Life is the unfolding glory of the rose of expiation.
The Congress of the Federation of the European Sections of the Theosophical Society took place in Amsterdam from the 19th to the 21st June 1904. […] In the section ‘Philosophy’ Dr. Rudolf Steiner spoke on “Mathematics and Occultism”. He started from the fact that Plato demanded a preliminary mathematical training from his students, that the Gnostics had designated their higher wisdom as mathesis, and that the Pythagoreans had viewed number and form to be the foundation of existence. He explained that they all did not have abstract mathematics in mind, but rather the intuitive seeing [das intuitive Schauen] of the occultist. The latter grasps laws in the higher worlds with the aid of spiritual perception, which is represented in the spiritual sphere as music is in our ordinary sense world. Just as through oscillations air is able to stimulate musical sensations that can be expressed using numbers, so if the occultist is properly prepared by means of the secrets of numbers he is able to perceive spiritual music in the higher worlds. In an especially lofty development of the human being this may be heightened to a sensation of the music of the spheres. The music of the spheres is not a figment of the imagination, but constitutes a genuine experience for the occultist. The human being permits the hidden phenomena of the world to work upon himself by integrating mathesis into his own being, by the penetration of his astral and mental body with an intimate sense that is expressed in numerical relationships.
In modern times the occult sense withdrew from the sciences. Since the time of Copernicus and Galileo science has been concerned with the conquest of the physical world. However, it belongs to the eternal plan of human development that physical science should also find access to the spiritual world. In the epoch of physical research mathematics has become enriched by Newton’s and Leibniz’s analyses of the infinite, by differential and integral calculus. Whoever does not merely understand this in an abstract manner but attempts to inwardly experience what a differential really represents, impresses a sense-free intuition upon himself. For in the differential the sensible intuition of space itself has become overcome in a symbol; the cognition of the human being becomes purely mental for a moment. This is manifest to the clairvoyant insofar as the thought form of the differential is outwardly open, in contrast to the thought forms that the human being receives through sensible intuition. The latter are outwardly closed. Thus, by means of the analysis of the infinite a path becomes opened up through which the higher sense of the human being becomes outwardly open. The occultist knows what sort of process occurs with the chakra situated between the eyebrows when he develops the spirit of the differential within himself. If the mathematician is in addition a selfless person then he may place whatever he has achieved in this way onto the universal altar of human brotherhood. And an important source for occultism therefore comes into being out of the apparently driest science.
Source: June 21, 1904. GA 35. Appendix
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