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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Wrong and Right Use of Esoteric Knowledge
GA 178

Three lectures given by Rudolf Steiner at Dornach in the Fall of 1917, the seventh, eighth, and ninth of nine lectures in the series entitled, Individual Spiritual Beings Working in the Human Soul, published in German as, Individuelle Geistwesen und Ihr Wirken in der Seele des Menschen. Geistige Wesen und ihre Wirkungen.

Prior publication of the lectures has been with the titles, Individual Spiritual Beings and the Undivided Foundation of the World (published in 1930), and, Secret Brotherhoods (published in 1931). Translated by Charles Davy

Lecture 1 November 18, 1917
Wherever spirit is, there is consciousness. We have to learn to know what kind of consciousness belongs to a given form of spirituality. A fully conscious comprehension of evil is a necessity for the 5th post-Atlantean epoch. The souls of the dead can become centres of destruction in the earthly sphere.

Lecture 2 November 19, 1917
Historical elucidation of the intentions of various kinds of spiritual brotherhoods. When the individuals in a group are pursuing independent aims, disagreements will always occur. The independence of the elemental kingdoms and of their beings. Understanding the Christ-secret with human reason. The special character of the island of Ireland.
Lecture 3 November 25, 1917
Signs of the times: the interaction between human labour and machines. The welding together of human nature with the being of machines. The radiating influence of human states of mind on machines. The egotism of groups should not be allowed to gain power through the possibility which the alchemists once envisaged — and called the Philosopher's Stone. The secret of gold, of earth-magnetism and of the instreaming of influences from different directions in the cosmos. Only elemental nature-forces should be brought into the working of machines; human beings must never be treated as units in a mechanised industrial process