World History and the Mysteries in the Light of Anthroposophy And as a Foundation of the Human Spirit
Nine Lectures Given in Dornach, 24 December 1923 to 1 January 1924, During the Foundation Meeting of the General Anthroposophical Society
It is a common belief that human consciousness, as we experience it today, has been essentially the same throughout the whole of what we know as history, its only evolutionary change being a greater degree of conceptual sophistication replacing child-like superstitions.
In World History and the Mysteries in the Light of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner presents a radically different view. History, he suggests, is seen in its true light only when we study the differences in the human being’s soul life during the various historical eras. Consciousness constantly evolves, not only quantitatively but qualitatively as well, with later stages growing out of the fruits of earlier developments. In this light, Steiner show how we can only understand the present by having a clear understanding of its origin in the past.
Steiner begins this course of lectures by surveying the development of memory in human evolution. He then describes how people saw themselves and the world in the ancient East, and how that understanding manifested in the ancient Mystery Centers. He follows their development from Babylon to Greece, and shows the influence of the Mysteries on modern spiritual life.