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Why is Spiritual Investigation Misunderstood?
GA 65

26 February 1916, Berlin

Translator Unknown

Ladies and Gentlemen, 1The lecture is reprinted by kind permission of Frau Marie Steiner. By contrasting outstanding individual examples of one-sided thought with their opposites, the lecture gives an answer to the thesis with reference to the following names: Theodor Meynert, Kant, Hans Vaihinger, Fritz Mauthner, Ernst Haeckel, David Friedrich Strauss on the one hand, and Goethe, Carl Ernst von Baer, Laurenz Müllner on the other.

A few weeks ago, in my lecture on Soul Health and Spiritual Investigation, 2Healthy Soul Life and Spiritual Research (Gesundes Seelenleben und Geistesforschung). Lecture given in Berlin on 4th February, 1916. I put before you some of the answers that have been given to the question, "Why do people misunderstand Spiritual Investigation?" To-day, I should like to examine other points of view, which will give a more general answer to the question under discussion. There can, of course, be no question of my examining individual attacks which may have been made from one quarter or another on what we call Spiritual Investigation. Such a procedure would be quite out of key with the tone that you, ladies and gentlemen, have learnt to expect from these lectures. If, on occasions, 3As examples of such opponents see, amongst others, Karl Heyer, Dr. Phil. and Jur. Wie man gegen Rudolf Steiner kämpft, Stuttgart, 1932; and also Camille Schneider Eduard Schuré's Begegnungen mit Rudolf Steiner, Basel, 1933. frustrated ambition or some such motive has caused opposition to be raised in those very circles which formerly reckoned themselves perfectly good followers of Spiritual Research, this only serves to show how unimportant are these attacks in comparison to the great tasks which Spiritual Investigation has to fulfil. It will, therefore, be necessary to deal with individual points only occasionally, and on external grounds. That, moreover, is not my aim. My aim is this. To show how contemporary education and all that the mind may have assimilated of the habits of thought, the philosophic feeling, and the intellectual systems that characterise our present times — how all this may make it hard for the modern mind to bring the right spirit to the understanding of Spiritual Investigation. What, then, I wish to explain fundamentally are not the illegitimate attacks that have been made on Spiritual Investigation, but those that are, up to a point — one had almost said completely — legitimate; at any rate understandable to the modern Soul.

For Spiritual Science has to deal not only with the attacks that are made upon other spiritual tendencies of our time; it has, in the special sense mentioned just now, every intellectual movement of the time against it. If the mechanistic, materialistic — or to use the more scholarly expression now in vogue — the monistic view of the universe is put forward, it will be found to have opponents who base themselves upon a certain spiritual idealism. The reasons which such spiritually-minded idealists adduce in defence of their views against materialism are, as a rule, extremely weighty and important. They are objections which can in every respect be shared by the Spiritual Investigator, reasons which he can grasp and understand in the same way as anyone who merely takes his stand upon a certain spiritual idealism. But the Spiritual Investigation speaks of the spiritual world, not merely as do, for example, idealists of the stamp of Ulrici, Wirth, Immanuel Hermann Fichte, 4Herman Ulrici (1806-1884), German philosopher; John Ulrich Wirth (1810-1859), Protestant theologian and philosopher; Immanuel Hermann Fichte (1797-1879), German philosopher. though the last, as we saw yesterday, 5Ein vergessenes Streben nach Geisteswissenschaft innerhalb der deutschen Gedankenentwicklung. Lecture delivered in Berlin, 25th February, 1916. {RSA title: A Forgotten Support for Spiritual Science Within the Development of German Thought} went more deeply into things than the others. The Spiritual Investigator does not merely speak in abstract concepts which point to a spiritual world beyond the world of the senses. On the contrary, he cannot leave this spiritual world undefined, cannot grasp it in mere concepts; he must go on to a real description of it. He is not content, as are the idealists, to accept a purely intellectual indication of a spiritual world, which, though it must exist, still remains unknown. No — the spiritual world which he has to show forth must be concrete and manifested in various individual types of being which have, not a physical, but a purely spiritual existence. In a word, he has to speak of a spiritual world which shall be as varied and as full of meaning as the physical, far fuller indeed, if it were but truly described. If, then, the Spiritual Investigator speaks of the spiritual world, not as of something which exists in general and can be proved intellectually, but quite definitely as of something to be believed in, as of something which can be perceived as the world of sense is perceived, he will find among his opponents not only the materialists, but also those who speak of the spiritual world only in abstract concepts from the standpoint of a certain spiritual and intellectual idealism. Finally, he will have as opponents those who believe that religious feeling of any kind will be threatened by Spiritual Investigation, that religion — their religion — will be endangered by the existence of a science of the spiritual world. And one could name many other movements which the Spiritual Investigator would find working against him — all fundamentally in the same way as has been described, and to-day more powerfully than ever. Weighty objections, objections which from a certain point of view and to a certain extent are justified. It is of these, therefore, that I wish to speak.

And again and again it is the scientific view of the world which presents, especially in our day, the most considerable opposition to the aspiration of Spiritual Science, the view, namely, which seeks to erect a picture in the world on the foundations of those recent advances in science which may rightly be regarded as the greatest triumph of humanity. And again and again we must repeat that it is no easy task to realise that the true Spiritual Investigator does not really dispute anything in the world picture that can be legitimately deduced from the data of modern science, that on the contrary he does in the fullest sense of the word take his stand upon the ground of modern science, in so far as the latter supplies an adequate foundation for a cosmic or world-conception. Let us examine this recent scientific tendency from a particular contemporary point of view. For we can but pick out individual points of view for examination. Here, then, we stand before those men who quite legitimately raise difficulties against Spiritual Science by saying, "Does not modern science show us through the wonderful structure of the human nervous system and the human brain how dependent is that which man experiences mentally upon this structure and upon the action of this nervous system? "And one might easily expect the Spiritual Investigator to deny what the ordinary scientist is bound to maintain from his point of view. But this is just where so much mischief is done by the dilettante Spiritual Investigator, and by those who want to be Spiritual Investigators without being worthy to lay claim to so much as the name of dilettante. For ever and again true Spiritual Science is confused with charlatanism and dilettantism. It is no easy task to believe that just on this very subject of the meaning of the physical structure of the brain and nervous system, the Spiritual Investigator actually stands more firmly on scientific ground than the scientist himself.

Let us take an example. I purposely choose one that is not very recent, although with the rapid advance of modern science things alter very quickly and the older discoveries are easily superseded by new ones. I purposely did not choose a very recent example, though it would have been easy enough to do so. I have selected the famous brain specialist and psychiatrist, Meynert, 6Theodor Meynert (1833-1892), born in Dresden, was active in Vienna from 1866 as psychiatrist and cerebral anatomist. Rudolf Steiner's early friend, Alfred Stross, was one of his patients. (See Fritz Lemmermeyer's Erinnerungen, Stuttgart, 1929) A collection of his writings is to be found in August Hirsch's Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragendsten Ärzte, Berlin, 1929. Vol. IV. because I wish to take as my starting-point what, as a result of his researches on the brain, he had to say about the relation between the brain and the life of the soul. Meynert had a profound knowledge of the brain and of the nervous system, both in their normal and in their pathological conditions. His writings, which towards the end of the nineteenth century, were standard works on the subject, will inspire anyone who reads them with the feeling that it is supremely important to consider not only the pronouncements of purely positive research on the question under discussion, but also those of a man of this quality. The following point, however, must be borne in mind. When people who, for one reason or another, have lightly taken upon themselves a would-be Spiritual Scientific attitude, people who have never looked through a microscope or a telescope, ignoramuses who have never done anything that could give them the remotest conception of — say — the wonderful structure of the human brain — when such people talk about the baseness of materialism, then it is easy enough to understand that the conscientious thoroughness which informs the methods of modern scientific research should prevent its votaries from accepting the objections that have been put to them by those who parade as the champions of Spiritual Science.

But when a man like Meynert, however, embarks upon the study of the brain, the first thing he finds is that the brain in its outer frame is a complicated agglomeration of cells (according to him about a milliard in number), 7Theodor Meynert, Zur Mechanik des Gehirnbaues, a lecture delivered before the Vienna Anthropological Society, 1872. (See Theodor Meynert, Sammlung von populär-wissenschaftlichen Vorträgen über den Bau und die Leistungen des Gehirns, Vienna and Leipzig, 1892.) which combine among themselves in the most intricate ways, which multiply and are distributed to the most various parts of the body, into the organs of sense where they become the nerves of the special senses, into the organs of movement, etc., etc. And to a scientist like Meynert it is revealed how connecting fibres lead from one set of nervous paths to another and he is thus led to the view that the brain takes in that which man experiences as the world of presentations, that which is broken up and bound together again in concepts and images when the external world impinges upon his senses. The brain takes all this in, works upon and transforms it, and according to the nature of the transformation, produces what we call the phenomena of the soul.

Yes, say the philosophers, but these phenomena, these visions of the soul, these mental processes are something quite different from the movements of the brain, different from anything that goes on inside the brain. The answer to them is this. That the brain should produce what we call mental processes is for a scientist like Meynert no more wonderful than that, say, a watch should, in accordance with the nature of its internal mechanism, produce signs which tell us the time of day; no more wonderful than that a magnet should, in virtue of its purely physical properties, attract a body outside itself, should, as it were, work with invisible threads. The magnetic field reveals itself as active around the physical object. Why should not the life of the soul be something produced similarly, but in an infinitely more complicated manner, by the brain? The view, in short, is one that cannot be easily dismissed, nor can its claims be rejected without very careful examination. You may laugh at the idea that the brain should, by the mere unrolling of its processes, bring into being some highly complex psychic life. Yet there are plenty of examples in nature of processes where we would not at first glance be disposed to speak of the presence of soul life. Not by taking our stand upon preconceived opinions, but by realising how justified are many of the difficulties which many people feel to be standing in the path of Spiritual Investigation — thus, and thus alone, can we bring order and harmony into the bewildered conceptions of the world.

Thus, ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing to disprove the possibility of that which in the ordinary sense of the word we call soul life having been produced by a purely mechanical process, in so far as it takes place in the brain and in the nervous system. The brain and the nervous system may be ordered in so complicated a manner that through the unrolling of their processes, the life of the soul can arise in man. No one, therefore, will reject the materialistic picture of the world given by Natural Science on the ground of considerations such as these, which merely rest upon the observations of nature. Indeed, Spiritual Science is hard put to it to-day to oppose Natural Science, just because the latter has been brought to such a pitch of perfection, and has achieved so legitimate an ideal in its own sphere. For the Spiritual Investigator must be able and willing to recognise to the full where the other side is in the right. That is why, once again, we can never hope to build up a spiritual view of the world by merely stressing those things which run counter to the claims of external observation, even when the latter extends to the sphere of our own human lives. If we want to reach the life of the soul, then we must experience it in ourselves, and our soul life must not flow from outer events. Then we shall not say that the brain cannot produce the processes of the soul, but we must experience these psychic processes ourselves.

Now there is one sphere in which everyone has experience of his own soul, independently of brain processes, and that is the sphere of ethics, the sphere of the moral life. It is at once obvious that what shines before a man as a moral impulse cannot occur as the result of the unrolling of any mere brain processes. It must be clearly understood that I am speaking of the moral impulse in so far as the will and the feelings enter into it, in so far as the experience is really ethical. Thus, in the sphere where the soul becomes immediately aware of itself, everyone can assert that the soul has a life of its own, independently of the body and of anything corporeal. But not everyone is able to add to this inner realisation and growth in the moral life the idea that Goethe added to it in the essay which I mentioned yesterday 8See footnote 5 on "Anschauende Urteilskraft," and in many other passages. Not everyone can say, like Goethe, from the depth of his own experience: If even in the world of sense man can rise to impulses which act independently of the corporeal, why should not this soul of his be able, in relation to other spiritual activities, to embark boldly upon the "adventure of reason." 9Literally: "Unconsciously and impelled from within I had pressed on untiringly to the discovery of archetypes, I had succeeded in building up an exposition of things that accorded with nature. There was, therefore, nothing to hinder me from embarking boldly upon the 'adventure of reason,' as the Sage of Königsberg has called it." (Goethe, Anschauende Urteilskraft, 1820) Kant, in the Critique of the Faculty of Judgment, describes the attempt to explain the relationship in the structure of different animals through actual blood relationship as "daring to make an adventure in reason." "A priori, in the judgment of mere reason, this cannot be disputed. It is simply that experience gives no instance of it." (Ibid.) (This was the name given by Kant to anything that went beyond the moral standpoint.) This is where Goethe speaks in opposition to Kant. And it means that we must rise, not only to a spiritual soul life which springs, as do the moral impulses, from the depth of the soul, so that it cannot be ascribed to the life of the brain — no, we must also have other spiritual experiences, which will go to show that the soul perceives spiritually with spiritual organs just as we perceive physically with physical organs. But for this to happen there must be added to the ordinary everyday life, which we go through passively, a life of inner activity and doing. And this it is which escapes so many people to-day, who have become accustomed to the idea that if anything is true, then it must be dictated to them from some quarter or another. For men would rather take their stand upon any external manifestation than upon the firm ground of inner experience. What is experienced within the soul strikes them as something arbitrary, something unsure. Truth, so it seems to them, should be firmly rooted in external reality, in something to whose existence we have not ourselves contributed.

Now this way of thinking is easy enough, at any rate in the sphere of scientific research. To add all manner of fantastic material to the testimony of the outer senses and to what experiment and method can make of this testimony, is to burden Natural Science unnecessarily. But we shall see in a moment that the same does not hold of Spiritual Investigation. And even if we admit that the standpoint of Natural Science is justified, we can see how it loses in strength for lack of the habit of inner energising, how enfeebled it shows itself when that activity is demanded of it which is simply indispensable for anyone wishing to make the smallest progress in Spiritual Science. In order to make progress in spiritual knowledge it is not necessary to go in for all sorts of hazy activities, nor to train oneself so as to have what are usually called clairvoyant experiences by means of hallucination, visions, etc. This comes neither at the beginning nor, as I pointed out in the lecture on Soul Health and Spiritual Science, 10See footnote 2 does it come at the end of our quest. What is needful, however, in order to reach a deeper understanding of Spiritual Research (mind, I do not say in order to become a legitimate follower of its teaching), what is needful for a legitimate understanding is hard thinking. And hard thinking has suffered considerably from the fact that people have grown accustomed to do no more than observe how phenomena occur as to their form. They place implicit faith in the pronouncements of nature, whether in the outer world of sense, in external observation, or in experiment. They take their stand upon what the experiment says. They do not venture — and they are right so far as this particular field is concerned — they do not venture to establish as a comprehensive general law anything that has not been dictated from outside. But this attitude hinders the inner activity of the soul. Man gets into the way of being passive, of trusting only what is shown to him from outside. And his soul completely loses the faculty for seeking truth by an inner energising, an inner activity. Now, in approaching Spiritual Science, it is above all necessary that one's thinking should be thorough, so thorough that nothing will escape it, and that certain lightly-veiled objections which could be raised should spring up in one's mind. It is necessary, too, that one should anticipate such objections and face up to them oneself, so as to reach a higher standpoint from which, on looking back on these former objections, one shall find the truth. And at this point I would like to direct your attention to an example — one of many hundreds and thousands which could be found in Meynert. I do this, ladies and gentlemen, because I regard Meynert as a first-class scientist. When it comes to refuting criticisms I do not choose protagonists I despise, but critics for whom I have the highest regard.

Thus one of the points of interest in Meynert is his account of how the conceptions of time and space arise in man. His view is as follows. Let us suppose (the example is particularly apposite at the moment) that I am listening to a public speaker. I shall get the impression that his words are spoken one after the other, i.e., that they are spoken in Time. And, Meynert asks, how do we get this impression that the words are spoken successively in Time? (Thus, ladies and gentlemen, you can all imagine that Meynert is speaking of you as you are taking in my words in such a way that they appear to you one after the other in Time.) And he answers: Time comes into being through the conception of the brain; it is as the brain receives it that one word can be thought of as coming after another. The words come to us through the sense organs and from these sense organs a further process sends them on to the brain. The brain has certain inner organs with which it works upon the sense impressions, and thus the conception of Time arises within through the activity of certain organs. And it is in this way that all conceptions are created out of the brain. That Meynert does not mean a subordinate activity by this can be seen from a certain remark which he makes in his lecture on the "Mechanics of the Brain Structure," 11See footnote 7 in which he gives his opinion of how the external world is related to man. The ordinary man in the street, says Meynert, assumes that the external world is there exactly as he creates it in his brain. The hypothesis, he continues, which Realism dares to make is that the world which appears to the brain is there before and after any brains existed. But the world as constructed in this way by a brain capable of consciousness gives the lie to the realistic hypothesis. That is to say, the brain builds up the world as man pictures it, as it is presented to him by his senses, as he has created it outwards from within through the processes of his brain. And in this way man creates, not only images, but also Time, Space, and Infinity. Certain mechanisms exist in the brain, says Meynert, which enable him to do this. Unfortunately in lectures of this sort, which must of necessity be short, one cannot enter into every detail of these ideas, which may, therefore, in many respects seem obscure. But we shall see in a moment that it is possible, nevertheless, to pick out the main line of thought in this matter. What seems clear is that as soon as one has taken a step along the path which leads to the view that the brain is the creator of the life of the Soul as it occurs in man, then what Meynert says will seem completely justifiable. It is what that path leads to; we are bound to end there. And the only way of avoiding such a conclusion is to have thought things out so thoroughly that the very simple objections to this view will immediately occur to one. For imagine what would be the consequences if Meynert's exposition were correct. You are all sitting there. You are listening to what I say. Through the structure of your brains what I am saying becomes ordered in Time. It is not merely that your auditory nerve transforms it into an auditory image, but it arranges for you in Time the words that I am speaking. Thus you all have, as it were, a dream picture of what is being said and also, naturally, of him who is standing before you. Behind this dream picture, says Meynert, Naive Realism assumes that there is a human being like yourselves, who is saying all this. But this is not necessarily so, for you have produced this man and his words in your brain, and there may be something quite different behind him. And yet I, too, am ordering my images in Time, so that Time is present not only in you but also in the fact that I am placing one word after another. Now this perfectly simple idea will not occur to anyone who digs himself into a certain line of thought. And yet it is easy to see in the case I have just described that Time has an objective existence, that it lives outside ourselves. But the man who has embarked upon a certain definite line of thought will see neither to right nor to left of him, but will go on and on in this same direction and reach the most extraordinarily subtle and highly remarkable results. But this is not the point. All the most subtle results which this line of thought will yield admit of vigorous proof. Each proof is linked to the other. You will never detect an error if you follow the stream of Meynert's thought. The point, however, is this, that you must have thought things out sufficiently to hit upon the instances that will not fit; the thinking finds out of itself that which will force the stream out of its bed. And it is just this act of making thought mobile and active which, among those in the other camp, interferes with that perfectly legitimate concentration upon the external world which is demanded of them by Natural Science. Thus the problem of Time gives rise here not to a subjective, but to a genuinely objective difficulty. And the same will be found to be the case in all kinds of departments of thought.

For more than a hundred years philosophers have been chewing the old saying of Kant's with which he tried to rescue the conception of God from the dilemma in which he found it. If we merely think of a hundred coins, 12"Thus the real contains no more than the possible. A hundred real coins contain no more than a hundred possible coins." "By whatever ... predicates I may cogitate a thing I do not in the least augment the object of my conception by the addition of the statement, this thing exists. Now, if I cogitate a being as the highest reality, without defect or imperfection, the question still remains — whether this being exists or not." Kant, Critique of Pure Reason they are not a coin less than a hundred real coins. A hundred imagined, possible coins are supposed to be exactly the same as a hundred real coins! Upon this idea that conceptually a hundred possible coins contain everything that a hundred coins contain, upon this idea Kant bases the whole of his refutation of the so-called Ontological proof of the existence of God. Now, if our thinking is mobile, we shall immediately hit upon the objection: a hundred imaginary coins are for one with a mobile mind exactly a hundred coins less than a hundred real ones. Exactly a hundred coins less. The point is not merely to ask for a logical proof of what we are thinking, but to pay attention to how we are thinking. The web of Kant's ideas is, of course, so closely woven that it needs the utmost acumen to point to any logical error it may contain. The point is not only to bear in mind what arises within certain accustomed streams of thought, but to be so well drilled in thought that one remains firmly planted in the objective world. We must stand, not only with our thinking within ourselves, not only inside our own world of thought, but in the objective world outside us, so as to capture on the wing the instances that will refute the idea before us. The mind must be thoroughly trained, must have thought things out thoroughly before the instances will stream towards it. And only in this way will man attain to a certain kinship with the great Thought that animates the objective world.

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that we must think of the soul in its activity. If we want to grasp what the soul is, it is not enough to draw conclusions from the premise that it is impossible to develop the life of the soul from the brain and its processes. No, we must have immediate experience of the life of the soul independently of the life of the brain; then only can we speak of the life of the soul. This inner activity is what people nowadays regard as merely the work of fantasy. But the genuine Seeker knows exactly where fantasy ends and where in the development of his soul something else begins which he does not spin from fantasy but which binds him with the spiritual world, so that he can draw from this spiritual world that which he then coins into words or concepts, ideas or images. Only in this way will the soul attain to some knowledge of itself.

I now propose to develop what may seem to be a very paradoxical view. But it is a view which must be expressed, because it can throw so much light upon the essential nature of Spiritual Investigation. You will have noticed that the Spiritual Investigator is and can be in no way inimical to the assumption that the brain can of itself produce certain images, so that what arises as soul life devoid of any inner co-operation can be regarded as merely a product of the brain. And a certain mental habit, due mainly to modern methods of education, causes men and women to behave in the following manner. They are unwilling — for the reasons given above — to seek for anything that they hold to be true by means of inner activity. This they condemn as fantasy or dreaming. And they not only apply this opinion theoretically, but also give it practical effect in that they seek to eliminate what the soul has formed within itself, in that they do their utmost to suppress this element in the attempt they are making to give a picture of the world. Once the soul life has been thus cut off the materialistic world view becomes the ideal sought for. For what happens exactly when man rejects his inner life? Why, much the same as if one were to cut off one's own bodily life from the life of the soul. Just as the watch into which the watchmaker has worked his ideas, once it is finished and left to itself, will produce the same manifestations that were at first introduced into it by the watchmaker's ideas — so the life of the soul can continue in the brain, without the soul being there at all. And the education of to-day forms this habit in people. They grew accustomed not only to deny the soul, but to eliminate it altogether, that is to say, instead of seeking after it with inner activity, they sink back, as on to a pillow, into the purely cerebral life. And the paradox I want to utter is that the materialistic view of the world is literally a brain product, it has actually been automatically produced by the self-moving brain. The external world mirrors itself in the brain, sets it in passive motion, and this gives rise to the world picture of the materialist. The curious thing is, that if and when he has eliminated the life of the soul, the materialist is, on his own ground, perfectly right. Having gone to sleep on the pillow of purely cerebral life, all he can see is this purely cerebral life which has produced the life of the soul; then, in Karl Vogt's 13Karl Vogt (1817-1895), was a German scientist, philosopher and politician, an eager champion of Materialism and Darwinism, the well-known author of Köhlerglaube und Wissenschaft, Giessen, 1855. coarse simile, the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile. 14Literally, "Every scientist will, if he thinks with a certain amount of consistency, reach the view that all the faculties which we grasp under the name of activities of the soul are only functions of the brain matter; or to put it rather coarsely, that thoughts stand in the same relation to the cerebral substance as does bile to the liver, or urine to the kidneys. To assume a soul that uses the brain like an instrument with which it can work as it pleases, is sheer nonsense." (See Karl Vogt's Physiologische Briefe für Gebildete aller Stände, Stuttgart, 1847) The remark is made in refutation of Gall and C. G. Carns, and is repeated with especial emphasis in the fourth edition. These ideas, which arise in the field of materialism, do not, however, admit of being thought out. The simile is coarse, but they have literally come out of the brain as bile comes out of the liver. Hence the errors to which they give rise. For errors do not come about simply through people saying something false, but when they say something that is true, that holds good within a limited field, namely in the one and only field they will allow, the field of materialism.

From this tendency to make no mental effort, this inability to intensify our thinking as was shown in the last lecture, 15See footnote 5 this failure to achieve any liveliness in the soul — from this general inclination merely to trust to what the body can do comes the materialistic view of the world. The materialistic conception does not arise from a logical error, it comes from the mental tendency to shun all inner activity and to give oneself up to the dictates of the corporeal. And herein lies the secret of the difficulty of refuting materialism. For a man who refuses to bestir his soul cannot answer the objections that are raised against him except by undertaking this very inner activity; and if he shuts it out from the first and prefers the far more convenient alternative of producing simply what his brain produces, well, it is hardly to be wondered at if he remains firmly stuck in the closed circle of materialism. One thing he will never see, and that is that this brain of his (he may thank Heaven that he has one; he could not for all his materialistic philosophy have provided himself with one!) — that this brain of his has itself been created by the Wisdom of the World and that it can, therefore, go on working like a watch, that it is entirely material and can go on reproducing itself. This Wisdom is a sort of phosphorescence; a phosphorescence that is present in the brain itself brings out what is already placed there spiritually. But the materialist need have nothing to do with all this; he simply gives himself up to that which, from being spiritual, has, as it were, condensed into matter, and which now, like the watch, simply grinds out spiritual products. As you see, ladies and gentlemen, the Spiritual Investigator stands so firmly on the foundations of legitimate Natural Science that he is obliged to assert what to many will seem as paradoxical as what I have just been saying. But this will show you that if we want to pass judgment on Spiritual Science, we must reach down to the central nerve of the matter. And since what can be repeated is so well established, it is easy to see why so very many objections and misunderstandings have arisen. Genuine Spiritual Investigation, that takes itself seriously, is all too easily identified with all the dilettante activities that bear a superficial resemblance to the real thing. I have often been reproached with the fact that the books I have written and the lectures I have delivered on Spiritual Science were not sufficiently on popular lines — as the common phrase goes. Now, I do not write my books nor do I deliver my lectures in order to please people and give them the heart-to-heart talks that they enjoy. I write my books and deliver my lectures in the manner best fitted to present Spiritual Science to the world at large. Spiritual Science existed in the past, as I have often had occasion to point out, 16See Rudolf Steiner, Christianity as a Mystical Fact and the Mysteries of Antiquity although it arose from sources that differ from those of the Spiritual Science of to-day, which has inevitably been altered by human progress. In the olden days only those were admitted to the places where Spiritual Science was taught who were considered sufficiently ripe. Such a procedure would be quite meaningless to-day. Nowadays our life is public and it goes without saying that all subjects of investigation must be brought out into the open and that it would be folly to practise any sort of secrecy. The only secrecy which can be admitted is that which is already customary in public life. Namely, that to those who have already begun to study the opportunity be given of hearing more in lectures addressed to smaller audiences. But this is done in Universities; it is what is practised in ordinary life. And it is as unwarrantable to speak of secrecy in this respect as it would be in connection with University lectures. But the books are written and the lectures are delivered in such a way that a certain effort is needed on the part of those to whom they are addressed, and a certain amount of thought is required of them in their approach to Spiritual Science. Otherwise, anyone who shirked the trouble of going into the matter seriously could understand, or rather imagine he understood it, from reading those popular works that are so palatable to him. I am well aware that much of what I say must seem bristling with scientific terms to those who do not want that sort of thing. But this has to be in order that Spiritual Science may take its place in the mental and spiritual culture of the day. And if here and there Spiritual Science is being cultivated by large or small groups of men and women who, having no conception of the advances of modern science, yet claim to speak with a certain authority, it is little wonder if Spiritual Science incurs the contempt and misunderstanding and calumny of men of science. Something special, something significant must, therefore, be felt even in the manner in which the subject is imparted. And it must be felt in the fact that inner activity and doing of the soul is necessary in order to grasp how the essential part of the soul really lives as something which can use the body as an instrument but is not one and the same as the body.

If, then, we see things aright, how are we to account for the misunderstandings that have arisen? Well, when the soul begins to grow, when its dormant powers begin to awake, then the first of these powers which has to be developed is Thought, and it must be developed in the way we have often indicated and to-day again repeated. And for this a certain inner force, a certain inner strength is required. The soul must strive within itself. And this inner effort is just what, under the influence of the times, people do not want. Unless it be the artists. But in the realm of art, things have reached the point that people prefer simply to copy nature and have no inkling of the fact that, in order to add anything exceptional and new to nature pure and simple, the soul must be strengthened from within, must work upon itself a little. The power of Thought is, therefore, the first thing that has to be fortified. And then Feeling and Will, as was shown in the lectures of the last week. 17Lectures between 19 and 26 February 1916. And this process of fortifying is only described by people saying that in Spiritual Science everything happens inwardly. People shrink from this, and from the idea of anything being strengthened inwardly, and they fail to grasp the obvious distinction which is required here between the conception of external nature and that of the spiritual world.

Let us try to grasp this distinction more vividly. What exactly is it? With regard to external nature, our organs are already given. Our eyes have been given us. Goethe has said very beautifully, "Were not the eye sunlike, how could we behold the light?" 18Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre, 1808-1810 Just as it is a fact that you would not hear me when I speak unless you met me half-way by listening in order to understand me so, in Goethe's view, it is a fact that the eye has been created out of the light of the sun by a devious path of hereditary and other complicated processes. And by this is meant, not merely that the eye creates light in Schopenhauer's sense, but that it is itself created by light. This must be firmly borne in mind. And those who are inclined to be materialists may, we suggest, thank God! They no longer need to create their eyes, for these eyes are created from the Spiritual. They already have them, and in taking in the world around them they are using these ready made eyes. They direct these eyes towards the outer impressions and the outer impressions mirror themselves, completely mirror themselves in the sense organs. Let us imagine that man could, with his present degree of consciousness, experience the coming into being of his eyes. Let us imagine him entering nature as a child with only a predisposition for eyes. His eyes would first reveal themselves to him through the action of the sunlight. What would happen in man's growth? What would happen would be that by means of the sun-rays, invisible as yet, the eyes would be called forth out of the organism. And when a man feels "I have eyes," he feels the light inside his eye; when he knows his eyes to be his own, he feels them as part of his own organisation, he feels his eyes living inside the light. And, fundamentally, sense-perception is as follows: Man experiences himself by experiencing light, by experiencing with his eyes what has been developed in sense-perception, where we already have eyes for which possession we, as was said above, may thank God!

And so it must also be with Spiritual Science. There, too, the organic must be called forth from the as yet unformed soul. Spiritual hearing, spiritual vision must be called forth, to use Goethe's expressions 19"And with the eyes, not of the body, but of the spirit, I saw myself riding on horseback towards myself." (Dichtung und Wahrheit, Part III, Book XI) "The eye may indeed be called the clearest sense, but the inner sense is still clearer." (Shakespeare und kein Ende, 1813-1816) "We learn to see with the eyes of the spirit, without which we should in the realm of Natural Science, as everywhere else, be groping blindly about." (Zur Zoologie, 1795) "And the new-born day sounds already in our spirit's ear." (Faust II, V) once again: the spiritual eye and the spiritual ear must be called into being from within. Through the development of the soul we actually feel our way into the spiritual world, and as we do this, the new organs will come into being. And with these organs we shall experience the spiritual world in exactly the same way as we experience the physical world of sense with the organs of the physical body. Thus we must first create something analogous to that which man already possesses, for the purpose of sense perception. We must have the strength to begin by creating new organs of perception in order to experience the spiritual world with them.

The obstacle to this — and there is no other — is what may be called the inner weakness of man, resulting from modern education. It is weakness that prevents man from so taking hold of his inner life (the expression is clumsy, but it will serve) that it becomes as active as it would if man had to create his own hands in order to touch the table before him. He creates his inner powers in order to touch that which is spiritual; with spirit he touches spirit. Thus it is weakness that holds man back from pressing forward in the pursuit of true Spiritual Investigation. And it is weakness that calls forth the misunderstanding which Spiritual Investigation is faced with, fundamental weakness of soul, the inability to see that we are still caught in the Faustian doom, powerlessness to transform the reality within into organs which will lay hold upon the spiritual world. That is the first point. 20See Faust I, V. Cp. Hegel, History of Philosophy, Vol. II. "This is one of the foibles of our time, that we cannot endure the greatness, yea, the immensity of the claims of the human spirit, that we feel oppressed by it and flee from it like weaklings."

And there is a second point, which will also be understood by those who wish to understand it. Man, in the face of the unknown, always experiences a peculiar feeling, primarily a feeling of fear. People are afraid of the unknown. But their fear is of a peculiar sort: it is a fear that does not become conscious. For what is the source of the materialistic, mechanistic world-view, or, as the more scholarly would have us say, what is the source of the monistic world conception? (Though even under this name it is still materialistic.) It arises from the fact that the soul is afraid of breaking through sense-perception, afraid that if it breaks through the sensuous into the spiritual, it will come into the unknown, into "Nothing," as Mephistopheles says to Faust. But, "In the Nothing," answers Faust, "I hope to find the All." 21Faust, II, V It is fear of that which can only be guessed at as Nothing. But it is a masked fear. For we must become familiar with the fact that there is a luxuriant growth of hidden or unconscious processes in the depths of the soul. It is remarkable how people deceive themselves over this. A frequent example of such self-deception is that of people who, while animated by the grossest selfishness, refuse to admit it and invent all sorts of subterfuges to show how selfless, how loving they are in what they do. Thus do they put on a mask to cover their selfishness. This is very frequently the case with societies that are formed with the object of exercising love in the right way. One often has occasion to make a study of this masking of selfishness. I knew a man who was always explaining that what he did, he did against his own aims and inclination; he did it only because he deemed it necessary for the welfare of humanity. Again and again I had to say, "Don't deceive yourself! Pursue your activities from selfish motives and because you like doing it." It is far better to face the truth. One stands on a foundation of truth if one simply owns to oneself that one likes the things one wishes to undertake and if one ceases to hold a mask before one's face. It is fear which leads nowadays to the rejection of Spiritual Knowledge. But people will not own to this fear. It is in their souls, but they will not let it come into their consciousness, and they invent proofs and arguments against Spiritual Knowledge. They try to prove, for instance, that to leave the firm ground of sense-perception is inevitably to indulge in fantasy, etc. They invent the most complicated proofs. They invent whole philosophical systems which may be logically incontestable but which for anyone who has any insight in such matters go to show no more than that every one of these inventions misses the mark when it comes to Reality — and this, whether it calls itself Transcendental Realism, Empirical Realism, more or less Speculative Realism, Metaphysical Realism, or any other kind of "ism." People invent these "isms," and a lot of hard thinking goes to their making. But at bottom they are nothing but the soul's fear of embarking upon that which I have often characterised as "Feeling the Unknown in its Concreteness." These, then, are the two chief reasons for the misunderstandings which arise in relation to Spiritual Knowledge — weakness of soul and fear of what is presumed to be the unknown. And whoever possesses some knowledge of the human soul can analyse the modern world conceptions in the following way: on the one hand, they arise from men's inability so to strengthen their thought that all the relevant examples will at once occur to them; on the other hand, there is the fear of the unknown. And it often happens that because people are afraid of venturing into the so-called Unknown, they prefer to leave it as such. We grant, they will say, that behind the world of sense there is another, spiritual world. But man cannot enter into it. We can prove this, prove it up to the hilt. And most of them, when they wish to adduce these proofs, begin by saying, "Kant said," on the assumption, of course, that the person whom they are addressing understands nothing about Kant. Thus people invent proofs to show that the human spirit cannot enter into the world that lies beyond what is given in sensation. But these are simply subterfuges — clever though they be, they are attempts to escape from fear. It is assumed that something exists behind the world of sensation. But they call it the Unknown and prefer to lay down a form of Agnosticism of the Spencerian, 22Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era. or any other type, rather than find the courage really to lead the soul into the spiritual world.

A curious philosophy has arisen of late — the so-called "World-Conception of the As-If." It has found root in Germany. Hans Vaihinger 23Hans Vaihinger (1852-1933), German philosopher, author of The Philosophy of As-If, a system of the theoretical, practical and religious fictions of humanity, based on idealistic Positivism, with an appendix on Kant and Nietzsche. (English translation published by Kegan Paul.) The philosophy of "As-If" treads the same paths as the so-called Pragmatism whose most influential representatives are William James (1842-1910), born in America, and F. C. S. Schiller (born in England, 1864). Cp. Rudolf Steiner, Die Rätzel der Philosophie, Stuttgart, Dornach, 1924-26, Vol. II. has written a large volume on the subject. According to the "World-Conception of the As-If," we cannot speak as though conceptions like "the unity of consciousness" actually corresponded to anything real, but must regard the appearances of the world "as if" there existed something which could be thought of as one undivided soul. Or again, the As-If philosophers cannot deny the fact that none of them has ever seen an atom or that an atom must be conceived precisely as something which cannot be seen. For even light itself is supposed to arise from the vibrations of atoms, and atoms would, therefore, have to be seen without light, since light first happens through the vibration of atoms! Thus the As-If philosophers do at least go the length of accepting atoms as real only in an intellectual sense (not to speak of the fantastic nonsense about atoms that dances about in some quarters). What they say, however, is this: It makes the world of sense easier to understand if we think of it "as if" there were atoms in it. 24"The soul, too, is only a summary fiction without any reality of its own... We speak as if there were a soul. We insert this auxiliary conception (the atom) because it is convenient to us. It is literally a hypostatised non-existent. Now whoever, ladies and gentlemen, has an active inner life, will notice that it is one thing actively to live and move as an individual soul within a realm of spiritual reality, and another quite different thing to apply outwardly and realistically the idea that human activities can be made to appear "as if" they belonged to an individual soul. At any rate, if we take our stand on the firm ground of practical experience, we shall not find it easy to apply the Philosophy as As-If. To take an example. Fritz Mauthner 25Fritz Mauthner (1849-1923), was an Austrian philosopher and author of novels, satires, reviews and journalistic works. He was an exponent of philosophical scepticism derived from a critique of human knowledge and of philosophy of language. is to-day a highly esteemed philosopher, regarded by many as a great authority because he has out-Kantianised Kant. Whereas Kant still regards concepts as something with which we grasp reality, Mauthner sees in language alone that wherein our conception of the world actually resides. And thus he has been fortunate enough to complete his "Kritik der Sprache," (Critique of Language) to write a fat Philosophisches Wörterbuch 26Fritz Mauthner, Beitrage zu einer Kritik der Sprache, Stuttgart, 1901-1902. Second edition, Stuttgart and Berlin, 1906-1913. Wörterbuche der Philosophie Neue Beiträge zu einer Kritik der Sprache, Munich, 1910-1911. (Dictionary of Philosophy) from this point of view, and, above all, to collect a following who look upon him as the great man. Now, I do not wish to deal with Fritz Mauthner to-day. All I want to say is that it would be a hard task to apply the As-If philosophy to this gentleman. One might say: Let us leave it an open matter whether the gentleman has or has not intelligence and genius. But let us examine his claim to be intelligent "as if" he had intelligence. And if we set about the task honestly we shall find, ladies and gentlemen, that it cannot be done. The "As-If" cannot be applied where the facts are not there.

In a word, we must, as I have said before, reach the mainspring of Spiritual knowledge, and we must know what this teaching can regard as legitimate in the field in which misunderstandings can arise. For, while these misunderstandings really are misunderstandings, it is equally true that they are justified if the Spiritual Investigator is not fully capable of sharing the thought of the man of science. The Spiritual Investigator must be in a position to think along the same lines as the man of science, he must even be able to test him from time to time, especially if the man of science is one of those who are always insisting upon the necessity of standing firmly rooted in the data of empirical fact. At any rate, if one submits to a purely external test a philosophy that seems to be entirely positivistic and that rejects everything spiritual, the results are very remarkable. As you know, I in no wise underrate Ernst Haeckel. 27Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), was a German zoologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species and mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms. I fully recognise his merits. But when he begins to talk about World-Conception, he shows precisely that weakness of soul which renders it impossible for him to follow any current of thought except that upon which he has already embarked. We are here up against that extremely significant fact which is so baffling when one meets it in serious contemporary works. I mean the widespread superficiality of men's thought and the downright lie in their life. We find, for example, that one of the great men to whom Ernst Haeckel refers as one of his authorities is Carl Ernst von Baer. 28Carl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876), was a Baltic German scientist and explorer. The name is always introduced as decisive in support of the purely materialistic World-Conception which Haeckel drew from his own researches. Now, how many people will take the trouble to acquire a real insight into what actually goes on in scientific thought and activity? How many people will pause and reflect when they read in Haeckel that Carl Ernst von Baer is one from whom Haeckel has deduced his own views? So, naturally, people think that Carl Ernst von Baer must have said something which led to Haeckel's views. And now, let me read you a passage from one of von Baer's works. "The terrestrial body is simply the breeding ground on which the spiritual part of man vegetates and grows, and the history of nature is nothing but the history of the continued victory of spirit over matter. This is the basic idea of creation, in virtue of which or rather for the attainment of which, individuals and species are allowed to vanish and the present (future) is built up upon the scaffolding of an immeasurable past." 29Carl Ernst von Baer, Reden und Kleinere Aufsätze vermischten Inhalts. St. Petersburg, 1864-1875. Vol. I and Vol. II. For Haeckel's reference to Baer, see Haeckel's Anthropogeny. The man whom Haeckel is always quoting in support of his theories has a wonderfully spiritual conception of the world! The development of scientific thought should be carefully watched. If those whose business it is to trace this development only kept their eyes open, we should not have such a struggle to wage against that superficiality of thought that produces the innumerable prejudices and errors which as misunderstandings constitute an obstacle to such aspirations as those embodied in Spiritual Knowledge.

Or again, ladies and gentlemen, let us take an honoured figure in the arguments about World-Conception in the nineteenth century, David Friedrich Strauss. 30David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874), was a German liberal Protestant theologian and writer, who influenced Christian Europe with his portrayal of the "historical Jesus", whose divine nature he denied. An honourable man — so are they all, all honourable men! Having started from slightly different views he finally takes his stand quite firmly on the opinion that the soul is merely a product of matter. Man has arisen completely out of what modern materialism calls nature. When we speak of the will, there is no real willing present. All that happens is that the brain molecules spin round in some way or other and will arises as a sort of vapour. "In man," says Strauss, "nature has not only willed upwards, she has willed beyond herself." 31David Friedrich Strauss, The Old Faith and the New, Section IV. 'What is our rule of life?' English translation by Matthew Blind, 1873 Thus, nature wills. We seem to have reached the point where the materialist, in order to be one, no longer takes his own words seriously. Man is denied will because he must be like nature, and then it is said that "Nature has willed." One can, of course, dismiss such things as unimportant, but any earnest seeker after a true World-Conception will see that herein lies the source of innumerable mistakes and errors with which public opinion becomes, as it were, inoculated. And from this inoculation arise the many ways in which true Spiritual Science and Spiritual Investigation are misunderstood.

From another quarter we have those objections which are raised by the followers of this or that religious denomination, from those who think that their religion will be imperilled by the advent of a Spiritual Science. I must point out here once again, that it was people of exactly the same mentality who opposed Galileo and Copernicus on the ground that religion would be in danger if one had to believe that the Earth went round the Sun. And to such people there is always the retort: How timorous you are within the limits of your religion! How little you have grasped your own religion if you are so quickly convinced that it must be endangered by any fresh discovery! And, in this connection, I wish once again to mention the name of Laurenz Müllner, 32Laurenz Müllner (1848-1911), professor of Christian philosophy at the University of Vienna. a good theologian, and one who, as he pointed out on his death-bed, remained to the end a faithful member of his church. When, in the 'nineties of last century, this theologian, whom I knew as a friend, was appointed Rector of the Vienna University, he said, in the inaugural address on Galileo 33Laurenz Müllner, Die Bedeutung Galilei's für die Philosophie. Inaugurationsrede, 1894, in Die feierliche Inauguration des Rektor's der Wiener Universität für das Studienjahr, 1894-5. Vienna, 1894. which he held on this occasion: There were once men and women (within a certain religious body they continued to exist until the year 1822, when permission was granted to believe in the Copernican Cosmology) 34Not till the year 1822 did the Holy Office at Rome declare that books dealing with the movement of the Earth and the immobility of the Sun were no longer forbidden. — there were once men and women who believed that the religions could be imperilled by such views as those of Galileo or Copernicus. But nowadays — thus spoke this theologian, and priest, who remained within his church till the day of his death — nowadays, we must have reached the point where we find that religion is strengthened and intensified by the fact that men have looked into the glory of the divine handiwork, and learnt to know it better and better. 35Literally: "Of the days when men regarded their most holy possessions as threatened through the heliocentric view of the world, we say with the Psalmist, Illic trepidaverunt timore, ubi non erat timor. 'They were afraid where no fear was.' There was no contradiction involved in the right understanding of the Christian view, which should see in the newly discovered stellar worlds fresh wonders of divine wisdom and power, through which the wonders of divine love accomplished on earth would only receive a higher meaning." Laurenz Müllner, (see note 33). These were deeply religious, these were Christian words indeed.

And yet men will always rise up and say: This Spiritual Science says this or that about Christ, and it ought not to say it. We have our own conception of what Christ was like. Now, we would like to say to these people: We grant you everything that you hold about Christ, exactly as you put it; only we see in Him something more. We accept Him not only as a Being, as you do, but also as a cosmic Being, giving sense and meaning to the place of the Earth in the universe. But we must not say this. We must not go a step beyond what certain people regard as true. Spiritual Science gives knowledge. And knowledge of truth will never serve as the foundation for the creation of religion, although there will always be fools who say that Spiritual Science has come to found a new religion. Religions are founded in quite a different manner. Christianity was founded by its Founder, by the fact that Christ Jesus lived on earth. And Spiritual Science can no more found anything which is already there, than it can found the Thirty Years War through knowing facts about it. For religions are founded on facts, on events which have taken place. All that Spiritual Science can claim to do is to understand these facts differently — or rather not so much in a different, as in a higher sense — than can be done without its help. And just as in the case of the Thirty Years War, however lofty the standpoint from which we understand it, we do not found something by tracing it back to the Thirty Years War which was first merely known to us as a fact — so, in the same way, no religion is ever founded through that which is at first known to Spiritual Science as a fact. Here again it is a question of that superficiality which limits itself to sentiment and prevents the mind from really going into the matter in hand. If one really goes into the question of Spiritual Science, one will see that while the materialistic philosophy may very easily lead people away from religious feeling, Spiritual Science establishes in them the foundations of a deeper religious experience, because it lays bare the deeper roots of the soul, and thus leads men in a deeper way to the experience of that which outwardly and historically has manifested itself as religion. But Spiritual Science will not found a new religion. It knows too well that Christianity once gave meaning to the world. It seeks only to give to this Christianity a deeper meaning than can be given it by those who do not stand on the ground of Spiritual Science. Materialism, of course, has led to such discoveries as those, for example, of David Friedrich Strauss, who looked upon the belief in the Resurrection as insane. This belief in the Resurrection, he says, had to be assumed. For Christ Jesus had said many true and noble things. But the speaking of truths makes no particular impression on people. It needs the trimming of a great miracle such as the miracle of the Resurrection. 36"Thus (through belief in the Resurrection) men were assured of the continuance of all that was new and profound in the religious life as lived by Jesus and imparted to his followers through precept and example. But from now on, the fantastic form of this recovery (the recovery of belief in Jesus which had been shaken by violent death) . . . became the accepted one . . . his whole life was shrouded in a shining cloud which raised it ever higher and higher above the human." Life of Jesus, by David Friedrich Strauss. Part I. There you have what materialism has to bring forward. But this will not be brought forward by Spiritual Science! Spiritual Science will endeavour to unearth and bring to light what is living in the mystery of the Resurrection so as to understand it, and place it in the right way before humanity, which has advanced with the years, and can no longer accept it in the old way.

But this is not the place for religious propaganda. All I want to do is to bring to your notice the meaning of Spiritual Science and the misunderstandings which it has to meet — misunderstandings which come from those who presumably lead a religious life. At present (1916) men have not yet reached the stage when materialism can have an evil social result on a large scale. But this could very soon happen if men and women do not once again, through the help of Spiritual Science, find their way back to the fundamental spontaneity of the soul's inner life. And also the social life of humanity may find through Spiritual Science something which will, on a higher scale, bring about its own rebirth.

We can only speak of these things in a general way. Time does not allow us to describe them in more detail. I have done my best to characterise some of the misunderstandings which are found again and again, whenever Spiritual Science is being judged. I do not really wish to discuss the results of the perfectly natural superficiality of our time — at any rate not in the sense of refuting anything. In many cases it is worth considering, as supplying material for amusement — even for laughter. 37At this point the lecturer made brief mention of an article by Max Hachdorf which appeared in the Berliner Tageblatt, Feb. 9, 1916, on "Dreyfus, the Prophet Steiner and the deserters," and of two of its variants in other newspapers, all of which were distinguished by the wildest, almost ridiculous misrepresentations and errors. ...As I have said, one cannot discuss this type of superficiality, widespread and, in a sense, influential though it be, for printer's ink on white paper still has so potent a form of magic. But what must be discussed are the cases where the objections raised, even if they are unimportant in themselves, insinuate themselves nevertheless into the public mind. And the misunderstandings which arise from this mental inoculation are what must be combated step by step by those who take anything like Spiritual Science at all seriously. We are always meeting with objections that do not arise from any sort of activity of the soul, but which have been, as it were, injected into the minds of those who make them by the prevailing superficiality of the times. But he who is right inside Spiritual Science knows full well that, as I have so often explained, the same thing must and will happen to this teaching as has happened to any new element that is incorporated into the development of humanity. This reception was up to a point accorded to the philosophy of modern Natural Science, until the latter grew powerful, and could exercise its influence by means of external power-factors, and no longer needed to work through its own strength. And then the time comes when people, without any activity on the part of their own souls, can build philosophies upon these power-factors. Is there, ladies and gentlemen, much difference between these two views? Those who nowadays found elaborate Monistic systems regard themselves as very lofty thinkers, infinitely superior to those whose philosophy, coloured perhaps by theological and religious considerations, they consider to be narrowly dogmatic and hidebound by authority. But in the eyes of one who knows something of how misunderstandings arise, it matters little in the soul's achievement whether men swear by a Church Father such as Gregory, Tertullian, Irenus or Augustine and accept him as authority, or whether they look upon Darwin, Haeckel and Helmholtz as authorities, and in so far as these are really their Church Fathers, give them their allegiance. The point is not whether we have given our allegiance to one or the other of these two, but how far we have got in working out a philosophy of our own. And what was true of a mere abstract idealism is true in a higher, a far higher sense, of Spiritual Science. To begin with, it is misunderstood and mistaken on all sides, and then, later, the very thing that at first appeared to be moonshine and fantasy is taken for granted. This is what happened to Copernicus, it is what happened to Kepler, it is what happens to everything that has to be incorporated into the spiritual development of humanity. First it is regarded as nonsense, then it is taken for granted. And this, too, is what is happening to Spiritual Science.

But this Spiritual Science, as has been shown in previous addresses and re-stated in the present lecture, has a very important message. It points to that living reality which brings man to the fullness of his powers, not by offering itself to his passive contemplation, not by revealing itself to him from outside, but by requiring of him that he should seize hold of it alive so that through co-operation alone he may come to a knowledge of his own existence. He must overcome that weakness which makes him regard as fantasy everything whose existence cannot be felt by a mere passive surrender, but demands an inwardly active co-operation with the World-All. Only when man's knowledge is active will it tell him what he is and where he is going, what he is and what is his destiny. The spirit has strength enough of its own to fight its way through all the misunderstandings of the day, justifiable as they are in a certain sense, and it will fight its way through, especially in so far as these misunderstandings arise from the superficiality of the times. Very beautiful, in this connection, is Goethe's saying, uttered, on his own admission, in unison with the ancient sage: 38"I am at the moment dictating something about the marked passage in the old mystic" (meaning Plotinus, Enneades, I, 6, 8). Goethe used the text of the Latin translation, Neque vero oculus unquam vederet solem, nisi factus solaris esset. Neque rursus animus, nisi factus sit puicher, si modo deurn sit et pulchritudinem inspecturus. Plotini Opera Salingiacum M.O. See Goethe's letter to Zalter, Sep. 1, 1805, and Goethe Jahrbuch, Vol. III, 1882, Zur Farbenlehre, 1808-1810.

Were the eye not sun-like
How could we look upon the light?
Were we not animate with God's own power
How could we be ravished with the divine?

The Spiritual-divine that lives, moves and has its being throughout the world is that from which we originate, that from which we have sprung. Even the material element in us is born of the spiritual. And it is because it is already born and no longer needs to be proved or brought forth that man, if he is a materialist, believes in it alone. The spiritual must be grasped in living activity. The Spiritual divine must first weave itself into man, the spiritual sun must first create its own organs in him. Thus, altering Goethe's words, we may say: If the inner eye does not become spiritually sun-like, it will never look upon the light which is the very essence of man.

To conclude these reflections. If the human soul cannot unite itself with that from which it has sprung from all eternity, with the Spiritual-divine whose being is one with its own, then it will never be able to rise as a gleam into the Spiritual; its spiritual eye will never come into being. The soul will then never be enraptured by the Divine, in the spiritual sense of the word, and human knowledge will find the world empty and desolate. For we can only find in the world that for which we have created organs of reception in ourselves.

Were the outer physical eye not sun-like, how could we look upon the light? And if the inner eye does not become spiritually sun-like, we shall never look upon the spiritual light of quintessential humanity. If man's own inner activity does not itself become really spiritual-divine, then never can there pulsate through the soul of man that which alone brings him for the first time to true manhood, to the fullness of his human stature, to be a true man and to that which fills and animates the world, working and weaving through the All until in him it reaches human — if not divine — consciousness, the future Spirit of the World.