Continuing The Study: Scientific "Mysticism"
- What is a scientific approach to mystical knowing and how is it developed?
Steiner: In many circles today the word “mysticism” carries such a connotation, hence the tendency is to explain this as a region of the life of the human soul which can have nothing to do with “real science.” In this... “mysticism” is ...the exposition of a spiritual fact whose nature can be recognized only when the powers of cognition are taken from the source of spiritual life itself. ... in “mysticism” the same clarity can exist as in the truthful exposition of natural phenomena ...
*******In other words, "mysticism" usually means a sort of knowing through your feelings without being able to say how exactly you know, as we still commonly use the word "intuition" to mean a sort of vague feeling. What Steiner is saying is that true mystical experience is neither vague nor based on mere feelings, but rather can be joined to the logical intellect, so that what can be perceived through a mystical experience can be known with complete clarity, just as the intellect clearly knows what it experiences of nature in natural science.
He goes on :
"... the natural scientific achievements of our day demand elevation to true mysticism."
******Meaning taking the same thinking used in natural science and elevating it to mystical knowing. He's saying that this is the only way that is in harmony with being a thinker; he rejects the kind of 'feeling mysticism' that throws out thinking and says you have to go by mere feelings.
He continues: "The means of cognition which so many people who assume that they stand on firm natural scientific ground, would like to use, simply do not embrace the facts of this natural science. ... full understanding of our present marvelous knowledge of nature can be combined with genuine mysticism."
*******In other words, even the consciousness needed by a person to understand natural science must go beyond 'Nature', or that which is studied, because we human beings are more than Nature. So it is not enough for understanding the spiritual life of ourselves; what he's calling mystical consciousness MUST be added to it.
We are not seeking some state OTHER than our waking consciousness with our normal perception of the world---- the same that is used in natural science. We are seeking to ADD to that, intensify it, go beyond it, extend it----but always keeping our scientific minds which are able to understand what we experience. That is what Steiner means by Anthroposophy. For instance, we can transform our inner experience in meditation, transform our dream life, transform our sleep state -- -- -- but always, our reasoning minds are in control and able to understand what we experience, just as they reflect on and understand what the senses perceive in nature. This is why he called it "spiritual science."