The Value of Thinking (CW 164)

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The Value of Thinking For a Cognition that Satisfies the Human Being: The Relationship between Spiritual Science and Natural Science

11 lectures, Dornach, August 20 – October 9, 1915 (CW 164)

“As soon as you start thinking about the living sphere, you have to make the thought itself mobile. The thought must begin to gain inner mobility through your own power.” —Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner divides these absorbing, previously-untranslated lectures into three sections. Opening with the value of thinking, he discusses the quality of thinking itself, contrasting “dead physical cognition,” “living imaginative cognition,” “inspired cognition,” and the latter’s connection with previous periods of human and planetary development. He clarifies how visionary clairvoyance can relate to individual intelligence, and speaks of the submergence of ideas—the effects of sad or joyful experiences and feelings—into the unconscious. These can be a life-promoting or life-inhibiting.

In the second part, he speaks on the relationship between spiritual science and natural science, using a contemporary publication as a case study for how texts can be fruitfully analyzed. He characterizes the spiritual-scientific method as allowing facts or personalities to speak for themselves, rather than making personal judgements.

Finally, Steiner deliberates on episodic observations on space, time, movement—kinetic formula and concepts such as the speed of light—introducing notions such as light ether directly from his own spiritual observations.

These lectures are supplemented by an introduction, comprehensive notes, line drawings and an index.

This book is a translation from German of Der Wert des Denkens für eine den Menschen befriedigende Erkenntnis. Das Verhältnis der Geisteswissenschaft zu Naturwissenschaft (GA 164)

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.

Additional information

Weight 20 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.75 × 9 in


Christian Von Arnim


Christian von Arnim




September 2023






CW 164


Rudolf Steiner Press


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