Knowledge of the spiritual world can only be acquired on earth

The fact that the dead live in the spiritual world does not necessarily give them knowledge of the world, although they can see it. The knowledge which can be acquired through Spiritual Science can only be acquired on earth; it cannot be acquired in the spiritual world. If, therefore, the beings in the spiritual world are to possess it too, they can only gain it from the beings still on the earth. That is an important secret of the spiritual worlds. We may live in them and be able to perceive them, but the necessary knowledge concerning these worlds can only be acquired on earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Descriptive Sketches of the Spiritual World: Lecture I – Bergen, 10th October 1913

Translated by Harry Collison


Drawing by Mia Araujo

Previously posted on June 29, 2018

In spiritual science knowledge comes before seeing

For external nature, nature is first, then comes ‘knowledge’; for spiritual nature, knowledge — that is, an experience like a ‘knowledge’ — leads the way as a preparation; the ‘sight’ comes after. [….]

Obviously — there should be no need to mention this — we do not ‘make’ the spiritual experience when we comprehend it in this way spiritually-scientifically; but we become aware within ourselves of what is always within us. But as in the knowledge of nature, experience and knowledge spring from sight or contemplation, in spiritual science the sight or contemplation of the spiritual world must spring, if human culture is to go on, from a knowledge of the spiritual processes. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 64 –  The Human Soul in Life and Death – Berlin, November 26, 1914


Blind after death (1 of 2)

If between birth and death no knowledge of the supersensible world is developed, this will mean blindness in the life in the supersensible world between death and a new birth, just as the absence of eyes means blindness in the spatial organism. Man passes through death even if on Earth he acquires no knowledge of the supersensible world; but he enters then into a world where he sees nothing, where he can only grope his way about.

This is the agonizing experience that is the natural corollary of the materialistic age for one who has true insight into Initiation-Science today. He sees how men on Earth lapse into materialism; but he also knows what this lapse means for the spiritual life. He knows that it means eradication of the eyes, that in the existence awaiting them after death, men will only be able to grope their way about. In olden times, when there was instinctive knowledge of the supersensible world, men passed through the gate of death able to see. That old, instinctive supersensible knowledge is now extinct. 

Today, spiritual knowledge must be consciously acquired — spiritual knowledge, I say, not clairvoyance. As I have always emphasized, clairvoyance too can be attained, but that is not the essential here. The essential thing is that what is discovered through clairvoyant research shall be understood — as it can be understood — by ordinary human reason, healthy human reason. Clairvoyance is needed to investigate these things, but it is not needed for acquiring the faculty of sight in the supersensible world after death. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner- GA 219 – Man/World of Stars: IV: Rhythms of Earthly and Spiritual Life. Love, Memory, the Moral Life. – Dornach, December 15, 1922


Superstition / Real Knowledge

What can protect us from any aberrations which become superstition can be solely the pursuit of real knowledge, of seeing through the matters. Someone is always addicted to superstition who does not want to penetrate really into the depth of the matters. It anyway is in such a way that this longing for a certain quantity of superstition prevails absolutely. 

With it, I pronounce the basic principle of superstition: as long as the human being remains only in the observation of the physical environment, as long as he does not want to penetrate to spiritual science, to the real knowledge of the spiritual primal grounds of the things, a certain need of superstition lives in him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – Superstition from the Standpoint of Spiritual Science – Berlin, 10th December, 1908


Intellectualistic proof of God’s existence cannot be given

What has had to be said concerning Cosmology applies still more to knowledge of a religious kind. Here we have to build up knowledge which has its origins in the experience of the spiritual world. To draw conclusions concerning such experience from the subject-matter of ordinary consciousness is impossible. In intellectual concepts the religious content cannot be opened out but only clarified. When one began to seek for proofs of God’s existence, the very search was a proof that one had already lost the living connection with the divine world. For this reason also no intellectualistic proof of God’s existence can be given in any satisfactory way. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 25 – Cosmology, Religion and Philosophy: CHAPTER IV: EXERCISES OF COGNITION AND WILL – Dornach, September 1922