The childish way of psycho-analysts

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


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Previously posted on April 16, 2018

The present catastrophe is but the beginning

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. What must come about on the earth is spiritual development.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three – Bern4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on September 21, 2013

All religions are equally justified revelations of the great truths of initiation  

We find the most varied religions spread out over the earth, all of which point back to this or that founder. We find first the Krishna religion, leading back to Krishna; second, the Buddha religion, leading back to Buddha; third, the ancient Hebrew religion, leading back to Moses; and we find Christianity, leading back to Jesus of Nazareth. The religions having all flowed out of initiation, we must be quite clear that we cannot today take the position taken by the philosophers of religion who consider themselves “enlightened.” The philosophers of comparative religion have a secret outlook on religions; they regard them all either as false or as childish stages of human development. But we, as anthroposophists, since we learn to know that the religions are only different formulations of the truths of initiation, are in a position to grasp the true and not the false in the various religious systems. We do justice to all the religious systems in comparison with one another. We regard them as equally justified revelations of the great truths of initiation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – The Three Paths of the Soul to Christ – Lecture II: The Path of Initiation – Stockholm, 17th April 1912

People of different religion. Collection of religious men