We look back to a past when man was clairvoyant, and to a future when this will again be the case

The cognitive faculty of mankind has developed gradually. Attention has repeatedly been drawn to the fact that in the Atlantean epoch a large proportion of humanity was clairvoyant and able to gaze into the spiritual worlds, and that certain remnants of this old clairvoyance were still present in post-Atlantean times. After the Atlantean epoch, in the periods of the civilizations of ancient India, Persia, Egypt and Chaldea — even as late as the Graeco-Latin age — there were numbers of human beings, many more than modern man would ever imagine, who possessed the heritage of this old clairvoyance; the astral plane was open to them and they could see into the hidden depths of existence.

But humanity was to advance to a form of knowledge acquired through the outer senses and through the spiritual faculties connected with the senses. Man was gradually to emerge altogether from the spiritual world and to engage in pure sense-observation, in intellectual, logical thinking. By degrees he was to make his way to non-clairvoyant cognition, because he must pass through this stage in order to regain clairvoyant knowledge in the future. But such knowledge will then be united with the fruits of cognition based upon the senses and the intellect.

At the present time we are living in an intermediate period. We look back to a past when man was clairvoyant, and to a future when this will again be the case. In our present age the majority of human beings are dependent upon what they perceive with their senses and grasp with their intellect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Two – Basel, September 16, 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on January 14, 2015


A thousand times better

It is a thousand times better to have grasped the ideas of Spiritual Science with thought first of all, and then — sooner or later, each according to his karma — to be able oneself to ascend into the spiritual worlds; a thousand times better than to have ‘seen’ straight-away and not to have grasped with thought the knowledge that is imparted in the Movement known as the Anthroposophical. A thousand times better it is indeed, to know spiritual science and to see nothing as yet, than to see something and not be able to penetrate it with thought, for that is how unreliability is introduced.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The Tasks and Aims of Spiritual Science – Stuttgart, November 13, 1909

Illogical thinking is extraordinarily widespread

There is an extraordinary amount of wrong thinking in our day. One can suffer the pains of martyrdom from the terribly illogical life of the world. Anyone who has acquired a certain clairvoyance does not simply feel that one thing is correct and another incorrect, but he suffers actual pain when confronted by illogical thinking, and a sense of well-being in connection with clear, transparent thinking. This signifies that he has acquired a feeling for such things, and this enables him to make decisions. And this brings far truer differentiations when one has actually reached this stage. It gives a far truer discrimination between truth and untruth. This seems incredible, but it is true. When something erroneous is said in the presence of a clairvoyant person, the pain which rises in him shows him that this is illogical, erroneous. Illogical thinking is extraordinarily widespread; at no time has illogical thinking been so widespread as precisely in our time, in spite of the fact that people pride themselves so much on their logical thinking.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on March 9, 2015

Why sometimes just very clear thinkers have such difficulty in reaching clairvoyance? (4 – End)

Let me remind you once again that you were all clairvoyant in earlier times. Why is it that you no longer possess the faculty of clairvoyance? It is because in former times you were not bound to the earth’s existence, because you were remote, in spiritual worlds; you did not bring the spiritual world down into your faculties; your visionary clairvoyance was based upon the condition of being remote from the physical world.

This must be clear to us. We must inscribe these fine shades of thought upon our minds and souls; we must be clear that the task of a real occult science to-day is to impart those results of spiritual investigation which are permeated with a thinking content, so that one can always clothe the results of spiritual research in such a way as to be comprehensible through thinking to the man who is not clairvoyant. To this end they must first be combined with thought.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The tasks and aims of spiritual science – Stuttgart, 13th November 1909

Translated by D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 12, 2014

Why sometimes just very clear thinkers have such difficulty in reaching clairvoyance? (3 of 4)

No one is born with all the faculties he will possess later; he may have tendencies in certain directions, but the faculties themselves he must first develop. So it is a fact that changes take place in the brain in the course of a man’s life. After a life of thought the instrument of thinking is different from what it was before.

Now the fact is that our etheric body, which for clairvoyant consciousness must be loosened from the physical brain, becomes more closely bound to the brain through the activity of thought. Thinking chains the etheric body firmly to the brain. If through his karma anyone has not yet the forces necessary to loosen it again at the right time, it may be that he cannot get far in clairvoyance in this incarnation; this depends on his karma. Supposing that in a former incarnation his karma had ordained him to be a clear thinker, then at the present time his thinking will not bind his etheric body so strongly to the brain; he will be able to set free his etheric body comparatively easily, and for the very reason that the elements of thought are the best preparation for ascending into the higher worlds — for this very reason he can investigate the secrets of the higher worlds in the most intimate way. Of course he must first set free again the etheric body from the brain. But if with what one may call the fine chiseling of thought the etheric body has become so caught in the physical brain that it is exhausted, then his karma may perhaps make him wait a long time before he can set it free again. When, however, the etheric body does become free, it will mean that he has passed the point of logical thought. Then what he has acquired can never be lost; no one can take it away from him. That is an essential and important fact, because otherwise clairvoyance can often be lost again after it has been acquired.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The tasks and aims of spiritual science – Stuttgart, 13th November 1909

Translated by D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 11, 2014