Materialism and Spiritualism 

We see to-day the most violent conflict between Materialism and Spiritualism. This conflict simply rests on the fact that human beings simply will not see what deep foundations this utterance has: — The truth always lies midway between two directly opposite associations.

My dear friends, is it true that God is within us? Is it true then that we are in God? It is true that we are in God. These two assertions are direct opposites. Both are true. God is in us, and we are in God; but the two assertions are polar opposites. The real truth, the whole truth lies between the two. The nature of all the conflict of ideas in the world rests on this — that human beings always tend to a one-sidedness, which is true, but only a one-sided truth; whereas the real truth lies between two opposite assertions. We must know both in order to get at the reality. 

For instance, to-day, in the present state of the evolution of the world, one must have the most earnest will to learn all we can of material existence above all, and not propagate the desire of those people who say: “We will only occupy ourselves with the Spirit: we do not want to know Matter.” To learn as much as possible of Matter is one side of human cognition, one thing for which the Will of man, must strive. On the other hand one must learn to know the Spirit, because between those two, lies what we are, and ought really to strive for. Both are wrong. — those who say the world is only Matter and those who say the world is only Spirit are wrong.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – Social life: Lecture 1 – Dornach, January 21, 1921

Materialism-v-Spiritual

Immune to develop spiritual life

I have pointed out that while human bodies will develop in such a way that certain spiritualities can find room in them, the materialistic bent, which will spread more and more under the guidance of the spirits of darkness, will work against this and combat it by physical means. 

I have told you that the spirits of darkness are going to inspire their human hosts, in whom they will be dwelling, to find a vaccine that will drive all inclination towards spirituality out of people’s souls when they are still very young, and this will happen in a roundabout way through the living body.

Today, bodies are vaccinated against one thing and another; in future, children will be vaccinated with a substance which it will certainly be possible to produce, and this will make them immune, so that they do not develop foolish inclinations connected with spiritual life — ‘foolish’ here, of course, in the eyes of materialists.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 –  Fall of the spirits of darkness – LECTURE 13: The Fallen Spirits’ Influence in the World – Dornach, 27 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

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Human beings will be immunised against any predisposition for spiritual ideas

The age of materialism is striving, through the work of certain circles, to paralyse, to eliminate all spiritual development in mankind, to bring human beings to a point where simply by temperament and character they reject everything that is spiritual and regard it as folly.

This trend — and it is already perceptible in some individuals today — will intensify. People will actually long for the time when the Spiritual is universally deemed to be insanity, craziness! Attempts will be made to achieve this end by inoculations; just as viruses have been discovered as means of protection against illnesses, so certain inoculations will be used to influence the human body in such a way that it provides no place for the spiritual proclivities of the soul. Human beings will be immunised against any predisposition for spiritual ideas … such, at least, will be the endeavour. They will try by inoculation to bring it about that even in childhood, human beings lose the urge towards the spiritual life. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – Behind the scenes: Lecture 1 – Zurich, November 6, 1917

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Love & Sexuality

In the age of materialism it is exceedingly difficult to maintain in true and right perspective, this concept of compassion or love. Many of you will realise that in our materialistic times this concept is distorted, in that materialism associates the concept of “love” so closely with that of “sexuality” — with which, fundamentally, it has nothing whatever to do. That is a point where the culture of our day abandons both intelligence and sound, healthy reason. Through its materialism, evolution in our time is veering not only towards the unintelligent and illogical but even towards the scandalous, when “love” is dragged into such close association with what is covered by the term “sexuality.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 133 – Earthly and Cosmic Man: Lecture VI – Berlin, May 14, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on January 23, 2019

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Materialism

Materialism can never offer a satisfactory explanation of the world. For every attempt at an explanation must begin with the formation of thoughts about the phenomena of the world. Materialism thus begins with the thought of matter or material processes. But, in doing so, it is already confronted by two different sets of facts: the material world, and the thoughts about it. The materialist seeks to make these latter intelligible by regarding them as purely material processes. He believes that thinking takes place in the brain, much in the same way that digestion takes place in the animal organs. 

Just as he attributes mechanical and organic effects to matter, so he credits matter in certain circumstances with the capacity to think. He overlooks that, in doing so, he is merely shifting the problem from one place to another. He ascribes the power of thinking to matter instead of to himself. And thus he is back again at his starting point. 

How does matter come to think about its own nature? Why is it not simply satisfied with itself and content just to exist? The materialist has turned his attention away from the definite subject, his own I, and has arrived at an image of something quite vague and indefinite. Here the old riddle meets him again. The materialistic conception cannot solve the problem; it can only shift it from one place to another.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 4 – The Philosophy of Freedom: CHAPTER TWO: The Fundamental Desire for Knowledge

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