About Psychoanalysis

We have often noted how important it is for the researcher in the field of anthroposophical spiritual science, to connect his considerations with what is offered by the moving forces of our own age. It may be said that all sorts of people who feel drawn to psychoanalysis today are earnestly searching for the spiritual foundations of existence, for the inner realities of the soul of man. And it may be called a curious characteristic of our own time that so many of our contemporaries are becoming aware of quite definite, and most peculiar forces in the human soul. The psychoanalysts belong to those who, simply through the impulses of the age, are forced to hit upon certain phenomena of soul life.

It is especially important also not to remain entirely oblivious of this movement, because the phenomena of which it takes cognizance are really present, and because in our own time they intrude themselves for various reasons upon the attention of human beings. Today they must become aware of such phenomena.

On the other hand it is a fact that the people who concern themselves with these things today lack the means of knowledge required for the discussion and, above all, for the understanding of them. So that we may say: psychoanalysis is a phenomenon of our time, which compels men to take account of certain soul processes, and yet causes them to undertake their consideration by inadequate methods of knowledge. This is particularly important because this investigation, by inadequate methods of knowledge, of a matter that quite obviously exists and challenges our present human cognition leads to a variety of serious errors, inimical to social life, to the further development of knowledge, and to the influence of this development of knowledge upon social life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – Psychoanalysis in the Light of Anthroposophy – Dornach, 10th November 1917

Translated by May Laird-Brown

Our True Being is Unknown to us

Self-knowledge is really comparable with the extreme case I quoted of the university professor who himself tells the story of how, in his youth, he crossed the street and suddenly saw coming towards him a young man with a dreadfully unsympathetic face; he tells of the shock he received when he realised that he was seeing himself through two mirrors that were revealing his own physiognomy, as if it were coming towards him. This shows that he had no inkling of his external appearance, which was exceedingly unsympathetic to him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 161 – The Problem of Death – I – Dornach, 5th February 1915

This is what causes endless confusion and chaos

Humanity has lost all aptitude for speaking thus concretely of the relation of the Spiritual to the Physical, would prefer that everything should be painted the same colour, if I may put it so. Men like best of all to devise theories according to which human beings the Earth over can find equal material happiness. The socialist of today insists that certain ideas are right and proper for the life of man — right for England, for America, for Russia, for Asia; he thinks that if one and all arranged their national affairs according to socialist principles, the happiness which is the dream of modern man would come to the Earth of itself.

All these ideas are abstract, unreal. Ignorance of the fact that something quite specific arises in one region of the Earth out of a particular people, something quite different in another region out of another people, the inability to understand the great difference between the West and the East — this is what causes endless confusion and chaos. For only when a man is able to build a bridge from his soul to the objective realities, can he co-operate fruitfully in shaping earthly existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – Behind the Scenes of External Happenings – Zurich, 13th November 1917

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

There is no need to believe the communications of Spiritual Science

To one who believes the communications of Spiritual Science to be pure fantasy, we say: believe what you will. You may even consider Spiritual Scientists to be the biggest frauds on Earth. But keep this firmly in mind: there’s something else that lies between believing and disbelieving, and that is listening without prejudice.

Here’s an unlikely case in point:If one to whom you give a map of Asia Minor tells you: “this is not a map of Asia Minor, but a figment of your imagination”, respond: what you say now does not matter, but do remember the map details, and once you travel to Asia Minor, you will find out for yourself that the map is absolutely correct.

No one needs to believe the communications of spiritual science. Given a precise and unprejudiced outlook we will find enough evidence in this life to confirm the one after.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Die Welträtsel und die Anthroposophie – Berlin, 15 February 1906 (page 282-283)

Anonymous translator

This uncomfortable world-conception

Human beings must embark upon the unpleasant task of abandoning the mode of thinking which the universities produce in the so-called educated classes today; a time must come when a number of human beings declare themselves ready to accept this uncomfortable world-conception which takes its direction, its concepts, its ideas, from the spiritual world. For men must not, dare not, linger in the condition of sleep that is so congenial to those abstract concepts for which the age of materialism strives and then calls “noble.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – Behind the Scenes of External Happenings – Zurich, 6th November 1917

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield