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28609Re: sorry folks, but have to repeat myself once again

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  • Steve Hale
    Aug 2, 2006
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      --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Joel Wendt <hermit@...>
      > So, Steve, in answers to my questions to you, you respond by quoting
      > anthroposophical bible (occult science) at me.
      > how is this not anthroposophical fundamentalism? for all your
      > being touched by the divine stuff, don't you have anything to say for
      > yourself?
      > joel

      Well Joel, let's read Rudolf Steiner's last preface to this book
      together. - Steve

      Fifteen years having now elapsed since the first publication of this
      book, it may be suitable for me to say something more about the
      spiritual circumstances and my own state of mind when it originated. It
      had been my intention that its main content should form part of a new
      and enlarged version of my Theosophy, published several years before.
      But this did not prove possible. At the time when Theosophy was written
      the subject-matter of the present volume could not be brought into an
      equally finished form. In my Imaginative perceptions I beheld the
      spiritual life and being of individual Man and was able to describe
      this clearly. The facts of cosmic evolution were not present to me to
      the same extent. I was indeed aware of them in many details, but the
      picture as a whole was lacking.

      I therefore resolved to make no appreciable change in the main content
      of the earlier volume. In the new edition as in the first, the book
      Theosophy should describe the essential features of the life of
      individual Man, as I had seen it in the spirit. Meanwhile I would
      quietly be working at a new and independent publication, Occult
      Science — An Outline.

      My feeling at that time was that the contents of this book must be
      presented in scientific thought-forms — that is, in forms of thought
      akin to those of Natural Science, duly developed and adapted to the
      description of what is spiritual. How strongly I felt this "scientific"
      obligation in all that I wrote at that time in the field of spiritual
      knowledge, will be evident from the Preface to the First Edition
      (1909), here reproduced. But the world of the spirit as revealed to
      spiritual sight can only partly be described in thought-forms of this
      kind. What is revealed cannot be fully contained in mere forms of
      thought. This will be known to anyone who has had experience of such
      revelation. Adapted as they are to the exposition of what is seen by
      the outer senses, the thoughts of our every-day consciousness are
      inadequate, fully to expound what is seen and experienced in the
      spirit. The latter can only be conveyed in picture-form, that is, in
      Imaginations, through which Inspirations speak, which in their turn
      proceed from spiritual reality of Being, experienced in Intuition.
      (Concerning "Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition," the necessary
      explanations will be found both in the present volume and in my book
      Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment.)

      Today, however, one who sets out to tell of the spiritual world in
      Imaginations cannot rest content with such pictorial descriptions. He
      would be foisting on to the civilization of our time the outcome of a
      state of consciousness quite unrelated to existing forms of knowledge.
      It is to the normal consequences of the present age that he must bring
      home the truths which can indeed only be discovered by a higher
      consciousness of the present age that he must bring home the truths
      which can indeed only be discovered by a higher consciousness — one
      that sees into the spiritual world. The subject-matter of his
      exposition, namely the realities of the world of spirit, will then be
      case into forms of thought which the prevailing consciousness of our
      time — scientifically thoughtful and wide-awake, though unable yet to
      see into the spiritual world — can understand.

      An inability to understand will at most be due to hindrances that are
      self-imposed. The reader may have fixed in his mind some definition of
      the inherent limitations of human knowledge, due to a mistaken
      generalization of the limits of Natural Science. Spiritual cognition is
      a delicate and tender process in the human soul, and this is true not
      only of the actual "seeing" in the spirit, but of the active
      understanding with which the normal "non-seeing" consciousness of our
      time can come to meet the results of seership. People with half-formed
      notions who allege auto-suggestion in this regard have little idea of
      the real depth and intimacy of such understanding. For the scientific
      understanding of the physical world there may be truth or error in our
      theories and concepts. For the spiritual world, it is no longer a
      merely theoretic issue; it is a matter of living experience. When a
      man's judgment is tinged however slightly by the dogmatic assertion
      that the ordinary (not yet clairvoyant) consciousness — through its
      inherent limitations — cannot really understand what is experienced by
      the seer, this mistaken judgment becomes a cloud of darkness in his
      feeling-life and does in fact obscure his understanding.

      To an open mind however, though not yet "seeing" in the spirit, what is
      experienced by the seer is comprehensible to a very full extent, if
      once the seer has cast it into forms of thought. It is no less
      intelligible than is a finished work of art to the non-artist. Nor is
      this understanding confined to the realm of aesthetic feeling as in the
      latter instance; it lives in full clarity of thought, even as in the
      scientific understanding of Nature.

      To make such understanding possible, however, the seer must have
      contrived to express what he has seen, in genuine forms of thought,
      without thereby depriving it of its "Imaginative" character.

      Such were my reflections while working at the subject-matter of my
      Occult Science, and, with these premises in mind, by 1909 I felt able
      to achieve a book, bringing the outcome of my spiritual researches, up
      to a point into adequate forms of thought — a book moreover which
      should be intelligible to any thoughtful reader who did not himself
      impose unnecessary hindrances to understanding.

      While saying this retrospectively today I must however admit that in
      the year 1909 the publication of this book appeared to me a venture of
      some temerity. For I was only too well aware that the professional
      scientists above all, and the vast number of others who in their
      judgment follow the "scientific" authority, would be incapable of the
      necessary openness of mind. Yet I was equally aware that at the very
      time when the prevailing consciousness of mankind was farthest remote
      from the world of spirit, communications from that world would be
      answering to an urgent need. I counted on there also being many people
      feeling so weighted down by the prevailing estrangement from the living
      spirit that with sincere longing they would welcome true communications
      from the spiritual world. This expectation was amply confirmed during
      the years that followed. The books Theosophy and Occult Science have
      been widely read, though they count not a little on the reader's good
      will. For it must be admitted, they are not written in an easy style. I
      purposely refrained from writing a "popular" account, so-called. I
      wrote in such a way as to make it necessary to exert one's thinking
      while entering into the content of these books. In so doing, I gave
      them a specific character. The very reading of them is an initial step
      in spiritual training, inasmuch as the necessary effort of quiet
      thought and contemplation strengthens the powers of the soul, making
      them capable of drawing nearer to the spiritual world.

      Misunderstandings were soon evoked by the chosen title, Occult Science.
      A would-be science, people said, cannot in the nature of the case
      be "occult" or "secret." Surely a rather thoughtless objection, for no
      man will deliberately publish what he desires to be secretive about or
      to keep obscure. The entire book is evidence that far from being
      claimed as a special "secret," what is here presented is to be made
      accessible to human understanding like any other science. Speaking
      of "Natural Science" we mean the science of Nature. "Occult Science" is
      the science of what takes its course in realms which are "occult"
      inasmuch as they are discerned, not in external Nature — Nature as seen
      by the outer senses — but in directions to which the soul of man
      becomes attentive when he turns his inner life towards the spirit. It
      is "Occult Science" as against "Natural Science."

      Of my clairvoyant researches into the world of spirit it has often been
      alleged that they are a re-hash, howsoever modified, of ideas about the
      spiritual world which have prevailed from time to time, above all in
      earlier epochs of human history. In the course of my reading I was said
      to have absorbed these things into the sub-conscious mind and then
      reproduced them in the fond belief that they were the outcome of my own
      independent seership. Gnostic doctrines, oriental fables, and wisdom-
      teachings were alleged to be the real source of my descriptions. But
      these surmises too were the outcome of no very deeply penetrating
      thought. My knowledge of the spiritual — of this I am fully conscious —
      springs from my own spiritual vision. At every stage — both in the
      details and in synthesis and broad review — I have subjected myself to
      stringent tests, making sure that wide-awake control accompanies each
      further step in spiritual vision and research. Just as a mathematician
      proceeds from thought to thought — where the unconscious mind, auto-
      suggestion and the like can play no part at all — so must the
      consciousness of the seer move on from one objective Imagination to
      another. Nothing affects the soul in this process save the objective
      spiritual content, experienced in full awareness.

      It is by healthy inner experience that one knows a
      spiritual "Imagination" to be no mere subjective picture but the
      expression of a spiritual reality in picture-form. Just as in sensory
      perception anyone sound in mind and body can discriminate between mere
      fancies and the perception of real facts, so a like power of
      discernment can be attained by spiritual means.

      So then I had before me the results of conscious spiritual vision. They
      were things "seen," living in my consciousness, to begin with, without
      any names. To communicate them, some terminology was needed, and it was
      only then — so as to put into words what had been wordless to begin
      with — that I looked for suitable expressions in the traditional
      literature. These too I used quite freely. In the way I apply them,
      scarcely one of them coincides exactly with its connotation in the
      source from which I took it. Only after the spiritual content was known
      to me from my own researches did I thus look for the way to express it.
      As to whatever I might formerly have read — with the clear
      consciousness and control above referred-to, I was able to eliminate
      such things completely while engaged on supersensible research.

      But the critics then found echoes of traditional ideas in the terms I
      used. Paying little heed to the real trend and content of my
      descriptions, they focused their attention on the words. If I spoke
      of "lotus flowers," in the human astral body, they took it as proof
      that I was reproducing Indian doctrines in which this term occurs. Nay,
      the term "astral body" itself only showed that I had been dipping into
      medieval writings. And if I used the terms Angeloi, Archangeloi and so
      on, I was merely reviving the ideas of Christian Gnosticism. Time and
      again I found myself confronted with comments of this kind.

      I take the present opportunity of mentioning this too. Occult Science —
      an Outline, now to be published in a new edition, is after all an
      epitome of anthroposophical Spiritual Science as a whole, and is pre-
      eminently exposed to the same kinds of misunderstanding.

      Since the Imaginations described in this book first grew into a total
      picture in my mind and spirit, I have unceasingly developed the
      researches of conscious seership into the being of individual Man, the
      history of Mankind, the nature and evolution of the Cosmos. The outline
      as presented fifteen years ago has in no way been shaken. Inserted in
      its proper place and context, everything that I have since been able to
      adduce becomes a further elaboration of the original picture.

      Rudolf Steiner

      Goetheanum, Dornach,
      10 January, 1925
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