Page 13 - Rudolf.Steiner's.Vision.for.the.Future.(Being.Human.magazine.debut.issue)
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scientist. As Freud, Husserl, and other of Steiner’s contem- has discovered and reported. This vast, cosmic unconscious 

poraries would also argue, there is no reason in principle why can be opened up gradually through meditation – a word 

scientific rigor cannot be extended to the facts of our inner that comes from the Latin verb meaning, simply, ‘to prac- 

life. The ultimate goal of science is theory in the etymological tice.’ With practice and over time, everyone can develop 

sense: theoria comes from the same root as ‘theater,’ and it these faculties of higher cognition. What could be more 

describes a contemplative viewing of spiritual facts. Self-trans- hopeful than the opening sentence of Steiner’s first ‘basic 

formation through meditative contemplation of phenomena book’?: “Within every human being there slumbers a capac- 

is not the antithesis of science, but rather its essence.
ity to attain knowledge of the higher worlds.”


Expanding Consciousness
Recovering the Wisdom of the Past

As Plato taught in his Allegory of the Cave, sensation The results of Steiner’s researches yielded many pro- 

and the passive, unreflected thought that is based on sensa- found insights into human nature and the history of the 

tion – doxa – are but shadows cast by the light of a supra- world. First and foremost, Steiner recovered and explicated 

personal thinking that is creative, vivid, and alive. Steiner the ancient mystery-knowledge that human nature is triune, 

followed the German Idealists and Romantics in calling this comprising not only body, but also soul and spirit. Over the 

enlivened, intuitive thinking Imagination. But he went centuries, as humanity sank ever more
What could be 
much further than the Romantics by exploring fully the deeply into the material world, aware-
more hopeful 

spiritual realm of perception for which the organ of Imag- ness of our higher nature steadily
than the opening 

ination is framed, and even more so by developing yet eroded. Steiner often referred to the
sentence of 

higher modes of cognition, which he termed Inspiration and Ecumenical Council of Constantino-
Steiner’s first 

Intuition. One way to begin thinking about what Steiner ple in 869 CE, at which it became
‘basic book’?: 

discovered is to extend Plato’s analogy: Inspiration is a high heresy to talk of the human spirit, as
“Within every 

cognitive faculty of which our everyday feelings are but the an important milestone. Humanity
human being 

shadow, and we see Intuition’s shadow in our faculty of will. sank ever further until, by the end of
there slumbers a 

Our everyday awareness of feeling is dream-like, and the 19th century, rampant materialism
capacity to attain 

consciousness sleeps deeply in our wills. But consciousness came close to destroying any sense of
knowledge of the 

can be awakened even at these higher levels.
the reality of the human soul as well.
higher worlds.”

Like Freud and Jung, Steiner taught that the uncon- Steiner’s first great mission was to fight

scious can – and must – become ever more conscious, and this materialism, which he knew to be

that there are rigorous ways of attaining such higher knowl- false from his own, direct experience.

edge. Freud uncovered and explored a personal unconscious But he also taught that humanity

that he found to be vastly larger, more powerful, and more could become fully autonomous only

knowing than consciousness. He called it “hypermnestic” – by enduring a long eclipse in which

a super-memory. Jung went further, and discovered com- the spiritual world was hidden from

pelling evidence of a trans-personal unconscious. To under- view, allowing us to become fully

stand Steiner’s spiritual psychology, one needs to extend awake and grounded in the physical
Skepticism and 

these concepts greatly, in two dimensions: Steiner’s “spirit” world. Skepticism and materialism
materialism were 

might be understood thus as the unconscious of nature and a were the necessary means to a moder-
the necessary 

cosmic memory of everything that ever happened. Like Plato, nity that must ultimately transcend
means to a 

Freud, and Jung, Steiner describes a rigorous method them. Now that its benefits have been
modernity that 

whereby one can progress along the path to higher conferred, materialism becomes detri-
must ultimately 

knowledge, and eventually verify for oneself what the initiate
mental, and humanity must begin to
transcend them.



first issue 2011 • 11



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