6 lectures, Hanover, Dec. 1911 – Jan. 1912 (CW 134)
“When we consider the plant world in all its greenery, or the stars with their golden glory; when we look at all this without forming any judgment from within ourselves but instead permit the things to reveal themselves to us… then all things are transformed from what they were in the world of the senses into something entirely different—something for which no word exists other than one which is taken from our very life of soul.” —Rudolf Steiner
One of Rudolf Steiner’s most fundamental objectives was to show how the spiritual world connects to and penetrates the material world. In doing so, he was pioneering a modern form of Rosicrucianism—countering traditional religious conceptions (that spirit and matter are polar opposites) as well as contemporary materialistic science (that ignores the existence of spiritual phenomena altogether).
In this concise series of lectures, Rudolf Steiner shows how the human senses reveal the mysterious world of the will, which is at once a spiritual and physical phenomenon. The senses act as a portal connecting our physical and etheric bodies with what Steiner refers to as worlds of “all-pervading will” and “all-pervading wisdom.” He elaborates this theme, giving some unexpected and delightful insights into the senses of hearing and sight, and in particular how we experience color.
Steiner suggests that divine spiritual beings had different intentions for the formation of physical human beings, but that adversary powers caused disruption, leading to a more materialized constitution. He describes disorders in the connections between the human physical, etheric, astral and ego bodies, and the ill effects of one aspect overpowering the others. He gives insight into human glandular secretions, and why we need to eat and digest—also connected to the intervention of adversary beings.
Among the many other themes tackled here, Rudolf Steiner describes the transformation of the human senses and organs, giving special consideration to the function of the larynx, which in future times will develop a special kind of reproductive power.
This volume is a translation from German of Die Welt der Sinne und die Welt des Geistes (GA 134).
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 (see right). 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.
MARGARET JONAS was the librarian at Rudolf Steiner House, London, for many years, and has studied anthroposophy since 1975. Her special interests include history, religion, astrology, astronomy, literature, the Grail, psychology, and states of consciousness. She is the author of The Templar Spirit and editor of an anthology by Rudolf Steiner on the subject. She has edited several other anthologies of Steiner’s work and has written articles for various journals. She lives in Sussex, England, and has a son.