Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Philosophy, Cosmology & Religion
GA 215

4. Cognition and Will Exercises

9 September 1922, Dornach

The exercises I have described for attaining inspiration are actually only preliminary exercises for further supersensible cognition. Through them a person is indeed able to view the course of his life in the way I have characterized it; he is able to see the etheric world of facts unfolding in the expanse of earth existence behind man's thinking, feeling and willing. By discarding the picture images achieved in meditation, or in the consciousness following meditation, he also becomes acquainted through this empty consciousness with the etheric substance of the cosmos and the manifestations of the spiritual beings who rule there. When, however, a person becomes familiar in this way with human soul life, the astral organization of man, he realizes first of all how much the physical organism of man owes to hereditary development, that is to say what are the persistent factors in his physical body that have been inherited from his ancestors. Man also gains a glimpse of how the cosmos is active within the etheric organism, and he sees as a consequence what is not subject to heredity but breaks away from it and is responsible for man's individuality. He sees what it is that within his etheric and astral organizations sets him free from his inheritance and ancestors who gave him his physical body.

It is extremely important to distinguish clearly in this way between what is passed on in the continuing stream of physical inheritance from ancestors to descendants, and what, by contrast, is given to individual man by the etheric, cosmic world, for it is this whereby he becomes personalized and individualized and frees himself from his inherited characteristics. It is especially important in education, in pedagogy, to see clearly into these distinctions. Precisely such knowledge as is indicated here can provide teachers with some fundamental principles. I may perhaps refer here to the booklet, which contains a summary by Albert Steffen of the Pedagogical Course that I gave here in Dornach at Christmas a year ago, also to what is contained in the last issue of the English magazine Anthroposophy, (July/August), which contains interesting educational material.

The inspired knowledge developed by means of the exercises I have described only acquaints man with the astral organism within the framework of earth life. He learns to know what he is as a soul-spiritual being developing from birth to the present time. But this insight does not yet enable him to say that his soul-spiritual being begins with earthly life and ends with it. He arrives at the soul-spiritual element in his earth life but does not come so far as to perceive this soul-spiritual element as something eternal, as the eternal core of man's being. For that it is necessary to continue and broaden the exercises for eliminating the meditative pictures from consciousness so much that in doing so the soul becomes ever stronger and more energetic. Progress here really consists in nothing else but continued energetic training. One must struggle again and again with all the strength one can muster to remove from consciousness the pictures produced or created by imagination, so that it becomes empty. Gradually then, through practicing the elimination of the images, the soul's strength increases so much that finally it is powerful enough so that one is able to obliterate the overall picture of the course of one's life since birth, as it has been brought before the soul through imagination.

Mark well, it is possible to continue the exercises for eliminating a content of soul and producing empty consciousness, carrying them so far that the soul becomes strong enough to leave out the course of its own life. At the moment, when one is strong enough to do this, one lives in a consciousness that no longer has before it the physical organism, nor the etheric organism; moreover, one no longer confronts anything of the world absorbed through the physical and etheric organisms. For this consciousness, the sense world with all its sense impressions is no longer present, neither is the sum of all the etheric happenings in the cosmos that one had first gained through imaginative cognition. Everything of this kind has been removed. Thereby a higher degree of inspiration is brought about within the human soul.

What appears then by means of this higher level of inspiration is the condition of soul as it existed in a soul-spiritual world before it descended into a human physical organism through conception, embryonic life and birth. In this way one attains a perception of the soul's pre-earthly existence. One looks into those worlds where the soul existed before it received on earth, I may say, the first atom of physical substance transmitted to it with conception. One looks back into the development of the soul in the soul-spiritual world and learns to know its pre-existent life. Through this experience, a person has grasped one side of the eternal nature of the human soul's essence. When he has done that, he has, in fact, recognized for the first time the true nature of the human ego, of spirit man. This latter is accessible only to this form of inspiration that is capable of disregarding not only its own physical body and its impressions, but also its own etheric body and the latter's impressions as manifested in the course of life.

When one has advanced to this knowledge of the human soul as it existed before birth in its pure soul-spiritual existence, then one can also gain a conception of what thinking, what the forming of concepts really is, as we human beings experience it in the ordinary consciousness of our earth life. Even with the most careful self-examination of which the soul is capable we cannot, by using only the capacities and powers of our ordinary consciousness, grasp the real nature of thinking and the formation of ideas.

If now I am to make clear how the real nature of man's earthly concepts appears to inspired consciousness, I must make use of a picture, but this picture expresses complete reality. Bring to mind a human corpse; it still has the form that the man had in life. All the organs are still shaped the way they were when the person was alive. Even so, in looking at the corpse, we must admit that it is only the remains of what the living man was. When we now make a study of its essential nature, we must conclude that the corpse as it now lies before us can have no original, independent reality. It cannot be thought of as something that comes into being in the same condition as it is as a corpse; it can exist only as the remains of a living organism. The living organism must have been there first. The forms of the corpse, its members, point not only to the corpse itself but to what brought it into being. Anyone who rightly views a corpse in the context of life is directed by it to the living man who produced it. Nature, to which we surrender the corpse, can only destroy it; it cannot build it up as such. If we wish to see the upbuilding forces in the corpse, we must look upon the living man.

On another level, in a similar way, there is revealed to inspired consciousness the essential nature of the thinking or mental picturing that we have in ordinary consciousness. It is actually a corpse; at least, it is something which during earthly life is continually passing over into the corpse-like element of soul. Living thought was present before man came into earth-existence, but instead was a soul-spiritual being in the soul-spiritual world. There, this thinking and conceiving were something quite different; they were living elements within spiritual activities. What we have as our ordinary power of thinking is a remnant of that living spiritual entity that we were before we descended to the earth. It has remained just as a corpse remains of the living physical man. As we are referred back to the living man when we see a corpse, so, if we now look through inspired knowledge at the dying or already dead thoughts or concepts of the soul, we realize that we must treat this thinking as a corpse of the true “thought being,” we see how we must trace this earthly thinking back to a supersensible, life-filled thinking.

It is this that also reveals qualitatively the relationship of a part of our soul life to our purely soul-spiritual existence before birth. Through this, we really learn to know what our ordinary concepts and thinking signify, if we trace them back to their living nature, which is to be found nowhere within earth existence. On earth, it is only expressed in a reflection. This reflection is our ordinary thinking and forming of ideas. Therefore, the abstract character of this ordinary thinking is fundamentally remote from reality, as a corpse is remote from the true human reality. When we speak of the abstractness, of the merely intellectual aspect of thinking, we vaguely feel that the way it appears in ordinary consciousness is not what it should be, that it has its source in something else, which is its true nature. This is what is so very important, namely, that a true knowledge is able, not only in general phrases but in concrete pictures, to relate what man experiences here in his physical body to the eternal core of his being, as it was just done with the thinking and conceiving of ordinary consciousness. Then only will the significance of imagination and inspiration be seen in the right light. For then we comprehend that the dead or dying thinking is basically brought to life again through the exercises undertaken to achieve inspiration; brought to life within physical earth-existence. To acquire inspired knowledge is fundamentally to bring dying thoughts to life again.

Thereby we are not completely transposed into prenatal existence, but rather, through the soul's perception, we gain a true picture of this prenatal existence, of which we know that it did not originate here on earth but that it radiates out of a pre-earthly human existence into man's existence here on earth. We recognize through the picture's nature that it is cognitive evidence of the state of the human soul in pre-earthly existence.

What significance this has for philosophical knowledge will be discussed next.

Just as we are in a position in this way to investigate the true nature of our ordinary thinking, we can also, by means of the supersensible cognition referred to here, bring into view the essential being concealed behind the will. But for this, not only is the higher cognition of inspiration required, but also that of intuition which I described yesterday, when I said that in order to develop it, certain exercises of the will are necessary. If man carries these out, he becomes capable of releasing his own soul-spiritual nature from his physical as well as his etheric organism. He carries it out into the spiritual world itself. It is the ego and the astral organization, his own being, that he carries into the spiritual world. In this way, he learns to know what it signifies to live outside his physical and etheric organisms. He comes to perceive the state the human soul finds itself in when it has cast these aside. But that means nothing less than gaining a preview of what happens to man when he goes through death.

Through death, the physical and etheric organisms are cast off. Thus, laid aside, they can no longer form the covering for man as they have done during earth life. What happens then to the actual core of man's being is something one learns through a preview in intuitive knowledge, when, with one's spirit being, one is outside in the world of spiritual beings instead of within one's physical body. Man actually finds himself in such a condition. Through intuitive knowledge he is in a position to be within other spiritual beings, as otherwise here in earth life he is within his physical and etheric bodies. What he receives through intuition is an experience in a picture of what he has to go through when he passes through the event of death. Only in this way is it possible to gain actual insight into what underlies the idea of the immortal human soul. This human soul—inspired knowledge already teaches this—is on the one side unborn. On the other side, it is undying. Intuition teaches this.

Having thus come to know the true nature of the eternal core of man's being—insofar as it is to lead a life after physical death—one also learns to perceive what lies behind human will. We have just characterized what lies behind human thinking; that is discernible through inspiration. What is concealed behind human willing becomes perceptible, if, through exercises of the will, one brings about intuition. Then the will reveals itself so as to show that behind it something quite different is concealed, of which the will of ordinary consciousness is merely the reflection. It becomes evident that behind willing there is something that in a certain sense is a younger member of the human soul. If we speak of the thinking and forming of ideas as of something that is dying, indeed as something that is already dead, and we view it as the older part of the human soul, then, by contrast, we must speak of willing as the younger part. We can say that willing, that is, the actual soul element behind the will, is related to thinking as a young child is to an old man, except that in man's constitution old age comes after childhood, while in the soul the two exist side by side. The soul bears continually in itself both its old age and its youth—in fact, both its death and its birth.

In contrast to such a knowledge of the soul based on inspiration and intuition, which is quite definite, what one calls philosophy today is something extremely abstract, for this simply describes thinking and willing. Actual knowledge of the soul, on the other hand, reveals that when willing turns old it becomes thinking, and thinking that has become old—indeed that has died—has developed out of will. Thus, one truly becomes acquainted with this life of the soul; one learns to perceive the fact that what is revealed in this earth life as thinking was willing in an earlier earth life, and what is now willing, something still young in the soul, will become thinking in the following earth life.

So, in this way one learns to see into the soul and for the first time to know it as it really is. The will part of the human soul is revealed as something that leads an embryonic life. When we pass over into the spiritual world with what we harbor within ourselves as willing, we have a young soul, which by its own character teaches us that it is actually a child. Even as little as we can assume that a child does not grow on into old age unless it is sick, so little can we assume that what we perceive as a young soul—initiation reveals this to us—dissolves at death, for it has only just reached its embryonic life. Through intuition we learn to know how, in the moment of death, it goes forth into the spiritual world.

That means actually perceiving the eternal core of man's being according to its unbornness and its immortality. By contrast, modern philosophy works only with ideas taken from ordinary consciousness. But what does that mean? As we can see from what has been said, it means that these ideas are dead soul entities.

When philosophy, working with the ideas of ordinary consciousness, wants to consider the thinking part of the soul correctly in order to reach results, it will say, if it is sufficiently free of prejudice to investigate what is actually present in the thinking of ordinary consciousness, that thought cannot of itself explain its own existence, just as it must be said of a corpse that it cannot come from a corpse but must have come from something else. Physiology indicates this through observation. Philosophy, from what comes to light here out of intuition, should draw the conclusion that just because ordinary thinking and the forming of ideas have a dying character it is permitted to deduce from this fact that something else existed earlier. What inspiration discovers through contemplation, philosophy can find through logical conclusions, through dialectics, that is, through an indirect kind of proof.

What would philosophy have to do then if it were to choose to remain within ordinary consciousness? It would have to say, “If I will not lift myself up to some kind of supersensible knowledge I must at least analyze the facts of my ordinary consciousness.” If it does so without prejudice it fords that the thinking and ideas of ordinary consciousness are corpse-like in character. It would have to say, “Because that is something that does not explain its own nature out of itself, I may conclude that its real nature comes earlier.” Of course, this requires an unbiased attitude in analyzing the soul so that thinking may be recognized as possessing something corpse-like. But this impartial attitude is possible. For only a biased attitude discerns something alive in the thinking of ordinary consciousness. Freedom from bias reveals this thinking as something that in its very nature has withered away. This is why I said in the previous lecture that it is quite feasible to grasp the content of natural science with this deadened thinking. That is one side of the matter.

Intellectualized philosophy therefore can only come indirectly to a knowledge of man's eternal essence and indeed, only through recognizing what, in regard to earth life, must be viewed as preceding it. If then such a philosophy not only inquires into thinking, if it desires not only to be intellectual but also includes in its research the inner experience of the will and the other soul forces, which, in the cosmic scheme of things, are younger than thinking, then it can succeed in picturing to itself the kind of interplay through which thinking is linked to willing. Then it can come on one hand to the logical deduction: dying thinking is connected to pre-earthly soul existence. Even though philosophy cannot look upon such an existence and cannot perceive its nature, it can infer that something, although inaccessible and unknown, does exist.

When, on the other hand, philosophy centers its attention on willing or the feelings, and experiences the interplay between thinking and feeling, it will eventually discover not only something dying but incipient in willing. This you can find even in Bergson's philosophy, if you put what he says impartially into the appropriate words. You notice the impulse he himself feels in the way he speaks, the way he philosophizes, and sensing this impulse he attains an awareness of the eternal core of the human soul. But since Bergson refuses to take supersensible knowledge into consideration, he reaches only a knowledge of the soul's essence insofar as it reveals itself in earthly life. Out of his philosophy he cannot derive convincing indications of unbornness and immortality. Yet, on one side, he does characterize thinking—although he gives it a different name—as something old which superimposes itself over sense perceptions as a corpse-like element. On the other side he feels—because of the living way in which he characterizes it—the incipient, “embryonic” quality of the will. He can vividly enter into this and he senses that something eternal is contained within. Nevertheless, in this manner he arrives only at the characteristic of the soul-spiritual core of man in earth life, not at anything beyond.

Thus, we can say that, if they are unbiased, all philosophies using ideas based merely on ordinary consciousness can, through analyzing thought and will, come indirectly to the conclusion that the soul is a being unborn and immortal, but they cannot come to a direct perception of it. This direct perception, which would bring the philosophies of ideas to fulfillment, this perception of the real, eternal being of the soul, can be achieved only through imagination, inspiration and intuition as has been described here. As a consequence, although the subject is still discussed as part of philosophy, it remains true that anything really substantial concerning the soul's eternal nature must rely only on tradition that rests upon the dreamlike knowledge of the past. Philosophers often do not know this and believe that they produce it out of themselves. This content can be permeated by logic and dialectic. But a true renewal of philosophical life depends on the acknowledgment by our present spiritual culture of the existence of a fully conscious imagination, a fully conscious inspiration and a fully conscious intuition, and not only acknowledging the methods for attaining these capacities but putting their results to use in philosophical life. I will try to explain in the next two parts of my lecture how this relates to cosmology and religion.

When you consider that only through a higher form of inspiration can one arrive at the perception of the eternal core of man's being and how it lives in extra-terrestrial existence, then you will say that only through this higher inspiration and through initiation (as I have described it) can the human being really know himself. What plays into his own being out of the cosmos, he can know only through higher inspiration and intuition. Since this is the case, a genuine cosmology, that is, a picture of the cosmos that includes man's total being, can arise only on the level of inspired and intuitive perception. Only then does man gain insight into what is also working in his physical and etheric bodies during earth life.

In these organisms, the soul-spiritual nature of man is not merely hidden; during earth existence, it is actually transformed, metamorphosed in regard to waking, everyday life. As little as a root can reflect the exact form of the plant, so little can an observation of man's physical and etheric organisms reveal the eternal part of him. This is attained only when we look into what lives in man before birth and after death. Only then are we able to relate man's true being, which must be observed outside of earth existence, to the cosmos. This is why modern culture had no way of arriving at a cosmology that includes man during the period when it rejected any kind of clairvoyance. This I have indicated before, but it becomes especially clear from what I have described today. Nevertheless, in earlier times, even as late as the beginning of the last century, but chiefly at the end of the eighteenth century, a “rational cosmology,” as it was called, was developed from the philosophical direction as a part of philosophy.

This rational cosmology, which was supposed to be a part of philosophy, was also formed by philosophers with the aid of nothing but ordinary consciousness. But, if, with ordinary philosophy, one already had the above described difficulties in penetrating to the true nature of the soul, you will understand that it is quite impossible to gain a real content for a cosmology that includes man if one merely wants to stay within the ideas of ordinary consciousness. The contents of rational cosmology that the philosophers have developed even up to recent times, lived therefore in fact on the traditional cosmological ideas attained by humanity when a dreamlike clairvoyance still existed. These ideas can be renewed only by means of what has been described here as exact clairvoyance. In this sphere also, philosophers have not known that they actually borrowed from the old cosmology. Certain ideas occurred to them. They absorbed them from the history of cosmology and believed they had produced them out of themselves. But what they brought forth were merely logical connections, by means of which they assembled the old ideas and produced a new system. In such a way cosmologies arose in earlier times as a part of philosophy. But since one no longer had a living relationship to what one thus absorbed as ideas taken over from ancient clairvoyance, the ideas of the cosmologies became more and more abstract.

Just take a look at the chapters on cosmology in the philosophical books of earlier times and you will find how abstract and basically empty those ideas are that were developed on the subjects of the origin and end of the world, and so on. It is correct to say that they were all brought across from ancient times when they were alive, because man had a living relationship to what these ideas expressed. Gradually they had become unsubstantial and abstract, and people outlined only superficially what a cosmology should contain, a cosmology which extends not only to outer nature but can encompass the whole being of man, reaching to the soul-spiritual nature of the cosmos. In this connection, the extraordinary brilliant Emile Boutroux1Emile Boutroux, 1845-1921; especially in his De la Contingence des Lois de la Nature (Concerning the Contingency of Natural Laws). gave significant indications of how to arrive at a cosmology.

But since he also wanted to build only upon what ordinary consciousness could encompass, he too only arrived at an abstract cosmology.

Thus, cosmologies became more and more devoid of real content, becoming merely a sum of abstract ideas and characteristics. No wonder then that gradually this rational cosmology was discredited. The natural scientists appeared who could investigate nature in the manner that led in recent times to so many scientific triumphs. They could formulate natural laws, postulating an inner ordering of nature from observation and experiment, and from this they put together a naturalistic cosmology. What was thus assembled from the ideas concerning outer nature as a naturalistic cosmology, had, to be sure, a content, the external sensory content. In the face of this, the empty, rational cosmology constructed by the philosophers could not maintain itself. It fell into disrepute and was gradually abandoned. One therefore no longer speaks of a rational cosmology, arrived at merely by logic; one is satisfied now with naturalistic cosmology, which, however, does not encompass man. One can say, then, that it is cosmology in particular that teaches, more than ordinary philosophy, how one must have recourse again to imagination, inspiration and intuition.

Philosophy can at least observe the human soul, and, through unbiased observation of thinking whose dying nature refers to something other than its present state, it discovers that something lies outside all human existence on earth that includes man inwardly; in the same way, philosophy can point beyond death. Therefore, out of conclusions drawn from the soul's rich life of thinking, feeling and will, philosophy can at least make its abstractions rich and varied. This is still possible. But cosmology as a spiritual science can only be established if it is given its content also from spiritual perception. Here one can no longer arrive at a content by deduction. To attain a content, one must borrow it from the old clairvoyant perceptions, as was the case in the ideas adopted from tradition, or one must attain it again by a new method such as has now been presented.

If, therefore, philosophy is still in a position to carry on in accordance with logic, cosmology can no longer do so. As a rational cosmology based only on ordinary consciousness, it has therefore lost its content and with it its standing. If we wish to advance beyond a naturalistic cosmology to a new one that embraces man's totality, we must learn to perceive with the aid of inspiration and intuition that element in man in which the spiritual cosmos is reflected. In other words, cosmology even more than philosophy is dependent upon the acknowledgement by modern culture of the methods employed by spiritual science for attaining fully conscious imagination, inspiration and intuition—and not only acknowledging them but making use of their results to construct with their aid a genuinely real cosmology. What can be said concerning religion from this standpoint will be described in conclusion.

If our religious life is to be founded on knowledge the experience of the spiritual human being among other spirit beings must be brought back to earth and described. In these experiences we are dealing with something that is entirely unlike life on earth; it is utterly different. In them man stands wholly outside this life; therefore, these experiences can only be undergone by those human powers that are entirely independent of his physical and etheric organisms and for this reason certainly cannot lie within ordinary consciousness. Only when this ordinary consciousness advances and develops clairvoyant capacities can it give descriptions of those experiences that a human being has in the purely spiritual world. Therefore, a “rational theology,” a theology that wants to rely upon ordinary consciousness, is in an even worse position than a “rational cosmology.”

Rational cosmology still possesses something, after all, that at least sheds a certain amount of light on man's earthly existence. The reason for this is that in a round-about way, to be sure, the form and life of physical and etheric man are to an extent brought about by spiritual beings. But the experiences that the human being has in the purely spiritual worlds and which exact intuition gets to know, can in no way be discovered with the ordinary consciousness, as is the case of philosophy. They cannot even be guessed at. Today, when people want to arrive at all human knowledge by means of ordinary consciousness, these experiences can only be adopted—this is even more true than in the case of cosmological ideas—from ancient traditions dating from those times when men found their way in dreamlike clairvoyance into the spiritual worlds and carried across into the earthly world what they experienced.

If someone fancies that he could state something about man's experiences in the divine world in the form of ideas based only on ordinary consciousness, he is very much mistaken. Therefore, theology has come increasingly to a point of forming a kind of historic theology, adopting, even more than does cosmology, merely the old ideas of the kingdom of God acquired in earlier clairvoyant vision. These ideas then are made into a system by logic and dialectic. Men believe that here they have something fundamental and original, whereas it is only a subjective system of those who worked on this theology. It is a product of history, poured at times into new forms. But everything that is of real content is borrowed—by those who want only to draw from ordinary consciousness—from tradition, or from history. But for this reason, the formulations of various philosophers—who in earlier times created a rational cosmology and wanted to create a rational theology as well—were through this procedure discredited more than ever. On the one hand, rational cosmology as against naturalistic cosmology fell into discredit. On the other, in the field of religion, rational theology as against purely historic theology was discredited—the historic theology that renounced pure reality—both the direct formulation of ideas about the spiritual world and the experience of it.

This direct relationship, these living connections with experience in the spiritual world, vanished for more recent humanity when, in the Middle Ages, the question arose of proof for the existence of God. As long as a direct relation to experience of the kingdom of God existed, one did not speak of dialectic or logical proofs for divinity. Such proofs, when they were put forward, were in themselves proof that the living relationship to the kingdom of God had died away. Fundamentally, what Scholastic theology said was correct: ordinary reason is not in a position to make pronouncements about the kingdom of God. It can only elucidate the ideas already there, systematize them. It can contribute only something toward making doctrine readily acceptable.

We can observe how in recent times this incapacity of ordinary consciousness to determine anything about the kingdom of God has given rise to two errors. On the one side are the scientists who want to talk about religion, about God, but feel the incapacity of their ordinary consciousness and so formulate merely a history of religion. A religious content cannot at the present time be obtained in this way. Therefore, the existing, or once existing religions are considered historically. What is in fact considered? It is the religious content once provided by the old dreamlike, intuitive clairvoyance. Or, people consider that aspect of the religious life of the present time that has survived as a residue of the old clairvoyant state. This is then called “History of Religion,” and people do completely without producing any genuinely religious life of their own.

Still other people realize that man's clear day consciousness is powerless to determine anything about experiences in the purely spiritual kingdom of God. Therefore, they turn to the more subconscious regions of the human soul, to the world of feeling, to certain mystical faculties, and speak of an immediate, elemental experience of God. This is quite widespread today. It is just the advocates of this kind of experience who are especially characteristic of the spiritual state of mind at the present time. With all their might they shun the possibility of bringing their awareness of God into clear ideas that are logically formed. They give long explanations as to why this instinctive experience of God which, according to their interpretation, is the true religious experience, cannot be logically proved. They conclude therefore that the idea of expressing any religious content in intellectual form must be abandoned. But it must be said that these proponents of a direct awareness of God are the victims of illusions, because what is experienced in any region of the soul can in fact also be expressed in clear ideas. If we were to follow their example and put forward the theory that the religious content is weakened when it is expressed in clear ideas, this would prove nothing but that we should have abandoned all our truly substantial ideas in favor of a series of dreamed-up notions. It is a characteristic feature of present-day religious life that people rely on something which, as soon as it has to be made clear, at once falls into error.

From this it is quite evident that we can succeed in renewing religious life on a basis of knowledge only if we do not reject a method of cognition that can guide us into having a living experience of the spiritual human being and other spiritual beings. We have special need of this method of cognition precisely so that religious knowledge can be placed on a firm foundation. In the realm of religion, ordinary consciousness can at most systematize perceptions, clarify them, or formulate them into a doctrine, but it cannot find them. Without these perceptions, religion is limited to the traditional acceptance of what is derived from quite different soul conditions of humanity in earlier times. It is therefore limited to what would never satisfy a mind trained in modern science.

Therefore, if we are to base our religion upon knowledge, I must repeat for the third time something that I have already expressed today in regard to other areas of culture, but that must be expressed specifically for each separate area. If, out of the spiritual needs of the present time, religious life is to be renewed and undergo vital stimulation, the spiritual life of our age must acknowledge fully conscious imaginative, inspired, and intuitive cognition. Especially for the religious area must this not only be acknowledged but, for a living religious content, our modern spiritual life must also apply these spiritual-scientific results in appropriate ways.