Page 11 - Rudolf.Steiner's.Vision.for.the.Future.(Being.Human.magazine.debut.issue)
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long-hidden knowledge as the Mysteries. In the If people who write untranslated, and, to this day, many manuscripts 

opening pages of Steiner’s first ‘basic book,’ How a dozen books are still lie unedited and unpublished in the archives. 

to Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Steiner ‘prolific,’ Steiner Even the most ardent, lifelong student of anthro- 

describes a profound revolution that occurred to- was something way posophy, who can read Steiner in the original, 

wards the end of the nineteenth century: the beyond prolific.
must be resigned to dying without having read

time had come for the former secrets to be taught all of his work.

openly and become public knowledge, to the end The problem of coming to terms with

of transforming all of culture. What once was the Steiner is compounded by the absence of a 

object of passive and semi-conscious revelation single, classic text, an Interpretation of Dreams or 

from without, should now be actively and a Critique of Pure Reason, that epitomizes his 

consciously sought within. In the language of thought. He spoke to many different audiences 

Romanticism (which foreshadowed the event), in many different idioms. His profoundest in- 

the mirror must now become a lamp. This is sights are in the private lectures, which have long 

what Steiner meant when he substituted the been available to the public, but they presuppose 

word ‘anthroposophy’ [human wisdom] for Perhaps the mastery of the introductory books, and that is 

‘theosophy’ [divine wisdom], and what Owen greatest hurdle to already a daunting task. For many people, it is 

Barfield must have had in mind when he titled a acceptance Steiner the application of Steiner’s insights in fields such 

collection of anthroposophical essays Romanti- still faces is that
as education or agriculture that will be most 

cism Comes of Age. The great avant-garde artist he occupies the compelling, but these writings also presuppose 

and anthroposophist Joseph Beuys was echoing seemingly excluded a knowledge of the ‘basic books,’ each of which 

Steiner when he adopted as one of his many middle ground is very different from the others, and one of 

mottoes, “Make the mysteries productive!”
between science which presents a huge and challenging cosmol- 

and religion.
ogy. In order to appreciate him fully, one needs 
Beyond Prolific
to read Steiner widely. Thus it is that, when

Another difficulty is the formidable scope of Steiner’s asked how to begin studying Steiner, anthroposophists are 

work. If people who write a dozen books are ‘prolific,’ sometimes at a loss for a recommendation. This is a gen- 

Steiner was something way beyond prolific. During a uine difficulty, but no excuse for neglect.

period when I was reading Steiner intensively over many 
A Science of the Spirit
months, my son gestured at the green, 200-page paperback 

with the word Gesamtwerk on the cover that he had often Perhaps the greatest hurdle to acceptance Steiner faced 

seen in my hand, sighed, and complained: “The book’s not and still faces is that he occupies the seemingly excluded 

that big, Dad. How long can it take to read it?” I laughed, middle ground between science and religion. Steiner was 

and showed him that it was the catalogue of Steiner’s himself a trained scientist, and he was deeply versed in both 

complete works in German, still incomplete at some 400 the history and the philosophy of science. But his own inner 

volumes, and that I had been checking off titles as I worked experiences confirmed to him the reality of the spiritual 

my way through them. The edition begins with 45 volumes world, and he found there a rich field of phenomena that 

of books, letters, and published essays, followed by 39 of could be penetrated and understood by a researcher employ- 

public lectures, and then another 270 tomes of private ing rigorous methods. The time has come, Steiner argued, 

lectures to members of the Theosophical and Anthropo- when humanity must begin to transcend and supplant mere 

sophical Societies that were recorded stenographically. faith with, first, knowledge, and eventually direct experience, 

Several dozen volumes of his notes, sketches, paintings etc. of spiritual realities. The mediation of this epochal transition 

conclude the complete edition as planned. Much remains
is an important part of what Steiner meant by calling

first issue 2011 • 9

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