Spirit and a necessary distinction
How I want ‘spirit’ to be understood should be clearly recognisable in all my books.
But since the same word is used in daily speech and even in academic terminology to denote functions of the human brain and what it produces, I often see some of my pupils habitually misinterpreting the word: ‘spirit’ when they come across it in my books.
This is certainly not surprising, since people speak everyday of ‘spiritual’ work, ‘spiritual’ fatigue, or use expressions such as ‘profound in spirit’, ‘spiritual’ freshness, and also talk of mental or ‘spiritual’ derangement. Sometimes the ‘spirit’ as indicated in this manner is elevated to the highest throne; at other times war is declared on it for the sake of the soul.
What is being denoted here by the word ‘spirit’ is the work of the brain, – it is the expression of an innate functioning of the brain perfected by constant use, – a witness to particularly quick working of the brain or to its constantly active energy, just as, on the other hand, what are called ‘spiritual sicknesses’ are diseases of the brain, regardless of whether these sicknesses have been caused by recognisable physical causes or by occult influences.
It is simply a sign of one’s own distance from the spirit for earthly man, ‘fallen’ from the conscious being of the substantial spirit, to experience the manifestations of his brain as something ‘spiritual’;
thus one speaks about an ‘active spirit’ when one means an active brain.
Only when the word ‘spirit’ is meant to denote a generally invisible, disembodied individual being: a ‘manifestation from the beyond’, does the last ray of the original life of the substantial ‘spirit’, almost absorbed by the darkness, continue to flicker, even though the products of the imagination created by man of the earth to give tangible form to the invisible take at times truly fantastical, dreadful and grotesquely tasteless forms.
On the other hand, much indeed is said regarding the spirit within the European religions, – yet if one pays attention to the real wording, one quickly realises that even here only a more subtle form of the brain’s function is being described as ‘spirit’ whenever there is talk of the spirit of eternity, the spirit of God and of the ‘Holy’ Spirit.
God is indeed spirit, and those who ‘worship him’ should worship him ‘in the spirit’ and thereby in ‘truth’; yet this spirit which is God is, by analogy with human cerebral experience, simply understood as a gigantically intensified consciousness of the brain. Thus worship in the spirit is not understood as being very different from worship in thoughts.
One has no inkling of the substantial eternal spirit; only as its illuminating radiance can God become a living experience within ourselves.
No wonder that voices of opposition are raised against the supremacy of the ‘spirit’ of the brain, glittering in all its many different and suspicious colours!
No wonder that one seeks to defend the rights of the soul against it!
The impulse to engage in this opposition is motivated by the certainty we feel that it is impossible for the earthly ‘spirit’ of the brain to be the highest good we can experience within ourselves.
With ‘lucid-feeling’ inner senses one gropes towards the soul in whose manifestations a power is sensed which is vastly superior to what the brain knows about itself.
We are bound to dismiss the saying of Paul that the spirit penetrates all things, even the ‘depths of the Godhead’, – if by this statement one thinks about a ‘spirit’ as consisting merely of the products of activity by brain cells. –
Unfortunately it became a secret a long time ago that this saying refers to the substantial, eternal spirit which creates the brain from itself but is completely independent from it…
It is as impossible to apprehend this ‘spirit’ through cerebral thinking or with earthly animal senses.
We must be ‘in’ it if we want to know, to find out and to discover in it; and we can enter it because we are – even physically – vivified by it: – because it ‘lives’ in us, even if we can not yet live in it…
But we can never enter ‘the spirit’ with the help of some kind of functioning of the brain!
In fact we are talking here about an occurrence and not of a rational invention or on imagination!
Although this occurrence can be ‘registered’ by the brain and subsequently drawn into thought as a secured fact, it is impossible for it to be brought about by the brain.
In my books I show how one can come to experience it.
I have only written them to show what is necessary in this regard! Truly: written them with my life’s blood!
But since there are many possibilities for bringing about the occurrence referred to here, I also show the particularities of the separate, individually diverse manners one can walk upon the path leading to the goal.
The purpose of every word I have written is to show the path in such a way that every individual wanting to walk upon it can easily find the form suited to his abilities to cover it; even if I do not merely lay out the path, but provide at the same time many vistas from certain stations on the way or from the path’s final goal which is known to so few.
(Excerpts from the chapter ‘Necessary distinction ’pages 564-571.)