they will find them intolerable. Many materialistic prejudices that are widespread today act as positive suggestions. What do you find in medical, theological and law faculties? Suggestion that influences specific social groups and goes so far that one is perfectly justified in calling them a kind of disease, just like the kind of mass epidemic of which I spoke.

A well-known biologist has written something rather strange in a widely-read journal.32Has not so far been identified. It is strange—perhaps not so much for someone who only reads a bit here and a bit there, but for someone who studies the whole it is something he finds in 95% of the whole academic world. He will find that in future it will be possible to speak of a kind of academic madness, academic feeble-mindedness just as we now speak of hysteria. In the essay it says: ‘If a rolling billiard ball strikes another and makes it move, I cannot imagine that nothing passes from the one to the other.’ The scientist calls the peculiar spectre which emerges from the first billiard ball, creeping into the second one and setting it in motion under the influence of the first ball, the materia movens. He thinks he is enormously clever but is in fact only under the influence of materialistic suggestion, which affects him just as mass hysteria influenced people in the 16th century. Now just think how the suggestions to which a person is subject are apt to live around him. Their number is infinite. If they occur in large numbers—and it is possible to list a great many of them—they may be brought together in a picture that would be a disease picture of modern academic knowledge like that of dementia precox, which we keep hearing so much about.33Dementia precox is an earlier term for schizophrenia.

There you see the unfreedom of those who are governed by suggestion. A little bit has changed since the Middle Ages. Only a theosophist is able to realize this. In medieval times people would speak of possession when something spoke out of a human being which was not that person himself. Today people laugh at the idea of possession and speak of an illness instead. This kind of possession, which existed in medieval times, has grown a little less today. It only shows itself in particular circles today. Another kind of possession, real and genuine possession, is however widespread today. The medieval kind of possession was astral by nature, today it is mental. The spirits to be found in academics today, spirits that possess them, are on the mental, the devachanic plane. In the world which is considered to be the only real world they come to expression as thoughts and are therefore also said to exist as thoughts. Just as the world of human feelings, inner responses, passions, drives and desires is not merely something arising from existence in a body, but is something independent, true and real in its own right, so the world of thoughts, too, is a distinct entity. It is just that the thoughts which human beings have are not real. These human thoughts are but shadow images of the real thoughts, just as human passions and feelings are only shadow images of something completely different. We have often spoken about the way these things are connected. We know that things we are able to observe in human beings through the physical senses are indeed the physical body, which is only part of the whole human being. We know that muscles and nerves, bones and blood are only part of the whole human being. These things, which we call the parts, the elements, of the human body, are part of the physical world. In the same way, however, human feelings and thoughts belong to another world, the astral world.

This is where modern logic takes the strangest leaps. People do not realize at all today that their own thinking, their own logic, should really tell them how impossible the conclusions are which they are drawing all the time, and that they are including things in their trains of thought that are obvious suggestions. It is terribly easy and it only needs some very commonplace ideas for an audience to accept what one is saying if for five minutes one presents them with an inevitable sequence of conclusions. They fail to realize that the debris of old life and of old ways of seeing things covers it all. That is the way it is with 'inevitable conclusions'.

Someone who was born blind and might be among us would be quite right in thinking we were indulging in fantasies when speaking of light and colour. This has never been a truth to him. He'll object that things can only be known by touch. He need not believe what we tell him, but he would nevertheless be wrong. What matters here is not that he is wrong but that he does not have the organ to perceive light and colour. The moment he is given that organ a new world will exist around him. True theosophy will never assume another world; it will merely approach it in a different way. The higher worlds of the theosophists are here around us, just as the world of colours is around the blind person. Someone born blind whose condition is operable may regain the use of his physical eye. We are saying no more than this in theosophy when we say that it is possible to develop the inner eyes. Just as it has been possible to achieve the physical eye, made with such art, so it is also possible to create organs out of the passions, instincts and feelings that live in us, organs of perception that will truly open up new worlds around the human being. It is thus possible to help human beings to achieve and develop this, so that they will be able to look into these other worlds just as they otherwise do into the physical world. This is the astral world of which we speak in theosophy. Within the outside world it is as real as is the world of colour within the world given by the sense of touch.

Someone who knows nothing of these worlds should not raise objections to them. It should be a general principle for everyone that we may only speak of things that we know something about and should never make statements about things about which we know nothing. All opinions about the science of the spirit based on the idea that those worlds must remain unknown to us are therefore a logical monstrosity that does no good at all. No one should ever say: ‘Any world I do not know about does not exist for me.’

So much to characterize the prejudices we meet. These are the suggestions made in today's academic world. And many, many people are subject to these suggestions. A lecture based on the science of the spirit is heard once, after which people continue to hear hundreds and thousands of things said to be highly significant, but they always involve elements that come not from materialistic science but from the materialistic interpretation of science.

It is hard to combat these suggestions with good sense, and this is something only someone able to see more deeply into the intellectual life of today is able to know. Popular science, busy as it is, has an extremely harmful effect because it is presented with an air of authoritative infallibility which can only be shown in its true light at some future date. People today have no idea how much they are subject to suggestion presented with an authoritative air. Take what I am saying merely as a characterization and consider how odd it is that nations struggle to rid themselves of one authority yet at the same time fall prey to new ones.

In the past, people would fall for suggestion, with their I given up to something that was active in them, but someone able to look into the higher worlds would see real entities. Human thoughts relate to certain spirits in the ‘devachanic’ world the way shadows do to the actual objects. The thought images you have are shadows cast by spirits in the devachanic or mental world. The thought that lives in you is but such a shadow image, all by itself. Someone with vision, someone who has developed his higher sense organs, will see it in connection with a spirit. If you see a shadow cast on a wall you can only understand it if you relate it to the object which cast it. It is the same with your thoughts. Without anything to relate them to, your thoughts are shadows. They relate to spirits that are as real in a higher world as this hand of mine is here. Just as my hand casts a shadow on the wall, so do the higher spirits cast their shadows in this our world. And these shadows are your thoughts.

The human being, as we see him before us, is really the scene of events that take place beyond the physical world. As a physical entity, man is in the first place complete in himself, and as such he lives in a physical world that is complete in itself. To understand the human being as a physical entity we have to remain in the physical world. To investigate and understand blood as a physical substance, for instance, you have to remain in the physical world. To understand the nature of feelings, inner responses and passions, you will either have to use empty phrases or relate these things to spirits that are behind the physical world, to a world that relates to this one as the world of colour does to the world of touch. Also you have to use a similar approach to understanding the world of thought.

So you see that man has a share in the higher worlds, that the astral body extends into those worlds, and that the devachanic world for its part casts a kind of shadow into this world. Someone who knows nothing of those higher worlds is subject to them like a slave, powerless against powers that control the chains. Just as the physical person can only be free if able to develop the will to face another person in freedom, so can the astral nature of man only be free if it recognizes its connection with the whole astral world. For as long as people live only in their ordinary inner feelings, their astral nature has them on leading strings, as it were. They are always possessed by it. They come free when they recognize it. Just as we perceive and know the physical world around us, so we must face those spirits, spiritual eye to spiritual eye, and know who we are dealing with. It is the same for the world of human thoughts. This is the way to real freedom, seeing through the world around us. To gain the right measure of understanding we have to consider what lies behind the physical aspect. A beginning has to be made and you need to study these things; the world must study these things.

There is some justification for the following objection, which is also raised by many people: What good it is to us to hear someone tell us of worlds which we ourselves are unable to see? You see, it is the first step towards being able to see into those worlds oneself. Why is it the first step? Because the physical world appears in a somewhat different light to someone who has gained insight than it does to materialistic minds. A comparison may show the different standpoint a theosophist should gain in relation to the physical world. We may take our example from ordinary writing. Someone unable to read may look at it and so may someone who is able to read. They both see the same thing; there is no difference in what they actually see. The person who is unable to read will say: I see lines going down and up, longer and shorter lines. He'll be able to describe them. Someone who is able to read however will find that the lines have meaning. He'll not describe the shape of the letters but find meaning in them.

That is how it is with the whole world when it is seen from the spiritual scientific point of view. Compared to this, take our modern conventional science. Here the world is described in the way someone who has not learned to read describes the letters. For the other person all things in the world become letters; they gain significance and he learns to read them. When someone unable to read describes the shapes of the letters, this cannot be said to be wrong. Many people say our ideas are divorced from reality when we say that the word or the world also holds a specific meaning. You cannot say anything against this objection; it is the everyday view of things. But there is another way of looking at things where every flower becomes a letter, every plant species a word, and the world a great book.

The world holds something within it that goes beyond its physical aspects. The signs for this have no lips, however, and therefore meaning has to be given to them. A completely new world opens up in the devachan for someone able to read the writing of the plants. You can also think of every animal in the world as a letter, and you will gradually be able to decipher these letters. If you understand what comes to expression in animal lives you will relate to them as someone able to read and not as someone who merely describes the letters, which is the way of modern conventional science. Learning to recognize the word that lies in the animal you are able to see another, completely different world behind the physical world—the astral world. Learning to see the plant world as letters you gain the ability to see into the mental world. This is not something divorced from reality. Quite the contrary, it is something firmly based on reality that teaches us to see the abundant meaning of life.

It truly is the case that we only perceive the true significance of spiritual insight into the world if we compare it with reading. What would be the point if I were to draw something on the board here and describe it if there was no meaning to it? It gains meaning in that we perceive its significance. And that is how it is with the world. We gradually come to realize why the world exists, what it can mean to human beings and what human beings themselves are within the world.

Telling you all this, I did not mean to present something new. Those of you who have heard about theosophy on several occasions will know it all. I have been telling it to you to give you a means of rebutting the statement that theosophy is unscientific, to arm you against objections reputed to be logical. Only someone using a shortsighted logic has objections to raise against the science of the spirit. A logic that explores every nook and cranny will show that no objection can be raised but that it is absolutely sensible. It has to be understood therefore that people who base themselves on a scientific point of view in their attacks on theosophy are doing so not for logical reasons but on the basis of suggestion. When you are free of such suggestion and know that thoughts are but the shadows cast by devachanic spirits, and if you then hear a professor who is under the influence of the mental world say that a billiard ball is moved by materia movens, which transfers to a second billiard ball—you can see behind the scenes and see that he is influenced by other spirits.

The earth is atremble, in a way. It presents us with major tasks. Questions arise from the serious challenges of our time. It will not be possible to solve the social question, which has already caused so much bloodshed, with the suggestions people are making at present. The political parties seeking to solve the social question are also under the influence of such suggestions. Someone able to see behind the physical aspects sees the demon who stands behind many a party supporter. It can never be otherwise than it was in the case of Robert Owen,34Owen, Robert (1771–1858), Welsh social and educational reformer. The community he established at New Lanark in Scotland did not prove viable (it has now been restored by the New Lanark Conservation Trust). In 1833 Owen organized the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union. See also Anthroposophy and the Social Question, essay first published in Lucifer-Gnosis 1906-1908 (in GA 34). Tr. H. Collison. 2nd edition Spring Valley: Mercury Press 1982. Also in Reincarnation and Immortality, Tr. M. & E. Tapp. New York: Multimedia Publishing Corp. 1974. a noble and caring person with good knowledge of social conditions in England. He wanted to create an example of an economy where he asked good and bad workers to join him in establishing a social community. He based himself on the understandable prejudice that people are essentially good and one only needed to put them in a situation where they had a chance to earn a proper living. In such a situation, he believed, they would be able to have the kind of life they desired. But this philanthropist finally had to admit that it was not possible to start with practical measures in one’s efforts for social progress but that one had to teach people first, addressing their understanding.

Someone able to see into the world of the spirit perceives what lies behind the physical plane. He will see how people live together, some in the greatest misery, poor and oppressed by labour and need, and others indulging in superabundance, enjoying all kinds of things. If one does not go beyond the physical plane it will be easy to imagine how the situation can be changed. This is what most people do when they feel they are called to be reformers today. They do not find themselves in the same situation as someone who was born blind and after a successful operation suddenly sees the world around him to be full of colour. For then they would see all kinds of different spirits behind everything physical. When they try to bring their well-meant plans for reform to realization but take no heed of the spirits behind it all, the situation will be much worse fifty years later than it has ever been. All the social ideals of today would go grotesquely against the astral world unless this astral world of human passions, desires and wishes were to change as well. General misery, a terrible ferment in the world, a dreadful struggle for existence would then take the place of today's struggle which is terrible enough as it is.

You need only look a little bit into the world of the spirit and you can see the situation. Human beings are not just bodies to be provided with food; human beings are also spirits, and they are in touch with other spirits. The task of those able to see the occult world is to make them aware of being comrades, members, of higher worlds. Imagine a human being, and a few beetles crawling around on this human being. The beetles can have no idea that this human being, this spiritual entity, is something different from themselves. They will describe the shape, e.g. of the nose. That is how human beings describe the heavens, Mars, the Sun, Mercury and the other stars. A modern astronomer is just like a beetle which has no idea that the nose belongs to a soul when he describes Mercury, Mars, the Sun. He describes them just the way he sees them, like a beetle crawling around in the cosmos. We shall only know how to describe the reality of things when we realize that the stars have souls, that spirit is present everywhere, that the whole universe is ensouled. That and nothing else is the aim with the science of the spirit. It is as logical as that. Prejudices, being sheer suggestion, make it difficult to make people aware of what this spiritual view of the world is really about.

The aim of this introductory lecture has been to show the resistance met by people who think in terms of the science of the spirit and who in the eyes of the world represent this science. Each of you may find yourself in a position where you have to show firmness in the face of views presented to you from the outside. It is part of the work in our groups to help members to stand firm. They should be sufficiently sure inwardly that in spite of everything they come up against in the world they have a living inner certainty of the world of the spirit and are thus armed against any objection that may be raised. It is not the amount of theosophical knowledge we have but our inner awareness, inner life and inner certainty that matter. Many people who represent other approaches want to enter into discussion with us, wanting to offer wisdom which theosophy already has. They keep saying things which a theosophist has long since left behind. He will characterize but not criticize. He will not make propaganda in the usual sense, for that cannot be our task. People must come of their own free will if they are to join our ranks. To make propaganda and agitate is not the theosophists' task. It therefore also is not for them to refute others. One seeks to characterize the standpoint of spiritual science itself. The other person has to enter into the spirit of it. Agitation—if a public lecture may be said to be such—consists in telling people: theosophy has this and that to offer. Anyone destined to come to it will come to it. A theosophist does not have to offer views and opinions. He speaks of realities in a higher world, and realities, facts, are beyond dispute. A theosophist presenting the spiritual scientific point of view will stop himself from presenting his own opinions. As theosophists we speak of ancient wisdom that has always been known to wise people. You'll never have two people having different opinions once they have entered the higher realm. At most it may be the case that one of them has not penetrated far enough. This is the kind of attitude a theosophist can develop. He should not impose himself on others, but he should be sure in his heart and sure of himself in presenting theosophy to the world. Someone who knows will also be able to find words for the knowledge he has in him.

This, then, is the way the theosophical approach, and other approaches which are in opposition to it, should be characterized and not criticized. If we develop this attitude more and more, we'll have the best possible means of being active theosophists in the world. We shall understand the world around us more and more and investigate it in the spirit. That is the theosophical way of doing things.

In conclusion one more example, one of those that will shock people when it is referred to in public. These things are simply true and can be found with the means of our spiritual research. I would like to describe a phenomenon of our time to you, and you'll see how we come to understand the world around us if we really penetrate the things which the science of the spirit has to offer. Please do not take my words amiss, for one will have to get used to the fact that there are things of which we do not yet have the least idea. Who would have thought fifty years ago that there is a substance where it just needs a tiny granule to damage our health? Fifty years ago no one knew anything about it. There are things that have an effect before people know about them and understand them. This substance is called radium. In this case, people did not yet have the physical instruments to understand it. When it comes to things of the spirit, people lack the spiritual instruments.

There are members of the socialist movement who are extraordinarily radical and would really like to hit out and destroy everything. Other members are to some extent conservative in their views. You find all kinds of different trends among them. One group within the socialist movement is a closed group with a remarkably homogeneous, like-minded view and the same way of doing things. They have been the least radical people. Basically this is the trade, the occupational group, which gave rise to the socialist union movement—the printers.35The German Printers Association was the first socialist union to be established in Germany in 1866. They were the first to develop a more formal set of rules within the social movement. Rates of pay were agreed on for the relationship between workers and employers. It has even gone so far that a newspaper is produced for the printing trade the editor of which is not a socialist at all, having been thrown out of the socialist party. This shows how moderate the group is.

Now it is possible to ask if we can investigate the spiritual causes of these things just as we can physically investigate the actions of radium. Yes, we can. Do not be too surprised at the answer given in the science of the spirit to the question as to why there is such a group within the socialist movement. It is due to the action of lead on the human soul. All things in the world around us, be they small or large, are the physical bodies of spiritual principles. Gold, silver, copper, everything that lives around us is body for a spiritual principle. Lead, too, is the visible body of a particular spirit. And anyone working with lead is dealing with the metal not just in its chemical sense but also in its spiritual nature. Lead not only affects the lungs; it also has quite a specific effect on the rest of the human being. So there you have the source of the unusual views held in this occupational group.

Now something else—something that happened to me just a few days ago. Someone I know well came to me who cannot explain why he is able to find analogies and see connections in his scientific work with a facility that is unusual even among academics. Such an ability is due to a highly mobile mental body. I thought I’d find out how this phenomenon comes about. After a time I was able to tell the man that he probably had a lot to do with copper. This proved to be true, for he plays the French horn. The small amount of copper in it had such an effect on him.

Now just think. Without knowing it, people are subject to all kinds of influences. I spoke of suggestion earlier. We now see the influence of the whole world of the spirit that is around the human being. And what is theosophy? It is a way of penetrating into the world of the spirit and its laws. And what does this mean? It means freedom, for only insight will give freedom. When we know something we can relate to it in the right way. Gaining insight in the spirit is therefore the greatest process of liberation we can ever possibly have. True development and progress lie in the things the science of the spirit can teach us. People will only come to the search for truth in the spirit when they want to be free. However, today they will not gain knowledge of the spirit, and we can see that it is impossible for them to do so, if they want to be free not only of social prejudices but also of everything else, including things they do not yet have the power of mind to understand. People who still depend on fashion and so on, will not be greatly inclined to consider the influence of the metals that exist around them. But a beginning must be made, a small beginning for something that is large, very large. What I wanted to do today was to take just a bit of a look at something in which the science of the spirit can hope to be a beginning.