On educating yourself in holistic spiritual science

From Anthroposophy

In contemporary science, we find many different fields and subfields, and each is broken down in specializations.

In spiritual science, everything is interconnect with everything, and that the multiple, different perspectives or information dimensions to approach a topic are an essential requirement of its study because this represents a key characteristic of the type of knowledge.

Therefore an open attitude and agile and flexible mind are required, as the approach to learning is non-linear or 'compartimented'. As you study, you are actually developing or re-building for yourself a worldview in its totality. You are building a new spiritual scientific worldview foundation which encompasses everything your logical mind can take in scope of consideration.

Furthermore, educating yourself should not mean theoretical study, but learning a way of life. How do you live it, use it as a compass for your soul?

See also:


Lecture coverage and references


It is not well to make many definitions or summaries in spiritual science or theosophy, or indeed in occultism generally. It is better to give a description, and to try and call forth a feeling of what really exists.

Albert Soesman

explains on the first page of his book on the senses:

There are many ways to approach anthroposophy. The way I propose to do it is to take a particular subject as my starting point. You can start with anthroposophy in general and make your way from there into a specific subject, but, interestingly enough, you can also start with a certain subject and work your way up from this into anthroposophy as a whole, in as far as it is possible to arrive at a general outline of anthroposophy in a limited number of lectures. I hope your souls will succeed in following this reverse path — starting with something specific in order to end up with something general.

As was announced, the following will be based on the studies of Rudolf Steine, who once said that a study of the senses is actually the first chapter of anthroposophy. While that sounds simple enough, I will have to start by saying something first about that word `first'.

Usually, when you read an ordinary book, and you have read chapter 1, you are then finished with chapter 1. Next comes chapter 2, and subsequently chapter 3, etc. That is, in fact, how many books are written. But by no means all books are written like that. When you read The State by Plato, for instance, you will find something very peculiar about that book. Its structure is not: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, etc.; instead, reading that book is like walking through an immense temple building, as it were. The whole book is structured like a Greek temple; it is not just a sequence you follow. And this is often also the case with the work of Rudolf Steiner. You have to get used to this at first — that in fact everything, to the last chapter, is already contained in chapter 1. And it is the same in chapter 2 — everything is already there.

This is also how it will be with my lectures. So you will have to bear with me. For some of you it will seem strange that I do not follow a logical sequence — that you have to learn to consider matters in a compositional fashion. You will have to have some patience, and be prepared to wait and see whenever I say something that seems unusual to you. You will have to let go of linear thinking to some extent.

I hope you will find that when something seems strange to you, the next thing may, in fact, balance it out. You will have to look upon these lectures as a piece of music. When you listen to music, you do not think: 'All right, here is the first tone, now where is the second, the third?'. Instead you simply wait until the entire piece is finished, and then you can say: 'That was terrible', or: 'Yes, it did something for me', or whatever. That is the sort of consideration I ask of you — to bear with me until the compositional element makes an appearance. I know I am asking a lot of your patience, but I hope that in the end you will find it worthwhile.

Fred Poeppig

Fred Poeppig's 'Rückblick' contains the following quote, not in the GA.

Mündliche Äußerung Rudolf Steiners gegenüber Frau Sybell-Petersen, übermittelt von Adelheid Petersen in einem Vortrag, gehalten im August 1950

«Die kommende Jugend kommt aus ganz anderen kosmischen Welten her als wir, das wird sich steigern. Sie bringt eine ungeheure Denkfähigkeit, eine Virtuosität des Denkens mit. Das ist aber die größte Versuchung und zugleich der größte ahrimanische Angriff gegen die Anthroposophie. Da wird die Gefahr sein, daß durch die ungeheure Leichtigkeit der Auffassung der anthroposophischen Begriffe die Sache im Denken stecken bleibt und sich ein ungeheures Wohlgefühl im Denken der Anthroposophie entwickelt; aber man wird nicht durchstoßen zur Schulung. Das einzige, was die Jugend bekommen kann, was sie stählen wird, um die künftigen Ereignisse zu bestehen, das ist, daß sie der Anthroposophie in der Schulung begegnet. Die Schulung ist das Fundament, durch das das Studium allein zu einem wahren Ziel geführt werden kann.

Wenn Anthroposophie als Wissenschaft gelehrt wird, wird sie schädlich. Anthroposophie darf niemals bloß Theorie sein; sie muß unmittelbares Leben werden. Läßt man sie bloß Lehre sein, so tötet man sie und übergibt sie Ahriman, dem Herrn des Todes.

Es ist aber den Menschen heute viel bequemer zu denken und einige anthroposophische Begriffe sich anzueignen, als nur eine einzige Gewohnheit abzulegen. Was die Anthroposophie aus unseren Seelen macht, das ist viel wichtiger als noch so viel theoretisches Wissen über geisteswissenschaftliche Begriffe.

[1] from "Rudolf Steiner über die kommende Jugend".


See also holistic education or holism

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Erhard Fucke: 'Das anthroposophische Studium - Seine Bedeutung für den Schulungsweg' (1981)