The publication of this book appeared to be a risk

In 1909 the publication of this book (An Outline of Occult Science) appeared to be a risk. For I knew indeed that professional scientists are unable to call up in themselves the necessary impartiality, nor are the numerous personalities able to do so who are dependent on them for their judgment.
But, before my soul there stood the very fact that at the time when the consciousness of mankind was furthest removed from the world of spirit, the communications from that world would answer a most urgent necessity.

I counted upon the fact that there are human beings who feel, more or less desperately, the remoteness from all spirituality as a grave obstacle to life that causes them to seize upon the communications of the spiritual world with inner longing.
During the subsequent years this has been completely confirmed. Theosophy and Occult Science, books that presume the goodwill of the reader in coping with a difficult style of writing, have been widely read.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – Preface, sixteenth to twentieth edition – January 10, 1925 – Goetheanum Dornach, Switzerland

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

Previously posted on March 21, 2017

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Vivisection

In the Middle Ages no one would have ever dreamt of destroying life in order to understand it, and in ancient times any doctor would have looked on this as the height of madness. In the Middle Ages a number of people were still clairvoyant; doctors could see into a man and could discern any injury or defect in his physical body. So it was with Paracelsus, for example.

But the material culture of modern times had to come, and with it a loss of clairvoyance. We see this particularly in our scientists and doctors; and vivisection is a result of it. In this way we can come to understand it, but we should never excuse or justify it.

The consequences of a life which has been the cause of pain to others are bound to follow, and after death the vivisectionist has to endure exactly the same pains that he inflicted on animals. His soul is drawn into every pain he caused. It is no use saying that to inflict pain was not his intention, or that he did it for the sake of science or that his purpose was good. The law of spiritual life is inflexible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE THREE: LIFE OF THE SOUL IN KAMALOKA – Stuttgart, 24th August, 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Inherited tendency (3-End)

This cannot be got over, simply by saying that those who assert such things are mistaken. We need not be too severe in judging those who put forth these theories. We are not attacking individual scientists here; it is quite comprehensible that they are involved in a line of thought which must lead to such errors — we must admit this in all fairness. The one, perhaps, may not be able to free himself from scientific tradition; another perhaps considers it excusable, for, having a wife and children he would be in an awkward position if he were to break away from the ruling opinions.

But the whole thing must be considered as a phenomenon of the times, for Science is beginning not only to spread abroad false theories, but to take away the life-promoting remedies, the spiritual conception of life, which is able to fortify and which is alone able to stand up against the physical, — the power which must otherwise overwhelm man. The physical can only possess overwhelming power as long as a man does not build up strength in his spiritual nature. If he does this, a warrior will grow up within him, a warrior who will defend him against the physical.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 116 – The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness: LECTURE 2. THE LAW OF KARMA WITH RESPECT TO THE DETAILS OF LIFE – Berlin, 22nd December, 1909

Translated by Harry Collison