You can find plenty of doctors nowadays, properly recognised members of the medical profession, who would never admit to being sworn materialists; they profess to one or another religious faith, and they would staunchly deny the accusation of being materialistic. But this is not the point. Life does not depend on what a man says or believes. That is his personal concern. To be effective it is necessary to know how to apply and make valuable use in life of those facts that are not limited to the sense world but have an existence in the spiritual world. So that however pious a doctor is and however many ideas he has regarding this or the other spiritual world, if he nevertheless works according to the rules that arise entirely out of our materialistic world conception, that is, he treats people as though they only had a body, then however spiritually minded he believes himself to be, he is nevertheless a materialist. For it does not depend on what a person says or believes but on his ability to set in living motion the forces behind the external world of the senses.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution: Lecture 2: Different Types of Illness – Berlin, 10th November 1908
Translated by Pauline Wehrle
Painting by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on 18 December 2018