Boundaries of Natural Science
8 lectures by Rudolf Steiner
overpowering influence on our thinking by a purely mechanistic science in the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries has created a troubling disparity
between the inner experience of human consciousness on the one hand,
and the scientific conclusions about the world, and life itself, on the other.
These two viewpoints
in our daily consciousness, though most of us may pay little heed to
efforts are expended by governments and their advisors
to solve society's problems and to
manage society on scientifically sound
principles; yet, as Nobel prizewinning author
Saul Bellow states in his lucid foreword, “the scientific method
. . . is powerless to explain the
consciousness that directs it,” - and without truly
understanding the nature of human consciousness - in its many
aspects - and its relationship to the surrounding world, such
efforts invariably bring further strife.
For this crucial dilemma Rudolf Steiner suggests
a solution beyond the “boundaries of natural science.” Steiner
argues for a twofold extension of consciousness. The first involves
mental disciplines leading to a pure, sense-free thought activity.
The second requires the mind to learn how to set aside thinking and
give itself over to pure perception. Both exercises can lead to the
development of higher cognitive faculties that enable us to grasp
the vital connections between the inner and outer realms.
Trans: F. Armine, K. Oberhuber (8
lectures, Dornach 27 Sept to 3 Oct 1920, GA322); 127pp
0 88010 187 3; paperback
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called his spiritual philosophy
'anthroposophy', which he defined as 'the consciousness of one's
humanity', and the disciplined methods of studying this he termed
‘spiritual science’. As a highly developed clairvoyant and spiritual initiate, he spoke
from his direct cognition of the spiritual world. However, he did
not see his work as religious or sectarian, but rather sought to
found a universal 'science of the spirit'.
many published works (written books and lectures) - which include
his research into the spiritual nature of the human being, the
evolution of the world and humanity, and methods of personal
development - invite readers to develop their own spiritual
faculties. He also provided indications for the renewal of
many human activities, including education - both general and
special - agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science,
philosophy, religion and the arts. He wrote some 30 books and
delivered over 6000 lectures across Europe, and in 1924 founded the
General Anthroposophical Society which today has branches throughout
delivery within the United Kingdom and overseas.