Self-Education - Autobiographical Reflections 1861-1893 - Rudolf Steiner

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Self-Education - Autobiographical Reflections - 1861 - 1893 - Rudolf SteinerSelf-Education
Autobiographical Reflections 1861-1893
A lecture by Rudolf Steiner

Self-Education - Autobiographical Reflections 1861-1893 is a single lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in response to rumours that had been circulating about him in 1912/13 that his teachings were influenced by a Christian training he had supposedly received from Jesuits in his youth.

From the beginning of Rudolf Steiner's public presentation of spiritual knowledge, he placed the Deed of Christ and its powerful and continuing influence at the very centre of his teachings of human and world evolution. Like all of his descriptions, this was simply a result of what presented itself to his highly disciplined clairvoyant faculties, and not a product of any form of indoctrination. Though he grew up within a European Christian culture, his own influences and interests during his formative years were distinctly centred on independent enquiry and self-wrought knowledge. He had little interest in Church dogma, though he states that the rituals and church music had a powerful effect on his soul.*

When he accepted the the position of Secretary of the German Section of the Theosophical Society in 1902, it was on the proviso that he could only speak and write from his own spiritual examinations and must be granted the independence to do so. This being accepted Steiner then developed the gamut of spiritual knowledge which later became known as Anthroposophy.

The Theosophical Society, ostensibly embracing all religions, had a distinctly Asiatic (Indian) spiritual perspective, and from the time of Blavatsky onward, also gave a devaluing bias to the Judaeo-Christian outlook. With Steiner's prodigious spiritual output and his increasing popularity, his giving such pre-eminence to the advent of Christ in human evolution did not sit well with the leading lights of the Theosophical Society. Around 1912 a variety of rumours were circulating that Steiner had been trained in an educational institute run by Jesuits. These rumours were also echoed in a Jesuit journal which attacked Theosophy and stated that Steiner was a "renegade priest", and this was then taken up by Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society, who stated in a theosophical publication that he "was trained by Jesuits" and that he had not been able to free himself sufficiently from this training.

To make clear the falsehood of these statements, Steiner gave this lecture in Berlin in February 1913, which outlines his childhood development and includes all of the educational and social influences that he underwent until his early thirties - with scarcely a Jesuit to be found, even in the background. Included are many interesting anecdotes, including the beginnings of his clairvoyant experiences and reference to the later systematic development of these faculties. Above all,  what is evident is his self-education driven by his intense interest in understanding the riddles of existence, something which led him far from embracing any religious dogma but towards what eventually resulted in his primary philosophical-spiritual work: The Philosophy of Freedom, as well as to the results of all of his spiritual examinations of the world.

* Rudolf Steiner - An Autobiography, pp33-4

Mercury Press
One lecture, 4 Feb 1913, Berlin
Paperback booklet; 45pp
ISBN: 0-936132-72-8

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Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) called his spiritual philosophy 'anthroposophy', meaning 'wisdom of the human being'. As a highly developed seer, he based his work on direct knowledge and perception of spiritual dimensions. He initiated a modern and universal 'science of spirit', accessible to anyone willing to exercise clear and unprejudiced thinking.

From his spiritual investigations Steiner provided suggestions for the renewal of many activities, including education (both general and special), agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science, philosophy, religion and the arts. Today there are literally thousands of schools, clinics, farms and other organizations involved in practical work based on his principles. His many published works feature his research into the spiritual nature of the human being, the evolution of the world and humanity, and methods of personal development. Steiner wrote some 30 books and delivered over 6,000 lectures across Europe. In 1924 he founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world.

 

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Self-Education - Autobiographical Reflections 1861-1893 - Rudolf Steiner