The greatest medical art lies in asking the right questions and in being familiar with the patient

With truly effective remedies it is important that the doctor knows not only what medicine cures what disease but also what questions to ask the patient. The greatest medical art lies in asking the right questions and in being familiar with the patient. This is extremely important. 

Yet it is strange, for example, that we meet doctors who frequently have not even asked the patient his age, though this is significant. While he may use the same remedies, a doctor can treat a fifty-year old in a manner completely different from the way he treats one who is forty, for example. They should not be so schematic as to say, “This medication is right for this illness.” For instance, it makes a great difference if you want to cure someone who is constantly afflicted with diarrhoea or someone who has chronic constipation.

Such remedies could be tested, and here experiments with animals would be much less objectionable than they are in other areas. Regarding constipation or diarrhoea, you can easily learn how some remedy reacts in the general physical organism that men have in common with the animals by giving the same medicine to both a dog and a cat. The dog regularly suffers from constipation, and the cat from diarrhoea. You can acquire a wonderful knowledge by observing the degree of difference in the medication’s effect in the dog or the cat. 

Scientific knowledge really is not attained by university training in how to do this or that with certain instruments. True science results, rather, when common sense is aroused a little; then people know how they must conduct their experiments.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness I: Lecture IX: Why do We Become Sick? – Dornach, December 27, 1922

People will say: It is pathological to even think in terms of spirit and soul

At the Council of Constantinople it was decreed that the spirit did not exist; it was dogmatically stated that the human being consisted only of body and soul, and it was heresy to speak of a human spirit. In the same way attempts will be made to decree the soul, the inner life, as nonexistent.

The time will come — and it may not be far off — when quite different tendencies will come up at a congress like the one held in 1912 and people will say: It is pathological for people to even think in terms of spirit and soul. ‘Sound’ people will speak of nothing but the body. It will be considered a sign of illness for anyone to arrive at the idea of any such thing as a spirit or a soul. People who think like that will be considered to be sick and — you can be quite sure of it — a medicine will be found for this. At Constantinople the spirit was made non-existent. The soul will be made non-existent with the aid of a drug. Taking a ‘sound point of view’, people will invent a vaccine to influence the organism as early as possible, preferably as soon as it is born, so that this human body never even gets the idea that there is a soul and a spirit.

The two philosophies of life will be in complete opposition. One movement will need to reflect how concepts and ideas may be developed to meet the reality of soul and spirit. The others, the heirs of modern materialism, will look for the vaccine to make the body ‘healthy’, that is, makes its constitution such that this body no longer talks of such rubbish as soul and spirit, but takes a ‘sound’ view of the forces which live in engines and in chemistry and let planets and suns arise from nebulae in the cosmos. Materialistic physicians will be asked to drive the souls out of humanity.

People who think that playful ideas will help them to look ahead to the future are very much mistaken. We need serious, profound ideas to look ahead to the future. Anthroposophy is not a game, nor just a theory; it is a task that must be faced for the sake of human evolution.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – LECTURE 5 – Changes in Humanity’s Spiritual Make-up – Dornach, 7 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on January 8, 2017

The time will come that people will say: It is pathological for people to even think in terms of spirit and soul

The time will come, and it may not be far off, that people will say: It is pathological for people to even think in terms of spirit and soul. ‘Sound’ people will speak of nothing but the body. It will be considered a sign of illness for anyone to arrive at the idea of any such thing as a spirit or a soul. People who think like that will be considered to be sick and — you can be quite sure of it — a medicine will be found for this. At Constantinople the spirit was made non-existent. The soul will be made non-existent with the aid of a drug. Taking a ‘sound point of view’, people will invent a vaccine to influence the organism as early as possible, preferably as soon as it is born, so that this human body never even gets the idea that there is a soul and a spirit.

The two philosophies of life will be in complete opposition. One movement will need to reflect how concepts and ideas may be developed to meet the reality of soul and spirit. The others, the heirs of modern materialism, will look for the vaccine to make the body ‘healthy’, that is, makes its constitution such that this body no longer talks of such rubbish as soul and spirit, but takes a ‘sound’ view of the forces which live in engines and in chemistry and let planets and suns arise from nebulae in the cosmos. Materialistic physicians will be asked to drive the souls out of humanity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 5 – Dornach, 7th October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on July 29, 2015

Healing forces/Forces of sickness/Morality

Knowledge of the healing forces is inseparable from knowledge of the forces of sickness. One cannot be taught without the other. No one in the world can gain knowledge of the healing forces, without at the same time learning about the forces of sickness. So you can see how important it is for people to be morally good through and through as regards such serious matters. For someone who can heal a person’s soul can also make a person’s soul sick in the same degree. Therefore such truths may not be imparted by the gods to man until a stage of morality has been reached at which the healing medicine cannot be transformed into poison.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 173 – The Karma of Untruthfulness I: Lecture Nine – Dornach, 24th December 1916

Translated by Johanna Collis

Previously posted on May 27, 2015

Vivisection only exists because clairvoyance has been lost

On account of its materialism, modern science has need of vivisection. The anti-vivisection movements are inspired by deeply moral motives. But it will not be possible to abolish vivisection in science until clairvoyance has been restored to medicine. It is only because clairvoyance has been lost that medicine has had to resort to vivisection. When man has regained conscious access to the astral world, clairvoyance will enable doctors to enter spiritually into the inner conditions of diseased organs and vivisection will be abandoned as worthless.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology – Lecture IX: The Astral World – Paris, 2nd June 1906

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on December 23, 2015