What purpose is served by all our studies of the higher worlds?

And so in this introductory lecture today, we will begin straight-away and without hesitation to speak on a certain chapter of the higher worlds that will lead us to a deeper understanding of man’s character and personality. For after all, what purpose is served by all our studies of the higher worlds? We talk about the astral world, about the devachanic world. In what sense do we members of the physical world talk about them in the first place? 

We talk of these higher worlds not at all with the consciousness that they are quite foreign to us and stand in no kind of connection with the physical world. Rather are we conscious that the higher worlds, as we call them, lie all around us, that we live in them, that they project into our physical world, and that in these higher worlds lie the causes and grounds for facts that take place before our physical eyes and senses. 

And so we learn to know this life around us with its human beings and nature-events, only when we look at what is invisible but reveals itself in the visible; that is, when we look at what belongs to other worlds in order to be able to form a judgment as to where it plays into our physical world. Normal and abnormal phenomena of ordinary physical life first become clear to us when we learn to know the spiritual life lying behind it — the spiritual life that is far richer and more extensive than the physical life, which forms only a small section of it

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The astral world: Lecture 1 – Berlin, October 19, 1908 



Artistic feeling/Spiritual faculties

It should be remarked that artistic feeling, when coupled with a quiet introspective nature, forms the best preliminary condition for the development of spiritual faculties. This feeling pierces through the superficial aspect of things, and in so doing touches their secrets.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: II: The Stages of Initiation

Translated by George Metaxa

Previously posted on August 25, 2018


A childish belief

The present phase of evolution may be characterised in a general way by saying that all the experiences confronting mankind in the physical world during the earth’s further existence will represent a decline, a retrogression. The time when human progress was made possible through the constant refinement of the physical forces, is already over. In the future, too, mankind will progress, but only through spiritual development, through development on a higher level than that of the processes of the physical plane. 

Men who rely entirely on the processes of the physical plane will find in them no source of satisfaction. An indication given in spiritual science a long time ago, in the Lecture-Course on the Apocalypse, namely that we are heading for the “War of All against All”, must from now onwards be grasped in all its significance and gravity; its implications must not remain in the realm of theory but also come to expression in the actions, the whole behaviour of men. The fact that — to use a colloquialism — people in the future are not going to get much fun out of developments on the physical plane, will bring home to them that further evolution must proceed from spiritual forces.

This can be understood only by surveying a lengthy period of evolution and applying what is discovered to experiences that will become more and more general in the future. The trend of forces that will manifest in the well nigh rhythmical onset of war and destruction — processes of which the present catastrophe is but the beginning — will become only too evident. It is childish to believe that anything connected with this war can bring about a permanent era of peace for humanity on the physical plane. That will not be so.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and AhrimanMan’s Responsibility for the Earth – Lecture III – Bern, 4th November, 1919

Translated by D. S. Osmond

This lecture was given one year after Armistice Day – November 1918

Since then we’ve had a world war 2 with 80 million dead – not mentioning the wounded and tens of millions of dead from various wars, including the war of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

Multitude of armed conflicts have started and ended and a multitude continue.



Incarnation of Ahriman (3 of 3)

Another means of temptation connected with his incarnation — he also works in co-operation with the Luciferic forces — another of his endeavours is to preserve the already widespread attitude that for the public welfare it is sufficient if the economic and material needs of men are provided for. Here we come to a point that is not willingly faced in modern life. Official science nowadays contributes nothing to real knowledge of the soul and spirit, for the methods adopted in the orthodox sciences are of value only for apprehending external nature, including the external constitution of man. 

Just think with what contempt the average citizen to-day regards anything that seems to him idealistic, anything that seems to be a path leading in any way to the spiritual. At heart he is always asking: What is the good of it? How will it help me to acquire this world’s goods? He sends his sons to a public school, having perhaps been to one himself; he sends them on to a university or institute of advanced studies. But all this is done merely in order to provide the foundations for a career, in other words, to provide the material means of livelihood.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and AhrimanMan’s Responsibility for the Earth – Lecture 1 – Dornach, 1st November, 1919

Translated by D. S. Osmond