Ausgabe 01-02/24

Anthroposophy Questioned

Wolfgang Müller

This series offers brief answers, some of them in response to attacks to which anthroposophy is repeatedly subjected. These are personal answers from someone who has approached anthroposophy with a great deal of skepticism. But it is precisely this personal dimension that leads to the heart of anthroposophy. Reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher Info3.

What do anthroposophists believe?

This is one of the most frequently entered search inquiries about anthroposophy on the Internet. But it leads to the wrong track. In any case, anthroposophy is not a faith in the sense of a religion. Rather, Rudolf Steiner called it a «movement of knowledge». He was convinced that humanity had entered a phase in which people should no longer just follow given revelations, but were called upon to recognize things for themselves. One could say: in the field of natural sciences, mankind has been following exactly this for several hundred years, now research should go further and reach deeper, «spiritual» dimensions of reality.

Of course, this raises the most difficult questions. First of all, whether humans can do this at all. Immanuel Kant said no, Steiner says yes. At least in principle, in further, very long periods of time.

And what about the insights that Steiner himself communicated, which reach into the deepest dimensions? Isn't that basically another revelation that his followers have been dutifully circling around and recapitulating for a hundred years?

Steiner saw the problem. Hence his constant reminder that anthroposophy was not about something ready-made, a fixed stock of insights, but about entering into one's own movement of knowledge. Some people, he once said, acquired new concepts when reading his books, but the mental process was the same as when they read a cookbook. In this respect, an understanding of anthroposophy is probably less a matter of routinely talking about higher spiritual spheres than an effort to approach people and the world with a cautious, cognitive attitude.

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