Paths and Goals of the Spiritual Human Being: Life Questions in the Light of Spiritual Science
Fourteen lectures held in various locations between 23 January and 27 December 1910
The lectures illustrate the diversity of Steiner’s approach when speaking to different audiences. Reflecting on the polymath Novalis, for example, he is urgent about the responsibility of spiritual science to help humanity awaken to the new age. A few months later, talking of Hegel and deploring the fact that an interest in spiritual matters often fails to be accompanied by an equal interest in logical thought, Steiner uses a dispassionate, philosophical tone. But throughout the lectures he is consistent in his view that spiritual science does not reject conventional science. Trained philosophical thinking leads to different conclusions than materialism, he says, but there is nothing in the field of spiritual science that need be rejected by rigorous scientific thought.
Although the lectures were given to a variety of audiences, ideas recur from different perspectives and in different contexts, with strong thematic links binding them together. These include the relationship between philosophy and science; the nature of clairvoyance; Christ’s presence in the etheric realm; reincarnation and karma; the mystery drama The Portal of Initiation; Christmas and its symbols; and the transformation of consciousness that occurred when Christ incarnated physically on earth.
In the final lectures, Rudolf Steiner speaks inspiringly about the Christmas festival, contrasting the feeling of inwardness that people used to experience with the hectic cultural environment of modern cities. However, this does not lead Steiner to be nostalgic about the past. Rather, he states, we should seek to recreate a mood of inwardness in a new way, appropriate to our modern age and consciousness. These lectures give us the tools to bring such a contemporary spiritual approach to our lives.
Translated by Christian von Arnim.
Paths and Goals of the Spiritual Human Being, Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2015
Paperback. Octavo. New. 278 pp.