We must especially beware of attending too much in any era to what emerges as authority. As long as we lack spiritual insight, this can seriously mislead us. This is particularly true in one area of human culture: the field of materialistic medicine. Here we can discern the decisive influence of authority, and the ever increasing claim to authority, which is in fact far, far more dreadful than any kind of medieval tyranny.
We find ourselves in the very midst of this tendency, which will keep increasing. People may mock the ghosts of medieval superstition, but we can ask if anything much has changed. Has this fear of ghosts faded? Aren’t people actually far more afraid of ghosts than they were back then? What happens in the human soul when people are told they carry 60,000 bacilli on their hands is far more terrible than generally acknowledged.
In America statistics have been calculated about how many such bacilli can be found on a man’s moustache. At least the ghosts of medieval times were, one might say, decent ghosts; but modern bacilli-ghosts are too minuscule to grapple with. The fear invoked by them is only just beginning, and leads, in health matters, to people succumbing to a really terrible belief in authority.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – The Mission of the New Spirit Revelation – Mannheim, January 5, 1911 (p. 9) This one is not in RS Archive.
Recommended books: Vaccination in the Work of Rudolf Steiner