No contradiction

In the spirit and true sense of the word, no real scientist will be able to find a contradiction between his science built upon the facts of the sense world and the method by which the supersensible world is investigated. The scientist makes use of certain instruments and methods. He produces his instruments by transforming what “nature” offers him. The supersensible method of knowledge also makes use of an instrument. This instrument is man himself. This instrument, too, must first be made ready for higher research. The capacities and forces given to man by nature, without his assistance, must be transformed into higher capacities and powers. Man is thereby able to make himself the instrument for research in the supersensible world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – 1. The Character of Occult Science

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

Previously posted on February 22, 2020

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The Bible and reincarnation

I will not now discuss other misunderstandings, which could easily be refuted. I will only mention one thing, which may very easily be said, “What do you think of the fact that nothing about repeated earth-lives is found in the Bible?” It might be that some one would say that he could not believe in these repeated earth-lives, for the simple reason that, according to his convictions, there is a contradiction between the acceptation of these repeated earth-lives, which, certainly, minds such as Lessing’s, for instance, admitted as true, and what is in the Bible.

Now repeated earth-lives will be accepted as a scientific, a spiritually-scientific fact, and people will learn to think in the following way about the relation to the Bible of such a fact of spiritual science, which had sooner or later to be discovered. Would it be thought possible for anyone to say he did not believe in the existence of America because the Bible does not mention such a place? Or would it be thought any injury to the Bible to say, “I think the existence of America is quite in harmony with my reverence for the Bible, in spite of America’s not being mentioned within its pages”? Is there anything in the Bible about the truth of the Copernican view of the universe? There have been people who for this reason have looked upon the Copernican view of the world as something false and forbidden. Nowadays there is no one really versed in the culture of his time who could say that he found a contradiction between the teaching of Copernicus and the Bible — notwithstanding that the teaching of Copernicus is not in the Bible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 35 – The Mission of Spiritual Science and of its Building at Dornach – Liestal, 11th January 1916

Translated by A. M. Wilson

Preiously posted on October 2, 2016

No contradiction

In the spirit and true sense of the word, no real scientist will be able to find a contradiction between his science built upon the facts of the sense world and the method by which the supersensible world is investigated. The scientist makes use of certain instruments and methods. He produces his instruments by transforming what “nature” offers him. The supersensible method of knowledge also makes use of an instrument. This instrument is man himself. This instrument, too, must first be made ready for higher research. The capacities and forces given to man by nature, without his assistance, must be transformed into higher capacities and powers. Man is thereby able to make himself the instrument for research in the supersensible world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – 1. The Character of Occult Science

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

No contradiction

I have often indicated that there is no contradiction between a scientific fact that is correctly presented and the facts brought forward by Spiritual Science. It is just as if someone were to say: Here is a man; how comes it that he is alive? It is because he has lungs inside him and there is air outside. Needless to say, that is quite correct. 

But someone else may turn up and say: This man is alive for an entirely different reason. A fortnight ago he fell into the water and I jumped in after him and pulled him out; but for that he would not be alive today! Both these assertions are correct. In the same way, natural science is quite correct when it says that a man bears within himself characteristics inherited from his ancestors; but it is equally correct to attribute them to his karma and other factors.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 141 – Between death and rebirth: Lecture Eight – Berlin, February 11, 1913

Where education is concerned, people claim straightaway to know how to educate

I would merely like to say that when one speaks on educational questions at the present day one finds oneself in a peculiar situation. For if one sees much that needs reforming in education, it is as much as to say that one is not satisfied with one’s own education. One implies that one’s own education has been exceedingly bad. And yet, as a product of this very bad education, of this education in which one finds so much to criticise — for other-wise why be a reformer? — one sets up to know the right way to educate! This is the first thing that involves a contradiction. The second thing is one which gives one a slight feeling of shame in face of the audience when speaking on education, — for one realises that one is speaking of what education ought to be and how it must be different from present day practice. So that it amounts to saying: you are all badly educated. And yet one is appealing to those who are badly educated to bring about a better education. One assumes that both the speaker and the audience know very well what good education should be in spite of the fact that they have been exceedingly badly educated.

Now this is a contradiction, but it is one which life itself presents us, and it can really only be solved by the view of education which is here being described. For one can perfectly well know what is the matter with education and in what respects it should be improved, just as one can know that a picture is well painted without possessing the faintest capacity for painting a picture oneself. You can consider yourself capable of appreciating the merits of a picture by Raphael without thinking yourself capable of painting a Raphael picture. In fact it would be a good thing today if people would think like this. But they are not content with merely knowing, where education is concerned, they claim straightaway to know how to educate; as though someone who is no painter and could not possibly become a painter, should set up to show how a badly painted picture should be painted well.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education: Lecture IV: Body Viewed from the Spirit – Oxford, 19th August 1922

Translated by Daphne Harwood

Previously posted on July 15, 2015