Thursday, August 1, 2019
Spirit and Matter, Life and Death
Lecture 1 of 7.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, February 15, 1917:
In a time in which we are surrounded by such serious events, it seemed to be right to me to begin the course of lectures of this winter with considering the big questions of the human soul, of its nature, of its destiny. This talk has to deal spiritual-scientifically with spirit and matter, life and death — what belongs certainly to that from which already the great Greek philosopher Plato said that without its investigation life is not valuable for the human being.
I would like to turn your sight at first to some men who in the course of the nineteenth century and up to now looked for a solution of those riddles that should occupy us today. Such questions like that of matter and spirit have affected the human beings at all times according to the knowledge of these times in the most different way. One does not come close, actually, to such questions if one talks only generally about them, but only if one looks at the struggling human soul, since then one recognizes the significance which the investigation of these matters has for the immediate life, for the deeper destiny of the human being.
I would like to turn your view to a man who still speaks immediately as from our present, although he already died in the eighties. He struggled with the knowledge of the material processes that natural sciences had gained, and tried to figure out the relation of the spirit, in which the human being knows his soul anchored, to the material processes. I would like to turn your view to Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887), who was a professor in Leipzig until the eighties; he worked on the knowledge questions of the nineteenth century in the most comprehensive way. Today this should not occupy us. Rather a situation of his life should occupy us which he himself describes in the beginning of that book which contains a lot of depths of the striving of the modern time about the day and night sights of the human worldview (The Day Sight Compared to the Night Sight, 1879). He describes how he sat down to recover on a bench one day, because his eyes had already become weak; how he faced a hedge fence that had a hole, a cutting, through which he could look just at a meadow. He could see the green of the meadow, and his weak eyes enjoyed the green of the meadow. He could see the colored flowers and butterflies, and he could hear a morning concert. He allowed his thoughts full bent within the perceptions that were fertilized by the whole scientific education of his time.
To gain access to these thoughts now, one has to realize what especially suggested itself from the scientific thinking of the time, what had induced him to struggle internally just in such a situation with the riddle of matter. I have repeatedly drawn your attention to the worldview direction of illusionism in the nineteenth century. I have drawn your attention to the fact that certain considerations of physiology, of epistemology, certain ways of considering the scientific phenomena persuaded just the excellent thinkers of the nineteenth century to say to themselves: That which the human being perceives as the world of colors and tones that surrounds him is not real in the outside world. In the outside world are atoms, molecules, wholly spatial entities swinging, moving, and relating to each other in a way. So that already Schopenhauer and others got around to saying that the colored world round us, the sounding world round us, is there, actually, only as long as a human eye can open to perceive them, a human ear can hear them. Unless a human eye or ear faces this outside world, this outside world is in itself dark and silent: there are movements of colorless, lightless, and toneless entities. One got around to taking in the human soul everything that pleases the human being that surrounds him in the world, and to leaving the silent and dark cause of the pure matter to the outside world.
Such a spirit like Fechner does not take up such a view like a theory only, but he takes it regarding the question: How can one live with such a view? How can the soul relate to the world if it has this view? — That is why Fechner said to himself sitting on the bench at the hedge fence: I look through this opening in the hedge fence. I believe to perceive the green of the meadow, the colors of the butterflies. But the colorless and toneless matter pretends all that. I believe to hear the tones of the morning concert; they are not outdoors, they sound when the oscillations of the air that are caused by the instruments, the violins and flutes, work on my ear. There outdoors everything is toneless, everything dark and silent.
Fechner called this view of the material world the “night sight.” He pointed repeatedly to the fact that everything that the admirable natural sciences brought to light leads necessarily to this night sight. This sensitive man knew that he was not alone with this view: “If you look out there, you look out at everlasting night!” and he said, I quote: “For they are the thoughts of the whole thinking world around me. How much and over what they may quarrel, philosophers and physicists, materialists and idealists, Darwinians and Anti-Darwinians, orthodox and rationalists sing from the same hymnal. It is not a stone, but a foundation-stone of the today's worldview ...”
Then Fechner says to himself: Only if this dark matter bangs on the protein bundle — he expresses himself this way — of the human brain, the colored splendid world develops by that which happens in the brain; then only the “day sight” comes into being — which still becomes a big illusion. However, Fechner never was of the opinion that one has to fight against the scientific development. He did not underestimate the significance of the scientific knowledge, but he turned the spiritual view to a human future which he supposed in close distance and about which he thought that the night sight has to give way again, and another, spiritualised, view has to replace it. This must be based on everything that surrounds the naive human being as a “real” world, but it has to ascend to a world in which the soul has to recognize itself as spirit unless it wants to get lost unsubstantially in matter. “Indeed, I believe that a day sight follows the night sight one day, as certainly as the day follows the night, a day sight which instead of contradicting the natural view of the things rather supports it, and it will find the reason of a new development in it." So Fechner says, anticipating: “Since if that illusion dwindles which changes the day into night, everything wrong that is connected with it must disappear, and the world appears in a new connection, in a new light, under new positive viewpoints.”
Then Fechner himself tried to ascend from the world to which the day sight is directed up to a world in which the soul can recognize itself as spirit. He did not succeed; he only got to some conjectures of a spiritual world from the concepts and mental pictures that he had about the everyday world and the usual science.
If one liked to speak scholarly, one could say that he tried to imagine the spiritual world after analogies. The Earth with its mantle of air became to him a big organism; also the whole solar system, that has a soul in itself like the human organism. But Fechner bases all these mental pictures about a spiritual world on mental pictures of the everyday life and the outer science. One can say that only the basic feeling of his soul directed to the spiritual urged him to assume such things: not to stop at the world of matter, but to rise to a spiritual world that he contrived hypothetically. If now you ask yourself on which point this subtle spirit who reflected the spiritual education of the nineteenth century in a special way stood in his own development, then one can say that he stood just before the gate of that which is meant here as spiritual science. Spiritual science must originate from that to which the outer materialist science comes as a rule.
Spiritual science has to start from that point up to which also the usual everyday life penetrates. This science and this life penetrate to the mental pictures, concepts, and ideas that the human being can make about the outside world. The toneless and dark matter, the night sight, retained Fechner, but he strove for the day sight. You cannot gain this day sight unless you target the usual thinking and imagining sharply. Where the usual science stops, spiritual science has to begin. Hence it has to deal with the question: What is, actually, the thinking that urges us to form mental pictures of all phenomena and impressions of the outer world?
You can answer this question only if you try to face the thinking in rest and in the inner power of the spiritual development of the soul life. Then you get to the view that this thinking itself in which the outer world is reflected spiritually is no longer something that is bound to the material plane.
I know while pronouncing this sentence that it encounters countless prejudices of our time. I would need many hours if I wanted to state all details here to confirm it completely. For we are no longer in matter while we are thinking, but we have lifted out ourselves already with our souls from the material work in which the soul is active because it has to use the physical body as its tool for its everyday activity. It belongs to the serious prejudices of the modern worldview that one does not recognize the spiritual nature of thinking. Someone who looks not only briefly at thinking, but as it were withdraws from the act of thinking in such a way that the thinking stands like a kind of memory before the soul, recognizes that he lives in this thinking as one lives in oneself if one stands before a reflecting surface. The reflecting surface returns a picture of our being, but one knows for sure: our own being is not in the mirror inside; the mirror is only the occasion that it is reflected to me. I would not perceive this picture if the mirror were not there. But I know, the mirror has nothing to do with my being, but only reflects my picture to me.
A precise unbiased consideration of thinking shows that thinking relates to the brain as its tool — as the mirror is, indeed, not like a dead mirror, but like a living mirror. What lives and weaves as thinking takes place not inside by the processes of reflection, but it takes place in the soul being beyond the body, and the body is only the opportunity that I can become aware of that which would not dawn on me, otherwise, as a picture of thinking. An impartial consideration of this thinking shows that you would go astray if you interpreted this thinking as a product of some bodily processes. I would like to draw your attention to this error by a comparison.
If we walk on soft ground, the tracks of our steps stay behind in this ground. We could not go if the ground did not resist. We impress the tracks of our walking into the ground. However, it would be senseless to believe that forces in the ground had caused the tracks. Someone only knows the score who knows that a being has walked on the ground that has nothing to do with the earth, but everything that this being has accomplished expresses itself in the ground.
In like manner, thinking relates to the nervous system. The nervous system must be there; the entire bodily organization must be there; otherwise, the soul could not unfold thinking here in the life between birth and death. The soul could not perceive this weaving in the thought if it did not face that into which it impresses what lives in it. Then the physiologist, the biologist may come and investigate how everything is reflected in the bodily tools that the soul has done, which processes are in it. Then he can develop the right view of all details: that everything that lives in the soul can be detected in the human brain. However, one would go astray if one explained everything that lives and weaves in the thinking in such a way as if it originated from the inner processes of the brain, of the nervous system.
The truths that I develop cannot be proved in the usual sense with a superficial logic. They can even be criticized very easily by such a logic. But someone who dedicates himself to the methods of spiritual research just gets to them, as the scientist of the outer world comes to his results, by the consideration of the soul which is directed upon the weaving and being of thinking, as directly given by experience. The truths must be experienced, but they can be experienced by the fact that the spiritual researcher just develops the inner methods of research that I have shown in my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds? and in my Occult Science: An Outline and now in relation to the outer science in my last book The Riddle of Man. If the spiritual researcher can really figure out the spiritual nature of thinking, he can ascend to other levels of spiritual research, since then he is able to develop further that which lives, otherwise, in the thinking and is not recognized, so that he indulges in the thinking which lives independently from the physical world. It is another training of that independence of thinking which one can recognize in its being. It accepts the thinking that the world gives us as the first spiritual form from which everything can be developed by additional meditation and concentration of thinking, by additional methods described in those books of spiritual research. But because one does not only regard the thinking as something that independently faces our material world but develops it further in inner soul work, one gets around to experiencing the life in the spiritual human being more intensely independently from the material human being. This emergence of the spiritual-mental from the physical body becomes reality, while the human being keeps on developing the thinking in the intimated way.
Then the human being also sees that sinking down for his knowledge (not for his life in the night) which Fechner called the day sight. Because the human being completely settles in the life of pure thinking, the outer world of the material effects disappears. The spiritual view of the human being is turned to his own being, and he faces his own being, while he regards himself, otherwise, always as a subject, he withdraws from himself. While I pronounce this, I would like to point to a second spirit of the nineteenth century who because he was not only a speculating but also a feeling thinker and scientist felt the peculiar kind of the thinking, and whom this thinking urged to grasp the nature of the non-material thinking. I point to the little-known Karl Rosenkranz (1805-1879), who was one of Kant's successors on the chair of philosophy in Königsberg up to the seventies of the last century.
Karl Rosenkranz was a disciple of Kant and Hegel, but a disciple who could really make the questions of knowledge vital matters and who brought along to say to himself, you have to reach a point in your thinking where you are independent of the outer sensory world to which you want to gain access only by thinking. There he got the idea of that thinking which is independent from the outside world, from the material world. From the way in which Karl Rosenkranz speaks about this thinking, one recognizes that he felt what the transition from the outer physical material world to the spiritual world means. There this thought is found if it cannot experience that development which I have just indicated, at first in its dreadful emptiness, since in the usual life we are accustomed to direct our thoughts upon the outside things, to depict the outside things in our thoughts. If we leave the outside world out of consideration as Karl Rosenkranz wanted, and we withdraw into the thinking, without developing it further on the basis of the knowledge that this thinking is free of the body and leaving the body, then the thinking remains empty. The outer world is cast out; the thinking itself is empty. Speaking theoretically of this thought is relatively meaningless. However, to a recognizer who takes the cognition as a big riddle of life this thought is substantial. It becomes the inner torture of the soul, the feeling of abandonment. Karl Rosenkranz expresses this feeling of a real thinker striving for living cognition with the following words: “The most shattering idea, which I hardly dare to imagine and can hardly express, is whether anything exists generally. From this idea, the abyss of the world void of figures threatens me. It whispers to me like the betrayal of God. A kind of fear seizes me as in my childhood when I read John's Revelation, and heaven and earth collapsed there. There round me the world extends in all directions, with all defiance of sensory effectiveness, and seems to mock at my idea. It forces me in its circles, makes me obey its orders, and laughs at my idea of its nothingness as at a chimera. And yet still this idea, this absurd seeming idea: What would be now if this world were not? is a giant who plays with the whole of empirical existence.”
The thinker feels like standing before an abyss; he stands, so to speak, before the gate of spiritual science. That means that he has just reached the idea that has cast off the sensory world, but stops before the gates and does not enter into spiritual science. One has to remind such thinkers to recognize the significance of spiritual science for the today's life who could not yet find the access to spiritual science. However, he felt just from the scientific age what goes forward in the soul if it opens the gate, if it gets to the thinking that is a final point for the outer life and science, that is the starting point for the real cognition of the spiritual world.
I count Gideon Spicker (1840-1912) also among these thinkers, who taught philosophy so long at the University of Münster and who showed already by the course of his outer life that knowledge was his destiny, his life affair. With a fervent soul that strove for the experience of the spirit, Gideon Spicker became a Capuchin and priest: he described that in his nice book, which appeared in 1908: From Cloister to Lectureship. Then his way of knowledge urged him from the cloister to become engrossed in philosophy to find the way that leads to the gate of the spiritual world. There Gideon Spicker also got to that point where the thinking is left to its own devices, where it stands isolated unless it knows to be active, as I have indicated it. Therefore, Spicker says about this thinking:
“All the philosophies start from an unproven and unprovable proposition, namely from the necessity of thinking. No investigation comes behind this necessity, as deeply as it may prospect. One has absolutely to accept it and cannot found it on anything. Every attempt to prove its correctness always requires it.” Now that word comes where you realize that he directly touches the forces of the heart with his knowledge. Gideon Spicker continues:
“Beneath it a bottomless abyss yawns, a nightmarish darkness illuminated by no beam of light. Therefore we do not know wherefrom it comes nor whereto it leads. It is uncertain whether a merciful god or a bad demon put it in the reason.”
So Spicker finds: unless we assume that the thinking informs us about the problems of the world properly, unless we acknowledge the necessity of thinking in its characteristic, we cannot generally orient ourselves in the world. However, behind this necessity is the bottomless abyss. With it, Spicker also shows that he stands before the gate of spiritual science, but he is not able to enter. One cannot decide what, actually, correctness which one has inevitably to assume put in our reason, whether a merciful god or a bad demon.
One has to take thinking seriously in such a way if one wants to recognize the significance of knowledge for life. What can such a thinker like Gideon Spicker not do? He cannot withdraw from the thinking to look at this thinking to gain the conviction that this thinking is of spiritual nature. Since then the thinking presents itself in its characteristic as it is, and does not leave the choice to us between the merciful god and the bad demon who could have put it in the reason.
On the way of spiritual-scientific knowledge everything matters to get to know the nature of thinking, not to accept this thinking as the last but as the first, which has to further us.
I would like to point out that from the usual life the human being can gain the conviction that the thinking does not live only in our ego, our soul, or even in our brain, but that it has an essential existence in the outer world, that it is a creative power, that it penetrates the world, that it is not thinking in us, but that we live with our soul in the world penetrated by thinking.
You do not need at all the methods of spiritual science nor spiritual-scientific research to get this conviction; you have only to observe certain processes intimately. There the human being, if he wakes once under favorable conditions, can keep something like a dark memory of that which has taken place just before he has woken. There thoughts squeeze from the sleep in the waking state with which the human being can realize that he would never have thought them while awake, that they are connected with nothing that can be thought in the waking state. I can only point to these things; if we had more time, we would realize that all objections that these pictures are memories could be disproved if one examined them more exactly. If you experience such a thing like “you emerge, actually, with your soul from the weaving, living thinking,” you know at the same time when the soul is just blessed to perceive such a thing: that which is like a thought being works on the own bodily being. Since you notice that you have lived in sleep together with the bodily processes. These processes, which you experience in sleep and which sometimes appear in the dreams, are pictures of the inner experience of the body. If you have both insights — the knowledge of the independent work of the living thoughts in the world, and the knowledge of the work of the thoughts on our bodies — then you have a starting point of an inner meditative work to ascend to the knowledge of the spiritual world.
The more precise, more intimate knowledge of thinking which you can gain at especially favorable moments of life supports you to undertake the inner soul work now really which the spiritual researcher has to undertake. By inner soul work, he has to manage that he can really emerge from his body with his spiritual-mental, and to face himself as he is in the everyday life as you face the outer things of the sensory world. This emergence from the body is absolute reality that approaches the human being if he does certain soul exercises. Then he cannot only look by the tools of his body at the world surrounding him; then another world is there which is not the world of the senses but a spiritual world. While he enters into this other world of spirit, he does not become an opponent of natural sciences but on the contrary. Everything that the modern natural sciences have justifiably produced is just proven more intensely than natural sciences are able to do by that which spiritual beholding finds in the world.
In my book The Riddle of Man I have called this view the beholding consciousness that the human being gains preparing himself to break free from the conditions of the material processes, because I wanted to go back, like in all my spiritual-scientific attempts, to Goethe's worldview. In his nice article On the Beholding Faculty of Judgment he showed that the human being if he wants to strive to a knowledge supporting the spiritual must get around not to taking up the outer material world only passively but to invigorating himself internally, to grasp this spiritual internally, as one grasps the outer sensory world by the senses from without. I have called this life in the beholding consciousness an awakening from the usual consciousness of the everyday life and the usual science that you can imagine like the awakening from the dream world in the world of the usual waking consciousness.
So the spiritual researcher is urged to point to three states of consciousness: to the dreaming consciousness where the human being is completely directed to the processes of his body which face him partially, but not as they are, but as the living thoughts reveal the inner bodily processes like in an Imaginative life. The visions during the dream life are directed upon the bodily inside of the human being. He is enclosed as it were in his skin. The real consciousness of the human brain is not involved in the visions, but the soul is turned in the dream to that which, apart from the processes of the brain, goes forward in the body. However, this expresses itself in the visions that sometimes appear so bright and admirable, sometimes so chaotic, before the soul. Someone who looks now at this world of visions finds that they do not differ in their contents, in their nature, from the images that we have in everyday life.
The awakening is something else; it is an action of the will. It does not change the nature of the images, but the human being invigorates himself in his will, relates by his will really to the outer world. Thereby he relates what would be turned, otherwise, only to his inside to the outer world. He puts as it were his thinking, his imagination about the surface of the outside existence because he has invigorated himself in the will because he has adjusted himself to the outer world with his imagination. Being awake means arranging the image life by the will with the whole human being in the relations of the outer world.
In the beholding consciousness that becomes truth up to a certain degree that from a higher viewpoint this outer sensory world is only an imagery. We accept it in its rough-material way as the last reality in the usual life as we feel our dream world as a reality in the dream. However, while we awake from the dream, the dream world becomes an imagery to us. From the viewpoint of waking consciousness we know only how to arrange the dream world properly in the whole world.
Now deeper thinkers compared, while they felt a force for the spiritual world in their souls, the world of the senses and its rough-material reality with a world of pictures, and did not equal but compare it with the dream. Above all the great German thinker Fichte (Johann Gottlieb F., 1762-1814) expresses that in his writing The Vocation of Man (1800) where he speaks about the life and weaving of that which is seen by the senses: “Pictures are the only that is there, and they know about themselves, in way of the pictures; — pictures, which pass by without anything being there that they pass, which are connected with pictures of pictures. ... Any reality changes into a miraculous dream without life of which is dreamt, and without a spirit that dreams there; in a dream which is connected in a dream with itself.”
These words should make the human being aware not to disregard the real world in an ambiguous way in which his duties are, in which his life between birth and death must take place. On the contrary, the human being should not be turned away from this world, but his attention should be drawn to the fact that one can awake from the usual consciousness to a higher consciousness in the beholding consciousness. In the beholding consciousness, one manages the pictures of the sensory world that surround us, otherwise, in the spiritual world. However, if one experiences the spiritual world in the soul directly, one receives a new viewpoint about the relation of spirit to matter. Since then one can behold the relation of the spirit to the matter in the human being himself. The awoken beholding consciousness that has withdrawn as it were from the human being faces the world differently from Fechner's night sight.
This beholding consciousness says to itself: Indeed, for everything that the human being thinks and feels — that he enjoys, that he suffers — there are physical processes in the usual physical life. He experiences everything that he experiences in his soul by the body that reflects it to him like a mirror; otherwise, he would know nothing of it. The body is there that the human being can develop a consciousness of it. But while he withdraws and recognizes himself in real, not dreamt, introspection, he attains a view different from the night view. There he gets around to saying to himself: Yes, so that I see the colors of the world, certain processes must go forward in my nervous system, in my body. However, while I see the blue or red colors, I hear the tones C or C sharp, the processes on which it depends have already taken place. The soul impresses that which it does in the brain; the brain reflects that to the soul which is within the body, which the soul itself has impressed. After the soul has made an impression in the brain, the brain changes into a reflecting being. The soul feels this impression as red and blue, as C or C sharp. The soul has already worked on the brain, before it perceives. The whole perception is a reflection that comes about because the soul, before the perception comes about, has already worked on the body.
There one looks into a being of man that one cannot recognize with the usual consciousness, since the world of sensory perception reveals itself to the usual consciousness only. But the usual thoughts are derived from the sensory perception. Now, however, one looks under the surface of the sensory perception; now one looks at the activity that remains usually unconscious. Now one recognizes how the soul relates to matter, how spirit and matter cooperate. However, this cooperation of spirit and matter may appear shocking at first: While the human being experiences what he receives by the usual physical heredity from father and mother, he lives in the natural development that is like the development of that which flows out from any seed and becomes more and more perfect. While the human being begins developing his soul — that is, while in the described way the soul as a spirit gains a relation to matter — the soul destroys, on the whole, perpetually. We cannot have any sensation, any mental picture without the soul struggling against life. While as it were the soul forces back the life of the nerves, it causes that which reflects then. If the soul sees blue, it performs a destructive process in the nerves. This process forms as it were the reflecting surface that reflects the blue color. Thus, the soul must dissolve and destroy matter perpetually, which however restores itself then either in the usual sleep or in the sleep that always exists that also accompanies the waking life. But that which reveals itself to the beholding consciousness as the relation of the human being to spirit and matter shows that the spirit develops, that it unfolds the spiritual consciousness, while it destroys, actually, the matter perpetually.
Thus, you look at a process that remains, otherwise, under the threshold of consciousness, which those who approached the older form of spiritual science have known. Hence, they called the gate of spiritual knowledge “the gate of death.” One recognizes that death is not only the unique process which the human being experiences at the end of his life, but death is also that which is perpetually working in the human being in such a way that perpetually life is combated. Just while death is working from birth or from conception on in such a way that its effect can be compensated over and over again, life and death work in the human being perpetually together. While the soul combats the physical growth this way, the spiritual develops.
This is an astonishing truth, if one recognizes it in its whole meaning. The physical develops, while it sprouts, but this also is subject to decay. This decay always appears as accelerated process at death if consciousness should develop. — Thus, the beholding consciousness looks, actually, perpetually at the cooperation of death. Death is the basis from which the spiritual of the human soul develops; while the soul faces life, it must be active in life together with death.
When the beholding consciousness has done this inner discovery, it can advance by the described soul methods. Then it cannot only know itself in spirit that it recognizes how the material phenomena come about: that as it were death works in its partial phenomena hour by hour, from moment to moment, but the soul released from the body learns to survey with one glance what takes place not in space but in time: the development of the whole life, in what way the soul works in the bodily between birth or conception and death.
Then the soul becomes so free that it knows itself not only independent: that it advances gradually so far that it knows itself also independent from the usual physical life. Then it knows itself in that state in which it was, before it entered this physical life by birth or conception. As the human being overcomes space in the physical life, the soul overcomes time; it learns to survey life from a point that lies before birth or conception. It learns to consider this life as a unity, as it were, on the background of death that finishes this life. As well as the human being looks with the beholding consciousness at that which he experiences in his senses on the basis of destructive processes in his body, this beholding consciousness looks at life on the background of the bodily life, while it has also freed itself from the bodily life. Now this death does not appear only with its surface as it appears to the outer physical life, but this surface appears as transparent, and the spiritual life appears behind death.
As well as behind the destructive process of the body the life and weaving of the soul appears in the body, the spirit of the universe, in which the human being is taken up after death, appears behind the surface of death. This death is as it were the surface; it has an inside. Through death, the human being looks into the life and work of the spirit in the universe.
Then he knows himself in spirit and he knows that he is taken up by the spiritual world after death, as well as his physical body takes up him when he awakes. He knows that after death the spiritual world appears. Now he knows himself in the spiritual world. With it, he also knows its significance for the whole physical and spiritual life. Since he knows: what he experiences in the matter remains in his consciousness, and this consciousness remains to him if he dies. The life in the body lives on in his soul and by this retrospect on that what he has experienced, otherwise, in his body he prepares the forces for his next life on earth. Thus, he learns to survey the repeated lives on earth. About that, I would like to speak in the next talk where I speak about the destiny of the soul; what I have said today should be the starting point.
I only want to add that the human being does not at all learn to regard the life on earth as meaningless. But he takes up in himself in this life on earth what he has to bring into the spiritual world where it lives like an over-all memory as a force in his soul to go through eternity. There it becomes obvious that this knowledge still has a second meaning:
Gustav Theodor Fechner connects the consideration that he did when he was sitting on the bench in the rose valley with another. He says, he wanted to do a walk with his wife through the wonderful woods on the island Rügen; but she who had gone with him through life, who had shared the rough and the smooth with him, became so tired that she could no longer walk, and said, I must let you go, but a time will come soon, when you will have to walk a lot without me. There Fechner said, oh, maybe the time will also come that you will have to walk without me. However, we will not remember! — And he walked on through snug woods where the sun shone through the leafy trees where everything was nice and great. There he enjoyed the whole beauty of the outer sensory world without thinking of the “night sight.” Then in the end, he said something that can grieve you deeply: truth appears there also in its beauty. One can guess that this sensory world, in which the soul gets to know the soul, is not there to be extinguished by the dark and toneless material world; but the human being guesses that this sensory world spins, indeed, the destinies between the human beings but it spins them in such a way that if this sensory world is taken away the human being sees the last barriers falling, which separate soul from soul, so that he may hope: if the bodily sheaths are cast off, soul and soul will live in intimate community. Fechner's scientific view increases to the assumption of the being together of the souls in the spiritual world after death.
By spiritual science, Fechner's assumption becomes certainty which is not searched but which arises as an objective truth. The human being knows himself in the spiritual world; he knows that this bodily sheath surrounds him between birth and death, so that he can bring into the spiritual world what he can appropriate only in this sheath.
He knows that life is there in this physical world that soul is brought to soul but in a purely spiritual relation when the sheath is cast off. Thus, the human being gets to know himself with the human being, with everything that surrounds him in the sensory world, the preliminary stage of the spiritual world; he gets to know the necessity of the physical world, but he also gets to know the reality of the spiritual world.
What Fechner guessed and longed for should spiritual science fulfil. Thus, one would want that spiritual science carries out Fechner's word, which, however, comes not only from his soul but from many hoping souls: “Indeed, I believe that, as certainly as the day follows the night, a day sight follows the night sight of the world one day which does not contradict the natural view of the things but will support them, and will find the ground for a new development of the things in it. Since if that illusion dwindles which changes the day into night, everything wrong that is connected with it and it is a lot must also disappear, and the world appears in a new connection, in a new light, under a new positive viewpoint.”
While Fechner turns his supposing view to this world for which we hope fulfilment by spiritual science, he speaks of the fact that he really feels to be at the starting point, not at the end. I would like to say, he says like anticipating spiritual science confirming: “Now clearness is the last in these things, however, the last will also be the clearness.”
Spiritual science wants to bring the clearness for the spiritual life and with it the certainty in spirit to humanity.