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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Course for Young Doctors
GA 316

Meditative contemplations and instructions for deepening the art of healing were given in this course for medical students and young physicians. The course consists of eight lectures given at Christmas, 1923, and five lectures given at Easter, 1924. For Rudolf Steiner, it was to be a course on the humanizing of medicine. As such it is completely different in content and spirit from all other lectures on medicine. Nowhere else does Rudolf Steiner give the kind and amount of meditative material to deepen a professional activity as he does in this course.

Also included are the so-called “bridge” lectures, given December 17-19, 1920, which were recommended by Rudolf Steiner as a preparation for this course.

The original translator is unknown. Revision by Gerald F. Karnow, M.D.

Christmas Course
Lecture I January 2, 1924
Illusion of solidly contained image of the human being. The physically contoured man. The fluid man into which the etheric body works; the air man in which the astral body works. The warmth man which permeates the human organization. The “I” works upon the latter, while the warmth man works upon the remaining organization, then the “I” indirectly. This enables a true insight into the relation of the soul and body since the soul happenings work upon the warmth ether and through it into the organs. The possibility for illness lies within the human organization. The possibility for healing lies in nature processes which can take over processes in the human being: etheric body, astral body, ego, calling upon the higher members of being to bring about healing. Natural science must examine the living cosmic aspects of nature, e.g., formic acid, ripening of figs and honey production. Necessity to develop a sense for nature, also in microscopy. Consideration must be taken of the non-relativity of magnifications. A view to the true nature of the beehive.
Lecture II January 3, 1924
Characteristics of members of being. Ego and earth form. Ego and death form. Physical organism and nutrition. Relation of etheric body and astral body to illness predisposition. Precondition for a conscious soul life. The nature of feeling. The development of illness. Inflammation and neoplasia. Illness and soul life. Liver as sense organ for the substances of the outer world. Heart, a sense organ for the inner world. The organs as an essential wholeness. Evaluation of foodstuffs out of the world connections with the human organism.
Lecture III January 4, 1924
Earth substance forces and peripheral substance forces are balanced out in the different organ systems. Contemplation of the head from this point of view; its weightlessness and static rest. Cosmos and earthly forces in the head and the remaining skeleton. The significance of calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate. Substances as cosmic formative processes and the relation of the cosmic beingness to substances. Consideration of the forces which overcome the lead process. The significance of the magnesium process. Rhythmic periods in which the process has a different significance. Antimony and the metamorphosis of the carbon process examined according to cosmic and etheric formative processes in the course of time.
Lecture IV January 5, 1924
Exoteric knowledge and its acquisition as basis for the esoteric part of the course. Formation of the human being: etheric body and its relation to the germ which develops out of inheritance, its relation to the astral body during the time immediately after birth; predisposition for knowledge. The significance of the inner path and deepening for the physician who wants to heal. The cultivation of soul forces through rhythmic repetition of knowledge. Such knowledge is shown in the example of experiencing the plant; esoteric and exoteric knowledge are brought into their true connection.
Lecture V January 6, 1924
About the change which needs to arise within the Anthroposophical movement: “The esoteric path is either a difficult one, or it is none.” Further description of cosmic forces on the basis of the relation of the plant being to the human organism, especially the head. The necessity of experiencing this knowledge. The connection of this knowledge to inner moral impulses. Description of meditative processes. The will to deepen medical studies esoterically as has hitherto only happened in two areas: general Anthroposophy and Eurythmy and the art of recitation. Description of the institution of the Medical Section.
Lecture VI January 7, 1924
Knowledge through thought: bony system through imagination: fluid man — muscle system. Knowledge through inspiration: inner organs. Knowledge through intuition: warmth man, the activity of the organs. The two kinds of warmth. Air and light states. Metamorphosis of light. The watery united with Chemism. Earth and life. Medical thought knowledge and therapeutic element.
Lecture VII January 8, 1924
Answering a question about healing magnetism. Question concerning the relation of the heart to the uterus. Question concerning the influence of precious stones on different organs. Question concerning the significance of the decay of the corpse for the deceased. Question concerning the significance of autopsy in relation to the time of death. Question concerning the significance of the community for the healing force of the physician. Question concerning iris diagnosis, graphology, etc. Concerning healing and knowledge of remedies. Concerning the book Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and its significance for the human being. Imagination and the life of the muscle; inspiration and the life of the inner organs; sketch of the necessary course of study for a spiritually appropriate medicine. The nature of illness for the physician filled with the will-to-heal.
Lecture VIII January 9, 1924
Orientation of the physician according to karma; the will for karma and the will-to-heal. Introduction to a contemplation of the human organism leading to healing as a result of cosmic forces, using as an example Saturn and Moon forces. Indication for meditative deepening.
Easter Course
Lecture I April 21, 1924
Participants are asked for questions concerning the difficulties which have resulted in orienting the physician towards an esoteric path of schooling. Emancipation of the Western esoteric path from the outer cosmos. Instruction for meditation; the nature of meditation. The incarnation process, development of a human body suitable for the earth. Origin of the stream of heredity. Nature of scarlet fever and measles. Significance of child's nutrition and mother's milk. Significance of direct perception for medical knowledge; examples of the same. Acquisition of maturity. The seven-year periods as new impulses. The working of cosmic formative forces. Meditation of the plant being.
Lecture II April 22, 1924
Concerning the right meditation and the profession of the physician. Knowledge of illness as knowledge of healing. Knowledge of healing and the will-to-heal. The recognition of the etheric out of the sculptural. Recognition of the astral out of the musical. The pioneering task for a new medical study of the physician newly oriented out of Anthroposophy. Contemplation of the primary cause of illness in the patient's course of life. Meditation.
Lecture III April 23, 1924
Introduction to the meditation given in the second lecture: formative structuring, human formation out of cosmic forces. Moon. Ensouling of the human being: cosmic Sun's working in the periphery. Spiritualization of the human being through the breakdown forces of Saturn. The cosmic force nature of the metals. The moral as a force streaming in from the cosmos. Spiritual truths must be experienced meditatively again and again. Concerning the karmic relations of the spirit-seeking souls born at the turn of the century.
Lecture IV April 24, 1924
The development of medical points of view of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries considered regarding the karmic relations. Christianity and Arabism. Instruction for a healer meditation: the cosmic trinity — Saturn, Sun, Moon — working in the healthy and the ill human being. Directions for noticing the karmic relations in the ill: will of the healer, Christianization of medicine by becoming conscious of the cosmic element in human beings in health and illness. Letting the heart think along: the staff of Mercury. The physician should work so that karma can work itself out in our culture.
Lecture V April 25, 1924
Concerning the nature of the members of being and their mutual relations. General causes of becoming ill. Comprehension for the mode of working of certain remedies. Different relations in the physical and the mental illnesses. Temperaments. Instructions for a meditation to acquire imaginative conscousness. The same for acquiring inspiration consciousness. Feeling in knowing, feeling in knowledge. Concretizing the Youth Movement with the help of a striving medicine. The slight healing of heredity forces in education. Relation of physician to patient. Appeal for an inner establishment of connection to the Goetheanum which has placed itself as center a definite task.
First Circular Letter March 11, 1924
Evening Gathering April 24, 1924
Relation of fluid to solid in the formation of the organic. Structuring of images from expansion (cosmic working) and infolding (earthly working). The therapeutically significant phantom of the organs in the fluid man. The plastic principle for the comprehension of the fluid, musical principle for the comprehension of the airy. Listening to oneself in speaking: study of the ego organization.

The “Bridge” Lectures

I. Soul and Spirit in the Human Physical Constitution December 17, 1920
The physical organism of the human being is considered today to consist of more or less solid-fluid substances; but as well as the solid, physical body, the human has as definite organisms, a fluid body, an air body and a warmth body. The connections of these organisms with the members of the whole being and with the different Ethers. Thought and Tone; Ego and circulating Blood. The sleeping state. Relation to the universal Spirituality. Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition. The circumscribed view of the human organism prevailing today is unable to build any bridge between the physical body and the soul and spirit.
II. The Moral as the Source of World-Creative Power December 18, 1920
Recapitulation of previous lecture. Connection of the moral world-order with the physical world-order. The moral world-order has no place in the natural-scientific thinking of today. The positive effect of moral ideals and ideas and the negative effect of theoretical ideas on the four organisms. The materialistic conception of the imperishability of matter and energy. Matter and energy die away to nullity but moral thinking imbues life into substance and will. The natural world dies away in the human; in the realm of the moral a new natural world comes into being; thus are the moral order and the natural order connected. Absence of spirituality in the modern picture of the world which is based on the Copernican system. Kepler and Newton. We need a spiritual view of the universe. The sun is not a globe of burning gas but the reflection of a spiritual reality revealed in the physical. The moral power developed by the human rays out and is reflected as the spiritual Sun. Julian the Apostate. The connection of the spiritual Sun with the physical sun is the Christ-Secret.
III. The Path to Freedom and Love and Their Significance in World Happenings December 19, 1920
The human as a being of Thinking, Action and Feeling. The connection of the life of thought with the will. Pure thinking: irradiation of the life of thought by will. This leads to Freedom. Irradiation of the life of will by thoughts leads to Love. The meaning of the ancient expressions: Semblance, Power, Wisdom. To speak of the imperishability of matter and energy annuls Love. The significance of Freedom and Love in world happenings.