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