The sin of acknowledging a truth too early

During the 17th century the Italian Scientist, Francesco Redi, was looked upon by the leading scientific circles as a dangerous heretic because he asserted that the lower animals reproduced themselves. He barely escaped the martyr’s death of Giordano Bruno and Galileo. For the orthodox scholars of that day believed that worms, insects and even fish originated from inanimate mud. Redi did not assert anything that has not since been universally accepted, for instance, such a statement as “All that is alive originates from some-thing alive.” He committed the sin of acknowledging a truth two centuries before science had discovered “incontestable proofs” thereof. Since Pasteur’s researches there can be no doubt that the former belief in the origin of living organisms by spontaneous generation was an illusion. The life-germs which entered such inanimate matter escaped observation. Pasteur, however, tried an experiment preventing the entrance of such germs into substances in which generally small living beings originate — and not a trace of life appeared. Life only originates from living germs. Redi was perfectly right.

The Anthroposophist of to-day finds himself in a position similar to that of the Italian thinker. On the basis of his knowledge he must make the same remark about the soul as Redi made about life. He must must assert: Soul can only originate in soul. And should natural science proceed along the lines which it has followed since the 17th century the time will come when out of its own perception it will represent the same view. For — and this must be emphasised again and again — at the root of the Anthroposophical conception which we hold to-day lies the same disposition of thought as we find in the scientific statement that worms, insects and fish do not originate in mud but in life-germs. Anthroposophy maintains: “Every soul originates in soul;” in the same sense as the scientist says: “All life originates in life.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Unknown GA – Reincarnation and Karma from the Point of View of Modern Scientific Thought – Berlin, 26th March, 1903

Heretics, Fools and Dreamers

Nowadays heretics are not dealt with the way they used to be. They no longer end up being burned at the stake, but are looked at instead as fools and dreamers whose words are only the product of a capricious imagination. They are ridiculed, and from their high court of scientific judgement they are told that what they have to say cannot be harmonised with genuine science. But the people who do all this are not aware that true, genuine science is precisely what demands this truth. 

And now we can cite hundreds and hundreds of such truths that would show us how spiritual science can illuminate life by showing there is an immortal core in human beings that passes through death into the spiritual worlds; when it has fulfilled its mission there it returns to physical existence to gather new experiences that are then carried up through death into spiritual worlds. 

We would see how the bonds established from one person to another, from soul to soul in all areas of life, those attractions of the heart that pass from soul to soul and from which there is otherwise no explanation, can be explained by the fact that they were formed through relationships in former lives. We would also see that the inner spiritual bonds we form today also do not come to an end when death moves over the face of our earthly existence. Instead, what moves from soul to soul as a bond of life is as immortal as the human soul itself; it continues to live with the soul as the latter passes through the spiritual world, and it will come to life  again in other future earthly relationships and new incarnations. It is only a question of evolution until people will remember their earlier earthly experiences and what they lived through in former earth lives and conditions of existence.

Source(German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 272 – Faust, der strebende Mensch – Strasbourg , 2 January 1910 (page 19-20)

This English translation has been copied from the book: GA 272 – Anthroposophy in the Light of Goethe’s Faust – Writings and lectures from mid 1880s to 1916 

Previously posted on December 20, 2017

The spiritual world speaks through the child, but men are not aware of it

I have so often referred to the saying: The wisest can learn most from a child. And when someone who is himself able to look into the spiritual worlds has a child before him, with the stream that rises up into the spiritual world, it is as if — forgive the homely expression — he has in the child something like a telephone-line into the spiritual worlds. The spiritual world speaks through the child, but men are not aware of it. The wisest can learn most from a child. It is not the child that is speaking, but the angel is speaking out of the child. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – The Son of God and the Son of Man – Munich, February 11, 1911

Previously posted on December 17, 2017

Opinions and Facts

You know from my lectures that I do not like to shoot my mouth off about my opinions. The opinions of an individual person are basically of no great value. I have always tried to allow the facts to speak for themselves, also in the field of spiritual science.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 125 – Wege und Ziele des geistigen Menschen – München, 26 August 1910 (page 71)

This English translation has been copied from the book: GA 125 – Paths and Goals of the Spiritual Human Being – Life questions in the light of spiritual science 

Previously posted on February 7, 2017

Steiner about Blavatsky

Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism was soon recognized as the work of a spiritual dilettante, a compendium of old, badly understood esoteric bits and pieces. 

But it was less easy to find access to a phenomenon of the period such as Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. For this work did at least reveal in many places that much of its content had its origins in real, powerful impulses from the spiritual world. The book expressed a large number of ancient truths which had been gained through atavistic clairvoyance in distant ages of mankind. 

People thus encountered in the outside world, not from within themselves, something which could be described as an uncovering of a tremendous wealth of wisdom which mankind had once possessed as something exceptionally illuminating. This was interspersed with unbelievable passages which never ceased to amaze, because the book is a sloppy and dilettantish piece of work as regards any sort of methodology, and includes superstitious nonsense and much more. 

In short, Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine is a peculiar book: great truths side by side with terrible rubbish. One might almost say that it sums up very well the spiritual phenomena to which those who developed into the homeless souls of the modern age were subjected. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 258 – The Anthroposophic Movement – Lecture 1: The Homeless Souls – Dornach, 10 June 1923

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on January 16, 2017