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The Karma of Materialism
GA 176

2. False Analogies

7 August 1917, Berlin

I should like to add supplementary material to our recent considerations. The primary aim has been to show what, in view of the fundamental character and direction of present-day cultural life, is so urgently needed. Our studies also set out to show that from spiritual knowledge there must flow into man's thinking, feeling and willing the impulses needed at the present time. That spiritual impulses are needed must be obvious to many from even a superficial observation of present events.

Let me begin by illustrating the fact that at every turn we encounter proof of the need for spiritual insight. Many examples related to our recent studies could be chosen, but I will take an article that appeared a few days ago in a Berlin newspaper under the title: “Physiology of Politics.” We must pay attention to symptoms of this kind for they indicate the nature of contemporary man's thinking, feeling and willing. Provided one refrains from entering into a one-sided controversy over such an article, seeing it rather as characteristic of the present-day outlook, then a publication of this kind can be enlightening.

The author of the article, Max Verworn,7 Max Verworn 1863–1921 as I have mentioned before, is deemed one of the greatest authorities in his branch of science. This famous professor of physiology sets out to show that politics ought to be influenced by his way of thinking. This is understandable, indeed it is almost a matter of course, for everyone naturally considers his own thinking the best and therefore recommends its application to important affairs of the time. However, the article leaves one with a peculiar impression. First of all it brings home the fallacy that materialism, even in its crudest form, has been eradicated from natural science. Many who are firmly in the clutches of materialism, nevertheless believe this to be the case. They may have absorbed one or two ideas considered to be philosophical and so imagine materialism to be transcended. This article, by a leading authority on natural science, demonstrates how little materialism is overcome. A sentence like the following brings it home: “The general concept of the animal kingdom includes as a special example the concept of man, just as the animal kingdom is itself a special example within the still more comprehensive concept of the organic world.” This means that if we want to understand man we must turn to the animal kingdom; to understand the animal we must turn to the general concept of organism. Furthermore, this distinguished authority finds it of utmost importance that mutual relationships in political life should be studied the way one studies—that is to say, the way professor Verworn studies—mutual relationships in the animal kingdom. He considers himself to have made a remarkable discovery, for he says: “No one can deny this fact (that man is a special example of the animal kingdom) unless he is completely ignorant of biological evolution. Man differs from the rest of the animal kingdom merely through certain distinguishing features and through his cultural achievements. Nevertheless he is and remains, an animal organism whose total behaviour is subject to the general laws that govern animal species.”

Official science is of the same conviction despite what is said, with more or less emphasis, to the contrary. It is obvious that this way of thinking is prevalent in every aspect of modern science even if theoretically some scientific statements go beyond this view. Consequently it leads Verworn to say: “No doubt our culture has evolved as a special instance of organic evolution.” This means that organic development is supposed to be the source of all man's cultural achievements. So we must study how animals eat and digest, how they gradually develop, how the individual cells in their organism interact. We must then transfer these ideas to family life, to larger and smaller corporations and other bodies within the greater body of the State. We then, according to Verworn, have a proper foundation on which to build up a science of politics. He says: “We shall arrive at sound ideas in this domain only when we try to think of the political State (as he calls it) as a great organism.” According to him the human organism is no different from the animal organism. When investigated one will find that individual cells and systems of cells in the organism are related and interdependent just like the various corporate bodies within the State.

Verworn sees development as a basic feature of the animal organism, but his view of development is peculiar. He says: “Development is a factor common to all living entities.” But what does he understand by development? According to him development takes place when an organic entity adapts itself to the conditions in which it finds itself. Thus development is the result of something organic; i.e., something living adapting to its environment. But at the very first hurdle he stumbles, for he says: “A lower organism such as the amoeba is no doubt adapted from the start for otherwise it would not be capable of life and would be destroyed.” There is the catch! If the lower organism is adapted from the first to its environment, and development is supposed to consist in adaptation, then why does the amoeba evolve further when it is already adapted?

You see from this example that modern science disregards the basic principle of scientific investigation when it comes to the exact application of concepts and ideas. If a sentence such as the one Verworn makes in regard to development was taken seriously the whole current concept of evolution would collapse. But he goes on to make another statement based on the first: “A comparison of the different stages of organization, in various organisms, shows that increasing perfection is due to ever more elaborate and improved physiological means for maintaining life within the most varied changes of environment.” In other words, because the amoeba, the lowest organism, is already adapted to the environment and therefore has no need to evolve further Verworn conceives the idea that the reason it nevertheless does evolve is in order to become ever better adapted. What is not explained is where this impulse to better adaptation comes from. The impulse cannot be inherent in the amoeba for Verworn says himself that if it were not already adapted it would perish.

This is the kind of evidence that is continuously brought forward. The public at large, though denying it has blind faith in authority, is conditioned to accept patiently such somersaults in ideas. These things are simply looked upon as signs of great and reliable science. When such ideas are applied in physiology they do no great harm in individual cases because what is investigated in physiology can be verified under the microscope. Facts may be falsely interpreted, the most extraordinary discoveries may be construed, but mistakes will be corrected when the facts are put under the microscope. It is in fact possible to be a great physiologist yet a dunce when it comes to working out ideas. However, the harm becomes immense when someone has the pretention to suggest that the concepts belonging to the realm of physiology can be transferred to social and political life. In this sphere false and misinterpreted ideas remain undetected as they no longer refer to something physical which can be verified under a microscope. Here concepts themselves are the guiding factor and if they are foolish their application results in foolishness. These things must be recognized, they lead to great tragedies in life.

In view of present-day intellectual proficiency it is astonishing how much ignorance, how much sheer lack of knowledge prevails among prominent scientific investigators—thoughtlessness on the one hand, superficiality on the other as demonstrated by claims such as those made by the famous authority just mentioned. One asks in despair if a man in his position can really be unaware that what he suggests has already been attempted not very long ago. And then it was based on concepts that were equally obscure. In three volumes by Schäffle,8 Albert Schaffle 1831–1903 Sociologist Austrian Minister of Trade. the former Austrian prime minister, entitled “The Structure and Life of the Body Social”*“Bau and Leben des socialen Korpers” the attempt is made to depict the State as a cellular organism. So the experiment had been made already and had ended in failure. Schäffle also wrote a book with the title: “The Lack of Prospect in Social Democracy”**“Die Aussichtslosigkeit der Sozialdemokratie” ; to which Hermann Bahr,9 Hermann Bahr 1863–1934 then a young man, wrote a rejoinder with the title: “The Lack of Insight of Herr Schäffle.”***“Die Einsichtslosigkeit des Herrn Schäffle”

This kind of ignorance results in repeated attempts to try again what has already been tried and has failed. Before acting on a general notion of this kind one would expect some one like Verworn to acquaint himself with a work such as that by Schäffle on the body social. It is interesting to ask: How does Verworn come to entertain these ideas at all? The answer could be that only a few decades earlier Virchow10Rudolf Vischow 1821–1902 Founder of Cellular Pathology spoke about the structure of the human organism and the animal organism in general. Concerning the animal organism he said that it contains various systems of cells which are related and which interact with one another. But the relevant point is the way Virchow arrived at this idea of interacting systems of cells: He coined a word; calling the animal organism a “cell-State.” In other words, he takes the idea of the State and compares the animal organism to it. Verworn turns the idea around, he extracts the concept of the State and proceeds to apply to it the whole evolution of the animal organism.—One is reminded of the story of the ingenious Münchausen who pulls himself up by his forelock.

That is just one example of the superficiality that one meets at every turn. Here is someone who conceives the notion of how a State functions and transfers this notion to organisms. Someone else comes along and transfers his notion of how an organism functions over to the State. The whole subject remains obscure to the public in general who simply accept what is presented and have no idea that concepts, belonging to quite a different realm, are introduced. It is the kind of situation that is prevalent everywhere. People, trying to gain a firm hold on life, turn to popular science for guidance but do not find the security they long for. All that the highly respected science has to offer are theories built on shaky foundations. The most arbitrary notions are bandied about; statements are issued and no trouble taken to verify their correctness first. If only they were examined first one would realize the nonsense they often present. Take this statement by Verworn: “All systems of cells are dependent on others, which however does not mean that one kind of cell exercises a power to suppress another kind. On the contrary, cell systems mutually promote one an-other's specific quality in the interest of the social whole and consequently in the interest of each individual cell.”—Verworn is here referring to the human organism. Thus groups of cells are supposed to be dependent on each other but in such a way that it is to their mutual benefit. This arrangement is then held up as a model for arranging the various departments within a State. The notion is that, in order to function, brain cells; i.e., one kind of cells, need the cooperation of blood cells, while the brain cells at the same time place themselves at the service of the blood cells. One wonders what the outcome would be were these notions introduced into organizing a State. The whole idea is so preposterous that we need look at one aspect only to realize the insanity of the whole idea.

Verworn visualizes individual departments of State interacting the way that, according to him, individual systems of cells interact in an animal organism. This, he maintains, reveals the real concept of freedom. He continues: “A close study of the direction evolution has taken in the case of the cell State in the animal organism, provides us with guidelines for the direction we should take in order to establish a corresponding system within the social organism of the political State. It reveals to us among other things the true idea of individual freedom, seen here in its natural setting, free from all nonessential externalities with which it is often associated.”—So, according to Verworn, because blood cells are enjoying freedom in their interaction with brain cells, human freedom can be discovered by studying their relationship!—As for the nervous system, Verworn sees it as corresponding in the organism to the administrative machinery of the State. Not only is the comparison ridiculous, it is not even consistent for he overlooks that nerves lead to sense organs, so where do we have the eyes and ears of the State?

When one works with spiritual knowledge one is led to lofty, sublime concepts. They apply to the way things are related spiritually; they therefore apply also to the spiritual connections in man's animal-human organism. But when concepts are derived one-sidedly from the human organism as such, especially as done in this case, one simply gets nowhere. Yet in another statement Verworn carries the absurdity even further when he says: “The level of greater perfection of organic development in the animal cell-State is only reached at a further stage through centralization. At this stage the function of single cells and groups of cells is regulated and guided, according to momentary needs, from a center which is able to assess the need on the basis of information received.” Verworn suggests with these childish ideas that the brain receives information from other groups of cells and sends messages accordingly to the stomach, and so on.

And how, according to Verworn, does civilization, does culture come about? He says: “Culture is the sum total of all the ways and means created by man himself that enables him to be fully conscious of his environment and adapt to whatever occurrence happens in his life. Culture is nothing else than the totality of all the values man has created for the preservation and advancement of his life.”—To define culture in this way one must have lost all capacity of observation and taken leave of one's reason as well! Culture is supposed to be the sum total of values created by man for the preservation and advancement of life! The intellect must indeed have ceased to function for undoubtedly the culture created by man at present consists mainly in instruments designed to destroy. Looking at what culture has become in this domain it can hardly be described as preserving and advancing human life. Had it been described as created for oppression and destruction that would have been correct, at least in regard to a part of culture. But statements like those brought forward by Verworn one meets everywhere in modern science. Take the following example: “The production of cultural values is a physiological function not just in individuals but is to a large extent a specific function of the political State. This is because there are many cultural values which cannot be created by single individuals, as they are values which serve the whole community they need the cooperation of many. The political State as such is therefore an organism that produces cultural values just like the individual. Moreover, as it is obvious that a close relation exists between politics and physiology it is time that practical results were gained from this fact. One should reckon with the reality that a political State has a physiological basis, therefore information should be derived from the living organism concerning all matters of organization.”—Verworn would no doubt have said that information should be derived from his knowledge of the human organism.

These things are symptoms and must be brought to light. They delude the unhappy soul of man who at present is longing to know how and where it belongs within the great organism of the universe. It is nonsense of this kind that makes it so extraordinarily difficult to reach any understanding, particularly with people who are proficient in science. It would be an illusion to imagine that someone like Verworn could begin to understand even the most elementary aspects of spiritual science. While that is unthinkable there is at least the possibility that spiritual science, through its own power, will sustain more and more people so that eventually such scientific folly with its colossal pretentions will be overcome. It is no use trying to refute it and trying to be understood is hopeless. All that can be done is for a sufficient number of people to become aware of the danger threatening mankind if what today calls itself science is allowed to lead the way and to insinuate itself into realms where concepts become realities. This danger is a serious one of which one ought to be well aware; it is all the more important because this kind of superficiality, prevalent though it already is, will undoubtedly increase. These things are staring one in the face and it is so much to be wished that a sufficient number of people would look at them from a deeper aspect as we have to some extent just done.

Very much depends upon these things being evaluated rightly, but what happens is usually something like the following: A speech by Virchow appears in print; how is it received? Because Virchow is famous and regarded as a very important person it is taken for granted—though of course no one is supposed to suffer from blind faith in authority—that what such a famous man says can be accepted without question, it must be Gospel truth. Yet even if for once it was the truth one still ought to think through and evaluate for oneself what has been said. Take another example: at a meeting of scientists in Munich, Haeckel and Virchow discussed the liberty that prevailed in spreading scientific theories. Virchow suggested that conclusions should not be drawn indiscriminately from the theory of evolution. Much of what he said in opposition to Haeckel was justified. He was more particularly against Darwinism being introduced without reservations into schools, where it would only serve to close the minds to other views. In his speech Virchow said among other things the following: “It is to my credit that I know my own ignorance. It is important for me to know the exact extent of my ignorance of chemistry, otherwise I should forever labor under uncertainty.” Of course, it is commendable of Virchow to admit knowing nothing of chemistry. However, the unfortunate consequence is that his followers refuse to concern themselves with chemistry, simply saying they know nothing about it. On the other hand they look upon those who confess to spiritual-scientific knowledge as fools or visionaries. If only these people would let what Virchow says about chemistry apply also to spiritual science, then they would say: It is important that I know exactly to what extent I know nothing about spiritual science. But this is not said; the same honest attitude is not forthcoming. So you see, it is essential to recognize the consequences even when what is said is correct.

Nonetheless there was much of greatness in the 19th Century, but it is necessary to have a proper understanding of this greatness. Many things which are now part of mankind's general destiny, can be understood only in relation to what took place in the 19th Century. Souls without a rudder, souls without a firm grip on life who feel they do not belong, are numerous in our time. They are for the most part souls who, out of an instinctive need, long for something different from what traditional values can offer, souls who have been searching without finding anything which could give them a feeling of security, of belonging. So what is lacking, what is it that man needs?—I will not say to give him security once and for all, that is no more possible than it is possible for a single meal to sustain the whole of life. It is perhaps better to ask: What does man need to find a secure path through life? What he needs above all is a consciousness of belonging within the world. Weakness and inner discontent comes from the soul's feeling of isolation. Life's greatest question is in fact: Where and how do I fit into the world? This is putting it abstractly; but this abstract question expresses much of immense significance concerning the deeper aspect of human destiny.

When man today turns to natural science in order to reach a satisfying answer to the question: Where, as man, is my place in the world? then at best the natural-scientific world view will tell him where his physical body belongs within world evolution as a whole. Today it is known, at least up to a point, where man's physical body belongs in the evolutionary process. But the natural-scientific world view has absolutely nothing to say about how man's soul, let alone spirit, fits into world evolution. Compare for a moment the evolutionary process, as described by spiritual science, with that described by natural science. The natural-scientific theory of evolution leads to the animal kingdom—how this is arrived at is a separate issue—spiritual science leads us back through the different phases of earth evolution: through the Ancient Moon evolution, the Ancient Sun evolution to the Ancient Saturn evolution. It shows us that what lives within us as soul and spirit were germinally present already within the Ancient Saturn evolution. Nothing physically was then present, except conditions of warmth. We are shown how we are related to the primordial warmth, pervaded through and through by the individual beings of the Hierarchies who are still about us. We are placed within a cosmos filled with soul and spirit. That is the great difference.

Spiritual science shows our soul and spirit to be part and parcel of a universal all which it can describe in detail. Thus spiritual science alone can give the human soul that without which it feels annihilated. The dissatisfaction and insecurity felt by modern man reflect modern thinking. This thinking disregards the soul and declares that only the human body exists within the cosmic all. Another aspect is that the soul feels it has nothing to relate to, and that prevents it from finding inner strength. To reach inner strength of soul one must have attained concepts and ideas which depict the cosmic all as containing man as a being of soul and spirit; just as natural science depicts physical man as part of the physical evolution of the universe.

The courage shown today so admirable in regard to external issues must be extended to the inner life. In this respect modern man is far from courageous. He draws back from all aspects of spiritual reality with the consequence that so many human beings experience inner dissatisfaction and insecurity. Very much has to be done it is true, before distorted ideas give way to sound ones. Nowadays there is, for example, still a preoccupation with atomic theories, even though the earlier crude form has given way to ions and electrons. The modern view is that everything consists of atoms. Many are of the opinion that everything can be traced back to minute atomic structures. Matter is thought to consist of the tiniest of particles; i.e., atoms. And many scientists, in fact most, endow matter with force so that the particles of matter are supposed to attract and repel one another. At this point investigations come to an end. The 19th Century will be seen as a significant period in mankind's evolution: the time when the universe was explained as a structure of matter and force, a view that has been given classical expression in innumerable works.

This example shows the extent to which ideas must be readjusted before it is possible to evaluate what is needed now. Let us hold on to the fact that there are those whose speculations are mainly concerned with matter; they imagine that the world consists of atoms. How does this view compare with what spiritual science has to say? Certainly natural physical phenomena do lead us back to atoms, but what are these atoms? They reveal what they are at the moment the very first stage of spiritual perception has been attained. At the stage of imaginative perception atoms reveal what they truly are. I have spoken about this in various connections many years ago in public lectures. Those who speculate on matter come to the conclusion that space is empty and atoms whirl around in this empty space. Atoms are supposed to be the most solid entities in existence. That is simply not the case, the whole issue is based on illusion. To imaginative cognition atoms are revealed as bubbles and the reality is where the empty space is supposed to be. Atoms are blown up bubbles. In other words, in contrast to what surrounds them they are nothing. You know that where bubbles are seen in soda-water there is no water. Atoms are bubbles in that sense; where they are the space is hollow, nothing is there. And yet it is possible to push against it; impact occurs precisely because, in pushing against hollowness, an effect is produced. How can nothing produce an effect? Take the case of the space, practically empty of air, within an air-pump; there you see how air streams into nothingness. A wrong interpretation might imagine the empty space in the bulb of the air pump as containing a substance that forced in the air. That is exactly the illusion prevailing in regard to the atom. The opposite is true: atoms are empty—yet again not empty. There is after all something within these bubbles. And what is it?—This is also something about which have already spoken—what exists within the atom bubbles is ahrimanic substance. Ahriman is there. The whole system of atoms consists of ahrimanic substantiality. As you see this is a considerable metamorphosis of the ideas entertained by those who theorize about matter. Where in space they see something material we see the presence of Ahriman.

Force is another concept which in particular occupies those who speculate about force in their attempt to build up a world picture. Here again the very first stage of spiritual cognition shows that where force is supposed to be active there is in fact nothing. But where the force is thought not to be, there something is at work. It is exactly as if two people walked side by side and were observed by a third person. He looks towards them and, as they are walking a little apart, he looks between them and describes, not one or the other person, but the space between them. He is concerned, not with the two persons but the emptiness between them. That is the way those who theorize about force are looking at what is between the reality. Where it is said that a force of attraction is operating there is actually nothing, but to the left and the right there is the reality.

I would have to go into many things were I to explain in detail what I have put forward simply as facts. It is time such things were discussed, for clear ideas corresponding to facts are needed. Otherwise it is not possible to refute such brilliant nonsense as, for example, the theory of relativity which has made Einstein11Albert Einstein 1879–1955 Physicist, formulated the Theory of Relativity a figure of renown. The theory of relativity seems so self-evident: for example, when a cannon is fired at a distance the sound is heard after a certain interval; if one moves nearer to the cannon the sound is heard sooner. Now, according to the theory of relativity if one moved with the speed of sound one would not hear it for one would go with it. If one went even faster than the sound, then one would hear something which is fired later, before one would hear what was fired earlier. This idea is generally accepted today but it has no relation whatever to reality. To go as fast as sound would mean to be sound and to hear none. These quite distorted ideas exist today as the theory of relativity and enjoy the greatest respect.

As it has already been said, physicists draw lines to depict currents of force, but where the force is supposed to be there is in fact nothing, whereas all around there is something. There is Lucifer, the luciferic element is there. If we want to depict what corresponds to actual reality we must place the luciferic element where force is placed by those who theorize about it. In the 19th Century someone wrote a book with the title “Force and Matter” in which the world is presented as consisting of force and matter. In the 20th Century we must substitute that title with “Lucifer and Ahriman,” for Lucifer and Ahriman are identical with what are described as force and matter. What can be described as force and matter are really described by Lucifer and Ahriman. You may say: this is dreadful! It is not dreadful for as I have often emphasized Lucifer and Ahriman are only dreadful when they are not balanced against each other. In mutual balance they serve the wise guidance of worlds. When Lucifer is placed on one side of the scales and Ahriman on the opposite side the balance between them must be achieved. It is a balance for which we must constantly strive.

In our own being this balance comes about in a remarkable way. You may remember my speaking about the extraordinary way we are related to the whole universe through our breathing. We draw a certain number of breaths per minute; if we count the number of breaths inhaled in one day we arrive at a number which corresponds to the days of a person's life, if he lives to the age of seventy. It really is quite astonishing: we live the same number of days as the number of breaths drawn in one day. And that is only one detail of the mighty concordance of harmonies within the universe. One of our breaths is related to the days of our life as one day of our life is related to our whole earthly life and the whole earthly life is related to a great Solar Year, the so-called Platonic Year, just as one day of life is related to the whole life and one breath to one day. Thus our breathing is in a wonderful inner relationship to the whole cosmos. If in our cognition we could achieve a tempo that corresponded to that of our breath then we would come into harmony with the whole universe in a way that befits man. People in the Orient attempt this through breathing exercises which are not suitable for Western man. He must seek this harmony along a more spiritual path.

All the exercises described in the book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment are the spiritual correlate suited to the West, of that for which the Orient longs: to bring the rhythm of the process of breathing into the process of cognition. If our thinking had the same tempo as our breathing many secrets of the universe would be disclosed to us. The universe does disclose its secrets but unfortunately not to our cognition—if one can use the word, unfortunately in this connection—but to our dim feelings which are subject to many illusions. On the other hand our cognition, our thinking by means of which we form mental pictures, is too “short” when compared to the rhythm of the breath. The swing of the pendulum in our thinking is too short. In our ordinary normal external life, we are not able to enter, by means of thinking, into the great rhythm of the cosmos. Our thinking is too small. By contrast there is something in us which is too large: that is our will. In the will the pendulum swings out too far; its amplitude is too strong.

Thus we live between our thinking and our will. In thinking the swing of the pendulum is too short, in the will it is too wide. That is the reason our thinking forms mental pictures which must always be modified by others. The only way we can gradually come to an insight is by adopting various standpoints. As for the will, because it swings out too far the amount we are able to catch hold of is always too small. The will must therefore flow together with another will in order to reach its predestined goal. The will can only achieve something in connection with another will; i.e., the will of one incarnation together with the will of a former incarnation and so on.

I am sketching these things in merest outline; they all require elaboration. But my aim is to indicate the kind of concepts spiritual science must bring to man; concepts that will enable him to recognize where he belongs, now and in the future, within the universe. Our ordinary thinking is too narrow. It does not oscillate far enough compared with the wider oscillation of our breath. However, thinking in itself is not the goal, only the path. All human beings think, but they are not conscious of everything which passes through their soul. A thought has not reached its goal by merely being formulated, it must unite itself with our being. Thoughts which become conscious pass over into memory; but we assimilate a great deal which does not reach consciousness. Just think of all the experiences that have passed through your soul, some you have thought about, others not. Some you remember, others not, but all are within you; within your etheric body. After death they separate themselves from us and pass over into the world in general. There they become what we behold in the time between death and a new birth. They enable us to perceive the reality around us. Our thoughts unite themselves with what there constitutes our external world. Just as here, in the physical world, we need light in order to perceive so do we there need what separates itself from us. I have often described this process of our thoughts separating themselves from us after death to become our external world.

The content of our will becomes our inner world, not that which we have merely wished; but will that has become deed. What we have willed here, what we have imprinted into the external world, the actions we have carried out become our inner world in the time between death and a new birth, whereas our thoughts, our inner life, become what illumines our external world. The outer becomes the inner; the inner becomes the outer. It is important to keep that well in mind.

To use a popular saying: a great deal of water will have to flow under the bridge before official science wakes up to the fact that force and matter should be termed Lucifer and Ahriman, or come to realize that we tend towards one-sidedness in two directions: our thinking, related to breathing, has a tendency towards the luciferic; while our will, related to metabolism, has a tendency towards the ahrimanic. We oscillate between Lucifer and Ahriman. In the middle is the breathing process, the sphere of equilibrium, where we partake of the great harmony of the universe. That is true science, that is experienced, not abstract science.

And now let us turn from spiritual science and compare it to the verse in the Old Testament where it says. “And He breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” It is not said that power of will or of thinking was bestowed upon man; it is the breath that is emphasized. You can sense that this primordial revelation stems from a knowledge very different from that of modern spiritual science. But you will also sense the marvelous concordance, the marvelous agreement that exists between the findings of spiritual science today and the content of this and other great historical documents dealing with mankind's evolution. It goes without saying that the revelations in the Old Testament were not arrived at in the same way as the findings of modern spiritual science, but for that very reason the agreement between them is all the more significant. We shall see in the next lecture that this agreement applies also to other historical documents such as the New Testament, especially to the Mystery of Golgotha.

My aim today was to call your attention to what is needed at present and also to point out how very difficult it is to come to any understanding, especially in the sphere of science, with people who hold on to outdated ideas which they regard as infallible. As I once said: the infallibility of the Pope may be questioned but the authority of a great many people is thought to be infallible by those who labor under the illusion that they are above taking things on authority.