Thursday, August 8, 2019
Life, Death, and Immortality
Spirit and Matter, Life and Death. Lecture 6 of 7
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, March 22, 1917:
Somebody who represents spiritual science in the scientific sense cannot be surprised about the numerous skewed judgments and refusals with which it meets, since he can understand which consequences the scientific results of the present and the most recent past have of which some people believe that they contradict this spiritual-scientific worldview. Only on the part of those who believe to stand on the firm ground of research and to be able to get a worldview which does not regard the spiritual-scientific ideas one does not yet get involved with an examination of that even today which spiritual science has to say about its results. Indeed, thus one can show that spiritual science does not only comply with any justified scientific result of the present, but also that just these scientific results confirm what spiritual science has to say; and still one can understand the opposition even more if one envisages the ways of scientific research in more concrete, special things.
It is not yet long ago, when Professor Dewar (James D., 1842-1923, British physicist) held a lecture in the Royal Institution (1912) in which he tried to speak about a future final state of the earth based on scientific results. This is a state, in which the human inhabitants of the earth can no longer exist as they are today. Professor Dewar tries to use the physical mental pictures, and finds out with a certain one-sided authorisation that one has to suppose that the earth cools down. He calculates a final state in which the earth will be cooled, we say, to 200 degrees centigrade below freezing point. He implies the thought that the earth develops to such a final state. There he is clear in his mind that of course everything that is now water in the sea will have become solid long since, that also the air that forms our atmosphere today will be liquid, and at a height of ten metres the earth will be covered with this liquefied air in form of a sea. The cold will change the appearance of many things. Of course, it does not only change the thermal state and with it the aggregate states of the single bodies, but also many other things. Thus, Professor Dewar thinks that the milk that will be solid then of course will shine in blue light. Indeed, I do not know in which way this solid milk will be produced, but it will shine blue according to physical mental pictures.
Yes, even more: protein shines so that one can read newspapers with this light if one lacquers the walls of the rooms with protein. Indeed, I do not know who then reads newspapers; because I suppose that the human beings have frozen to death long since, but Dewar still uses the discussion to imagine the future state of our earth after his world picture. On the liquefied air, which will be a sea, gaseous light bodies will be only, hydrogen, helium, neon, krypton. He describes very nicely how one feels completely different then because the resistance of these light gases will not be as strong as the resistance of the air for the present organism.
You can picture this final state of the earth to yourself in the detail, and of course, people “not trusting in authority” accept such a lecture as something exceptionally significant that shows finally, how the “exact physicist” has to think about a valid worldview.
As you remember, I have stated among the principal conditions of spiritual-scientific research that the soul comes gradually by internal exercises to that which I have called with a Goethean word the beholding by the eyes of the soul; that it has, above all, to go through a life in mental pictures that reproduces the outer moral thinking. Not that it would be confused with this, but the whole mood which the spiritual researcher has to develop has to be in such a way that the own ego has to relate to the mental pictures saturated with reality at which he must aim as the human being relates to the things which he regards as morally good or bad. There one is not contented with the fact that certain things can be called morally good or bad but there one knows if the affect of the human being militates for the good that one has to follow the good impulses, and if the affect militates for the bad ones that one has to suppress them. Thus, one behaves in the outer life if one has completely developed all soul forces.
Thus, the relation of the spiritual researcher to his own concepts must become a living not only a logical one. In the life of an idea, of a mental picture just this appears that one nurtures certain mental pictures because they are able to penetrate into reality. While other mental pictures announce themselves in such a way that you can compare them to that, which is to be omitted in the area of the moral life; they have to be removed as it were from the horizon of the consciousness. In this inner life of the soul those spiritual worlds emerge which are to be beheld then. Such persons like Professor Dewar are led away just by their prejudices or better by their “pre-sentiments" from the striving for such mental pictures saturated with reality. Then the spiritual researcher recognises where, actually, the mistake is in the construction of such a worldview. Since one could compare that with somebody who calculates the development of certain metabolic phenomena in the human being from quite right physical, chemical, and physiological conditions. One could interpret certain metabolic phenomena and calculate future states on the condition that this metabolic process proceeds in time evenly in such a way as it proceeds, we say, between the thirtieth and fortieth years. One observes there single processes and calculates then how these must become after the quite right conditions of science within 150 years. Only one has to object that after 150 years, the human being does no longer live, and the body does no longer follow the principles, which are forced on it by the fact that it is fulfilled with a soul, but follows outer physical and chemical principles of the earthly surroundings.
If one says such a thing today, one runs the risk that one is accused of saying something brainless. However, someone who does not pursue the scientific research absent-mindedly, but gets involved with how certain requirements are used to conclusions knows that it is deeply entitled what I have just stated as a comparison. Since it remains valid that after the time when the milk would shine so nicely blue when one could coat the walls with protein the earth would just as little exist as the human body exists after 150 years.
Today the opinion is spread that spiritual science forms flimsy mental pictures offhand. Because one has this requirement, the comparison of spiritual science and natural sciences turns out in such a way that one says, there are on one side these natural sciences which get more precisely to their results; and there is on the other side spiritual research which claims, indeed, to comply with natural sciences, but receives its concepts by any pipe dream! Prejudices of this kind must be overcome first if spiritual science should be acknowledged. One does not get automatically to the spiritual-scientific results. One can study the difficulties that oppose real results of spiritual research if one considers human beings who dedicate their lives to the struggle for real knowledge who also care about a knowledge of the spiritual conditions of the world.
In these days, one could be reminded of such a man of knowledge who died before some days whom I have recently mentioned here in another context: Franz Brentano. You know that I refer very seldom to something personal, for my part. But I would like to permit a remark to myself only: the fact that I have pursued Franz Brentano's psychological research from his beginnings up to his later struggle. One could well recognise with him that it becomes difficult to that who strives for knowledge of the spiritual world in the present because of opposing prejudices to get the full power. Something was in Franz Brentano's way that arose just because he lived in the prejudices of the scientific age. Thus, it happened that Brentano, after he had written some spirited, profound writings about Aristotle, published a Psychology in 1874. It should be the first volume of several volumes in which he wanted to ascend to the understanding of the real spiritual-mental life. But the first volume remained the only one, and then only in smaller writings Brentano, I would like to say, added some small fragments of that what he had to say.
Indeed, Brentano's outer life was full of vicissitudes; and someone who considers the things only externally could say, this life would have hampered him to get to that contemplation which was necessary to complete his Psychology. However, that is not the case; but it has happened in such a way because Brentano foundered on the riddles of the soul life. He started showing them in the first volume of his Psychology in such a way that he would have been led just to the place where spiritual science is now. However, there he could not do this because he adhered to scientific prejudices. Because he did not want to develop some mere concepts, but concepts containing reality, he abandoned the whole thing.
When Brentano wrote his Psychology, he took the principle as starting point, indeed, that the internal soul life can be perceived, but not be observed. It is a dictum that seems reasonable because we ourselves are the soul life that we develop. If any mental picture appears, we must have it; we cannot face and observe it. If we observe it, it has passed by; it must be brought up from the memory again. These and still other difficulties are there. Hence, Brentano means that one can probably perceive the soul life, but not observe. However, he did not realise that one would never come just to any psychology if one were able to observe it, as he means, namely that this observing would completely be after the pattern of natural sciences. If one were able to observe in such a way, then the soul life would stop, one would perceive nothing in this soul life but reflections of any reality. From these reflections, just results can be found about the reality as little as one can seize the pictures of a mirror. One cannot observe the soul life if one wants to observe it only in the immediate present. Hence, I had to say some weeks ago here that it does not matter with the observation of the mental-spiritual that one confronts as it were this mental-spiritual and observes it then like a scientific object, but that is the point that one causes an inner process like the following one.
You dedicate yourself meditatively to a particular mental picture repeatedly, but then you also observe how this mental picture works, without you being present; you hand over as it were what you imagine to the objective course of the world. Whether this is now forced down to the so-called subconscious, or whether it is handed over to any other sphere of world existence, this appears in the further course of the mental picture. One lets that work which one has called into consciousness in such a way that one is no longer present. If one strengthens the consciousness with the other exercises, as they are described in the book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds?, then you realise that one cannot observe, indeed, this mental-spiritual that prevails in yourself as Brentano wanted it, but that you have to observe it in its work in the course of time. The mental appears only if one observes it in the course of life; not while one confronts it in the present, but while one realises how this mental works between birth and death. This observation of the soul happens with the same precision as in the outer science.
I would still like to say the following: I have spoken in the last two talks here about the relations of the soul to the nervous system, to the respiration and to the metabolism of the human being. I have tried to indicate a result that completely complies with natural sciences of which I believe that it can be of immense significance for the understanding of the world. I have not formulated this way up to now what I have pronounced in the two last talks, but it is now 35 years, since I began as a very young man in Vienna with the researches which caused at last to pronounce what I have said in the last two talks. I was incessantly researching. I tried to pursue this research in such a way as I have recently described it: by handing over the mental pictures to objectivity to see what originates from the mental pictures if they work spiritually without my presence. One will recognise once that spiritual research is as exact as the outer scientific research. This will be perhaps necessary if the number of those increases who regard spiritual science as something necessary for the future educational development. Indeed, it turns out that on the way of this spiritual research the mental pictures do not proceed as abstractly as they proceed if one researches externally scientifically, or if one thinks in such a way, as one is accustomed in the outer life. The mental pictures run rather to the other side than to the sensory outside world if one is no longer present personally and combine by their own inner nature with the spiritual life that one can only observe in its activity, not in its rest.
An observation, as I want to state it now, does not lead to anything right if one does not carry out a spiritual-scientific instruction. Only afterward that appears in its true figure which some thinkers have guessed without getting beyond the notion: the whole soul life that we develop, while we get into contact with the outside world and which is usually in our consciousness is accompanied by another soul life.
Somebody who has produced the inner conditions to observe such things internally can notice how the soul is perpetually working in this unconscious. Another soul life is perpetually associated with the conscious one that is not subjected to the laws to which the outer soul life is subjected, and both comply with the course of the natural phenomena. Indeed, this soul life is also subjected to principles, but these do not comply with the principles of the usual conscious soul life. For the spiritual researcher this subconscious soul life rises from below. For the usual life, it also rises from below, but one does not know that it rises from below. One believes, for example, often: you have grasped this thought, and you believe that the whole process is in your usual conscious soul life. It does not, but it emerges from a subconscious soul life.
Now the spiritual researcher can pursue how these two currents of the soul life co-operate. If one speaks not in the superstitious or theoretical-mystic sense about clairvoyance, but in the exact sense, this clairvoyance is nothing but the ability to raise this in parallel proceeding soul life really and to persuade oneself that it is subjected, indeed, to principles that are different from those of the conscious soul life. Someone who rises to such observations in healthy way will not get to any pathological states. On the contrary, that happens what I have indicated in the last talk here: he will make his soul life healthier and healthier if he acts properly.
Such a spiritual researcher will acquire a certain ability of the cooperation of the subconscious soul life with the usual soul life. While one believes in the usual life, one is with the whole soul given, for example, to that what is read out to him, one does no longer believe this as a trained spiritual researcher. One knows that the subconscious soul life proceeds and often goes ways quite different from the ways of the mental pictures that are read out. If one has enough virtuosity to become not distracted now while listening, things emerge from the subconscious between two words to which one listens, which are acquired as emotionally as the things of the conscious soul life, which, however, run in parallel to the conscious soul life; things of another soul life.
Certain thinkers have guessed this, while they pointed out that, for example, the human being dreams not only in sleep, but, actually, throughout the day in the awake state the dream life goes on, is only outshone with the usual conscious soul life. This is also true and is still not true. Only something similar takes place as the dream life. The dream life is only like a chaotic adumbration of that what goes forward there. In the subconscious this current runs in parallel, which is as fugitive for the today's usual soul life as the dreams are, and, hence, can be compared with the dream, which, however, emerges from a spiritual reality.
While one observes these currents in their cooperation, one learns gradually to ascend to a mental picture which cannot be founded in its details in this one talk whose result, however, should be stated. One learns to recognise that the usual soul life, as the physiological psychologists show it correctly, has the outer physical-bodily life as its necessary condition. If one pursues this outer physical-bodily life spiritual-scientifically, one understands that this life and the mental experience bound to the usual consciousness are connected with those effects that happen between earth and the sun. The effects that are only of refined kind which are similar, however, to the effects of the solar surroundings, we say, on the plant realm and the like. One gets to know the real connection between the tool of our usual conscious soul life and earth and sun, I could also say, of our whole world system, as well as astronomy speaks of this world system. However, one also gets to know that the course of the other current is completely different from the principles that are implanted in the body and with it also in the soul of the human being. Its principles are not connected with those of the bodily-mental conscious processes. On the contrary, it often contradicts them. Where one has an association in the outer soul life, where one brings mental pictures together, this inner subconscious soul life performs a separation, and vice versa.
However, these are only indications of extensive differences of the outer experience and the inner one. If one recognises the coherence of soul and body more extensively, and that of the body with the whole solar system, then one gets mental pictures of a final state of the earth; mental pictures which are hard to be described in our language. I can only say thst everybody knows that the astronomer can calculate a future constellation from a present one as one can calculate future solar and lunar eclipses. That what happens here by calculation happens if one finds the right relation to that what one learns about both currents in their relationship with the final state of the earth. What is calculated there is beheld here internally. One does not deal with vague analogies but with a real internal beholding of the final state of the earth. Since one learns to recognise that something that cannot be demonstrated in its details in one talk turns out as a necessary result. I want to lead you to this result by a comparison.
As well as the human being walks through the world as a bodily being, he is only possible because the mental in him turns out to be effective. If it can no longer turn out to be effective, this body follows other principles. Then it follows the principles that it must follow because of its relationship to the outer physical earth surroundings. It completely merges with its principles into the principles of the surrounding earth. I would like to compare the result, which one gets with reference to the life of our earth. Our earth advances in its development, but it experiences inner transformations in this development. One cannot get to know these transformations if one does not know that that plays a real role which all mental beings perceive in their subconscious and develop in the intimated way. As well as one understands no plant in its development if one cannot form a mental picture how in the plant of this year the seedling of the next year prepares itself with the principles of growth, etc., one can also not understand our earth if one applies the physical principles to it as the geologist does it.
Since that which we experience in our sub-consciousness appears as a seedling in our earth existence. If I am allowed to use an expression that is not quite right, we will still understand each other: this co-operates and lives, but it is something that is not at all associated with the relations of earth and sun. Thus, it turns out: exactly as for the bodily human being a time occurs where his mental experience is separated from the bodily, and the bodily merges into the outer earth surroundings, a time occurs which stops the earth-sun effects for the earth. Just as the mental effects stop in the body from the inside, the solar effects on the earth stop from without. As the body separated from the soul is something impossible and dissolves, the earth becomes an impossible body in the universe from a certain time on. As well as the human body merges into the earth surroundings, into its physical and chemical principles, the earth merges into the principles from a certain time on which we pursue in the indicated current now.
It is reverse with the earth and with the human being. The body of the human being merges into the earth surroundings. That what is earthly-solar in the earth merges into the spiritual. When this time occurs, those principles prevail in the earth body that we can perceive in the parallel current, it does not at all comply with the outer physical laws. There the peculiar becomes known that one considers as a mad paradox: the fact that the physical laws are valid only up to the earth's end. If anybody tries to apply these laws after the earth's end in the way of Professor Dewar, he does the same mistake, as if anybody calculates the laws of metabolism beyond the bodily death, beyond 150 years.
The earth does no longer exist at that time which Dewar calculates, because it has then changed into the spiritual. Everything spiritual-mental that can be observed in the second current is taken up in this spiritual-mental of the earth; it lives there in it for future world creations that I cannot describe now. However, we look at a future final state of our earth after it has gone through death in such a way that it has been merged into something spiritual. Solidified milk will not even shine bluish, and protein will not serve as candle, but everything that is subjected to the earthly-solar laws, to the physical laws, is subjected to quite different laws once, will live controlled by spiritual-mental laws which emerge from our inner life, as I have described it. Since we are connected already today with that which the earth will become by which the earth is immortal. Hence, that appears as dreamlike which lives down there in the soul life. It is connected with the seed of future worlds, and we are immortal, while we live with this immortal of the general spirit.
However, in this manner one gets to a more concrete view of the spiritual world, than if one wants the abstract catchwords of “mystic pantheism” and so on of which today so many people still be very proud. A blurred, nebulous pantheism should not be searched in spiritual science but concrete results that are based on exact spiritual-mental observation. The general education is hostile to get to such reality-saturated mental pictures even today, which comprise the whole reality that we can attain, not only the outer physical one. Somebody who has consciously participated in the course of education of the last decades could notice that people do not like at all to immerse themselves with their concepts into reality. Hence, there are so many people whom I would like to call the “button counters” of spiritual science.
I call them button counters for the following reason: if one has consciously grown up with that with which many people have dealt in the last decades as with important concepts, one can absolutely understand that it has happened this way, but one has just to understand it. There certain human beings have dealt for some centuries up to now repeatedly with thinking about the social living together. The ones have come to more individualistic concepts, the others to concepts that are more social. Individualism and socialism, they have played a role in the last time variously with the consideration of the human living together that one has still to imagine as saturated with spirit. This chattering of socialists and individualists does not appear very deep to someone who is accustomed to concepts saturated with reality if one pursues their lines of thought really, but in such a way, as if one decided it by counting off their buttons: individualist socialist, individualist socialist; save that if this counting buttons happens in thoughts it is not so noticeable. One dabbles in such concepts that are not suitable to intervene in reality, like these conceptual shades that one praises to the skies as individualism and socialism in the last decades.
However, the matter has a serious background and is connected with many things that are important for certain conditions of the present. Since the human being does not always want to know how with the general world picture which arises from his ideas, sensations and will impulses, the usual life, the social life is connected. However, he will wreak havoc if he takes his ideas and sensations as starting point that are not saturated with reality, in particular if he is at an important place. If he speculates only about scientific concepts of a worldview, as well as Professor Dewar does, these concepts appear to spiritual science like delusions that he loads onto his listeners. It may be still fine for such scientific consideration of a worldview, but if anybody inspired by the same spirit is in the social work and transfers the same kind of spirit to this, then it works destroying to the highest degree, and one often searches that in life at quite different places what is absent, actually, than where it would have to be searched. Since that which happens on earth is connected anyway. As sometimes the doctor must indicate another kind of an evil than that is in which one believes from a first superficial inspection, somebody who surveys the matter has to search the origins of some evils and disastrous effects at quite different places sometimes than it appears after a superficial inspection.
For it, I would like to bring in an example; but how should I bring in it in this day and time where I could give the impression just concerning this example that I may be influenced in my judgement by the so painful events of our time? But just concerning this example I can easily escape. I held a cycle of talks about another object in Helsinki (at that time: Helsingfors) in 1913, so before this war. In the course of that, I had to allude to Wilson, and I want to read out what I said in those days. You will also realise that I have not at all misjudged a certain importance, also a certain wit that one can concede Wilson, but you will also realise that it was not necessary to gain a judgment about this man, only to open oneself to the events of the last years or weeks. At that time, I said:
“There are the very noteworthy essays which have appeared in the last time by the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). There is an essay about the laws of human progress.” Of course, Woodrow Wilson spoke also in those days already about the laws of the true human progress.
“In it he explains rather nicely and even wittily how the human beings are influenced, actually, by that what the predominant thinking of their age gives. He explains very wittily how in the age of Newton where everything was full of the ideas of gravitation one felt the Newtonian theories having a lasting effect in the social concepts, yes, in the state concepts which really fitted the heavenly bodies only. One feels the thoughts about gravitation having a lasting effect in everything.
This is very witty, because one needs only to read up Newtonism and one will realise that everywhere words are coined like attracting etc. Wilson emphasises this brilliantly. He says that it is insufficient to apply purely mechanical concepts to the human life, to apply concepts of the celestial mechanics to the human conditions. Wilson rightly chides this application of purely mechanical laws in the age in which, so to speak, Newtonism controlled the whole thinking. One has to think different, Wilson says, and then he constructs his concept of state namely in such a way, that now everywhere Darwinism looks out, after he has proved this of the Newtonian age.”
What I wanted to say in those days was that now Wilson sees, while he looks at the preceding age: there one has taken up Newton in the concepts of state; one had this in mind then. What does he do? Now he takes up Darwinism because he is a contemporary of the Darwinian age as the human beings were contemporaries of Newton once. He exactly commits the same, but he is so naive not to notice this.
If now all kinds of people have played with the concepts individualism and socialism, and they have kept on playing, then this may be acceptable; but if one works from an important place with such a defective thinking, I wanted to say that in those days this has another significance. If one wants to get to know our age, one has to get to know with which unrealistic concepts it happens which are only shades of something where these concepts are entitled. One may be rather far away from such insight; but one will not understand reality and gets to no worldview which corresponds to reality if one cannot figure that out with which empty concepts one works today in science and in the social areas.
That is why the human being can gain a view at least if it concerns entering the real spiritual world and gaining a worldview from it, or with it. There are human beings who are grasped by the longing for recognising the spiritual may it be by their living inner development, may it be by outer circumstances. However, where do they often search it? They cannot choose by a certain inner laziness of thinking to search the spirit where it is to be found really: on the way of spirit. Since this is difficult, although it is possible if then the results become manifest that they are immediately evident. This requires above all that one transforms the inside of the soul into such a state which just exact researchers of the present often do not like. One can observe this most distinctly if an exact researcher who rightly carries authority in the area of the outer natural sciences gets once involved with the spiritual world.
Among those books which made a great stir apart from the war literature within the English-speaking world during the last months is the newest book by Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940, physicist). This book has a special occasion. It has the occasion that a son of Lodge, Raymond Lodge (born in 1889) was killed in action at the Western front in August 1915. Sir Oliver Lodge tended always to a certain science of the spiritual world. The death of the son still pulled its weight to his longing to penetrate into the spiritual world. Thus, it happened: already before the son was killed, Sir Oliver Lodge was warned from America that something would occur to this son.
If one reads what was written there via a medium to the family Lodge, one has as a spiritual-scientific thinking person the impression: yes, what was written to him there could mean all sorts of things. It could be interpreted at most in such a way that Frederick Myers (1843-1901), the publisher of a writing about the scientific investigations of the soul life who died long ago would look after the son of Sir Oliver Lodge. One could interpret the matter, however, this or that way. If Raymond Lodge were not killed, one could interpret it in such a way that Myers saves him from death in action; after his death one could interpret it in such a way that he would help on the other side, would be a leader for him. I do not want to explain what is behind such matters; they are not as harmless as one thinks. Then Raymond Lodge fell. Sir Oliver Lodge who would completely refuse to penetrate on the ways of spiritual science into the spiritual world got into contact with media who were flawless according to his view. There it turned out very soon that by these media the soul of Raymond Lodge made known itself, informed various things by the media: how he lives now which wishes he has in relation to his father, his family and so on. I would not mention the matter if I only wanted to tell what usual spiritists report, because they are uncritical; an uncritical attitude even prevails where Lombroso (Cesare L., 1836-1909, Italian anthropologist) and Richet (Charles R., 1850-1936, French physiologist) are present. However, Oliver Lodge is really a person who knows the exact methods with which one goes precisely forward there, so that also someone who has enjoyed a scientific education can have a certain respect for the precision with which Oliver Lodge goes forward describing the things that he reports in his thick book (Raymond or Death and Life, 1916).
While one sees in usual reports at once if one is acquainted anyhow only a little with the things where the observers have just seen nothing where no communications are available of the adjustments et cetera, one realises with Sir Oliver Lodge that a person reports who knows the scientific methods and is able to describe them.
Now one thing made a deep impression which Sir Oliver Lodge states. I do not want to tell the other things, because they are, even though they are given precisely, after the pattern of other séances. However, one thing made an especially big impression: Sir Oliver Lodge tells that by the flawless media became known that Raymond Lodge was photographed with his comrades before he was killed. Now the soul of Raymond Lodge described three photos via the medium that the photographer made one after the other. With great exactness, this medium describes these photos. While with the other things one could imagine Sir Oliver Lodge admits this too some connections in such a way that any quiet suggestion, as it is with such things mostly, has taken place, or, otherwise, another process which every spiritual researcher knows to transfer on the medium what lived in memories, in particular in subconscious memories of the late Raymond Lodge while this could be true for everything it could not be the case here, because nobody could know anything of these photos.
These photos were taken shortly before Raymond Lodge was killed and were not yet sent to England. Nobody knew anything about it, neither anybody of the family, nor the medium. Two or three weeks later, three photos that complied exactly with the descriptions of the medium arrived. Now this became of course for him an experimentum crucis, because here one could prove directly: nobody could know anything of it, something came from a world, which is not that world in which once Raymond Lodge lived before he died.
This has not only made an enormous impression on Sir Oliver Lodge who was very much inclined to such things but also on the whole public that was interested in it. Oliver Lodge was completely convinced and could persuade his family members who were sceptical before; then the circle increased more and more. Now it is strange that one is satisfied just today to penetrate comfortably into reality while one forms flimsy concepts of the spiritual world.
The spiritual researcher knows: if anything results from these things this way, it is not at all a manifestation of a spiritual world. Therefore, I called in the last talk that which manifests itself there in such way just the most soulless from which the spirit is expelled even more, although it may copy the spirit sometimes. If anything results there this way, it relates to the spirit in such a way as the dead shell relates to the living oyster if the oyster is outdoors. The shell results, the most material, the most sensory rest, which only copies the spirit in its forms sometimes. Since one has to search the spirit in spiritual way. However, how could Oliver Lodge give himself to such dilettantism? Because he simply lacks the concepts which are saturated with reality to be able to judge such things.
If he had only read anything about these things in the rich German literature of the first half of the nineteenth century which of course is little considered today, he would have known that he deals in spite of all precision with nothing but what one referred to the area of deuteroscopy. One stated phenomena as for example the so often cited one where somebody gets the idea by the special constitution of his soul life in a kind of dream consciousness: roundabout then you will have an accident there and there. Some somnambulistic persons exactly describe such accidents in a not too distant future, that they if they fall off their hoses, for example, describe the scene to a hair's breadth. One does not deal there with anything that could extend the human insight into the real spiritual world, but with a mere extension of perception that refers to the sensory reality. One has to deal with the extension of the usual perception of space and time that is possible within certain limits.
Now in the case of Raymond Lodge nothing was there but that what goes forward in such cases. What had the medium told to Oliver Lodge? Nothing but what happened after. Indeed, the photos were not yet there at the time when the medium described them, but they came later. The view of Oliver Lodge and his family is directed upon it. One can compare this event with that event if a somnambulistic person dreams that in fourteen days he will fall off his horse. It is not anything that would show a way into a real spiritual world to the spiritual researcher, but that relates to the real spiritual world in such a way, as the oyster shell to the oyster. It copies this. However, in that which becomes obvious can one suppose anything if one takes the things seriously? Because it is more comfortable than really entering the spiritual world, some people prefer to investigate something this way. But the spiritistic phantom is something that belongs much more to materiality than if one has to deal with the real bodily human being. This is just the peculiar with reference to how spiritual research has to settle in the educational life that this spiritual research leads away from the aberrations to which even great thinkers are exposed who are well acquainted with the exact methods of natural sciences.
Just in such a way as one has to say that the physical laws are not applicable in the characterised way to the final state of the earth, because the earth will just change with the human mental and spiritual life, one can also say that about the initial state. However, there one has to learn how the memory relates to the bodily life. If one studies in the same way as I have given this for that soul life which one needs for the final state of the earth, then one discovers that one can also not calculate an initial state of the earth as the present geologists do. One could take also the principles of metabolism again and calculate with a seven-year-old child how it might have looked as a bodily being forty years ago. There one would completely use the same method as the geologist uses it if he works out the state of the earth millions of years ago. The calculation is quite right, as well as the physical methods are applied quite correctly if one calculates from the metabolism of a seven-year-old child, but the child has not yet lived forty years ago. That is why not only it is not right that for the time for which the geologist gives so nice things the earth did not yet exist. It had not yet emerged from the different solar life; it was not yet lifted out.
The initial state of the earth is in such a way: as we deal with the final state of the earth with the merging of the material earth with the solar earth laws into a spiritual-mental state, so that we carry our immortal-supersensible through future worlds, one has to deal in the beginning of the earth development with something spiritual-mental; but in such a way that it does not become more spiritual, but is used by that which comes from the sun, so that this spiritual is realised within the material. There one deals with the reverse process: with the origin of a spiritual from a spiritual which surrounds itself “envelops,” one may say, in the contrary sense of “develops” in something material from the world of space and time.
There you notice again that the laws can be applied to the beginning of the earth which I have stated just now for the parallel current of the subconscious that there the usual laws of mathematics stop. As absurd as it sounds, but it is true. I would like to say, Kant understood a quarter truth of this, while he showed in his antinomies that one can think for certain initial and final states this or that way; but because he just found a quarter truth, the whole has rather restrained the worldview of reality, than that it would have promoted it. Since Kant would have had not only the belief that space and time are bound to the human intuitive faculty, but he could have recognised if he had penetrated into the real spiritual research that the spiritual-mental of the human being is intimately connected with the spiritual-mental events of the whole outer existence and that an investigation of the spiritual-mental yields a really spiritual-scientific worldview, so that one may say, our world of space and time is bound to the contact of the human being with the earth. Hence, that which we can recognise by it is only valid from the earth beginning up to its end. One has to get to know the other laws that are in the other current if one wants to talk about the beginning and end of the earth, so that a real worldview arises. Then, however, one recognises that the human soul is older than the earth; that it already existed in that spiritual which wrapped itself in those earthly principles that come into being between earth and sun.
Spiritual science gets beyond that worldview about which I recently said that it repelled Herman Grimm, for example, as the Kant-Laplace theory.
(Remark: Steiner reads out the same passage that he had already quoted in the previous talk.)
Thus, spiritual science delivers another world picture which can take up the spiritual-mental in the initial and final states of the earth, so that the assumption of it is supported really in such a way, as any other scientific fact, save that these things must be investigated just spiritual-mentally and cannot be externally yarned on basis of that which is valid only for the material processes of the earth, as long as the earth is that material body that it is.
The human beings do not at all notice in which conceptual shades they live, actually. Only sometimes, somebody thinks somewhat sharper; then, indeed, he does not get away from these conceptual shades, but he thinks somewhat sharper and there he gets to quite strange assertions sometimes. So, for example, Eduard von Hartmann who did not get away from the physical mental pictures, but could think. Hartmann got so far to think also about the physical mental pictures. He thought in the sense of these mental pictures and had the courage to pronounce what arose to him. I take a very nice quotation: “The fact that there is a real nature, and that the laws put up by physics are valid in this real nature is only a hypothesis.”
What is behind, actually? That is, physics puts up laws; if one thinks them really through, the whole nature is only a hypothesis. It is also then only a hypothesis, because with the physical concepts one does not approach reality. If the real nature shone by the sun did not face those who form a world picture from physical concepts, it would remain a hypothesis to them. Only the outer reality has significance for them.
On the spiritual field, one has to get to a reality, while one is active penetrating into it. This is not so comfortable. This does not present itself automatically, as the outer nature does. However, such a quotation shows that the prevailing concepts are also unable in the physical field to reach the real nature. Since that who can really think knows that nature is outdoors, but what the physicist wants to take up from it results only in a hypothetical nature.
I have often called the first level of beholding Imagination to which one gets if one looks at this second current of the soul life. One has to advance to this Imagination, which is a life in spiritual reality, to grasp reality generally. One has again to understand such mental pictures that can invigorate this penetration into spiritual reality. One has to understand such words not only after their wording, but also after their deeper inner value as you find them in large numbers in the fragments of a great spirit man who died early: Novalis (pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg, 1772-1801, German poet and philosopher). Just from that what I have explained today about life, death and immortality in the universe one will get an idea which deepness is contained, for example, in his words: “We become physicists if we take Imaginative materials and forces as our yardstick of the physical materials and forces.” That is, if we can also recognise Imaginatively while we approach the outer nature.
Indeed, the attention of the human beings had to be deflected for a while from the spiritual, so that the big progress in the scientific areas could be done. However, the human being must not cut off himself from the spiritual world. He has to take up real spiritual research again.
Now you should not believe that you have absolutely to break with everything reasonable, with everything healthy if you do not dedicate yourself to the mental pictures that such a person like Professor Dewar gives from a wrong interpretation of physics. Indeed, the thing also has its moral aspect. Another scientific attitude has to gain ground first with reference to many things than that which controls scientific people if one does not want to face up to the investigation of the spiritual worlds correctly to find that tranquillity which makes the life in the spiritual world possible so that the spiritual world is really there before your soul eye. You have also to develop a certain calmness and humility concerning the inner experience. You have also to appropriate a certain mood. Since the mood was adjusted to those concepts, which only stick to the surface, and people believe to develop special idealism if they abstract from the outer sensory reality with the usual shadowy concepts. One has to develop another attitude, because the attitude of science has also dedicated itself to the mere sticking to the outer life, an attitude that I would like to summarise with a few words. I do not use my words but the words that a thoughtful person used when he was translating a spiritual-scientific book: Matthias Claudius (1740-1815, German poet). He said in his preface as it corresponded to that time, not to our time:
“... for whether someone prides himself on a moustache or on metaphysics and the Henriade (epic poem by Voltaire, 1723) and is foolish, whether someone hates and envies because of a bigger pumpkin” he means the head “or the invention of the differential calculus and integral calculus, briefly, whether someone is prevented by his five yoke oxen” he means the five senses “or by his polymatheia” that is by his comprehensive knowledge “I have no preference.”
Because the inner soul life is closely associated with the mental disposition, it is quite necessary that an attitude is poured out about the longing for an investigation of the spiritual world as it expresses itself in these nice words. If the human being has realised in himself what is indicated in these words, then he really is with his feeling in a relation to the spiritual world. This is a preparation to drag away all fogs which rise in particular before the spiritual world if one opens oneself to all different kinds of arrogance and pride which exist just in the present mental culture.