Skylark Books

The Boundaries of Natural Science - a Rudolf Steiner Anthroposophy bookThe Boundaries of Natural Science
8 lectures by Rudolf Steiner

The 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 conflict perpetually in our daily consciousness, though most of us may pay little heed to the disparity.

Increasing 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
Anthroposophic Press
ISBN: 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'.

His 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 the world.


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