These twenty lectures of Dr. Steiner's on Spiritual Science and Medicine were given at the request of a number of practicing Doctors in Medicine. Some thirty doctors and students attended.
The lectures took the form of answers to questions handed to the lecturer at the time, which accounts for their somewhat loose construction. Dr. Steiner's invariable method was rather to stimulate the mental and spiritual faculties of his listeners than merely to give information. In these lectures his aim was not to submit hypotheses, but to lead his listeners to medical, therapeutic intuition.
The following quotation taken from two lectures given by Dr. Steiner on “Anthroposophical Medical Research” in London may stand as an introduction.
“Some three thousand years ago, during the flowering of the most ancient Greek culture, there existed schools that were very different from those of today. The basis of these ancient schools consisted in the belief that man had first of all to develop new faculties in his soul before he could become capable of attaining to true knowledge concerning mankind.
“Now it was just because, in these ancient times, the more primitive soul-faculties did not incline towards the dreamy and visionary, that it was possible to experience, in the so-called mysteries, the spiritual foundations from which all forms of learning arose.
“This state of things came to an end more or less contemporaneously with the founding of our Universities — during the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. Since that time we learn only in a rationalistic way. Rationalism leads on the one hand to keen logic, and on the other hand to pure materialism.
“During the course of the last few centuries a vast store of external knowledge has been accumulated in the domain of biology, physiology, and other branches of research which are introductory to the study of medicine; indeed an amazing mass of observations, out of which an almost immeasurable amount may yet be obtained!
“But during these centuries all knowledge connected with man which could only be gained with spiritual vision, sank completely out of sight.
“It has therefore become actually impossible to investigate the true nature of health and disease.
“In order to emphasise this remark, I may mention that even at the present time (according to the descriptions given in my books) it is possible so to raise the faculties of the soul that the spiritual nature of man may be clearly distinguished from the physical. This spiritual part of man is, for the spiritual observer, just as visible as the physical part is for the man who observes with his outer senses; with this difference, however, that our ordinary senses have been and are incorporated into our bodily organism without our co-operation, whereas we must ourselves develop the organs of spiritual sight.”
RUDOLF STEINER — London 1924.