Approaching the Mystery of Existence

When I look deeply into myself, I realize that all the fruits of my life would be meaningless to me if I cease to exist upon my death. Money, fame, and even passions, even though they may sustain me now, what are their real meanings to me if I shall die any way? Since every human being belongs to mankind, the meaning of one’s life for one’s self is a part of the meaning of that life for the world. A life full of passions and selfless deeds can be very meaningful for the society and for the world, for the fruits of that life are carried on by the world even after the person’s death, but is there any part of it really meaningful for the person living it at all, as he shall no longer exist any way?

Therefore, if I want to hold strongly to my faith that my life must have some meaning for myself, then it follows that I must hold as strongly to another faith that I am immortal.

However, with a sane mind, I cannot yet find any strong evidence in this world that human beings are immortal. All I see are lives followed by deaths. Except that, mankind lives on.

So a question is, is there any way to connect an individual human being to mankind as a whole so that a life meaningful to the world is also meaningful for the person living it?

And yes there is, and it is the following. It is the realization that my existence is in fact not confined only to my physical body, but it is carried on within mankind, and forever that will be, as long as I am still holding on to my faith. My faith implies that my real body, my so-called spirit, extends far beyond my physical body, and my spirit permeates the world, so to speak. And a single life, or a so-called incarnation, is meaningful to me to the extent of how further it brings my spirit to permeate further into the world, into mankind. This is what I believe is the essence of the evolution of individual human beings: the evolution of human spirits.

Therefore my life is meaningful to me as much as it is meaningful to the world, for I am in the world. But what is the point of this knowledge implied by the faith? It is this: this knowledge gives me a powerful force to do good deeds to the world without expecting any thing in return. In other words, this is the force of Love. And this love is not one tied by blood, such as parental love, or by any kind of grouping, such as nationalism, but thanks to this knowledge, it is the Universal Love springing forth in Freedom.

Contemplation on the meaning of life gives me the force of Love in Freedom. And then when I look up to history, I behold the One who taught mankind this very Love in Freedom. He was the first One teaching mankind doing so. Since what I have found concurs with His teaching, I feel compelled to embrace the teaching from Him, and from those sent by Him. And when I open my heart to His teaching, I find in it an infinite, life-giving source of wisdom that sustains my faith, my Freedom, and my Love. He is Jesus Christ.

(And Jesus answered:) “Whoever is not born anew from the heights cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  — Gospel of St. John 3:3

Indeed. One shall sooner or later perish, unless one lets the force of Love in Freedom be the driving force of one’s lives on Earth — that is, when one is “born anew from the heights”. When one does so, one’s existence then belongs to the eternity — to “the Kingdom of God”.

And that is a story of how the force of Love in Freedom may spring forth in the human beings.

A very important note: Christ’s teaching has not always been understood in the light of Love in Freedom. The only known systematic and scientific path of approaching Christ’s teaching in the spirit of what this article attempts to touch on is through Anthroposophy (meaning “wisdom of the human beings”), founded by Rudolf Steiner in the late 19th century. Anthroposophy provides the foundations for Waldorf education, biodynamic farming, three-fold social order, and many other movements calling for social renewal. The following book is strongly recommended as a starting point for studying Anthroposophy and for a deep treatment of Freedom and Love:

On the Meaning of Life

Severe and inherent limitations of contemporary science are discussed in previous articles (here and here), where a sounder approach to science is also described. Following this approach, we can start to gain valuable insights about human thinking and other human intricacies, such as individuality, freedom, and the meaning of life, and to attempt to make sense of esoteric notions such as the so-called human souls, spirits, and reincarnation and karma in the evolution of human beings.

(Note: This article will focus on thinking because it is directly relevant to the points being made. This by no mean implies that thinking is more significant than the other two spheres of human activities, namely feeling and willing, the latter of which includes actions.)

Besides their content, our thoughts consist of two aspects: their supports (how they are perceived by a human being – that is, how the person thinks), and their sources (where they come from).

About their supports, we know that, as argued in previous articles, physical matters such as the brain serve only as the mediums for thinking activities. Thus, as a starting point, we can define whatever stands behind and directs our physical body to support our thinking the human soul, and then attempt to understand this soul. The name itself is not important for our current purposes.

Based on observations, we know that, the existence of a human soul spans, at least, from birth until death. Even though where it comes from is still in question at the moments, it is whatever comes along to the physical body to support the person’s thinking in his life. During life, the soul is enriched with education and training and all life experiences. Observations tell us that the soul does not only support, but is a source for thinking as well. Thoughts can come from our observations and the memory in our souls, consciously or unconsciously. Hence, this source of thoughts bounds the content of one’s thinking to one’s life.

But observations reveal to us more. We know that the content of our thinking is not always so bounded, but can go freely. The objects of thinking can be the eternals, the universals that do not concern in any way to one’s current life. Selfless thoughts, which may or may not entail selfless deeds, are some results of such thinking activities. Instead of extending the definition of the soul to incorporate this “higher” aspect, we can separate this out, and define whatever it is that drives such thinking the Spirits. (The reason for capital “S” and the plural form will be clear later.) These are the “higher” sources of thinking.

Going further, among those Spirits behind a person’s “higher” thoughts, there is a particular spirit present when the person consciously goes through the “higher” thinking activities aforementioned. In such conscious moments, one is aware that one is creating out of one’s self one’s own eternal, selfless thoughts. In such moments, the thinking soul becomes conscious of its thinking. We can call the source of one’s “higher” thoughts in such conscious moments one’s human spirit, and try to gain understanding about it.

“Our whole feat consists in giving up our existence in order to exist”. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (reference)

Now with these definitions and further observations, we can already gain certain insights into some of the most important human intricacies. First let us try to make sense of human individuality. In the sense that they are not consciously strived for by human beings but given to them, unconscious (thinking) souls only give individual differences between human beings as much as individual differences between the animals. Therefore, for human individuality to make sense at all, it must be defined by the human spirits. That is, it is acquired only during the striving of human beings towards the eternals. In other words, it is not the mere differences in races, education, living situations, or even innate intelligence that define human individuality in one’s life, but the conscious striving towards the universal eternals from these different given backgrounds that define it.

Next we come to the notion of human freedom. Under the same sense aforementioned, with unconscious thinking soul, a person can only be free as much as animals can be. To be free as human beings can be is, at least, to think freely, in the conscious striving of seeking one’s own spirit. This is the striving for freedom, in the fullest, human meaning of the word.

Recognizing this reality of freedom provides a firm ground to find one’s life meaning. While an unconscious life could be very meaningful for the world, especially when that life is full of selfless thoughts and deeds, what can be of interest to a conscious soul, however, is the meaning of one’s life for one’s self. Only when one is free and can make conscious choices, it starts to make sense to ponder about what is the meaning of one’s life for one’s self is.

This necessarily leads us to the notions of human karma and reincarnation. In the striving for freedom, it is the meanings and purposes of the “higher” thoughts and deeds inspired from one’s own spirit that define the meaning of one’s life for one’s self. All other thoughts and deeds, if they have any meaning at all, would be for the world because they are not consciously created and hence one does not have the right to claim for one’s self their meanings. However, even though what is for the world would remain, the meaning of one’s life for one’s self would become meaningless if all is gone after one’s death. That is, if one has any faith on the real essence of the meaning of one’s life for one’s self, one must have the same faith on the immortality of one’s own spirit. This immortality holds true for at least as long as one still strives for freedom.

And not only that. After death, that meaning of one’s life for one’s self is transformed in a certain way to further strengthen one’s own spirit, who will be better able to inspire one’s next life. This process is the only way for the meaning of one’s life for one’s self to have any meaning with certain real essence at all. And with this, we can start understanding human karma and reincarnation as two of the fundamentals of our evolution.

Therefore, assuming each and every life is intended to have certain real meaning for the person living it, in which that person has to find the meaning himself in his striving for freedom, human evolution is the evolution of immortal human spirits.

From the Darkness of Crises to the Light of Freedom

A fundamental limitation of most modern science approaches is the undeniable possibility of a future discovery that can overturn existing theories. The overlooking of this possibility lies at the root of most modern world crises. These crises can be overcome only when science reforms its approach so that every understanding gained is firmly rooted in reality.


Anyone who goes through life with a conscious observant eye and a thinking mind must realize that, despite its plentiful and glorious achievements, humankind is facing multiple crises. These manifest themselves in seemingly all aspects of society, including education, health care, environment, agriculture, economy, and relationships from interpersonal to international.

In all of their striving, modern sciences have been trying to understand observed phenomena using various models or theories. These models start with certain presuppositions about the entities in the phenomena, and efforts are made to explain the phenomena in question by means of logical deduction from the presuppositions. The presuppositions may be subsequently refined or refuted as the model further develops.

For example, to understand matters, it is presupposed that they are made up of atoms, nuclei, and electrons, which interact with each other under certain (also presupposed) laws, and try to capture phenomena in mathematical models consisting of these presuppositions. As new phenomena are observed, new concepts such as quarks and string theory are introduced into the model. Or, to understand light, it is presupposed that light travels through space in the form of waves, and light phenomena such as the appearance of colors are explained as the interactions of these waves. Subsequently, to explain the photoelectric effect, it became necessary to add to the initial presupposition the wave-particle duality of light — that light behaves not only as waves but also as particles.

As long as a phenomenon can be deduced from the presuppositions in the model, the phenomenon is claimed understood.

As more and more phenomena are explained in this way within the model, it is believed to have come closer and closer to such level of completion as mankind will ever need it to be.

Unfortunately, since evaluation of the real-life validity of the presuppositions of a scientific model can only be meaningfully done from outside of the model, one who operates within the model can never, with conscience, deny the possibility that his model is missing something critical, one which, once revealed, might overturn the entire existing model.

The negative implications of this fact are magnified in the context of the disfavour of holism for mechanistic reductionism, especially (but by no means only) when it comes to understanding living things, the most complex of which human beings. Humankind has, deviating from traditions of the previous eras, started to attempt to understand human beings from disciplines that have been operating increasingly independently from each other: medicine, for instance, has come to deal mostly with the physical human body, while such areas as human emotions and the spirit have been largely left to be addressed in the realms of psychology and philosophy. The answers these disciplines provide, however, have been existing separately from the more practical aspects of society such as economy and education, which have been, as a result, operating on little appreciation for these human complexities.

It is the widespread application of this inadequate understanding of reality that is responsible for the many crises aforementioned.

As its result, the predominant economic model has been treating human labor as a mere commodity without in any sincere and fundamental way addressing the undeniable human need for dignity and emotional fulfilment. Education focuses mainly on teaching the mind, making ubiquitous use of rigid instructions, standardized tests and competitions, failing to respect the striving for individuality of growing human beings and the education of the heart. While the body is bombarded with artificial substances from food, medicine and the environment with little-understood impact, the soul and spirit, the very existence of which is deemed questionable, are left to wither in the pervasive influence of many meaningless and harmful modern cultural products. Success, defined chiefly by material possessions and social status, is pursued as the ultimate goal in life without the realization that it does not mean happiness nor freedom.

It is clear that overcoming these crises to reform the world calls for a sounder approach to understanding reality.

This alternative approach will, first and foremost, always respect the wholeness of an entity and seek to understand it as a whole contained within a larger whole, instead of proceeding to try and understand each of its parts based on presuppositions about the entity, forgetting that it is more than the sum of its parts. This will preclude actions that might yield a short-term benefit but disrupt the wholeness of the various entities of reality. Treatments that help the human body, and the larger human being, heal as a whole will be favoured over ones that focus on a single organ or process. Interventions cannot be made that upset the balance of ecosystems. The welfare of whole nations will be put before interests of groups, which will guide resolution of conflicts between states.

It will then attempt to understand phenomena by making possible logical connections among them. If no connection can be made within the existing body of observations, further observations are called for. Presuppositions or theories about the entities in the phenomena can be made if needed but only to guide further observations. A new understanding of the phenomena is attained when a new logical thread is drawn which connects the observations.

Only this approach is the path to true understanding because the reasoning process always strives to stay within the boundary of observations, and because it is rooted in a world view whereby the human world and the world outside him are united, true to their interweaving nature. The knowledge that it gains stays within human activity and influence, so that the human being is not a mere spectator but an active participant in what he comprehends. This is analogous to the kind of understanding an experienced farmer has of his land and its inhabitants, a person of a beloved, or a masterful holistic physician of a patient’s constitution.

Anthroposophy, meaning “wisdom of the human being”, a path of knowledge founded by Rudolf Steiner in the late 19th century, seeks to acquire and apply this type of scientific understanding into all aspects of society. It sheds light on the human soul and spirit, the mastermind behind human thinking, feeling, and willing, and on other human intricacies such as individuality, freedom, and the meaning of life (more about this here). This serves as the foundation for the development of all spheres of society. Waldorf education centers on facilitating the unfolding and flourishing of children to their full potential. Anthroposophical medicine looks at diseases in light of the interaction between the body, soul and spirit. Biodynamic agriculture harmonizes the nourishment of the vital life forces of the farm and the cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos so as to yield sustainable abundance.

The social organism it outlines is one where cultural life, which encompasses all scientific, educational, artistic and spiritual activities, thrives entirely according to its own inherent interests and impulses without being dominated and shaped by politics, which, in turn, is monopolized by economic power. This cultural life, which satisfies the soul and spirit, and thus enables social and ethical thought and ideas to unite, serves as the basis for the creation of a political and legal system by people with a living interest in it, who have been intelligently educated so as to be deeply attuned to their legal relations and rights, as well as an economy that is fruitful because its cultivation of the spirit and soul has allowed human beings to develop their capacities to the fullest.

In other words, a society of Freedom, Equality, and Fraternity.

Further reading

My other article (link) describes the Anthroposophical path of knowledge in more details than the present article. These two articles are intended to serve as an introduction to the following books by Rudolf Steiner. They describe the scientific and epistemological foundation of Anthroposophy.

The Philosophy of Freedom. 1894.

Goethean Science. 1883.

Rudolf Steiner laid out a path for social renewal towards freedom, equality, and fraternity in the following books.

Towards Social Renewal. 1919.

World Economy: The Formation of a Science of World-Economics. 1922.

For these and other topics, the website http://www.rsarchive.org is an excellent resource for further reading in Anthroposophy.

Acknowledgement

I am deeply grateful to the many souls and spirits who give life to this article.

An Attempt to Convince the Scientists of Spirituality

A scientist says to a so-called spiritualist: “Someday science will explain everything in the world.” The spiritualist may then ask: “What about human feeling, human thinking? What about life?” “Those too!” is the scientist’s response. The spiritualist walks away in disagreement.

This brief conversation hopefully characterizes countless ongoing debates among thinkers over the last few centuries, as well as the debate between the scientist and the spiritualist inside every thinker. On the one side, we have scientists who firmly believe that the progress of science will someday solve all the riddles in the world. On the other side, we have spiritualists who believe no less strongly that there are sacred regions in the world and the human soul that science will never, or should never reach.

In this article, I attempt to completely settle these debates. I will do so by giving convincing arguments that are products of logical thinking. I hope the thinker who reads my arguments will follow them with logical thinking free of any preconception. I also modestly request that the reader patiently follow through my arguments. On my part, I will be as condensed and direct as possible while capturing all the important points I want to make. The arguments I will give here are not new — they are simply based on my reading of literature and my contemplation of the world. In this article, I attempt to collect the most important arguments in one place and re-word them based on my understanding so that the product is hopefully a sufficiently condensed and convincing article.

I will show that, if one thinks thoroughly enough, then one will be unable to deny the real, significant existence of spirituality (the precise meaning of which will also become clear later in this article). So here it goes…

The world confronts man with countless, disconnected phenomena, or perceptions. As a thinking being, man tries to explain them, that is, to reconnect them again into a whole. There are various scientific approaches to this activity; among them, the two most interesting approaches are, in my opinion, the so-called materialistic (no pejorative meaning intended) approach and the so-called monistic approach (It appears that monism can have many different meanings. Here, I discuss the monistic scientific approach based on purely logical thinking activities, which is described in [1].) I will now describe these two approaches in detail.

These two approaches are similar in that, while seeking to explain a certain kind of phenomena, the thinker tries to get as close as he can to the pure phenomena, which would be defined as a minimal set of phenomena that the thinker regards as capturing the essence of the whole set of phenomena that he is seeking to understand. The finding of pure phenomena requires the thinker to conduct as many experiments and observations and to engage in as much reasoning as he deems necessary in order to discover the purest or most essential results from among his observations. On arriving at the purest phenomena that he has found, the thinker may then seek to understand this smaller set of phenomena. At this point, the two scientific approaches – the materialistic and the monistic – differ significantly.

The materialistic approach

I will first describe how the materialistic approach proceeds. In this approach, the thinker explains the phenomena by making conjectures (or theories) about them. These conjectures logically explain the given phenomena (hence, they are in this sense objective) by making assumptions about not-yet-known phenomena.

For example, in understanding the appearance of colors, the thinker observes that when a beam of white light passes through a prism, it is dispersed into a rainbow of colors on a screen. He may then make a conjecture that the white beam of light is actually a composition of individual lights of definite colors traversing through space on certain wavelengths. Or, in understanding matters, he may make the conjecture that everything is made up of atoms, nuclei, electrons, quarks, or other increasingly smaller particles or kinds of strings.

Aside from presupposing the validity of certain conjectures, which may be refuted or refined in the future as more understanding is gained, much more significant here is the fact that the materialistic approach presupposes matters that are left open by those conjectures. How does it come about that light takes on the form of waves? Where do particles like electrons or quarks come from? Or, what makes the blood flow? If it is the heartbeat, then what causes the heart to beat? If it is electric impulses from the brain, what triggers the impulses? Or, what causes the tree sap flow up to the top of the tree despite gravity? If it is pressure, where does the pressure come from? Or, how does a human being think? If it is caused by the activities of brain cells, what gives rise to these activities? One can easily think of many further examples.

Thus, in all of its methods of explaining the world, the materialistic approach tries to capture the phenomena in mechanical or mathematical models, and leaves open the questions as to how the axioms in the models have come about. I would like to call the parts of the phenomena explained by the models the dead aspects, and the parts unexplained by the models – i.e., the axioms — the living aspects. Thus, we may say that the materialistic approach leaves open the questions of how its models come to life. As materialistic science progresses, it penetrates more and more into the living aspects, increasingly extracting the dead aspects out of them. However, because any scientific approach must presuppose something in order to explain anything (In mathematics, any model needs to be based on some axioms. Likewise, any scientific approach must presuppose something.), the materialistic approach will always presuppose the living aspects in its models. I would like to call these living aspects the spirituality within the materialistic approach.

However, the materialistic thinker may argue as follows: “Fine – it is true that I always take for granted the living aspects. But as I gain more and more understanding, the significance of those living aspects will become almost zero, and can be ignored. Then my understanding of the world will be complete, or as complete as mankind will ever need for it to be.”

The problem with the above argument is that, he will never know for sure whether or not his understanding of the world is nearly complete. At any point in time, he must acknowledge the possibility that in the near or far future, his conjecture will be found to have overlooked some significant living aspect. In fact, he must acknowledge the possibility that even at the current moments, his conjecture is missing something significant, and he never knows for sure what that is (A scientific model cannot evaluate the significance of its axioms in world-reality. To do that, one would need to stand outside of the model.). This perpetual doubt is a hallmark of the materialistic approach. The materialistic approach can, therefore, never refute the importance of spirituality to its own approach.

Having argued that one cannot deny the real, significant existence of spirituality within the materialistic approach, I will next describe the monistic approach to understanding the given phenomena.

The monistic approach

The monistic approach [1] (see also [2]) clearly establishes all of its presuppositions right from the outset. Namely, it presupposes the reality of pure thoughts. A pure thought is a thought that is free of any influence from perceptions received through the senses, which includes the 5 physical senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch), feeling, as well as any supersensible senses that a human being (or any thinking being) may be equipped with (see footnote at the end for more explanation). Mathematical thoughts are examples of pure thoughts. Monism asserts that the thinker must understand the reality of pure thoughts before thinking about anything, before seeking to understand the world. Then, in order to understand the given phenomena, the thinker seeks – via thinking – the pure thoughts that explain, or manifest themselves in, the phenomena.

Here is an example to illustrate: In understanding the rainbow of colors that appears on a screen when a beam of white light passes through a prism, a monistic thinker may find that it is actually the effects on the border between light and darkness radiating from the prism that cause the appearance of the rainbow. Further observations and contemplation of these border-effect phenomena may lead him to discover the pure thoughts of ideal light and ideal darkness. He may then realize that physical colors are simply one among the manifold manifestations of the interplay between these two ideal realities (see [2, 3] for much more on this).

Let us take another example: In understanding human happiness, a thinker observes that one’s love for a deed gives rise to the happiness experienced while carrying it out. Contemplation and observation may further lead him to discover that a human being finds happiness in an action when he is able to act out of his own free will, his own motives, which may or may not need love as a precursor. Further contemplation of these phenomena may lead one to discover the reality of the will and the spirit of other human beings, as well as the reality of his own will and spirit (see [4, 5] for much more on this).

Monism asserts that although the perceptions are subjective because they depend on the bodily organization of the thinker, there is only one world of pure thoughts. I would like to call this world the spirituality in monism. This objective world is the same for all those who enter it. This is because, as monism asserts, the forces that form our thoughts and the forces that create the whole universe are of the same nature. Also, for this reason, from the perspective of monism there are no limits to human knowledge, except the presupposition of thoughts (Note: The hypotheses of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems do not hold here). In monism, pure thoughts are to the universe what axioms and proofs are to mathematics. The thinker is required to apply logical and rigorous reasoning to his thoughts in order to discover truths. The truths that one establishes with one’s pure thoughts stand eternally, in spite of the passing of time. This is in sharp contrast with the perpetual doubt inherent in the materialistic approach.

At this point, I believe I have argued that if one thinks thoroughly enough, then one will be unable to deny the real, significant existence of spirituality. Although I only argued with regard to the materialistic approach and monistic approach, I believe the same arguments apply to any other scientific approach. I believe I have given my arguments based on logical thinking that will hopefully be convincing to any reader with a logical mind free of preconceptions.

What if the materialistic approach were true? A thought-experiment

Before concluding this article, I think it is very interesting to imagine what consequences would result for humanity if the materialistic thinker’s argument given previously should turn out to be correct, even though I have logically refuted it. In other words, let us assume for the sake of our discussion that only the following is correct:

“Fine – It is true that I always take for granted the living aspects. But as I gain more and more understanding, the significance of those living aspects will become almost zero and can be ignored. Then my understanding of the world will be complete, or as complete as mankind will ever need for it to be.”

Let us imagine that in a future society, materialistic science has come to the point where it understands world phenomena to the extent that the significance of the living aspects can be incontestably ignored. That is, everything can be completely understood by understanding the dead aspects alone. I think it is then reasonable also to imagine that it would take no time for technology to catch up with science and to succeed in mass-producing computing machines that perfectly and automatically simulate those dead aspects, which amount to, by our assumptions, everything, including human thinking, feeling, and everything in nature. We would live in an extremely efficient society in which everything a human being would ever need could be done for him by a machine.

I am aware that my following arguments will not be as logical as the preceding ones, due to my incomplete understanding of the world – but I hope they are convincing enough.

Now, man in general does not appreciate what he can receive with great ease. He simply takes such things for granted. This can be easily seen by observing the world around us. Disposable products are so cheap that we just buy them, use them once, and throw them away, with little knowledge and care given to how they are created, how they come to us, how efficiently they are recycled, how damaging is their impact to the environment, etc. This is just one example.

Given all the assumptions and observations I have made, we can see the following consequences for mankind in a society where science and technology have advanced to such a degree (Here I exclude the possibility that smart machines will undertake a revolution against human beings. As I will argue next, I assume that human beings would make the machines so smart that they would just serve human beings and thereby let human beings wither by themselves.)

  • Man would become totally isolated from nature. The appreciation which man has towards nature has been based on the fact that man needs to work with nature to provide for his needs. The appreciation comes from man’s reliance on nature. Once man takes for granted everything he needs from nature, his appreciation for nature is gone. 
  • Man would become totally isolated from his fellow human beings. Once human thinking and feeling can be simulated, how could a man any longer have appreciation for his fellow beings? He can no longer appreciate the love and the hard work of another human being in a hand-crafted scarf, a homemade meal, or a piece of music composed by another human being. Any of these can now be imitated and produced perfectly by machines.
  • He would no longer need to exert any effort of thought in understanding himself. A machine could simply tell him whatever he needs to know.

Now that man takes everything for granted, he will lack the motivation to do anything, and lack the love towards anything, whether it is nature, a fellow human being, or himself. All possible sources of his happiness as a human being are gone (My understanding is that there are only three sources of human happiness: gratitude (which is in opposition to taking something for granted), love (including love for one’s deed born of moral intuition, see [1]), and the self-motivation to carry out one’s duty. This “self-motivation” includes the transformation of external motivation into self-motivation upon understanding the needs of the duty.). At this point, it may be better for him if he were a rock.

In the last few centuries, materialistic science has been bringing mankind further and further into the depths of knowledge of the universe than in any other time in human history. But our aggressive and non-logical belief in materialistic science as an all-explaining worldview has also burdened us, and future generations, with so many problems. I believe that a much brighter future awaits mankind if materialistic science would admit that it can understand only the mechanical or, at most, the lifeless aspects of Nature, and if mankind as a whole would then embrace other scientific approaches — such as monism — and allow them to flourish. Then, and only then, I believe, can we look forward to a bright future for ourselves and all generations to come.

Footnote: These sensing activities exclude thinking activities, which differ essentially from all other sensing activities in many important ways. See [1] for a comprehensive discussion on this. The most interesting difference, in my opinion, is that within ordinary consciousness a man cannot observe his ongoing thought-process, but can only observe his past thoughts. Once he starts to observe his current thought, he replaces it with a new thought.

A further footnote is that, in contrast with the materialistic approach, the monistic approach also regards as real perceptions those given by feeling or any other supersensible senses that a thinking being may be equipped with. I would like to invite the reader to reflect on the significance of this difference.

Acknowledgement

I greatly appreciate the assistance of many others in revising this article.

References

[1] The Philosophy of Freedom. Rudolf Steiner. 1894.

[2] Goethean Science. Rudolf Steiner. 1883.

[3] Theory of Colours. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 1810.

[4] Occult Science — An Outline. Rudolf Steiner. 1910.

[5] Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. Rudolf Steiner. 1910.