Folks do not notice the Devil

Goethe expressed a deep truth when he said: “Folks do not notice the Devil, even when he takes them by the scruff of the neck!” In fact, it is possible to ignore the devil; it is possible not to see him. From the standpoint of modern natural science it is easy to say that Mephistopheles does not exist. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Morality and Karma – Nuremberg, November 12th, 1910 (No assigned GA)


Previously posted on July 11, 2017


Spiritual science and natural science must be based on the same foundations

We have now reached a stage in human development where the study of spiritual matters must be based on the same foundations as the study of nature was three or four centuries ago.Spiritual science intends to achieve similar things for knowledge of the spirit as Copernicus, Galileo and Giordano Bruno did for the understanding of physical nature in their own time. Of course, the systematic exploration of the spirit in our age encounters the same kind of resistance and hostility as the study and the concepts of the natural sciences did then. Spiritual science will be assimilated into our culture as slowly and with just as much difficulty as the natural sciences were.

We will investigate the spirit with processes of the human mind that are still unknown today, or at least unpopular with most people. Clairvoyant research, as we can call these processes, provides the foundation for spiritual science, and I am speaking to you today on that basis.

Clairvoyant research is discredited by the countless prejudices people have against it, and also by the widespread misuse of the term “clairvoyant investigation.” That is why I want to say right now that I am not speaking from the standpoint of the occult knowledge so often promoted by charlatans these days, but based on the kind of clairvoyant, esoteric knowledge that can be supported even by people firmly grounded in serious research in the natural sciences who base their knowledge on genuine scientific facts. In terms of its inner logic, its mode of thinking, spiritual science belongs to the stream of modern thinking that includes the natural sciences. The two differ only in the areas they research. The natural sciences examine the world of nature, the physical phenomena around us, while spiritual science studies an area that must necessarily remain hidden to the natural sciences, namely, spiritual experience, and spiritual beings. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE FIVE – THE BLESSING OF THE DEAD – Paris, May 26, 1914

Translated by C. von Arnim

If students are apt to be bored

If students are apt to be bored by what they have to listen to in preparation for their medical studies, it is not the fault of the natural science but of those who expound it. We should never speak of science as “boring,” but rather of “boring” professors! Truly the fault does not lie with science, for science has undoubtedly good solid matter to offer. However God-forsaken are many of those who expound science to-day, science herself has the co-operation of good Spirits. 

When, however, we turn from these achievements of genuine and scholarly research and listen to what psychologists and philosophers have to say about the soul or the eternal part of man, we very soon realise that, apart from what has come from earlier traditions, it is all words, words, words, which lead nowhither. If out of the deepest needs of his soul a man turns to-day to psychology or philosophy, he will not merely be bored, he will find nothing whatever to answer his questions.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Supersensible Man: Lecture I – The Hague, 13th November 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on January 15, 2017

What became of theology?

In the 19th century came the time, in which the ordinary soul-activity that brought forth such significant results in natural science and technology, was also applied to theology. But what became of theology through this? Christ-Jesus, the incarnation of a Being that does not belong to the earthly became “the simple man of Nazareth,” looked upon indeed as the most perfect man, but not as the bearer of a super-earthly Being. Theology became naturalistic. 

The more our modern theologians look upon Jesus of Nazareth as a human being, the less they feel induced to pursue Christological ideas, and the happier they are! Even in theology they do not wish to rise beyond the description of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, they do not wish to rise to an understanding of Christ as a super-earthly Being that dwelt in the man, Jesus of Nazareth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 203 – It is a Necessity of Our Earnest Times to Find Again the Path Leading to the Spirit – The Hague, February 27, 1921

Previously posted on November 13, 2016 

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