The Eternal Soul of Man From the Point of View of Anthroposophy
This lecture is also know as: The Immortality of the Human Soul in the Light of Anthroposophy.
14 May 1923, Oslo
Translated by Martha Keltz
First, as in previous lectures here, I must take a moment to ask for apologies, as I cannot give the lecture in the language of this country. Since this is not possible for me, I must make the attempt to be understood in my customary language. Secondly, I beg to apologize as I've arrived here with a cold, and so perhaps there will also be interruptions here and there throughout the lecture.
When one speaks in the present time of the question that has been announced for today's topic, a question that is indeed related to the deepest needs, the deepest yearnings of the human soul, then there emerges out of today's education the objection that questions so bereft of discovery cannot be spoken of scientifically at all, that one must be satisfied to let such questions remain within traditional beliefs, within the same things said about these things as are perception and feeling on the fingers. This is the familiar view nowadays, and therefore everything that is put forward from the point of view of a truly spiritual knowledge will be perceived as somewhat strange. Yet all that is brought forward here, that has arisen from valid points of view, can absolutely stand on the same ground as the accustomed scientific views over the course of the last three or four centuries, when the natural sciences actually climbed and arrived at the point of their highest success. But if one applies only the same methods of knowledge that are allowed by science today, then a way cannot be found into those areas for which answers must be sought, as far as is possible for people regarding such matters as those that we want to deal with today, questions of the soul's eternity, of the eternity of the innermost being of man.
Now the point of view here submitted wants nothing further than to continue within those natural scientific methods set down, but not just to those points from which one can gain a glimpse into the supersensory world, from which alone a possible view into the eternal nature of the inner man can be won. One must initially want to succeed in the acquisition of such knowledge so as to set the sights overall on the expectation of the knowledge itself. One must ask whether the insight, the inner realization, will stop within the ordinary consciousness as we apply it towards the phenomena of nature by measuring, by experiments in balance, through counting, arithmetic and so on, or whether a further glimpse into the supersensory is possible; whether an entirely different cognitive perception ought to be gained or not. So that we understand by such means this different cognitive perception, allow me next to make a comparison. I do not from the start want to prove anything by this comparison, but only to make myself understandable so that what I want to add as more evidence of any nature can be captured in just the right way.
Even in ordinary life we know of two states of consciousness within the human being that are strongly different from one another. We know the state of wakefulness, where we are from morning till night, and we know the state of sleep, in which we are outside of the ordinary circumstances of life, and from which arise colorful iridescent dreams. If we maintain a reasonable point of view, we do not attribute the same perspective of reality to these dreams that we experience in the waking state.
But let us consider: by what means in general do we come to speak of the dreams that arise out of the sleeping state — in general so to speak — so that they often carry, namely, an interesting character, but have a lower reality value, or perhaps in a certain sense they do not quite have the reality value compared to what we experience when awake? We come to an assessment of the dream world only by the fact that we wake up, and by awakening we come to an entirely different state of consciousness. What happens because of this awakening? We switch our will on, especially in our body, in our physical tasks. These depend on the will. After all, what we perceive through the awakened senses is also essentially caused by the awakening of the will in the senses, in the switching on of the sense organs. To a certain extent this goes on in our entire organism, our entire organism is taken hold of; we are able to turn ourselves to the natural world through our organism. And by what we experience because of this activity we are quite capable of assessing the value of the dream's reality. We could never come within the dream to any other insight about the dream than that which the dream itself presents as full reality. So long as we dream we see everything as real, what the dream presents to us in its colorful, dazzling variety.
Let us allow ourselves, once, to take up a certain correct, daring, paradoxical hypothesis. Allowing for this even once we would never awaken throughout our entire earthly life, but would constantly dream. Then we would fill ourselves during our conscious life on earth with all the ideas that we know only from our dreams. And one with such a problem could therefore definitely think that any force of nature — or by my account any spiritual being — could drive us to our actions, and in everything that we do from morning until evening our outer life thus proceeds as it proceeds. We would be accompanied not only with waking concepts, we would be doing something completely different of which we know nothing. However, we would dream our entire lives through, and we would come only to the thoughts that are not true reality. For that which occurs when we grasp things, when we see with the eyes, such as we have in the waking state, would not occur at all.
Thus we know our dream state only from the point of view of the Guardian's judgement. If such a thing is taken seriously, if we do not pass lightly out of habit over the usual events of life, then there arises just opposite the deeper soul questions this hypothetical view: Yes, is it not then perhaps also possible to some extent from a higher point of view to turn from our habitual everyday Guardian and awaken to something new, to a higher state of consciousness? Can we not allow ourselves to think that, if we can wake up out of the dream into everyday reality, we can also awaken out of everyday reality into a higher consciousness? Just as a higher consciousness is given with which we can judge the reality of the everyday world — where we are from morning until evening — can we not also judge the reality value of the dream from the standpoint of wakefulness?
I have put this before you first of all as a question, as an entirely hypothetical question. The same scientific point of view that I have here asserted now shows that it is actually possible for the human being to come to such a second awakening. Just as the shift from sleeping to dreaming in life occurs out of ordinary wakefulness, so this occurrence can increase to another higher level whereby one awakens out of this ordinary everyday life to a higher state and, from this, everyday life likewise appears as though out of dreams.
Now in order to take such a point of view at all, something is necessary that I always call, in this context, intellectual humility. This intellectual humility, however, does not belong to present-day man. Indeed, present-day man says to himself: “Well, when I was a small child, I dreamed in a certain way within life. Then I left childhood, I had to do so, yes, and I came to parenting through becoming older, through life itself. I was then in my entire soul constitution a different person. Each intellectual point of view that I had won for myself I had not brought into the world, for I had first developed it within myself out of the dull, dreamy state of the child's consciousness.” This is indeed the man of today, but here he stops, and then he says: “Well, I have this point of view. What appears to me to be true from this point of view is true; what appears to me to be false from this point of view is false. Through this point of view that I once won for myself, I am the sovereign ruler over truth and falseness, error and accuracy.”
Yes, one should not have this gesture of immodesty if one really wants to ascend to true knowledge of the supersensory world. So care must be taken: just as the human being has evolved out of the dull, dreamy soul-state of the child, so must it be presumed that from the standpoint of the soul — where he has already come once — he can continue to develop himself when he becomes an adult. Now it will be shown whether such a second awakening as I have hypothetically constructed is possible, whether such a development can be produced.
First of all, we naturally use those cognitive and mental powers that are already there when we want to enter into true, exact spiritual research. For there is nothing else the human being can use in relation to his soul constitution than what is already there; this he can try to develop further. Now there is a soul force that the more perceptive philosophers admit to, even in respect to our day, and if one looks at this properly it is already pointing clearly to the eternal essence of man. This suggests, however, that man will not develop even this soul force further; he will merely engage in philosophical speculations about it. That is to say, he wants just enough to stop in ordinary reality, and it is as though he, the dreamer, does not want to wake up, but wants to dream further about the dream in order to give himself an insight about the dream. He does not want to wake up a second time. The soul force I refer to is indeed beyond the power of memory. I do not want to engage in wide-meshed philosophical arguments here — naturally there is no time for it; in other circumstances there could very well be — I want to remain entirely within the popular consciousness. Let us imagine once that this popular consciousness actually works in man just as the power of memory and the power of perception do. Events that we may have gone through decades ago are accordingly brought up from the depths of the soul — or, preferably, we should say out of the depths of the human being so that we do not present a hypothesis about the soul. Out of the depths of the human being thought pictures will be conjured before the human soul that are the same as those that perhaps years ago were experienced in all of their vitality. What is actually occurring here? There lies before us something in memory that is different from what had been perceived in the outer world. In order to perceive the outer world it must be there. When the eye sees, that which is seen must be there. When the ear hears, that which is heard must be there, and so forth. What is experienced by the one perceiving is provided by the perception. With memory we have something in the soul that is not now present. What began as a perception, perhaps a long time ago, but is now no longer there, is conjured up before our souls by the memory.
From these facts intended here to emanate from spiritual science and not from philosophical speculation, connections can now be taken up and developed further through exercises of the soul. The question is this: if we are capable through ordinary memory of having something of the perceptions and the thoughts that are no longer there, but once were there in our earthly life, could we not perhaps also, through further development of such soul exercises, arrive at what refers to something that was never in earthly life, to something that is a more highly developed memory, yet is not actually a memory but an Imagination where the memory is so far advanced that something is presented that was not originally there? This can be achieved the more that we really develop the thought life that is used for ordinary consciousness.
This is not to criticize, but only to show the facts of mental life. Because for natural science and for the ordinary consciousness of the practical human being, only the external impressions of his consciousness are taken into consideration, and it is entirely correct that he surrenders to and passively experiences the thoughts of these external impressions. However, through this second process the higher awakening of which I have spoken can come about, but one must surrender all of the work and activities of thought life, surrender the forces of thought.
There then occurs that which should not be confused with what today is often called clairvoyance, which of course is based upon all possible associations dependent upon human organic functions. That which is acquired here presupposes that each step during practice is completed with as much prudence as the mathematician takes with his arithmetic for the mathematical sciences; so it is known exactly and precisely how to practice every forward step of the soul, just as the mathematician customarily carries out his work. Only the works of the mathematician are in objective forms, while here the work is to bring forward your own soul forces. In this manner you are finally led to remember. You live in an entirely different mental power than previously. Previously the power of thought was just abstract; you could think about something through your thoughts, but now, now you are internally experiencing the power of thought as a real force, just as you experience the pulsation of your blood. Now you experience thinking and action as a reality within you — now you see that the power of memory also lives in thought, only it is a dilution — if I may express myself figuratively — of that which is seen as a much greater power of thought, like the pulse of organic forces. You experience the reality of thought. And you can experience this reality of thought in so far as you really feel something that has not yet been felt. It has been felt in the physical body, and now one begins to feel a second, higher person. And this second, higher person then takes on a very definite shape.
So you have more than life in this time-body, the head is free: you have a human being in the etheric cosmos. That which I now recognize and know only in its importance as the earthly human being — and it actually has the I-sense — this is the human being as earth man, this is only the physical body that evaporates in space.
What we are as human beings as we go around in ordinary life, we are in that we carry a space-body with us, a fleshly space-body. Then we experience what I would call a time-body. One can also call this an etheric or formative forces body, as I have done in my books.
We experience namely that which emerges as a powerful tableau, an overview of our previous life on earth, from the point of time that we have reached, going backwards until the beginning of childhood. As otherwise we experience only a space tableau, now we experience a time tableau that occurs suddenly and is an overview of the entire previous life on earth. This is the first supernatural experience that the human being can have, his own earth lives suddenly appearing before him as a tableau.
Now someone can say: Yes, but perhaps this is only a somewhat complicated picture from memory. Indeed, one could likewise place together in thoughts what has been experienced and then form a continuous stream of memory; yes, one could just receive this picture as a memory picture. And perhaps we are brought to a state only of some self-deception here, to nothing other than such a memory picture from what you describe to us on the basis of your active guidance.
This would assuredly be so if there were no differences in accordance with the content! Indeed, if these things were really faced as though one were a scientist, confronting scientific things in laboratories, in physical cabinets, at the clinic and so forth, and then considering: is this an ordinary memory image? Imagine how people have approached us, how they have done this or that to us, how this or that has touched us with sympathy or antipathy, and so on. This can perhaps also provide us with a memory image that represents how natural phenomena has approached us. But it is always this that comes to us: what the thing mainly is when it is merely recollected.
In this tableau to which I have just drawn attention, it is not that the things draw near to us, but rather that everything comes out of us. This appears chiefly to be like that which we confront out of the inner forces of the soul as natural phenomena and the human being, yet everything appears from within us. This is real self-knowledge, real, concrete self-knowledge, which in fact occurs initially out of the previous earth life. And if we compare what we see overall, then we must say: that which we have produced from our previous life on earth does not behave like an ordinary recollection, but — like a sealing wax impression in a signet — it is the correct reverse image. And whoever simply makes this comparison will know that this is the first step of a new knowledge, of an increased memory that is not just more memory but represents an overall Imagination of a previous earth life. This is the first stage where one feels that he is this higher human being who carries within himself this time-body; this is not just something that the space-body has conjured out of itself, but something that has worked itself into this space-body ever since we have been on earth as human beings. For we recognize that the powers that lie in this space-body are of the same nature as the power of growth, the same kind that, in addition — for instance, when we were children — has wonderfully modeled our first — I want to say — unplastic, amorphous brain to the wonderful form that this brain gradually becomes, and so on.
And in settling into this time-body of the human being, into this first stage of the supernatural experiences of the human being, what must be rejected are all of the narrow-minded notions of the ego that one has, such as that the I is resting inside of the human skin. Now one feels as though he belongs together with the entire cosmos. Now one feels that he really is in his etheric body, in his time-body as a member of the entire cosmos, and he has a concept that is very real: if I cut off a finger of my body then it is no longer a finger; the finger has meaning only in the context of the organism. So by focusing on this time-body, you have a clear awareness: as a human being within this higher being you have the sense of being a member of the entire etheric cosmos, you belong to the etheric cosmos. It is really correct that the I now recognizes itself in its significance as an earthly human being; knows that it is actually owing to the physical space-body that the human being has the I-sensations as earthly man.
However, this is only the first stage of a super-sensible knowledge that can be acquired in order to feel the eternity of the human soul. The following higher stage actually leads, in truth, to a second awakening. For in the first stage we have reached nothing other than the self-knowledge of the earthly human being. The higher level will now be achieved with the same power with which one has initially, through active thinking, concentrated fully on concepts, and, with the same intensity of soul life, now carries away in turn such concepts from consciousness; only one has to come back to them time and again.
In the handling of all of these processes there is nothing suggestive; it proceeds as something with the fullest deliberation, like the course of mathematical procedures. But still, the one who finds himself surrendering such concepts, such thoughts in a strong manner, the one who moves as in the described example into the center of his consciousness, this is the one who at first is wholly devoted to these concepts.
And it is more difficult to get rid of these than the passively acquired ideas of ordinary consciousness. Therefore, in order to forget or carry away something from your consciousness, a stronger force must be applied than would otherwise be applied. But this is good, because through the fact that you apply this stronger force you can reach yet another higher state of consciousness.
You need only think honestly about what occurs in human consciousness when the familiar, passively acquired conceptions stop. Think first of all about stopping these visual concepts and you know that the person will fall asleep — such attempts have indeed also been made in psychological laboratories. This is exactly what now occurs in the human being when he, as a spiritual investigator, has first concentrated all of the powers of his soul on certain conceptions and then clears them away again. There then occurs in him a state which I call the deepest silence of the human soul, empty consciousness. And within this deepest silence of the human soul something very significant is actually said. Thus, the concepts that were first brought into consciousness with all of your strength are again released, and then you have an empty consciousness. This is simply so. You can wait in mere wakefulness for that which the inner life of the soul then reveals, but in that which I can only describe as the deep silence of the soul, something else enters in.
If we can agree on this soul experience, allow me to make the following comparison. Think to yourself: at first we are in one of the big, modern cities, where, if we go out onto the street, such real noise and tumult reign that we cannot understand our own words. Then, removed from the city, five minutes away, it is always silent, and another five minutes away it is even more silent, and more silent. Let us imagine then that we come to the deep, silent solitude of the forest. We can say: all around is silence. With the environment itself in silence our soul comes to silence. — But you see, we have not yet attained that silence which I now speak of as the deep silence of the soul. When one speaks of the silence of the forest over the din of the city, it is said that sounds very gradually cease. At the state of zero — having arrived at the zero state over the loud din — we call this, then, rest. But there is something that goes beyond the zero! Distract yourself, once, with one who has a fortune; he gives continuously of this wealth until he has little, yes, until he has less than nothing.
Nowadays we see that one does not particularly stop when he has nothing, but goes further. How does he do this? He goes below the zero, goes — as the mathematician says — into the negative, into debts that are made against the assets, into that which is negative in respect to zero, which is less than zero. Regarding the silence, think of this: we can go from the loud roar to the rest — zero — yet we can go still further, so that we enter into the regions of silence where the silence is stronger than the mere zero-silence. And the life of the soul enters into such regions, where there is a greater peace within than the mere zero-silence. If this occurs as I have indicated, the complex concepts of the consciousness are first powerfully extinguished; then the soul moves into the growing emptiness toward the inner experiences. There then emerges from the deep silence of the soul, contrary to the opposite sensual world, the objective spiritual world. Thus the spiritual researcher has arrived at the level I have described, and from the deep silence of the soul he meets the spiritual world, and he is gradually within the spiritual world, just as the human being through his eyes, through his ears, is in the physical-sensory world. And in the deep silence of the soul the objective spiritual world is revealed.
And then one can go further in the exercises. Just as one can get rid of a concept, so can one get rid of this entire picture of life that he had at the first stage of his super-sensible cognition, as I have described it, and that was experienced as real self-knowledge. This he can now clear away with all of his strength, clear away this time-person just as when, in the moment of realization when he had come to the time-person, he had already rid himself of the space-person with his strong I-feeling. Now the time-person can be removed. And out of the silence of the soul one is inflamed when one compares his own self-knowledge, the real self-knowledge, to the waking consciousness that has come in the deep silence of the soul. There is now revealed nothing spiritual, but through the outer work of his time-person he enters into the same world where he was before he descended to take on the physical body that had been prepared by his parents and forefathers. And from the deep silence of the soul there is revealed, in addition to the simultaneous spiritual world events, one's own spiritual and soul being, what he was before he descended to this earthly existence. Now he looks into the life that he went through with others before an earthly garment, if I may call it so, was accepted, purely spiritual-soul beings. The existence of the human being prior to birth or prior to conception actually occurs before the soul seeks to connect with others.
It is this that is the point of view represented here. One does not begin to speculate on any viewpoints so as to determine whether or not the soul is immortal. Nothing can be expected from this, because that would be as though one had pulled oneself out of the dreams, out of the dream that had won enlightenment. One must awaken in order to educate himself about the dream. Now one can awaken in the deep silence of the soul to a higher stage and clarify what life on earth is. It is formed from that existence that he had gone through before the step through birth — or rather through conception — and the descent to this earthly existence.
Spiritual science in the sense meant here wants to show the methods by which the vision of the eternal can be acquired by the human soul. This however is the second stage of spiritual knowledge by which we can climb to the secrets of the world, and which can also give us, in addition, the secrets of our own being.
A third stage is scaled through the fact that something is now a power of knowledge, although it is not a power of knowledge in ordinary consciousness, nor is the power of memory an actual power. We remember what we have experienced.
Just as little is another power of the soul a power of cognition. And when I say it is to be a power of cognition, then any scientist who sits here — I can understand quite well, because you have first to think as a scientist about these things, I know very well, and no one should actually speak with full responsibility about the exact spiritual knowledge asserted here who is not fully familiar with the usual scientific methods. So if scientists do not receive from the above the silent "goose bumps," they will at least receive a little if I now also claim that a force which otherwise plays a huge role in ordinary life — but should not be scientifically availed upon in ordinary life — that this will be now be taken as a power of knowledge for the soul to complete: the power of love.
Yes, certainly love plays a huge role in existence, but it is said that she is blind. It may not be taken as some sort of complete power of knowledge. But if one has driven the power of knowledge so far that we have come to the deep silence of the soul, then there occurs above all within this deep silence of the soul what one might call a distinct impression: When you want to see you have first to deprive your sight of the outer sense world.
You must pull it out of your physical body, pull it out even from the time-body. And then it fades so to speak, that coarser part that is bound to the physical body; the I-feeling very strongly goes yet further, as I have described earlier, where you feel that the time-body is already one with the entire cosmic existence.
But if — through the exercises that are described in detail in the books mentioned — you become acquainted with this deprivation, in which there occurs, in a very real sense, deprivation of the physical, deprivation of the time-body — if you look to existence as it was before you descended into physical existence on earth then you will experience something like a deep pain of the soul. And the true higher knowedge is actually born out of this pain.
Do not believe, if you are honest, that you can describe higher knowledge as being born out of desire! It is born out of pain. And you must gradually acquire the endurance to win against this pain.
If one acquires the endurance to win against the pain, then he will learn as a spiritual researcher to turn back repeatedly to physical-sensory existence in a slightly different way. Because he will understand, yes, that he will have what I have described as a higher knowledge — that may be acquired in the characterized example — for only a very short time. It is not about getting caught in a higher world if you are a spiritual researcher, for when you have stepped through the higher world you must return ever and again to the ordinary physical-sensory world.
However, one returns from the moments of higher intuition in which one has first learned, in deepest pain, to do without this physical-sensory world. Then you get a very different stance with respect to this physical-sensory world, since you actually get to know what may be called the feeling of being a victim. One really has this feeling, that remains within, of being a victim, and with full awareness — not only out of instinct but with full awareness — he surrenders himself to other beings or even to other natural processes.
While the instinct of love so acts that the sensation of love is felt to a certain extent in the physical body, then the love can be so developed that it runs in bodily-free activity if it is carried up and formed as a sacrifice to the other, in the spiritual world and also in the physical-sensory world. Then this love itself gradually becomes the power of knowledge. And then you get to know just what you can really only know when love becomes the power of knowledge.
You see, through love we come into a relationship with another being who may at first be foreign to us, and we feel ourselves standing next to the other being if we carry across our own existence into that existence. We need the certainty of the sense of our building a bridge to the unknown being through love. If love — at a higher level, I would like to say — so awakens as I have just indicated, then we obtain our ego again, like a foreign being that — yes — we have lost along the way, as I have described.
But how do we obtain our ego? As the one whom we were in former earth lives, who is as strange to us in this earth life as a different personality, taken to a higher scale by the spiritualized, refined level of love. Our ego is not given back earlier to us, not until we can grasp it in love as entirely foreign. We have not desired to see this ego as it has lived in former lives on earth, and then passed through the time that lies between death and a new birth.
However, we discover our ego where we are able to perceive ourselves out of the deep silence of the soul, before we descended to earth life, and look back to the previous earth life as it was before this purely spiritual-soul life.
But, I want to say — we must first have developed an entirely selfless higher love as a power of knowledge; this then gives us an unsought insight into a former life on earth. Then we know that we had to go through these former lives on earth. And we have so risen that we can see the ego, how it was and how it had a body other than the body that we have now, that has carried us since birth to this point of time in earthly life. Then we have arrived at this moment, to be able to really comprehend ourselves as entirely free of the body — that is, recognizing the moment to live through that we then live through as real when we pass through death. For we have placed the physical body into reality.
In the stage of knowledge that is gained in love, we remove the physical body of knowledge and we experience ourselves in the same elements where we will be with our eternal inner being when we pass through the gate of death into the spiritual world, from which we have descended into physical existence on earth. And so we experience immortality when we — forgive me when I use the term — first recognize the experience of unbornness.
But the eternity of the human soul consists of these two: from unbornness, for which we do not even have a word in our contemporary educated language, and from immortality. Only when one comprehends these two as two sides of the eternity of the human soul can one really approach understanding. In the intellectual conceptions of today, people unfortunately treat these things with a certain egoism. They say to themselves — without having to voice this — more unconsciously they say to themselves: Well, that which has preceded our life on earth does not interest us, for we are here. It interests us that we are here. But we are interested in what happens after death because we do not yet know this.
This is egotism, but the results are not knowledge. Knowledge results only from unegotistical essence. Therefore, no one can gain a real knowledge of the immortality of the soul who does not have the will to achieve knowledge of the soul's unbornness. Because the eternity of the human soul is composed of the soul's unbornness and the soul's immortality.
This also results in the outlook of repeated earth lives, as indicated at the third level of knowledge after full awakening out into the spiritual world; the memory not only extends into premortal existence, it also extends into the stages of existence in the previously-lived earth life.
Thus we know that there really is before us a second awakening of the soul. Out of the dreams we switch our will on in the body. As a result we live in the world of space while the images otherwise proceed, and we accept these passing dream images as realities; we recognize the awakened nature of the image. But by what means are the images images? By the fact that they stand as images. As we awaken, we switch on our bodily functions. I want to say, we see red as red, the same whether we are awake or asleep; we hear tones the same way, whether we are dreaming or awake. But while we are awake, having turned our will on to bodily functions, we go over to some extent to the realities — in crossing over the hard things we are not speaking now of philosophical speculations, but are entirely within the popular consciousness. Thus to a certain extent when we are awake we do not retain the picture in sensory perceptions, but cross broadly over the hard things. We are switched on to the same element that presents to us the things of the world, in the sense of physical existence.
Now we have gradually switched into a new world as a spiritual researcher. Why have we done this?
When you compare the thinking, the feeling, and the will of the human being as they exist in the soul and also in the waking state, they are actually a dream. We actually only wake up with sensory thoughts and ideas together in the outer world, and these are combined as sensory perceptions. As soon as we look within ourselves with ordinary consciousness, we are dreaming. Even our thoughts, when we turn inward, are more or less dream perceptions. This remains so dreamlike, even the will is asleep. For when we have decided upon any action we know how this action that we initially had as an idea continues down into our limbs as an idea, so that we begin to move the limbs. Only through spiritual science can one see what is going on in the muscles, what is going on in the entire organism; usually that which is a voluntary action remains inhibited during sleep. First we have only the idea. Then it all goes down into an unconscious state. Then the idea of the action occurs again. And what the soul by itself can only dream about even in the waking state, we gradually switch on through reinforced thinking, through the deep silence of the soul, through the power of knowledge awakened by love in the spiritual existence of the human being, as we switch on the ordinary awakening of the will in bodily existence.
Thus we learn to judge the eternal in the human being from the point of view of the ordinary physical-sensory life that we absolve between birth and death, as we judge the content of the dream from the point of view of physical-sensory life. We advocate recognizing the eternal in this way!
Again and again I have to say on such an occasion: of course the objection is given that these things only apply to those who want to be a spiritual researcher, who look into these worlds. — No, ladies and gentlemen, the spiritual researcher actually has these things for himself as a human being only slightly, when he brought them down with the usual introduction into ordinary language, into ordinary life. And this can happen as well for everyone who hears these things from the spiritual researcher.
Just as one has grown accustomed to accept the things that the botanist or the astronomer has explored with his difficult methods, so one will gradually have to get used to the things that the spiritual researcher has explored after he gives an account of his method, as I have described today — to accept, to accept more readily, for there is the same relationship between ordinary common sense and these truths as there is between the right aesthetic taste and a beautiful picture.
You have to be a painter to paint a beautiful picture, but you do not have to be a painter to judge the beauty of its image! One needs only to have healthy taste.
One must be a spiritual researcher in order to know the things as they have been portrayed. But just as little as one needs to be a painter in order to judge the beauty of a picture, just as little does one need to be a spiritual researcher in order with complete common sense to be in agreement with what the spiritual researcher says. Apart from this, for people today at a certain level it is possible that each one can be a spiritual researcher. The one who delves into the books I have mentioned, who does the corresponding exercises, can today — no matter in what profession, in what life situation — get as far at the least as to control in a completely satisfactory manner that of which I have spoken this evening, and many other things.
What is this knowledge that leads into the eternal soul? It is a realization that is not only grasped in the head of the human being, it affects the entire person. For that which is the world of color, the eye will grasp. For that which is the world of tone, the ear will grasp. For that which is the law of nature, the human mind will grasp. For that, however, which is the spiritual world — as I have indicated here today — that will be grasped by the entire human being.
Hence, allow me in conclusion to say something personal by way of illustration, although this is not meant to be personal, but is meant rather to be entirely objective.
If you really want to capture that which is disclosed by the spiritual world, you need presence of mind, because it slips so to speak, turns away quickly; it is fleeting. That which is to a certain extent advanced through an improvement in the power of memory imprints itself only with difficulty upon the ordinary memory. One must use all of his strength to bring down what he beholds in the spiritual world, to bring this down to ordinary language, to ordinary memory-thought.
I would not be able to lecture about these things if I did not try by all means to bring down what arises in me of what can be beheld in the spiritual world, especially to really bring these thought-words down into physically audible regions. One cannot comprehend with the mere head, because the entire human being must to a certain extent become a sense organ, but a spiritually developed sense organ. Therefore I attempt every time — it is my custom, another has another one — I attempt every time if something is given to me from the spiritual world, not merely to think it through as I receive it from the spiritual world, but to write it down as well, or to record it with some characteristic stroke, so that the arms and hands are involved as well as the soul organs. So something else other than the mere head, which remains only in abstract ideas, must be involved in these findings: the entire person.
I have in this way entire truckloads of fully-written notebooks that I never again look at, which are only there in order to be descriptions, in order to provide preliminary work in the physical world for that which is from the spiritual world, so that the spiritually beheld world can then really be clothed in words; whereby the thoughts of which memories are usually formed or that usually apply in life can actually be penetrated — Thus one obtains a science that relates to the whole person.
I will have to show you tomorrow how this science provides us with the opportunity not only to understand the cultural development of humanity, but it might also socially promote namely a foundation, a true, real foundation for a true, real education, for a true, genuine pedagogy, for Waldorf education.
These things, how the development of the humanity and the education of humanity in light of this spiritual-scientific world view is excluded, this I will have to describe tomorrow. Today I wanted only to evoke the idea of how this spiritual-scientific point of view, through knowledge, is based to a certain extent on a second awakening, the soul of the human being in its eternity again returning to the full life.
Yes, we have to experience this out of our awareness of time, that scholarship has just spoken of a doctrine of the soul without soul, in a certain sense. — I will have to touch upon this question tomorrow — even of religion without God.
Spiritual science as it is meant here wants in turn to enter into the fullest intensity of the soul of the human being, into the eternity of the soul; it wants religious consciousness, the godly-religious content to enter again into the development of humanity and the education of humanity, precisely so that man can come through awareness to his full dignity. And he, conscious of his dignity which results from his knowledge of the connection of his soul with the eternal, with the ur-eternal powers of the world, realizes that this is part of his true nature, as the physical body, as something that stands in everyday life, is connected with him, is part of his life.
This is that which people themselves have followed as knowledge, and already many, many of them crave the equivalent, if it is not fully conscious to them. That which today torments people, what they feel as the uneasiness of life that makes them basically nervous about what drives them so that they feel undermined in their whole existence, this is the burning question of the eternal forces underlying the temporal forces that we need to develop in normal and in social life. This spiritual science is here so that people who want to have knowledge of these eternal forces — that spiritual science here intends — can find methods to lead others to this realization, so that others can also engage in this knowledge in social life; that they and their fellow man not only see something as it were that is borne by the stream of life on earth, to be born with birth and die with death, but that they learn rather of something that will go through all eternity, guided by the stars and the aims of people through the cosmic goal so that this cosmic goal gives the correct meaning to all earthly goals.
Anthroposophy wants to speak to people of this cosmic sense, the sense of the goals of earth. This is what it would awaken in souls again as feeling and sensation in the relationship of the human soul with all of the forces of eternal life, for people of the present and of the future.
And this, ladies and gentlemen — if you are going on honest advice you will have to admit — is what one needs as a human being at the present time. And what one will need more and more as a human being of the future.