Problems of Nutrition
Munich, January 8, 1909 (CW 68d)
In the past I have spoken here on a variety of subjects concerning spiritual life. It may be permissible today, therefore, for me to touch upon a more prosaic theme from the standpoint of spiritual science. Problems of nutrition undoubtedly offer a more mundane subject than many we have heard here. It will be seen, however, that particularly in our age spiritual science has something to say even concerning questions that directly affect everyday life.
On the one hand, spiritual science stands accused, by those who know it only from the outside, of aspiring too loftily to spiritual realms, thus losing the firm ground under its feet. On the other hand, the opposite can perhaps also be heard again from those who have become acquainted with spiritual science or anthroposophy through only a single lecture or brochure. This consists in the statement that anthroposophists are entirely too concerned with, and talk too much about, questions of what they should eat and drink. In some respects these critics might well be called idealists in that they believe they view the common aspects of life from a certain exalted level. They raise this objection particularly by taking a stand that can be expressed in the following way. “What man eats and drinks is unimportant. It does not matter what food one takes, rather must one rise above the material dimension by the strength of one’s spirit.” Even a well-intentioned idealist might level this objection against anthroposophists.
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.