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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Philosophy, Cosmology & Religion
GA 215

This cycle focuses on exercises to attain higher spiritual development. Steiner gives a description of philosophy based on Imagination, cosmology based on Inspiration, and religion based on Intuition. This is followed by a rich account of the stages of sleep and the period between death and rebirth, especially the role of Christ after death as revealed to spiritual cognition.

This ten lecture course was published in English with the title, Philosophy, Cosmology, and Religion, and is also known as, The French Course. It was published in German as, Die Philosophie, Kosmologie und Religion in der Anthroposophie, “Franzoesischer Kurs”.

I.The Three Realms of Anthroposophy September 06, 1922
Anthroposophical research, occultism and mysticism — the ‘spiritual eye’ — methodical rigor and constant watchfulness. Philosophy the course of all knowledge — the past, thanks to awareness of the etheric body — substantial and abstract thought. Cosmology in former times encompassed the life of the cosmos and the human being. Thinking, feeling and willing in everyday consciousness; the reflection of the astral. Formerly, religion rested on the experience of the divine world by the I or Spirit-Man.
II.The Exercise of Thinking, Feeling and Willing September 07, 1922
Philosophy in the past made possible by a condition of half-awake consciousness during which men perceived images. Developed thought can lead to separation from the physical body. Imaginative consciousness gives to philosophy its substance. Inspired consciousness allows the construction of a cosmology that includes man. Exercises to develop the will and intuitive knowledge; this is the foundation of a true religious life. Abstract thinking is unnatural but can reflect nature in an objective manner and guarantees human freedom.
III.How to Acquire Imaginative, Inspired and Intuitive Knowledge September 08, 1922
Meditation and consciousness — strengthening of character and moral qualities — dangerous influence of subconscious forces — the small child is an unconscious philosopher. Transition to inspired knowledge by eliminating the images (pictures). Appearance of cosmic realities which have their physical reflection in sun, moon and planets. Yoga, its role and the danger it presents in our epoch. Intuitive knowledge and cosmology.
IV.Cognition and Will Exercises September 09, 1922
Knowledge of the planetary cosmos through inspiration in the eternal human entity. As the corpse is produced by the etheric, so thoughts are corpses produced by our living forces. Philosophy can reach this conception through deduction. In the absence of the faculty of inspired cognition human beings have given birth to a ‘rational’ cosmology. Its failure in the realm of the science of nature. ‘Rational’ theology and its powerlessness. Direct and incommunicable experience of the divine is an illusion.
V.The Life of the Soul During Sleep September 10, 1922
The idea of the ‘unconscious.’ Unconscious experiences of the soul during sleep. First phase: indeterminate feeling of expansion, longing for God, uncertainty of dreams. Second phase: feeling of multiplicity and anguish — the help in overcoming this given by the Christ. The movement of the planets — meeting with those human beings with whom we are united by destiny. Influence of the experience of sleep on mood and creative energy.

Third phase: Experience of the constellations of the fixed stars — consciousness of our eternal being. The first stage of sleep corresponds to a real philosophical content, the second to a substantial cosmology, the third to a union with the divine. Return to waking consciousness by the reverse path.
VI.Passage from Spiritual Life to Earthly Existence September 11, 1922
The desire of the soul and spirit to unite themselves with the body. After death the soul knows the spiritual cosmos; its collaboration in building the spirit-germ of its future organism. The spiritual cosmos fades out gradually. Feelings of frustration and the desires of the soul — intervention of moon forces. The soul dives down into the etheric of the cosmos to construct its own etheric body — it keeps an unconscious memory of its extra-earthly activity; imaginative thinking can find it again and thus build a true philosophy.
VII.Christ, Humanity, and the Riddle of Death September 12, 1922
Different conditions of consciousness through evolution. Darkening of picture consciousness at the moment of the Mystery of Golgotha. This had to be lost in order to found the consciousness of the ‘I.’ Failure to understand the role of the Christ, studies limited to the historical personage, Jesus. Mission of the Christ on earth. Initiate knowledge of the facts about the third and fourth centuries A.D. Transmission of dogmas only after this time. The consciousness of the I and the riddle of death. If we open our hearts to the reality of the Mystery of Golgotha our soul gains the strength to pass through the various stages of life after death. Higher knowledge of the Trinity.
VIII.Ordinary Consciousness and Higher Consciousness September 13, 1922
Imaginative consciousness and the loss of thought: appearance of the entire course of our life-time becomes space. Perception in pictures cannot be remembered. Imaginative consciousness and ‘visions’ are essentially different. Man always imagines, but consciously. Elimination of the tableau of existence, and perception of cosmic realities that give birth to the etheric. Knowledge of the astral. Perception of the process of incarnation. In thinking, man is awake, in willing he is asleep. The eternal spirit disappears entirely in the head organism. During earth life the will is in gestation. How to avoid losing consciousness of the I at the moment of death. St. Augustine, Descartes and ‘doubt.’ Bergson and ‘duration.’
IX.The Event of Death, and its Relationship with the Christ September 14, 1922
Under the influence of the three higher organisms, the physical body ‘reflects’ thoughts. Activity of construction, of destruction in the organism. The astral destroys the head and brings on the need for sleep. Regeneration through the etheric. Thought is possible only thanks to the disintegrating forces active in the head. Vitality damps down or extinguishes consciousness. Different relation of the astral body and the I with the head, the rhythmic system, with metabolism and the limbs. In the second, the astral body constantly judges the moral value of our deeds. After death this totality of moral judgments is inserted into the soul which introduces it into the cosmos: the cosmos is like the nature surrounding us and is in itself amoral, not immoral. The ‘moralizing’ mission of man in the cosmos, his responsibility of which he becomes aware in the ‘Soul World.’ The transition to the third stage of life after death, in ‘Spirit Land,’ is only possible thanks to the Christ.
X.The Action of the Will beyond Death September 15, 1922
The intellectual soul, the sentient and the willing soul (consciousness-soul) and their relationship with the organism. Thinking transformed into purpose takes hold of our lower organism and our limbs. Life and death at all times present in us: role of asceticism in the past — today it would damage the physical body and thus the consciousness of self. Education and the knowledge of man. The durations and illnesses resulting from the forces of construction and disintegration. Building of a healthy physical body thanks to the force of the Christ. In the sphere of the moon man finds again the totality of the judgments passed upon his acts, and this prepares his future destiny.