The progress of mankind in spiritual life will depend on its ability [to regard life in this way,] to observe in all detail what flows across from former epochs of the world’s evolution into later epochs through the human beings themselves. Then we shall cease, in the childish way of psycho-analysts, to explain the peculiarities of souls by speaking of ‘hidden underlying regions’ and the like. After all, one can ascribe anything one likes to what is ‘hidden’. We shall look for the real causes. In some respects, no doubt, the psycho-analysts do quite good work. But these pursuits remind us of the story of how someone heard that in the year 1749 a son was born to a certain patrician. Afterwards this son emerged as a very gifted man. To this day we can point to the actual birth-place in Frankfurt of the man who afterwards came forth as Wolfgang Goethe. ‘Let us make excavations in the earth and see by dint of what strange emanations his talents came about’. Sometimes the psycho-analysts seem to me just like that. They dig into the earth-realm of the soul, into the hidden regions which they themselves first invent by their hypotheses, whereas in reality one ought to look into the preceding lives on earth and lives between death and a new birth. Then if we do so, a true understanding of human souls is opened out to us. Truly the souls of men are far too rich in content to enable us to understand their content out of a single life alone.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships, Volume II: Lecture II – Dornach, 12th April 1924
Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond
Previously posted on January 27, 2015