Thursday, February 28, 2013

Anthropos: "one who looks up into the heights"

Rudolf Steiner, June 2, 1912: "There should really be a fresh feeling of what the Greeks understood by the word 'Anthropos.' If we would find a true modern rendering of the Greek word, we might say: 'one who looks up into the heights.' This is the definition of man which finds expression in the word 'Anthropos': he who looks up into the heights to find the source and origin of his life. Such is man, according to the Greeks. To recognize man as a being of this nature is the very reason for existence of Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy wants to rise above the details of sense existence and of the outer activity of life, into the heights of spiritual experience where we are able to learn whence man has come and whither he is going."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The starry heavens above me, the moral law within me

The last lecture given in Neuchatel in the year 1912 was to have been supplemented by that given the following day in St. Gallen, a full report of which is, unfortunately, not available. All that exists is in the form of notes and headings, so scattered and sparse that one is almost afraid to reproduce them. Yet their importance for the explanation of how the karma of man plays between his microcosmic and macrocosmic being is such that they are made accessible in order that the discerning reader may lose nothing.

Rudolf Steiner, St. Gallen, December 19, 1912:

Theosophy teaches us that the processes in operation between death and a new birth are connected with the conditions prevailing in the cosmos. A very significant difference has here to be considered. Changes may take place within us during physical existence, but not, in the same sense, during the period between death and a new birth. Suppose, for example, between birth and death we have been related in some way to a human being, or have shared experiences with a friend. And now, after his death, we have learnt from him something that was not a common experience between us on the Earth. How is a relationship established after death? How can our feelings toward him give expression to sympathy or antipathy? When we ourselves have passed through the gate of death and are followed, later on, by someone with whom we had a certain relationship in physical life, this must necessarily remain unchanged for a long time after death; for after death we cannot add anything new to the old relationship. After passing into the spiritual world we are still subject to our own individual karma. The time when this karma can be transformed comes only in a new life and can only be adjusted or fully discharged in a new incarnation. An individual among the dead cannot, in spiritual existence, work upon the other dead in such a way as to change their life. But it is possible for a man still living on the Earth to have an effect upon one who has passed through death. Take the following case as an example. — Two human beings who love one another have different attitudes to Theosophy: one of them loves and the other hates it; hence there is a spirit of opposition between them.

If the human being is able to speak of the freedom of his will, this is because the “I”-consciousness takes far deeper paths than does the astral consciousness; in the depths of soul, therefore, a man often yearns for what, in his conscious life, he hates. How can we be of help to one of the dead? We must be united with him by a spiritual bond. We can help, for example, by quietly reading to him; uniting ourselves with him inwardly and lovingly, we can take him with us through a sequence of thoughts, we can send ideas and imaginations up to him in the higher worlds. Such services of friendship are always helpful. Reading in this way is of benefit, although in earthly life the man may have been too indifferent, too easy-going; we can lighten his sufferings even when there was no evidence in his life that he longed for these things. Much blessing is often sent from the physical plane into the spiritual worlds, in spite of the great gulf which separates the life between birth and death from the life between death and a new birth. Many living people will feel that they are intimately connected with the dead; they will also be conscious that they help the dead. The first souls with whom we come into contact after death are those with whom we had already formed close ties on the Earth, not those who were unknown to us on Earth. A direct continuation of the earthly life takes place after death. The soul is inside whatever it perceives, fills it through and through.

During the period of Kamaloca, the ether-form of man expands as far as the orbit of the Moon. All human beings occupy the same space; they are not “in each other's way” during the Kamaloca-period. After this period of Moon-existence we inhabit the Mercury sphere; then the Venus-sphere, then the Sun-sphere; here we live within a sphere of higher spirituality, for the astral elements of the Moon-sphere have been overcome. Life in each of the planetary spheres depends upon the mood and quality of soul acquired during the Moon-period; the life of those who have unfolded the quality of moral fellow-feeling differs from the life of those who are egoists. The former open themselves to humanity. Above all we shall be able to form a connection with those with whom we were together in earthly life. The nature of these relationships will depend upon whether we have been a comfort or a source of trouble to the others. A man of inferior morality will become a spiritual hermit; a truly moral man, on the contrary, a sociable inhabitant of the Mercury-sphere.

During the following Venus condition we expand to the outermost circumference of the Venus-sphere. A man who in earthly life had no religious feelings, who had received into himself nothing of the Eternal, the Divine, who during the Mercury-period had no bonds with other human souls, will become a hermit even during the Venus-period; but there too he is a sociable being if during the Mercury-period he was together with other kindred spirits and warm mutual relationships existed between them. Atheists become hermits in the Venus-period; monists are condemned to live in the prison-house of their own souls, so that the one is shut off from the other. A hermit has a dull, torpid kind of consciousness from which other human souls are excluded. A sociable being has a bright, clear consciousness which finds its way into the other being. Man ascends higher and higher into the world of the stars; but the more dimly he lives through these regions, the more rapidly he skims through the ages and therefore returns the more quickly to reincarnation — this applies, for example, to those who were criminals or idiots in their previous existence. On the other hand, the clearer consciousness has been in the world of the stars the more slowly does the soul return to incarnation. Man must have been fully conscious out in the cosmos if he is to be capable of building and shaping the physical brain of his subsequent life.

The condition of existence in which he becomes an inhabitant of the Sun-sphere sets in about a century after death. During this Sun-period it is possible to acquire a certain relationship to all human beings. If a man has consciously received the Christ Impulse, the way to all other human beings is open for him. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, union can be achieved with the Christ Impulse, the supreme spiritual Power. But a man who has not received the Christ Impulse remains a hermit, even in the Sun-sphere.

When a human being with his aura is revealed to the clairvoyant during the Moon-period of existence, a seed or kernel, enclosed in a kind of auric cloud, is perceived within the vast ether-body. This aura is dark and remains so, even during the Mercury-period. During the Venus-period one side of the auric cloud lights up; and if, as clairvoyants, we then observe the human being, we perceive that if he was a moral, religious man he is able, from that time onward, to have real contact with the beings of the higher hierarchies. If he was a good and righteous man he lives in spiritual contact with higher beings during the Venus-period; if he was an unrighteous man he cannot know or recognize these higher beings and is thus condemned to the pain of isolation.

Before the Mystery of Golgotha, in the first epoch of post-Atlantean culture, conditions were such that the Throne of Christ was to be seen upon the Sun. Those who had been good and righteous in their lives found their way to the Christ on the plane of Sun-existence. In the age of Zarathustra, the Christ was already on His way to the Earth and could not be found on the Sun. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, Christ has been united with the Earth. If, on the Earth, men have not received the Christ Impulse, they cannot find Christ between death and a new birth. When a man has become a Sun-dweller and has taken the Christ Impulse into himself, a multitude of facts, known as the Akasha Chronicle of the Sun, lie open before him. If on the Earth he had not found Christ, he cannot read the Akasha Chronicle on the Sun. We can learn to read this great script if, on the Earth, we have accepted the Mystery of Golgotha with warmth of heart — and then, on the Sun, we are able to perceive the deeds of Christ on the Sun through the millennia. Existence today is such that we are strong enough to become Sun-dwellers.

Later on we enter the sphere of Mars, then the spheres of Jupiter and Saturn and then, finally, the world of the fixed stars. On the path of return to the Earth, the ether-body of man shrinks and shrinks in size — until it is so tiny that he can incarnate again in a new human germ-cell.

Up to the period of Sun-existence, we stand under the leadership of Christ. From the Sun-existence onward we need a leader whose task it is to guide us to the further realms of cosmic space. Lucifer now comes to our side. If we have fallen prey to him on the physical plane, it is bad for us; but if on the Earth we have rightly understood the Christ Impulse, then we are strong enough on the Sun to follow even Lucifer without danger. From then onward he has charge of the inner progress of the soul, just as on this side of the Sun, Christ has had charge of our ascent. If on the Earth we have received the Christ Impulse, Christ is the keeper of the soul on the path to the Sun. Beyond the periphery of the Sun-sphere, Lucifer leads us out into the cosmos within the periphery of the Sun; he is the Tempter.

If during the Sun-period we have been armed with the Christ Impulse, Christ and Lucifer guide us as brothers. Yet how differently words spoken by Christ and by Lucifer are to be understood! As a wonderful precept there are the words of Christ: “In you lives the spark of the Divine, ye are Gods.” (John 10:34). And then, Lucifer's words of temptation: “Ye shall be as Gods.” (Genesis 3:5) These are similar utterances — but, at the same time, in dire antithesis! Everything depends upon whether here, on the Earth, man stands at the side of Christ or at the side of Lucifer.

Theosophy gives us a deep and profound understanding of the world. A certain knowledge must come to us in the physical body. On the Earth we must acquire understanding of Christ and Lucifer through Theosophy — otherwise we cannot pass with consciousness into cosmic space. The time is now beginning on the Earth when men must know quite consciously whether it is Christ or Lucifer who, after death, whispers these words into the soul. In the life between death and a new birth we must unfold a true understanding of Christ in order that we shall not be condemned to wander through the cosmos in a state of sleep.

Theosophy must be an influence, too, in little things. More and more it will become apparent whether or not forces of life have been acquired between death and a new birth. There will be human beings born with dried up, withered bodies, because owing to their antagonism to Theosophy they have been unable to gather life-forces from the cosmos. Understanding of Theosophy is necessary for the sake of Earth-evolution itself! If men have opened their souls to Theosophy, the knowledge that before this life they were in a spiritual world will bring them happiness. “The starry heavens above me, the moral law within me” — this realization alone gives the world its greatness. Man says to himself: “In the world of the stars I received the essence and content of my inner life; what I lived through in the cosmic expanse flashes up now within my soul. The existence of evil impulses in my soul is due to the fact that during my sojourn in the world of the stars I did not try to receive its forces or the Spirit-Power of Christ.” We have, indeed, yet to learn how to achieve union with the Macrocosm. Today the human being can have only a dim premonition of what happens between death and a new birth. He feels: In earthly existence I live within my soul and bear in my spirit the forces of the starry heavens. If a man meditates deeply on this concept it will become a great and mighty power within him.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The stars are an expression of the love with which the astral cosmos works upon the etheric cosmos

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine."
--The Song of Solomon 1:2

Rudolf Steiner: The Whitsun Festival: Its Place in the Study of Karma, June 4, 1924:

"Every star that we see glittering in the heavens is in reality a gate of entry for the Astral. Wherever the stars are twinkling and glittering in towards us, there glitters and shines the Astral. Look at the starry heavens in their manifold variety; in one part the stars are gathered into heaps and clusters, or in another they are scattered far apart. In all this wonderful configuration of radiant light, the invisible and super-sensible astral body of the Cosmos makes itself visible to us.

For this reason we must not consider the world of stars unspiritually. To look up to the world of stars and speak of worlds of burning gases is just as though -- forgive the apparent absurdity of the comparison, but it is precisely true -- it is just as though someone who loves you were gently stroking you, holding the fingers a little apart, and you were then to say that it feels like so many little ribbons being drawn across your cheek. It is no more untrue that little ribbons are laid across your cheek when someone strokes you, than that there exist up there in the heavens those material entities of which modern physics tells. It is the astral body of the Universe which is perpetually wielding its influences -- like the gently stroking fingers -- on the etheric organism of the Cosmos. The etheric Cosmos is organized for very long duration; it is for this reason that a star has its quality of fixity, representing a perpetual influence on the cosmic Ether by the astral Universe. It lasts far longer than the stroking of your cheek. But in the Cosmos things do last longer, for there we are dealing with gigantic measures. Thus in the starry heavens that we perceive, we actually behold an expression of the soul-life of the cosmic astral world.

In this way, an immense, unfathomable life, yet, at the same time, a soul-life, a real and actual life of the soul, is brought into the Cosmos. Think how dead the Cosmos appears to us when we look into the far spaces and see nothing but burning gaseous bodies. Think how living it all becomes when we know that the stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos -- for this is to express it with perfect truth. Think then of those mysterious processes when certain stars suddenly light up at certain times -- processes which have only been explained to us by means of physical hypotheses that do not lead to any real understanding. Stars that were not there before, light up for a time, and disappear again. Thus in the Cosmos too there is a “stroking” of shorter duration. For it is true indeed that in epochs when divine Beings desire to work in an especial way from the astral world into the etheric, we behold new stars light up and fade away again.
We ourselves in our own astral body have feelings of delight and comfort in the most varied ways. In like manner in the Cosmos, through the cosmic astral body, we have the varied configuration of the starry heavens. No wonder that an ancient science, instinctively clairvoyant, describes this third member of our human organism as the “astral” or “starry” body, seeing that it is of like nature with that which reveals itself to us in the stars."

Focus lecture for tomorrow's meeting of the Rudolf Steiner Study Circle: Buddha's Eightfold Path : Jñana Yoga : Right Thinking

The Gospel of Luke. Lecture 3.
Rudolf Steiner, September 17, 1909:

Buddha's message to men was among the very greatest of teachings and will remain so for long, long ages. Hence the soul of a Bodhisattva, the soul of one enlightened to such a supreme degree, was needed in order that this teaching should for the first time become a living power in a human being. Only the highest degree of enlightenment could enable the soul to give birth to what was to become a universal endowment of mankind — namely, the lofty doctrine of compassion and love. Buddha's message had to be presented in words familiar to the humanity of that time, especially to the people of his homeland. Reference has already been made to the fact that at the time of Buddha the Sankhya and Yoga philosophies were being taught in India. From them were derived the terminologies and concepts in use at the time. Anyone who brought a new message had necessarily to use current parlance, and Buddha too clothed what was living within him in concepts familiar to his contemporaries. True, he recast these concepts into completely new forms, but he was obliged to use them. The principle of all evolution must be that the future is based on the past. And so Buddha clothed his sublime wisdom in expressions customary in the Indian teachings of that time.

We must now try to picture what Buddha experienced during the seven-day period of his ‘Enlightenment’ under the Bodhi tree. This teaching was to become the deepest, most intimate concern of mankind. Let us therefore try to conceive, even if with thoughts only approximately adequate, what profound experiences were undergone by Buddha under the Bodhi tree and then came to expression in his soul.

He might have said that there were times in the ancient past when many human beings were dimly clairvoyant and that in an even more distant past this was the case with everyone. What does it mean — to be ‘dimly clairvoyant’, or ‘clairvoyant’? To be clairvoyant means to be able to use the organs of the etheric body. When a man is able to use the organs of his astral body only he can, it is true, inwardly feel and experience profound mysteries, but there can be no actual vision. Clairvoyance cannot arise until what is experienced in the astral body makes its ‘impress’ in the etheric body. Even the old, dim clairvoyance originated from the fact that in the etheric body, which had not yet passed completely into the physical body, there were organs which it was still possible for ancient humanity to use. What, therefore, was it that men lost in the course of time? They lost the capacity to use the organs of the etheric body! They were obliged to make use of the external organs of the physical body only, experiencing in the astral body, in the form of thoughts, feelings, and mental pictures, what the physical body transmitted. All this passed through the soul of the great Buddha as the expression of what he experienced. He said to himself: ‘Men have lost the capacity to use the organs of their etheric bodies. They experience in their astral bodies what they learn from the outer world through the instrumentality of their physical bodies.’

Buddha now concerned himself with this significant question: ‘When the eye perceives the color red, when the ear hears a sound, a tone, when the sense of taste has received some impression, under normal conditions these impressions become concepts and ideas, are inwardly experienced in the astral body. If they were experienced in this way alone they could not, in normal circumstances, be accompanied by pain and suffering. Were man simply to abandon himself to the impressions of the outer world as the latter with its light, colors, sounds, and so forth, affects his senses, he would pass through the world without experiencing pain and suffering from the impressions made upon him. Only under certain conditions can pain and suffering be experienced by man.’

Hence the great Buddha sought to discover the conditions under which man experiences pain, suffering, cares, and afflictions. When and why do the impressions of the outer world become fraught with suffering? Then he said to himself: Looking back into ancient times it is revealed that in men's earlier incarnations on the Earth certain beings worked into their astral bodies from two sides. In the course of incarnations through the epochs of Lemuria and Atlantis the Luciferic beings penetrated into human nature, and their influences took actual effect in the human astral body. Then, from the Atlantean epoch onwards, man was also worked upon by beings under the leadership of Ahriman. Thus in the course of his earlier incarnations man was subjected to the influences of both the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings. Had these beings not worked upon him he could have acquired neither freedom nor the capacity to distinguish between good and evil, nor free will. From a higher point of view, therefore, it is fortunate that these influences were exercised upon him, although it is true that in a certain respect they led him from divine-spiritual heights more deeply into material existence than he would otherwise have descended.

The great Buddha could therefore say that man bears within himself influences due to the invasion of Lucifer on the one side and Ahriman on the other. These influences have remained with him from earlier incarnations. When, with his old clairvoyance, man was still able to gaze into the spiritual world, he perceived the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman and could clearly distinguish them. He could say: This particular influence comes from Lucifer, this other from Ahriman. And inasmuch as with his vision of the astral world he perceived the harmful influences of Lucifer and Ahriman, he could reckon with and protect himself from them. He knew, too, how he had come into contact with these beings. There was a time — so said Buddha — when men knew whence came the influences they had borne within themselves from incarnation to incarnation since bygone ages. But with the loss of the old clairvoyance this knowledge was also lost; man is now ignorant of the influences that have worked upon his soul through the series of incarnations. The earlier clairvoyant knowledge has been replaced by ignorance. Darkness now envelops man; he cannot perceive whence come these influences of Lucifer and Ahriman — but they are there within him! He has within him something of which he knows nothing. It would be folly to deny the reality and effectiveness of something that exists even though people are ignorant of it. The influences that have penetrated into man from incarnation to incarnation are working in him. They are there and they work through his whole life — only he is unaware of them!

What effect have these influences in man? Although he cannot actually recognize them for what they are, he feels them; there is a power within him that is the expression of what has continued from incarnation to incarnation and has entered into his present form of existence. These forces, the nature of which man cannot recognize, are represented by his desire for external life, for experience in the world, by his thirst and craving for life. Thus the ancient Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences work within man as the thirst, the craving, for existence. This ‘thirst for existence’ continues from incarnation to incarnation. This, in effect, is what the great Buddha said. But to his intimate pupils he gave more detailed explanations.

How he presented what he thus felt can be understood only if there has been a certain preparation through Anthroposophy. We know that when a man dies his astral body and his ego leave the physical and etheric bodies. Then he has before him, for a certain time, the great memory-tableau of his last life in the form of a vast picture. The main part of his etheric body is then cast off as a second corpse and something like an extract or essence of this etheric body remains; he bears this extract with him through the periods of Kamaloka and Devachan and brings it back again into his next incarnation. While he is in Kamaloka there is inscribed into this life-extract everything he has experienced through his deeds, everything that has been incurred in the way of human karma and for which he has to make compensation. All this unites with the extract of the etheric body which passes on from one incarnation to another, and man brings it with him when he again comes into existence through birth. The term in Oriental literature for what we call ‘etheric body’ is ‘Linga Sharira’. Thus it is an extract of Linga Sharira that man takes with him from incarnation to incarnation.

Buddha was able to say: At birth, the human being brings with him, in his Linga Sharira, everything it contains from his former incarnations; it is inscribed there everything of which man, in the present epoch, knows nothing and over which spreads the darkness of ignorance, although it asserts itself as the ‘thirst for existence’, the ‘craving for life’. In what is called the ‘craving for life’ Buddha saw everything that comes from previous incarnations and drives man to long avidly for enjoyment in the world, so that he does not merely move though the world of colors, tones, and other impressions, but yearns for this world. This force exists in man from previous incarnations. Buddha's pupils called it ‘Samskara’. Buddha spoke to his intimate pupils to the following effect. — What is characteristic of man is his ignorance, his ‘non-perception’ of something very significant that is in him. Because of this ignorance, this non-perception, everything that confronts man from the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings and to which he might otherwise adopt an effective attitude is transformed into the ‘thirst for existence’, into slumbering forces which rumble darkly within him from previous incarnations. Man's present thinking has developed from ‘Samskara’ and this is why, in the present cycle of human evolution, nobody is able, without further effort, to think objectively.

Mark well the fine distinction made clear by Buddha to his pupils: the distinction between objective thinking, which has nothing but the object in view, and thinking influenced by the forces arising from the Linga Sharira. Consider how you acquire your opinions about things; ask yourselves how much you acquire from these things because they please you and how much because you observe them objectively. Everything acquired as an apparent truth not as the result of objective thinking but because old inclinations have been brought from previous incarnations — all this, according to Buddha, forms an ‘inner organ of thought’. This organ of thought comprises the sum-total of what a man thinks because certain experiences in former incarnations remain in his Linga Sharira as a residue. Buddha saw in the inner being of man a kind of inner organ of thought formed from Samskara, and he said: ‘It is this thought-substance that forms in man what is called his ‘present individuality’ — in Buddhism, ‘Name and Form’, or ‘Kamarupa’. ‘Ahankara’ is the term used in another philosophy.

Buddha spoke to his pupils somewhat as follows. In primeval times, when men were still clairvoyant and beheld the world lying behind physical existence, they all, in a certain sense, saw the same, for the objective world is the same for everyone. But when the darkness of ignorance spread over the world, each man brought with him individual capacities which distinguished him from his fellows. This made him into a being best described as having a particular form of soul. Each human being had a name which distinguished him from another — each had an ‘Ahankara’. What is thus created in man's inner nature under the influence of what he has brought with him from former incarnations and accounts for his ‘Name and Form’, his individuality — this builds in him, from within outwards, Manas and the five sense-organs, the so-called ‘six organs’.

Note well that Buddha did not say: ‘The eye is merely formed from within outwards’; but he said: ‘Something that was in Linga Sharira and has been brought over from previous stages of existence is membered into the eye.’ Hence the eye does not see with pure, unclouded vision; it would look into the world of outer existence quite differently if it were not inwardly permeated with the residue of earlier stages of existence. Hence the ear does not hear with full clarity, but everything is dimmed by this residue. The result is that there is mingled into all things the desire to see this or that, to hear this or that, to taste or perceive in one way or another. Into everything man encounters in the present cycle of existence there is insinuated what has remained from earlier incarnations as ‘desire’. If this element of desire were absent — so said Buddha — man would look out into the world as a divine being; he would let the world work upon him and no longer desire anything more than is granted to him, nor wish his knowledge to exceed what was bestowed upon him by the divine powers; he would make no distinction between himself and the outer world, but would feel himself membered into it. He feels himself separated from the rest of the world only because he craves for more and different enjoyment than the world voluntarily offers him. This leads to the consciousness that he is different from the world. If he were satisfied with what is in the world he would not distinguish himself from it; he would feel his own existence continuing in the outer world. He would never experience what is called ‘contact’ with the outer world, for, not being separate from it, he could not come into ‘contact’ with it. The forming of the ‘six organs’ was responsible for the gradual establishment of ‘contact with the outer world’; contact gave rise to feeling, and feeling to the urge to cling to the outer world. But it is because man tries to cling to the outer world that pain, suffering, cares, and afflictions arise.

This is what Buddha taught his pupils regarding the ‘inner man’ as the cause of pain, suffering, cares, and afflictions. It was a delicately woven, sublime theory — but a theory that sprang directly from life, for an ‘Enlightened One’ had experienced it as a profound truth concerning the humanity of his time. Having guided humanity as Bodhisattva for thousands and thousands of years in accordance with the principles of love and compassion, there dawned in him, when he became Buddha, knowledge of the true nature and the causes of suffering. He was able to know why man suffers, and explained this to his intimate disciples. And when his development was so advanced that he could experience the very essence and meaning of human existence in the present cycle of evolution, he summarized it all in the famous sermon at Benares with which he inaugurated his work as Buddha. There he presented in a popular form what he had previously communicated to his disciples in a more intimate way.

He spoke somewhat as follows. — Whoever knows the causes of human existence realizes that life, as it is, must be fraught with suffering. The first teaching I have to give you concerns suffering in the world. The second teaching concerns the causes of suffering. Wherein do these causes lie? They lie in the fact that the thirst for existence insinuates itself into man from what has remained in him from previous incarnations. Thirst for existence is the cause of suffering. The third teaching concerns the question: How is suffering eliminated from the world? By eliminating its cause; by extinguishing the thirst for existence proceeding from ignorance! Men have lost their former clairvoyant knowledge, have become ignorant, and it is this ignorance that conceals the spiritual world from them. Ignorance is to blame for the thirst for existence, and this in turn is the cause of suffering and pain, cares and afflictions. Thirst for existence must disappear from the world if suffering is to disappear. The old knowledge has passed away from the world; men can no longer use the organs of the etheric body. But a new knowledge is now possible, the knowledge acquired when man immerses himself completely in what his astral body, thanks to its deepest forces, can give him, and with the help of what his outer sense-organs enable him to observe in the external physical world. What is thus kindled in the deepest forces of the astral body and is developed with the cooperation of the physical body — although not actually derived from it — this alone can help man to begin with, and give him knowledge; for this knowledge is at first bestowed upon him as a gift. It was to this effect that Buddha spoke in his great inaugural sermon.

He knew that he must transmit to humanity the kind of knowledge that is attainable through the highest development of the forces of the astral body. Hence he had to teach that through deep and penetrating understanding of the forces of the astral body man acquires knowledge that is both appropriate and possible for him but is at the same time untouched by influences from earlier incarnations. Buddha wished to impart to men a kind of knowledge that has nothing to do with what slumbers in the darkness of ignorance within the human soul as Samskara. Such knowledge is acquired by waking to life all the forces contained in the astral body in one incarnation. ‘The cause of suffering in the world’ — so said Buddha — ‘is that something of which man knows nothing has remained behind from earlier incarnations. This legacy from earlier incarnations is the cause of man's ignorance concerning the world; it is the cause of his suffering and pain. But when he becomes conscious of the nature of the forces in his astral body he can, if he will, acquire a knowledge that has remained independent of all influences from earlier times — a knowledge that is his very own!’

This was the knowledge that the great Buddha wished to impart to men, and he did so in the form of what is known as the ‘Eightfold Path’. There he indicates the capacities and qualities which man must develop in order to attain, in the present cycle of human evolution, knowledge that is uninfluenced by the ever-recurring births. Thus by the power he had himself acquired, Buddha raised his soul to the heights attainable by means of the strongest forces of the astral body, and in the ‘Eightfold Path’ he showed humanity the way to a kind of knowledge uninfluenced by Samskara. He described the path as follows. —

Man attains this kind of knowledge about the world when he acquires a right view of things, a view that has nothing to do with sympathy or antipathy or preference of any sort. He must strive as best he can to acquire the right view of each thing, purely according to what presents itself to him outwardly. That is the first principle: the right view of things. Secondly, man must become independent of what has remained from earlier incarnations; he must also endeavor to judge in accordance with his right view of a thing and not be swayed by any other influences. Thus right judgment is the second principle. The third is that he must strive to give true expression to what he desires to communicate to the world, having first acquired the right view and right judgment of it; not only his words but every manifestation of his being must express his own right view — that and that alone. This is right speech. The fourth principle is that man must strive to act not according to his sympathies and antipathies, not according to the dark forces of Samskara within him, but in such a way that he lets his right view, right judgment, and right speech become deed. This is right action. The fifth principle enabling a man to liberate himself from what is within him is that he should acquire the right vocation and station in the world. We may best understand what Buddha meant by this if we remember how many people are dissatisfied with the tasks devolving upon them, believing that some other position would be more advantageous. But a man should be able to derive from the situation into which he is born or into which fate has placed him the best that is possible, i.e. to acquire the right ‘occupation’ or ‘vocation’. Whoever finds no satisfaction in the situation in which he is placed will not be able to derive from it the power to unfold right activity in the world. This is what Buddha called right vocation. The sixth principle is that a man should make increasing efforts to ensure that what he acquires through right views, right judgment, and so forth shall become habit in him. He is born into the world with certain habits. A child gives evidence of this or that inclination or habit. But man's endeavors should be directed not toward retaining the habits proceeding from Samskara but toward acquiring those that gradually become his own as the result of right views, right judgment, right speech, and so on. These are the right habits. The seventh principle is that a man should bring order into his life through not invariably forgetting yesterday when he has to act today. He would never accomplish anything if he had to learn his skills anew each time. He must strive to develop recollectedness, mindfulness, regarding everything in his life. He must always turn to account what he has already learnt, he must link the present with the past. Thus along the Eightfold Path man must acquire right mindfulness in the sense of Buddha's teaching. The eighth quality is acquired when, without partiality for one view or another and without being influenced by any element remaining in him from former incarnations, he surrenders himself with pure devotion to the things of the world, immerses himself in them and lets them alone speak to him. This is right contemplation.

This is the Eightfold Path, of which Buddha said to his disciples that if followed it would gradually lead to the extinction of the thirst for existence with its attendant suffering, and impart to the soul something that brings liberation from elements enslaving it from past lives.

We have now been able to grasp something of the spirit and origin of Buddhism. We know too what significance lies in the fact that the Bodhisattva of old became Buddha. The Bodhisattva had always allowed everything connected with his mission to flow into humanity. In very ancient times, before Buddha came into the world, men were not able to apply even their inner forces in such a way that they themselves could have developed the attributes of the Eightfold Path. Influences flowing from the spiritual world were necessary to make this possible, and it was the Bodhisattva of old who enabled these influences to stream down upon mankind. It was therefore an event of unique significance when this Bodhisattva became Buddha and now gave forth in the form of teaching what in earlier times he had caused to flow down upon men from above. He had now brought into the world a physical body able to unfold out of itself forces that formerly could flow down from higher realms only. The first body of this kind was brought into the world by Gautama Buddha. Everything he had formerly caused to flow down from above became reality in the physical world at that time. It is a happening of great and far-reaching importance for the whole of Earth evolution when forces that have streamed down upon humanity from epoch to epoch are present one day in the bodily nature of a human being on Earth. A power that can pass over into all men is then engendered.

In the body of Gautama Buddha lie the causes enabling men in all ages to develop in their own being the powers of the Eightfold Path. Buddha's existence ensured for men the possibility of right thinking! And whatever comes to pass in the future in this respect, until the principles of the Eightfold Path become reality in the whole of mankind, will all be thanks to that existence. What Buddha bore within himself he surrendered to men for their spiritual nourishment.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Rudolf Steiner was born 152 years ago today

From the Introduction to Growing Point by Alfred Heidenreich:

I had accepted the universities unquestioningly as the sources of learning which offered the key to the mastery of life. But I became aware that this had been an illusion. It might be that the universities still held the key to jobs in the Establishment. But had not the Establishment miserably and ignominiously collapsed all around? Instinctively I realized that the traditional academic approach to the world had a great deal to do with the Decline of the West, of which it was fashionable to speak. It dawned on me that the...universities...were in a large measure the intellectual fathers of a way of life which had been discredited by the verdict of history. I could not have put it so bluntly or precisely at the time. But at bottom this is what I felt and this was the cause of my malaise.

In this condition I met Rudolf Steiner. It was at the beginning of the first Conference for University Students which he conducted in February 1921...I took part in every session. I understood little of what Steiner said. But after a week I knew I had found my university; and after a fortnight I took a number of friends with me to him for a personal interview. From that moment none of us ever turned back.

Looking back today over nearly half a century, I can only testify that Steiner and his work has fulfilled a hundred times and more the unspoken promise of that first encounter....I have had the good fortune in the course of my activities to see a fair portion of the globe, and to read a good deal in the process. But wherever I went it was Steiner to whom I would finally turn in my mind. He was the best guide....

On my journeys I have also had the privilege of meeting other great men — Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Archbishop Temple. Steiner was and remained in a class by himself. There simply wasn't anybody one could compare him with. He was truly extraordinary. Quiet, humble, dignified, immensely alert, he touched every subject with the unassuming assurance of a master and the originality of genius. In a word: in him the evolution of human consciousness had reached a new stage. While we ordinary mortals sit in the Platonic cave with our backs to reality painfully deciphering the shadows cast against the inner wall, Steiner achieved the spiritual feat of turning around. Eventually he saw reality face to face.

From Chapter One:

It will for ever be difficult to convey the quality of such meetings with Rudolf Steiner. Even the greatest parallels break down. The most astounding feature was the concentration and single-mindedness with which Rudolf Steiner conducted such meetings. He gave the impression as if the subject in hand were his one and only object in life, as if he had never done anything else. And yet one knew that on the same day he would conduct probably two or three other meetings, on entirely different subjects, with the same application and mastery.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Social progress: know yourself, and love your neighbor

Notes of an esoteric class lesson given by Rudolf Steiner in Hamburg on March 3, 1906:

Anyone who wants to become an esotericist in the theosophical sense must train his thought life so that every thought is thought through sufficiently. Short thinking is the sign of a materialist. Theosophical esotericists must not fall into comfortable thinking.

Take the thought of social democracy: Change the circumstances and a man will have better living and working conditions — that's a belief of materialism, short and deceiving. This belief is very paralyzing for every study of social life. Now, how can a theosophist free himself from this materialistic belief that existence and even morality would improve if one would just improve outer conditions? Let's begin with the reflection that every change has to be made by human beings and that therefore every condition that's brought about for the social order arises from human thoughts and feelings. Once one has this thought firmly in mind one can free oneself from the materialistic view that everything is brought about by external conditions.

A budding esotericist should gather proofs that no improvement of the world occurs through the creation of better outer conditions. Theosophy tells us that the social order is created by men and that it's the result of human thoughts and feelings. So one should cultivate thoughts and feelings and not change the social order.

An esotericist asks: Where does this condition that's worthy of being changed come from? And if the condition is not veiled by nature he sees that the condition was brought about by the thoughts and will impulses of men who lived before him. So conditions are the way they are now because men made them that way through their inadequate thoughts and feelings.

Spiritual science wants to implement a mighty education of our innermost soul forces so that the social life will shape itself out of other thoughts and feelings. What this means is that spiritual science has no patented recipe about how this or that is supposed to be done on this or that post, it doesn't judge anyone, but it's very confident that everyone will arrive at a right judgment if he's permeated by the fundamental truths.

One such truth is that poverty, misery, and suffering are nothing but the result of egoism. One should look upon this as a law of nature. A man is egotistical as soon as he lives in accordance with the principle: I must be remunerated personally, I must be paid for the work that I do. An esotericist must ask himself whether work is really what sustains life. Work is of no importance if it isn't directed wisely. What serves men can only be produced and made through the wisdom that men put into it. One who doesn't understand this and who sins against it, even slightly, sins against the social thinking of the present time.

Reflection on this in all of its possible phases strengthens thinking. A social democrat who reflects on how to create work to get rid of joblessness is thinking antisocially in the highest degree. Instead the main thing is that work should only be used for human beings, to create valuable produce. In a social community the work impulse must lie in devotion for the whole, and never in a man's personality. It follows from this that real social progress is only possible if I work for the good of the whole. In other words: The work I do mustn't be for myself. Social progress is completely dependent on the acceptance of this statement, that one doesn't want to get paid personally for one's work. A man owes work to the social community. Conversely, a man must restrict his existence to what the social community gives him.

The counterpart to such social thinking must also be followed exactly. You know the example that a seamstress works for little pay and that social democrats tell the workers: You're being exploited. But now the seamstress goes out and buys a cheap dress to go dancing on Sunday. She asks for a cheap dress. But why is the dress cheap? Because another worker was exploited. So in the end, who's exploiting the worker? Certainly the seamstress who wears a cheap dress to go dancing on Sunday. One who can think clearly here already gets away from the distinction between rich and poor, for this has nothing to do with wealth and poverty. Therefore the foundations must first be created so that in future men will work hard and devotedly without thinking of personal advantage.

Suppose that someone invents a remedy and wants to patent it right away. This shows that he was thinking of a personal advantage and that he isn't filled with love for all mankind. For if men's health was the most important thing for him he would be anxious to report what's in the remedy and how it's made. And something else would happen — he'd be convinced that the remedy that was made with his sentiments was the better one.

Here we've come to a statement that's very important in esotericism: Ways of ennobling the soul must be arrived at. One who uses his thinking to attain beneficial progress must first see to it that human souls are ennobled.

Therewith we'll place the Rosicrucian verse at the end:

From that power that all beings binds
The man frees himself who self-mastery finds.


Ex Deo Nascimur, In Christo Morimur, Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

Ex Deo Nascimur        In Christo Morimur        Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

Rudolf Steiner, from an Esoteric Class lecture given on July 14, 1914:
My dear sisters and brothers, it would be good if everyone who participates in an esoteric class were completely aware of the importance of the same. We're supposed to step out of everyday life consciously; it must seem to us as if the veil that separates us from the spiritual world is completely pulled away so that we can place ourselves in it. In a proper meditation we should become body-free, leave everything that's connected with corporeal things, extinguish all interests in corporeal life and only be devoted to the object of our meditation. We should step out of our body and leave it behind completely, as in sleep, except that in meditation it happens consciously. One thing we do take with us, and that's the effect of lungs and heart, the breath of life that Jahve Elohim once blew into earth man. While we're entirely devoted to our meditation we'll have the feeling that our brain is only an etheric brain. When a man thinks, it has nothing to do with his brain. When he feels, it has nothing to do with the heart organ. Just as when a carriage leaves deep ruts in a dirt road this has nothing to do with the wheels as such but is dependent on the road's consistency, so one can't judge organs by what one sees, as physiologists and anatomists do. It's not the organs that think and feel, it's the spiritual beings and forces that work into them. Just as letters are only characters for a word's content, so organs are only signs through which higher beings express themselves in men.
Our cerebellum is a remnant of the Moon stage of evolution; it sits there as a sign of the battles that the Gods fought for us. The cerebellum arose from what was thought on Old Moon. There were no errors in our thoughts then, for divine powers thought for us and guided our thoughts. Man had no freedom yet; divine beings directed him. Now that he's become independent he must be responsible for what he thinks. There are also remnants of Old Moon in the cerebrum's pineal and pituitary glands; on Old Moon they were what the lung and heart are in man today. And what a man does now will form his cerebrum on Jupiter. What he thinks in connection with his cerebrum now will form his cerebellum on Jupiter. A man must bear the consequences of his thinking now that he's become free, and the cerebellum sits in the back of his head like a judge, for it will take the effects of everything that he thought on Earth over to Jupiter. And so I ask you: Do we still need a Judgment? Isn't this judgment much more gripping and powerful than the one Michelangelo could portray in his Last Judgment? Just estimate the tragedy that lies in the fact that a man now has to bear the consequences of his deeds, feeling, and thinking himself.
But we have a consolation, a support in the fact that Christ has entered Earth evolution: if we entrust ourselves to him he will bear our deeds, feelings, and thoughts over to Jupiter. That's why it's so important that spiritual science should enter our age, so that an understanding for the true Christ can become alive again.
In her Secret Doctrine Blavatsky speaks of Jahve as a moon God, but because she mixed in her own feelings there are errors in there, and much of the bad karma that burdens the Theosophical Society arose from this. And since Jahve was understood so little it's not surprising that one understands the Christ being so little now. To correct this, Lucifer and Ahriman had to be spoken of right at the beginning of our Movement, for one can only get a right estimation of Jahve through a knowledge of their nature and activities. One only leads men into spiritual worlds properly if one leads them past Lucifer and Ahriman so that they get to the Christ there. If one doesn't place Christ at the center of esoteric life one leads them to Lucifer. But one doesn't like to call these things by the right name, one deceives oneself about their true nature. What one calls scientific in certain circles is really ahrimanic. For instance, a Theosophist said that Occult Science is psychic-mystical, whereas the writings of Besant and Leadbeater are occult and scientific. But they're ahrimanic, and what he calls psychic and mystical should be called Christian. For Occult Science and our whole work was inspired by the Christ being himself. We should always keep this in mind, my dear sisters and brothers.
We came over from the Moon, where we were still in the lap of the Gods: Ex Deo nascimur. We unite ourselves with Christ on Earth and die into him: In Christo morimur. Then the Holy Spirit will lead us over to the reincarnation of the Earth — Jupiter: Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Anthroposophy: A New Path to Christ: The Spiritualization of the Will

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, May 8, 1917:
Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Lecture 10 of 10.

It might seem at first sight that in the centuries immediately following the Mystery of Golgotha mankind had not been touched by the light of spiritual illumination; that this was the normal condition of mankind and increasingly so up to the present day. This is not so, however. If we wish to see these things in perspective we must distinguish between the prevailing spirit of mankind and that which occurs here and there in the life of mankind and may play a decisive part in the different spheres of life. It would be most discouraging for many today to be told of the existence of a spiritual world, but that the doors to this world were closed to them. And there are many at the present time who have come to this depressing conclusion. The reason for this is not far to seek. Where there is a clear possibility of gaining insight into the spiritual world they refuse to commit themselves unreservedly. Nor have they the courage to pass an objective judgment on this issue. It may seem therefore — but in reality it is only apparently so — that today we are far removed from those early times when the spiritual world was revealed to the whole of mankind through atavistic clairvoyance, or from the later times when the few could find access to the spirit through initiation into the Mysteries. We must draw together certain strands which link early periods of human evolution with the present if we wish to arrive at a full understanding of the mystery of man's destiny and especially of those phenomena we have discussed in these lectures in connection with the nature of the Mysteries. I should like to select an example from recent times which is accessible to all and which will lend encouragement to those who are faced with the decision of choosing paths leading to the spiritual world. From the many examples at our disposal I would like to take an example which demonstrates at the same time how these phenomena are nonetheless misjudged from the materialistic point of view of the present day — and will also be misjudged in the immediate future.
No doubt you have all heard of Otto Ludwig (note 1), who was born in 1813, in the same year as Hebbel and Richard Wagner. Otto Ludwig was not only a poet — some may feel perhaps that he was not in the front rank of poets, but that does not concern us at the moment — but he was a man given to introspection, who sought self-knowledge and who succeeded in penetrating into the inner life which is veiled from the majority today. Otto Ludwig describes very beautifully what he experiences in the process of poetic composition or when he reads the poetry of others and surrenders to its appeal. He then realizes that he does not read or compose like other men, but that an extraordinary ferment is set up within him. And Otto Ludwig gives a beautiful description of this in a passage I will now read to you because it reveals a piece of self-knowledge of a typically modern man who, in the course of this self-revelation, speaks of things which our present materialistic age regards as the wildest fantasy. But Otto Ludwig was no visionary or idle dreamer. By nature he was perhaps introspective, but if we take into consideration the information we have about his life, we shall find that alongside this introspective tendency there was something eminently sane and balanced in his make-up. He describes his own creative experience and his response to the poetry of others in these words:
“I experience first of all a musical impression which is transformed into color (note 2). Then I see one or more figures in various postures executing formalized gestures, singly or facing each other, the whole resembling a copper engraving on parchment, colored paper — or, more precisely, like a marble statue or sculptural group on which the Sun falls through a veil of that color. I experience this color phenomenon after reading poetry which has stirred me deeply. If I put myself in the mood which Goethe's poetry evokes I see a deep golden yellow passing over into golden brown. When I read Schiller I experience a brilliant crimson; with Shakespeare every scene is a particular nuance of the particular color I associate with the whole drama. Strangely enough the image or the group evoked is not usually a representation of the denouement, sometimes it is only a characteristic figure in some moving posture which is immediately joined by a succession of other figures. At first I know nothing of the plot or content of the drama, but ever fresh miming figures, seemingly three-dimensional, are rapidly added, now from the beginning, now from the end of the initial dramatic situation until I experience the whole drama complete with all its scenes. The whole passes before me in rapid succession; meanwhile I remain passive and a kind of physical anxiety grips me. I can then reproduce at will the content of the individual scenes as they unfold; but I find it impossible to condense the narrative content into a brief account. Next the gestures are accompanied by speech. I write down what I can recall, but once the mood forsakes me, what I have noted down becomes a dead letter. Then I proceed to fill in the gaps in the dialogue, but for this purpose I must cast a critical eye over what I have written.”
Here then we have the remarkable case of a man who experiences crimson-red on reading Schiller, or golden yellow passing over into golden brown on reading the dramas or poems of Goethe, who experiences a color sensation with every drama of Shakespeare; who, when he composes or reads a poem sees figures like those of a copper engraving printed on a parchment-colored background, or three-dimensional miming figures on which the Sun falls through a veil which diffuses the light that evokes the total mood.
We must understand this experience in the correct way. It is not yet a clairvoyant perception, but it is a step toward spiritual vision. In order to have a right understanding of this mood from the standpoint of Spiritual Science we must realize that Otto Ludwig was no stranger to spiritual vision. For if he were to advance further along this path he would not only experience these visions but, just as physical objects are visible to the physical eye, spiritual beings would be visible to his spiritual eye and he would know them as an inner experience. Just as we see scattered light when we gently rub our eyes in the dark, light that seemingly radiates from the eye and fills the room, so from his inner life Ludwig radiates impressions of color and tone. As he rightly says, he experiences them first as musical impressions. He does not exploit them in order to gain spiritual insight; but we perceive that he is mature enough spiritually to embark on the path leading to the spiritual world.
It is no longer possible to deny that there exist people who are aware that “spiritual vision” is a reality, the vision that the neophytes learned to develop in the Mysteries in the way described in earlier lectures. For the real purpose of these ceremonies was primarily to call attention to the eye of the soul, to awaken man to the fact of its existence. That the phenomena which I have just described to you are not rightly understood today is evident from the observations of Gustav Freytag (note 3). When speaking of Otto Ludwig, he says:
“The work of this writer, and indeed his whole makeup, was akin to that of an epic poet of the time when, in the early dawn of nations, the poetic figures were visioned by the poet as living Imaginations imbued with color and sound.”
This statement is perfectly correct, but has nothing to do with poetic composition. For the experiences of Otto Ludwig were not only shared by poets in ancient times, but by all men, and were shared in later times by those who had been initiated into the Mysteries irrespective of whether they were poets or not. These experiences have therefore no connection with poetic invention. Behind the barrier which the materialist of today has erected in his own soul there is to be found that which Otto Ludwig describes. It is found not only in the poet, but in every man today. The fact that he was a poet has nothing to do with the phenomenon of poetic vision, but is something that accompanies it. One may be a far greater poet than Otto Ludwig and that which one is able to describe may remain entirely in the subconscious. It is present in the substratum of the subconscious, but need not manifest itself. For poetry, indeed art as a whole today, is something other than the conscious fashioning of clairvoyant impressions.
I quote the case of Otto Ludwig as an example of a man — and men of his type are by no means rare today — who stands on the threshold of the spiritual world. If one practices the exercises given in my book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, that which already exists in the soul is raised into consciousness, so that one learns to use it or to apply it consciously. It is important to bear this in mind. The problem is not so much that it is difficult to reach the hidden depths of the soul, but that people today lack the courage to embark upon a spiritual training; and that for the most part those who would willingly do so from a heartfelt need to know and to understand, nonetheless feel constrained to admit this need albeit somewhat shamefacedly in their own intimate circle, but conceal it when they later find themselves in the company of contemporary intellectuals. What we should characterize today as the right path, perhaps because we live in the Michael Age since 1879, need not of necessity be regarded as the only right path. Looking back over the recent past it is possible that many may have attained a high degree of clairvoyance, genuine clairvoyance; there is no need for us therefore either to recognize fully or to accept this clairvoyance unreservedly, nor to regard it as something dangerous and to be rejected.
There are certainly many factors which for some time have undermined our courage to accept the validity of clairvoyance, and for this reason the assessment of Swedenborg (who has often been mentioned in your circle) has been so strange. He could act as a stimulus to many, in that people might see in him an individuality who had lifted to some extent the veils that concealed the spiritual world. Swedenborg had developed a high degree of Imaginative cognition, which is a necessity for all who would penetrate to the spiritual world. It was indispensable to him; it was simply a kind of transition to higher stages of knowledge. And it was especially his clairvoyant sense for Imaginative cognition that he had developed. But precisely because this Imaginative cognition was stirring and pulsating in him, he was able to make observations about the relations between the spiritual world and the phenomenal world, observations which are highly significant for those who seek to clarify their ideas about clairvoyance by studying the development of particular personalities. I should like to take Swedenborg as an example in order to illustrate how he came to self-understanding, how he thought and felt in order to keep his inner life attuned to the spiritual world. He was not motivated by egoism in his search for the spirit. He was already fifty-five years old when the doors of the spiritual world were opened to him (note 4). He was therefore a man of ripe experience; he had received a sound scientific training and had long been active in this field. The most important scientific works of Swedenborg have just been published in many volumes by the Stockholm Academy of Sciences and they contain material that may well determine the course of science for many years to come. But people today have learned the trick of recognizing a man such as Swedenborg (who was the leading scientist of his day) only in so far as they agree with him; otherwise they label him a fool. And they perform this trick with consummate skill. They attach no importance to the fact that from the age of fifty-five Swedenborg bears witness to the reality of the spiritual world — a man whose scientific achievement not only compares favorably with that of others — in itself no mean feat — but who, as a scientist, stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries.
Swedenborg was particularly interested in the question of the interaction of soul and body. After his spiritual enlightenment he wrote a superb treatise on this subject. The content was approximately as follows: In considering the interrelation of body and soul there are three possibilities. First, the body is the decisive factor; sense-impressions are mediated by the body and react upon the soul. The soul therefore is to some extent dependent upon the body. The second possibility is that the body is dependent upon the soul which is the source of the spiritual impulses. The soul fashions the body and makes use of the body during its lifetime. In this case one must speak not of a physical influence, but of a psychic influence. The third possibility is as follows: body and soul are contiguous, but do not interact; a higher power brings about a harmony or agreement between them just as two clocks which are independent of each other agree when they show the time. When therefore an external impression is made upon the senses, a thought process is set up within the soul, but both are unrelated; a corresponding impression is made upon the soul from within by a higher power, just as an impression is made upon the soul through the senses from without. Swedenborg points out that the first and third possibilities are impossible for those who are able to see into the spiritual world, that it is evident to the spiritually enlightened that the soul by virtue of its inner forces is related to a spiritual Sun in the same way as the (physical) body is related to the physical Sun. And he also shows that everything of a physical nature is dependent upon soul and spirit. He throws fresh light upon what we called the Sun mystery (when speaking of the Mysteries), that mystery of which Julian the Apostate had a dim recollection when he spoke of the Sun as a spiritual being. It was this which was the cause of his hostility to Christianity, because the Christianity of his day sought to deny Christ's relation to the Sun. Through Imaginative cognition Swedenborg restored the Sun mystery as far as was possible for his time.
I have placed these facts before you in order to show what Swedenborg experienced inwardly in the course of developing his spiritual knowledge. His reflections upon the question I have just touched upon were embodied in a kind of philosophical treatise — the kind of treatise written by one who has insight into the spiritual world, not the kind of treatise written by the academic philosopher who is devoid of spiritual vision. At the conclusion of his treatise Swedenborg speaks of what he calls a “vision”. And by this vision he does not imply something he has conjured up, but something he has actually perceived with the eye of the spirit. Swedenborg is not afraid to speak of his spiritual visions. Furthermore he recounts what a particular angel said to him because he is certain of the fact. He no more doubts it than another doubts what a fellow human being has told him. He said: “I was once ‘in the spirit’; three Schoolmen appeared to me, disciples of Aristotle, advocates of his doctrine that attributes a physical influence to all that streams into the soul from without. They appeared on the one side. On the other side appeared three disciples of Descartes who spoke of spiritual influences upon the soul, albeit somewhat inadequately. And behind them appeared three disciples of Leibnitz who spoke of the pre-established harmony, i.e. of the independence of body and soul, of dissimilar monads existing and moving together in a state of absolute harmony pre-established by God. And I perceived nine figures who surrounded me. And the leaders of each group of the three figures were Leibnitz, Descartes, and Aristotle, suffused in light”. Swedenborg spoke of this vision as one speaks of an event in everyday life. Then, he said, from out of the abyss there rose up a spirit with a torch in his right hand and as he swung the torch in front of the figures they immediately began to dispute among themselves. The Aristotelians defended, from their standpoint, the primacy of physical influences, the Cartesians defended spiritual impulses, and likewise the Leibnitzians defended, with the support of Leibnitz himself, the idea of preestablished harmony. Such visions may describe even the smallest details. Swedenborg tells us that Leibnitz appeared dressed in a kind of toga and the lappets were held by his disciple Wolf. Such details always accompany these visions, in which such peculiarities are very characteristic. These figures, then, began to dispute among themselves. They all had a good case — and any and every case can be defended. Thereupon, after prolonged conflict, the spirit appeared a second time. He carried the torch in his left hand and lit up their heads from behind. Then the battle of words was really joined. They said: “We cannot distinguish which is our body and which is our soul.” And so they agreed to cast three slips of paper into a box. On the one slip was written “physical influence”, on the second, “spiritual influence” and on the third, “pre-established harmony”. Then they drew lots and drew out “spiritual influence” and said: “Let us agree to recognize spiritual influence.” At that moment an angel descended from the upper world and said: “It is not fortuitous that you drew out the slip of paper labeled ‘spiritual influence’; that choice had already been anticipated by the powers who in their wisdom guide the world because it accords with the truth.”
This is the vision described by Swedenborg. It is open to anyone to regard this vision as of no importance, perhaps even as naive. The salient question however is not whether it is naive or not, but that he experienced it. And that which at first sight seems perhaps extremely naive has profound implications. For that which in the phenomenal world appears to be arbitrary, the vagary of chance, is something totally different when seen symbolically from the spiritual angle. It is difficult to come to an understanding of chance, because chance is only a shadow-image of higher necessities. Swedenborg wishes to indicate something of special importance, namely that it is not he who wills it, but “it” is willed in him. This vision arises because “it” is willed in him. And this is an accurate description of the way in which he arrived at his truths, an accurate description of the spirit in which the treatise was written. How did the Cartesians react? They sought to demonstrate the idea of spiritual influence on purely human and rational grounds. It is possible to arrive at the spirit in this way, but that seldom happens. The Aristotelians were no better than the Cartesians; they defended the idea of the spiritual influence, again on human grounds. The Leibnitzians were certainly no better than the other two, for they defended the idea of “pre-established harmony”. Swedenborg rejected these paths to the spirit; he did everything possible to prepare himself to receive the truth. And this waiting upon truth, not the determination of truth, this passive acceptance of truth, was his aim and was symbolized by the drawing of the slips of paper from the box. This is of vital importance.
We do not appreciate these things at their true worth when we approach them intellectually. We only appreciate them in the right way when they are presented symbolically, even though intelligent people may regard the symbol as naive. Our response to symbols is different from our response to abstract ideas. The symbol prepares our soul to receive the truth from the spiritual world. That is the essential. And if we give serious attention to these things we shall gradually understand and develop ideas and concepts which are necessary for mankind today, ideas which they must acquire by effort and which appear to be inaccessible today simply because people are antipathetic toward them — and for no other reason — an antipathy that springs from materialism.
The whole purpose of our investigations was to study the course of human evolution, first of all up to a decisive turning-point — and this turning-point was the Mystery of Golgotha. Then evolution continues and takes on a new course. These two courses are radically different from each other. I have already described in what respects they differed from each other. In order fully to understand this difference let us recall once again the following: in ancient times it was always possible for man without special training of his psychic life (in the Mysteries this was connected with external ceremonies and cult acts) to be convinced of the reality of the spiritual world through the performance of these rites and ceremonies and thereby of his own immortality, because this certainty of immortality was still latent in his corporeal nature. After the Mystery of Golgotha it was no longer possible for the physical body to “distill” out of itself the conviction of immortality; it could no longer “press” out of itself, so to speak, the perception of immortality. This had been prepared in the centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha. It is most interesting to see how Aristotle, this giant among philosophers, made every effort a few centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha to grasp the idea of the immortality of the soul; but the idea of immortality he arrived at was a most remarkable conception. Man, in Aristotle's opinion, is only a complete man when he possesses a physical body. And Franz Brentano, one of the best Aristotelians of recent time, says in his study of Aristotle that man is no longer a complete man if some member is lacking; how can he be a complete man when he lacks the whole body? Therefore, to Aristotle, when the soul passes through the gates of death it is of less significance than it was when in the body here on Earth. This shows that he had lost the capacity still to perceive the soul, while on the other hand the original capacity to accept the immortality of the soul still persisted. Now, strange to relate, Aristotle was the leading philosopher throughout the Middle Ages. All that can be known, said the Schoolmen, is known to Aristotle, and as philosophers we have no choice but to rely upon him and follow in his footsteps. They had no intention of developing spiritual powers or capacities beyond the limits set by Aristotelianism. And this is very significant, for it explains clearly why Julian the Apostate rejected the Christianity that was practiced by the Church during the age of Constantine. One must really see these things from a higher perspective. Apart from Franz Brentano, one of the leading Aristotelians of our time, I was personally acquainted with Vincenz Knauer, a Benedictine monk, whose relationship to Aristotle as a Roman Catholic was identical with that of the Schoolmen. In speaking of Aristotle he sought to discover at the same time what could be known of the immortality of the soul by purely human knowledge. And Knauer gave the following interesting summary of his opinion:
“The soul, that is, in this connection, the departed spirit — i.e. the soul of man that has passed through the gates of death — finds itself, according to Aristotle, not in a more perfect state, but in a highly imperfect state, inappropriate to its destiny. The image of the soul is by no means that which is often employed, namely, the image of a butterfly which after shedding its chrysalis takes wing. Rather does the soul resemble a butterfly whose wings have been torn off by a cruel hand and now crawls helplessly in the dust in the form of a miserable worm.”
It is very significant that those who are well versed in Aristotle admit that human knowledge could arrive at no other conclusion. And a certain effort therefore is demanded of us to resist the consequences of this attitude of mind. The materialism of the present time is unwittingly influenced by the Conciliar decree of 869 which abolished the spirit and declared that man consisted of body and soul only.
Modern materialism goes even further; it proposes to abolish the soul as well. That of course is the logical sequel. We need therefore both courage and determination in order to find our way back again to the spirit in the right way. Now, Julian the Apostate, who had been initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, was aware that a specific spiritual training could lead to the realization that the soul is immortal. This Sun mystery was known to him. And he now became aware of something that filled him with alarm. He was unable to grasp the fact that what he feared so much was a necessity. When he looked back to ancient times he realized that directly or indirectly through the Mysteries man was guided by cosmic powers, beings, and forces. He realized that this may happen on the physical plane, that it is ordained from spiritual spheres because men have insight into these spiritual spheres. In Constantinism he saw a form of Christianity emerge which modeled Christian society and the organization of Christianity on the original principles of the Roman empire. He saw that Christianity had infiltrated into that which the Roman empire had intended for the external social order only. And he saw that the divine-spiritual had been harnessed to the Imperium Romanum. And this appalled him; he was unable to bring himself to admit that this was a necessity for a brief period. He realized that there was wide disparity between the mighty impulses of human evolution and what happened historically. I have often called attention to the need to bear in mind the golden age of the rise of Christianity before the era of Constantine. For at that time powerful spiritual impulses were at work which had been obscured solely because man's independent search for knowledge which he owed to the Christ Impulse had been harnessed to the Conciliar decrees.
If we look back to Origen and to Clement of Alexandria we find men who were open-minded, men still imbued with the Greek spirit: yet they were also conscious of the significance of what had been accomplished through the Mystery of Golgotha. Their conception of this Mystery and of the crucified Christ is considered to be pure heresy in the eyes of all denominations today. In reality the great Church Fathers of the pre-Constantine age who are recognized by the Church are the worst heretics of all. Though they were aware of the significance of the Mystery of Golgotha for the evolution of the Earth, they gave no indication of wishing to suppress the path to the Mystery of Golgotha, the gate to the Mysteries, or the path of the old clairvoyance, which had been the aim of the Christianity of Constantine. In Clement of Alexandria especially we see that his works are shot through with great mysteries, mysteries which are so veiled that it is even difficult for contemporary man to make head or tail of them. Clement speaks of the Logos, for example, of the wisdom that streams through and permeates the Universe. He pictures the Logos as music of the spheres fraught with meaning, and the visible world as the expression of the music of the spheres, just as the visible vibration of the strings of a musical instrument is the expression of the sound waves. Thus, in the eyes of Clement, the human form is made in the image of the Logos; that is, to Clement the Logos is a reality and he sees the human form as a fusion of tones from the music of the spheres. Man, he says, is made in the image of the Logos. And in many of Clement's utterances we find traces of that supernal wisdom that dwelt in him, a wisdom illuminated by the Christ Impulse. If you compare these utterances of Clement of Alexandria with the prevailing attitude today then the claim to recognize a man such as Clement of Alexandria without understanding him will appear as more than passing strange.
When it is said that the aim of Spiritual Science is to follow in the main stream of Christianity, to be a new flowering of Christianity to meet the needs of our time, then the cry is raised: The ancient Gnosis is being revived! And at the mention of Gnosis many professing Christians today begin to cross themselves as if faced by the devil incarnate. Gnosis for today is Spiritual Science; but the more developed gnosis of the present time is different from the gnosis known to Clement of Alexandria. What were the views of Clement of Alexandria who lived in the latter half of the second century? Faith, he says, is our starting-point — the orthodox Christian of today is satisfied with faith alone and asks no more. Faith, according to Clement, is already knowledge, but concise knowledge of what is needed; gnosis however confirms and reinforces what we believe, is founded on faith through the teaching of Our Lord and so leads to a faith that is scientifically acceptable and irrefutable. In these words Clement of Alexandria expresses for his time what we must realize today. Christianity therefore demands that gnosis, the Spiritual Science of today, must actively participate in the development of Christianity. But the modern philistine protests: “We must distinguish between science (which he would limit to sense experience) and faith. Faith must have no part in science.” Clement of Alexandria however says: To faith is added gnosis, to gnosis love, and to love the “Kingdom”. This is one of the most profound utterances of the human spirit because it bears witness to an intimate union with the life of the spirit. First we are nourished in faith; but to faith is added gnosis, that is, knowledge or understanding. Out of this living knowledge, i.e. when we penetrate deeply into things, there is first born genuine love through which our Divine inheritance operates. Mankind can only be the vehicle of the influx of the Divine as it was in the “beginning” if to faith is added gnosis, to gnosis love, and to love the “Kingdom”. We must look upon these utterances as bearing witness to the deep spirituality of Clement.
Difficult as it may seem, we must make the true form of Christian life once again accessible to mankind today. It is important to see certain things for what they are today and we shall then know where to look for the real cause of our present tribulations. The effect of these calamities is such that, as a rule, no attempt is made to discover what really lies behind them. When, for example, an Alpine village is buried beneath an avalanche, everyone sees the avalanche crash down; but if we want to discover the cause of the avalanche we must look for it perhaps in an ice-crystal where the snow-slip began. It is easy enough to observe the destruction of the village by the avalanche, but it is not so easy to provide tangible evidence that the disaster was caused by an ice-crystal. And so it is with the great events of history! It is evident that mankind is now caught up in a terrible catastrophe; this is the conflagration that has overwhelmed us. We have to look for the sparks — and they are many — which first set the conflagration alight. But we do not pursue our enquiries far enough in order to ascertain where the conflagration first began. Today we are afraid to see things for what they are.
Let us assume that we wish to form an opinion about a certain field of science. Usually we rely upon the opinion of the specialist in that particular field. Why is his opinion accepted as authoritative? Simply because he is an expert in this field. Generally speaking it is the specialist or university professor who determines what is accepted as scientific today. Let us take a concrete case. I am well aware that it does not make for popularity to call a spade a spade, but that is no matter. But unless an increasing number of people are prepared to get to the root of things today we shall not overcome our present tribulations. Let us assume that a leading authority says the following: people are always talking about man in terms of body and soul. This idea of the dualism of body and soul is fundamentally unsatisfactory. That we still speak of body and soul today is due to the fact that we are dependent on a language that is already outmoded, which we have inherited from an earlier epoch when people were far more stupid than today. These people were so foolish as to believe that the body and soul were separate entities. When we speak of these matters today we are compelled to make use of these terms; we are victims of a language which belongs to the past. And our authority continues: we have to accept body and soul as separate entities, but this is quite unjustified. Anyone speaking from the present standpoint and wholly uninfluenced by the views of ancient times would perhaps say: let us assume here is a flower and here is a man. I see his form and complexion, his external aspect, just as I see that of the flower. The rest must be inferred. — Now someone might come along and object: that is true, but the man in question also sees the flower in his soul. But that is pure illusion. What I really receive from the perception of a flower or a stone is a sense-impression and the same is true of the man in question. The idea that an inner image persists in the soul is pure illusion. The only things we know are external relationships.
You will say that you can make nothing of this argument! And a good thing too, because it is a farrago of nonsense, it is the acme of stupidity. This crass stupidity is supported by all kinds of careful laboratory investigations into the human brain and sundry clinical findings and so on. In short the man is a fool. He is in a position to provide good clinical results because laboratories are at his disposal; but the conclusions which he draws from these findings are pure nonsense. Men of this type are a commonplace today. To say these things does not make for popularity. The cycle of lectures which has appeared in book form by the man I am referring to — strangely enough his name is Verworn [original note 1], I take this to be pure coincidence — is called “The Mechanism of the Spiritual Life”. It would be about as sensible to write about the “ligneousness of iron” as about “the mechanism of spiritual life”.
Now, if this is typical of the intellectual acumen of our most enlightened minds it is not in the least surprising that if those disciplines which are far from being accurate at least in relation to external facts — and in this respect Verworn is capable of accurate observation because he describes what he sees, but unfortunately muddies everything with his own foolish ideas — that if those disciplines which are unsupported by external evidence such as political science, for example, are exposed to the scientific mode of thinking, then the greatest nonsense results. Political science should be supported by thoughts that are rooted in reality, but lacks these thoughts for reasons I have indicated in my last lecture. And people are forcibly reminded of this fact.
I referred earlier in this lecture to Kjellén, one of the leading Swedish thinkers. His book The State as Organism is ingenious; toward the end of the book he puts forward a remarkable idea, but neither he, nor others today, can make anything of it. He quotes a certain Fustel de Coulanges (note 5), author of La Cité antique, who showed that when we analyze pre-Christian political and social institutions we find that they are entirely founded on religious rites and observances; the entire State has a social and spiritual foundation. Thus people are willy-nilly brought face to face with the facts, for I pointed out in my last lecture that the social order stemmed from the Mysteries and had a spiritual origin. In studying the body politic or political science people are faced with these questions but are at a loss to understand them. They can make nothing of what even history reports when they can no longer rely upon documents.
And still less can they make anything of the other idea which I indicated as a new path to the Christ. This idea which we find especially in the Mysteries and in Plato's writings, that remarkable echo of the Mystery teachings, must arise once again. The central figure of Plato's dialogues is Socrates surrounded by his disciples. In the debate between Socrates and his disciples, Plato unfolds his teachings. In his writings Plato was in communion with Socrates after the latter's death. Now, this is something more than a literary device. It is the continuation, the echo, of what was practiced in the Mysteries where the neophytes were gradually prepared for communion with the souls of the dead who continue to direct the sensible world from the spiritual world. Plato's philosophy is developed out of his communion with Socrates, after the death of Socrates. This idea must be revived again and I have already indicated what form it must take. We must get beyond the dry bones of history, beyond the mere recording of external events. We must be able to commune with the dead, to let the thoughts of the dead arise in us once again. It is in this sense that we must be able to take seriously the idea of resurrection. It is through personal inner experience that Christ reveals Himself to mankind. It is by following this path that the truth of the Christ can be demonstrated. But this path demands of us that we develop the will in our thinking. If we can develop only such thoughts as are suited to the observation of the external world, we cannot arrive at those thoughts which are really in touch with the dead. We must acquire the capacity to draw thoughts from the well of our inmost being. Our will must be prepared to unite with reality, and then the will which is thus spiritualized by its incorporation in our thinking will encounter spiritual beings, just as the hand encounters a physical object in the external world. And the first spiritual beings we encounter will, as a rule, be the dead with whom we are in some way karmically connected. You must not expect to find guidance in these abstruse matters from a set of written instructions which can be carried about in one's waistcoat pocket. Things are not as simple as that. One encounters well-intentioned people who ask: How do I distinguish between dream and reality, between phantasy and reality? In the individual case one should not attempt to distinguish between them in accordance with a fixed rule. The whole soul must be gradually attuned so that it can pass judgment in the individual case, just as in the external world we seek to pass judgment irrespective of the individual case. We must develop a wider perspective in order to form a judgment about the particular case. The dream may be a close approximation to reality, but it is not possible in the individual case to state categorically: this is the right and proper way to distinguish a mere dream from reality. Indeed what I am saying at the moment may not apply in specific cases, because other points of view must be taken into consideration. It is important to develop in ourselves the power to discriminate in spiritual matters.
Let us take the familiar case of a person who is dreaming or who imagines he is dreaming. Now, it is not easy to distinguish between dream and reality. People who study dreams today follow in the footsteps of Herr Verworn. He says that one can undertake an interesting experiment. He quotes the following example. Someone taps with a pin on the window of a house where the occupant is asleep. He is dreaming at the time, wakes up and says he had heard rifle-fire. The dream, according to Verworn, exaggerates. The tappings of the pin on the window-pane have become rifle-shots. Verworn explains this in the following way: we assume that in waking consciousness the brain is fully active. In dream consciousness the brain activity is diminished; only the peripheral consciousness is active. Normally the brain plays no part; its activity is diminished. That is why the dream is so bizarre and why, therefore, the tappings of the pin turn into rifle-fire. Now, the public is highly credulous. They are first told in the relevant passage in Verworn's book that the dream exaggerates and then, later on, they are told (not precisely in the words I have used) that the brain is less active and therefore the dream appears bizarre. The reader has meanwhile already forgotten what was told in the first place. He is unable to relate the two statements and simply says: the State has appointed an expert in these matters and so we must accept his word. Now, as you know, belief in authority is taboo today. He who does not hold these views about the dream may nonetheless feel that the following way of thinking might well be the right approach. Let us assume you are dreaming of a friend who is dead. You dream, or believe you are dreaming, that you are sharing some situation in common with him — and then you wake up. Your first thought on awakening is of course: but he died some time ago! But in the dream it never occurred to you that he was dead. Now, you can find many ingenious explanations of this dream if you refer to Verworn's book The Mechanism of the Spirit. But if this is a dream, and a dream is only a memory of everyday life, you will have difficulty in understanding why the foremost thought in your mind, namely the death of your friend, plays no part in the dream when you have just experienced a situation which you know for certain you could not have shared with him when alive. You are then justified in saying: I have now experienced with X something I could not have experienced in life, something that I have not only not experienced, but which would have been impossible in our normal relationship. Assuming that the soul of X, the real soul, which has passed through the gates of death, is behind this dream-picture: is it not self-evident that you do not share his death experience? There is no reason why X's soul should appear to be dead, since it still lives on. If you take these two factors into consideration — perhaps in conjunction with other factors — you will conclude: my dream-picture veils a real meeting with the soul of X. The thought of death never occurs to me because the dream is not a memory of everyday life: in the dream I receive an authentic visitation from the deceased (i.e. X). I now experience the visitation in the form of a dream-picture, a situation which could not have arisen under the normal circumstances of everyday life. Furthermore the thought of death never occurs to me because the soul of the deceased persists. And then you have every reason for saying: when I experience this apparent dream I inhabit a realm where physical memory does not operate — and what I am about to say is most important — for it is characteristic of our physical life that our physical memory remains unimpaired. This memory does not exist to the same extent, nor is it of the same nature in the world of spirit which we enter at death. The memory which we need for the world of the spirit we must first develop in ourselves. The physical memory is tied to the physical body. Therefore anyone who is familiar with the supersensible realm knows that the physical memory cannot enter there. It is not surprising that we have no memory of the deceased; but we are aware that we are in communion with the living soul of X.
Those who are acquainted with this fact maintain that what we call memory in the physical life is something totally different in the spiritual life. Anyone who has succumbed to the impact of Dante's great work the “Divine Comedy” will never doubt, if he has spiritual discernment, that Dante experienced spiritual visions, that he had insight into the world of the spirit. He who comprehends the language of those who were familiar with the world of the spirit will find convincing proof of this in Dante's introduction to the “Divine Comedy”. Dante was well versed in spiritual knowledge; he was no dilettante in matters of the spirit; he was, so to speak, an expert in this field. He was aware that normal memory does not operate in the realm where we are in communion with the dead. He often speaks of the dead, of how the dead dwell in the “Light”. In the “Divine Comedy” you will find these beautiful lines on the theme of memory:
“O Light supreme, by mortal thought unscanned,
Grant that Thy former aspect may return,
Once more a little of Thyself re-lend.

Make strong my tongue that in its words may burn
One single spark of all Thy glory's light
For future generations to discern.

For if my memory but glimpse the sight
Whereof these lines would now a little say,
Men may the better estimate Thy might.”
(Paradiso. Canto XXXIII) [original note 2]
Thus Dante was aware that it is impossible with normal memory to grasp that which could originate in the spiritual world. There are many today who ask: why should we aspire to the spiritual world when we have enough to contend with in the physical world; the ordinary man seeks a practical answer to the problems of this life! — But have these people any reason to believe that those who were initiated into the Mysteries in ancient times were any less concerned with the physical world? The initiates knew that the spiritual world permeates the physical world, that the dead are unquestionably active among us even though people deny it. And they knew that this denial merely creates confusion. He who denies that those who have passed through the gates of death exercise an influence on this world resembles the man who says: “Nonsense! I don't believe a word you say” — and then proceeds to behave as if he did believe it. It is not so easy, of course, to give direct proof of the havoc that is wrought when the influx of the spiritual world into the physical world is not taken into account, when people act on the assumption that this interaction can be ignored. Our epoch shows little inclination to bridge the gap that separates us from the kingdom where the dead and the higher beings dwell. In many respects our present epoch harbors a veritable antipathy toward the world of the spirit. And it is the duty of the spiritual scientist who is really honest and sincere to be aware of the forces that are hostile to the development of Anthroposophy. For there are deep underlying reasons for this hostility and they stem from the same sources which are responsible for all the forces which are today in active opposition to the true progress of mankind.

Original Notes:
Note 1. In the German text there is a play upon the word. If pronounced with an open “0” and a rolled “R” it gives the word verworren, i.e. muddle-headed or confused.
Note 2. Translation by Dorothy L. Sayers and Barbara Reynolds, Penguin Classics, 1962.

Note 1. Otto Ludwig (1813–65). Best known for his realist novels Der Erbförster and Zwischen Himmel and Erde, genre painting with careful observation of detail. He coined the term “poetischer Realismus”. His “Shakespeare Studien” showed preoccupation with dramatic theory. During his process of poetic creation he experienced a spectrum of colours and forms, known as “synaesthesia”.
Note 2. “Synaesthesia” had first been foreshadowed by E. P. A. Hoffman in Kreisleriana. The hearing of a word or sound evokes a sensation of colour varying in accordance with the quality of the sound (cf. Baudelaire's sonnet “Correspondances” — “les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se repondent” and Rimbaud's sonnet “Voyelles” in which a definite colour-value is ascribed to each of the five vowels). F. W. H. Myers described synaesthesia as follows: “When the hearing of an external sound carries with it, by some arbitrary association of ideas, the seeing of some form or colour.”
Note 3. Freytag (1816–95). Author of realistic novels which extolled the virtues of the German middle class — Soll and Haben, Die Ahnen.
Note 4. Swedenborg (1688–1772), engineer, scientist, philosopher and theologian. In his Arcana Caelestia he wrote: “... it has been granted me now for some years to be constantly and continuously in the company of spirits and angels, hearing them speak and speaking with them in turn. It has been given to me to hear and see the wonderful things which are in the other life ... I have been instructed there in regard to different kinds of spirits; the state of souls after death ... and especially concerning the doctrine of faith which is acknowledged in the universal Heaven.”
Note 5. Fustel de Coulanges (1830–89). Originator of the scientific approach to history. His Cité antique showed that ancient institutions derived from religious beliefs common to primitive peoples. It was a study of the part played by religion in the political and social evolution of Greece and Rome.