Viral Illness and Epidemics in the Work of Rudolf Steiner
Collected in this book are all of Rudolf Steiner’s statements on viral illnesses and epidemics. Spanning over forty years and arranged in chronological order, these extended excerpts are drawn from 35 separate volumes of the Collected Works. Several of these statements have never before been published in English. Newly translated from the latest German editions, they serve as an invaluable resource for anyone interested in exploring Steiner’s views on health and illness in relation to pathogens and infectious diseases.
At various times in his career Rudolf Steiner touched upon the themes of viral illnesses and epidemics. In his early Theosophical work it was mostly to elucidate the theme of karma. Epidemics were one more example of how karma works into daily life and into the big cycles of repeated earth lives.
In the middle phases of his lecturing activity he turned his focus more towards the cosmic origin of infectious diseases. In these examples pathogens are consequence of the deeds of cosmic beings as these play in to their role supporting the gradual independence of humanity..
Beginning in 1918 and continuing through 1924 Steiner looks more practically at the cause of outbreaks, locating their origin and timing and cosmic events. He repeatedly stresses that pathogens carry illness, but are not the primary cause. The cause of infection are weaknesses in the physical and etheric. These must be present for a pathogen to generate an illness. Asymptomatic carriers are the evidence that the pathogen cannot be the primary cause. Steiner elaborates this in a number of ways in lectures to medical doctors and to the general public in the 1920s.
All of these indications are present in this book in fresh translations. This volume is an essential background for people attempting to understand the current pandemic in light of anthroposophy.