The Foundations of Human Experience

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker
Allgemeine Menschenkunde als Grundlage der Pädagogik
GA 293

Schmidt Date   Comments
3800a August 20, 1919    Greeting to Participants in the Pedagogic Course
3801 August 21, 1919    Life Before Birth and After Death; Details of Incarnation
3804 August 22, 1919    Thinking and Will, Motor Nerves; Sympathy and Antipathy
3807 August 23, 1919    Body, Soul and Spirit of Man; Non-Conservation of Energy
3811 August 25, 1919    The Three Principles of Spirit, Soul and Body
3814 August 26, 1919    Soul Qualities
3817 August 27, 1919    Soul and Ego
3820 August 28, 1919    Soul and Spirit
3823 August 29, 1919    Sleep and Ego; Remembering and Forgetting
3826 August 30, 1919    Seven-Year Periods in the Child's Life
3830 September 1, 1919    Planets and Parts of the Body
3834 September 2, 1919    Relation of Head to Body, Soul and Spirit
3837 September 3, 1919    Relation of the Human Organs to the Outer World
3840 September 4, 1919    Head and Limbs, Soul and Spirit
3843 September 5, 1919    The Head in Relation to the Whole Body


August 20, 1919
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Greeting to Participants in the Pedagogic Course
The Waldorf School as a cultural deed. The Waldorf School as a unified school. The necessity of making compromises. Schools and politics. Bolshevik schools as the grave of teaching. A republican administration of the school. The composition of the pedagogical course: general pedagogy, methodology, practice. The Waldorf school is not a parochial school. The relationship of Anthroposophy to instruction. Religious instruction. Necessary characteristics of teachers: interest in world events, enthusiasm, flexibility of spirit and devotion to the task.

August 21, 1919
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Life Before Birth and After Death; Details of Incarnation
The moral-spiritual aspect of teaching. The founding of the Waldorf School as a "Ceremony in Cosmic Order". The question of immortality as an example of the relationship of modern culture to human egotism. Education as a continuation of "what higher beings have done before birth." Concerning the problem of "prenatal education." The connection of the two doubled trinities upon entering Earthly existence - Spirit Human, Life Spirit, Spirit Self and Consciousness Soul, Comprehension Soul, Sentient Soul - with the astral, ether and physical bodies and the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms ("temporal body"). The task of the teacher is to harmonize the spirit soul with the temporal body through 1) harmonizing the breathing with the nerve-sense process; 2) teaching the proper rhythm between waking and sleeping. The importance of the inner spiritual relationship between teacher and child.

August 22, 1919
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Thinking and Will, Motor Nerves; Sympathy and Antipathy
Psychology based upon Anthroposophical world view as a foundation for teaching. Concerning the empty concepts of modern psychology. The central meaning of thinking and willing. The pictorial character of thinking: reflection of prenatal experience. The will as a seed for spirit-soul reality after death. The transformation of prenatal reality into thoughts through the power of antipathy; the increase of this power to memory and concept. The increase of the sympathetic power of willing to imagination and living pictures. Blood and nerves: the tendency of the nerves to become material, the tendency of the blood to become spiritual. The intertwining of sympathy and antipathy in the brain, in the spinal cord and in the sympathetic nervous system. The threefold aspects of the human being: head, chest and limbs. The interactions of these three aspects and their relationship to the cosmos. The development of willing and thinking through pedagogy.

August 23, 1919
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Body, Soul and Spirit of Man; Non-Conservation of Energy
A comprehensive view of cosmic laws as a basis for being a teacher. The duality of the human being as the greatest error of modern psychology. The misleading law of The Conservation of Energy; the formation of new energy and matter in the human being. Understanding what is dying in nature through the intellect and what is becoming through the will. How perceiving the I is based in the physical body. Freedom and sense-free thinking. Nature without the human being: the danger of extinction. The function of the human corpse for the development of the Earth. The prevalence of death-bringing forces in the (dead) bones and (dying) nerves and life-giving forces in the blood and muscles. Rickets. The relationship of geometry to the skeleton. Geometry as a reflection of cosmic movements. The human being is not an observer of the world, but its "stage." The creation of new matter and forces through the touching of blood and nerves. Concerning the scientific method: postulates instead of universal definitions.

August 25, 1919
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The Three Principles of Spirit, Soul and Body
Feeling in relationship to willing. The nine aspects of the human being as a willing being. The expression of will as instinct in the physical body, drive in the etheric body, desire in the astral body; the absorption of will into the I as motive in the soul; as wish in Spirit Self, intent in Life Spirit and decision in Spirit Human. Psychoanalysis seeks the unconscious willing of the "second person" in us. Intellectualism as will grown old and feeling as developing will. Concerning socialist education. The formation of feeling and will in education: cultivation of feeling through unconscious repetition and cultivation of the will and strengthening the power of decision through conscious repetition. The importance of artistic activity in this connection.

August 26, 1919
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Soul Qualities
The convergence of the three activities of the soul. The connection of cognitive and will activities in the antipathetic and sympathetic processes of seeing. The greater isolation of the human being from the environment in contrast to that of animals. The necessity of an interpenetration of thinking and willing. Isolation from the world in seeing and connection with the world in doing. The struggle against animalistic "sympathetic" instincts through the integration of moral ideals. The intertwining of soul activities exemplified by the argument between Brentano and Sigwart about the nature of human judgment. Feeling as retained cognition and willing: the revelation of hidden sympathy and antipathy in willing and thinking. The rise of feeling in the body through the touching of blood and nerves exemplified by the eyes and ears. The argument between Wagner and Hanslick concerning feeling and cognition in musical hearing. The erroneous position of modern psychology exemplified by sense theory. Errors in Kantianism.

August 27, 1919
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Soul and Ego
An overview of the lecture cycle. Until now, consideration of the human being from the point of view of the soul and the body and now from the point of view of the spirit: levels of consciousness. Thinking cognition is fully conscious and awake, feeling is half-conscious and dreaming, willing is unconscious and sleeping. Working with dreamy and numb children. The completely wakeful life of the I is possible only in pictures of the world, not in the real world. The life of the I in activities of the soul: pictorial and awake in thinking cognition, dreaming and unconsciously inspired in feeling, sleeping and unconsciously intuitive in willing. Nightmares. The rise of intuition exemplified by Goethes creation of Faust, Part 2. The close connection of intuitive willing with pictorial cognition contrasted to inspired feeling. The existence of the head separate from sleeping willing.

August 28, 1919
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Soul and Spirit
The human being from a spiritual standpoint: observations of consciousness levels. Concerning comprehension. The loss of the capacity of the body to absorb the spiritual with increasing age. From the child's feeling will to the elderly person's feeling thinking. Observation of what is purely soul in adults. Freedom. The task of education is to separate feeling from willing. The nature of sensation: the misleading view of modern psychology and Moriz Benedikt's correct observations. The sleepy-dreamy nature of the body's surface as the realm of sensing: the willing-feeling nature of sense perception. The difference of sensations in children and elderly people. Waking, dreaming and sleeping in human spatiality: a sleeping-dreaming surface and inner core and the wakeful nervous system lying between. The nerves in relationship to the spirit-soul: the formation of voids for the nerves through continual dying. Sleeping and waking in connection with human temporality: forgetting and remembering.

August 29, 1919
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Sleep and Ego; Remembering and Forgetting
Comparison of the processes of forgetting and remembering with those of falling asleep and awakening as exemplified disturbances in sleep. The process of remembering. Training the power to remember and the will through the effects of repetition. Strengthening memory through awakening intense interest. Comprehending human nature through division into components on the one side and the integration of components on the other. The twelve senses. Concerning the sense of I and the difference between the perception of another I (cognitive process) and the perception of one's own I (will process). The sense of thought. The division of the twelve senses into will oriented senses (touch, life, movement and balance), feeling oriented senses (smell, taste, sight and temperature) and cognitive senses (I, thought, hearing and speech). The division of the world by the twelve senses and their reintegration through judgment. Comprehension of the spirit through levels of consciousness (waking, sleeping, dreaming), of the soul through states of life (sympathy, antipathy) and of the body through forms (sphere, crescent moon and lines).

August 30, 1919
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Seven-Year Periods in the Child's Life
The first three seven-year periods of life. The three aspects of logical thinking: conclusion, judgment, concept. Healthy conclusions live only in completely awake aspects of life. The descent of judgment into the dreaming soul and concepts into the sleeping soul. Development of the habits of the soul through the type of judging. The effects of concepts which have descended into the sleeping soul upon the formation of the body, in particular the uniform common physiognomies. The necessity of living concepts: characterizations instead of definitions. Flexible and fixed concepts. The structure of a human idea. The child's unconscious basic tenor: 1) In the first seven years "the world is moral," and therefore to be imitated; the impulse of the prenatal past. 2) In the second seven-year period, "the world is beautiful"; life in art, enjoyment of the present. 3) In the third seven-year period "the world is true"; systematic instruction and an impulse toward the future.

September 1, 1919
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Planets and Parts of the Body
The spherical form as a foundation of the three bodily aspects: 1) head (only physical), spherical form completely visible; 2) chest (physical and soul), only visible as a crescent shaped spherical fragment; 3) limbs (physical, soul, spiritual), only visible as radii. The head as an expression of intellect and the limbs as an expression of will; the tubular and bowl-like bones in this connection. The skull as a transformed vertebra. The tubular bones as transformed head bones. The centers of the head, chest and limb spheres. Head and limbs in connection with cosmic movement. The imitation of cosmic movement in dancing and its translation into music. The origin of sense perceptions and their connection with sculpture and music. Body, soul and spirit in connection with the head, chest and limb spheres. The Council of 869: the Catholic Church as the source of scientific materialism. The development of the head from the animal world. The importance that the teacher have a feeling of the connection of human beings with the cosmos. Pedagogy as an art.

September 2, 1919
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Relation of Head to Body, Soul and Spirit
Human physical nature in relationship to the world of the soul and the spirit: head - developed body, dreaming soul and sleeping spirit; chest - wakefulness in the body-soul, dreaming of the spirit; limbs - wakefulness in the still unformed body, soul and spirit. From this perspective the task of the teacher is to develop the limbs and partially the chest and to awaken the head. The educational effect of language in the early stages of childhood and of the mother's milk in the first part of childhood: awakening of the sleeping human spirit. Awakening the intellect through artistic involvement of the will during elementary school. The influence of education upon the child's growth forces: accelerating growth through too much emphasis upon memory and inhibiting growth through too much emphasis on imagination. The necessity that the teacher observe the bodily development of the child over a period of years and the senselessness of the commonly practiced frequent changes in teachers. Children who tend toward memory or imagination.

September 3, 1919
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Relation of the Human Organs to the Outer World
The inner connections between the physical body and the environment. The physical structure of the human being: the continual overcoming by the torso and limbs of animalistic forms emanating from the head; thoughts as their supersensible correlation. The relationship of the torso to the plant kingdom. The opposing processes of human breathing and plant assimilation. The development of plantlike tendencies in human beings as a cause of illness. The plant kingdom as a picture of all illnesses. Human nutrition as the central portion of the combustion processes occurring in plants. Breathing as an anti-plant process. The relationship of breathing and nutrition to the physical body and the soul. The future task of medicine and healthcare. Modern medicine's search for bacteria. The relationship of the limbs to the mineral kingdom. The continual dissolving of minerals by the limbs. Illnesses such as diabetes or gout as a beginning of the crystallization process in the body. The I lives in forces. The task of the human physical body: dissolving what is mineral-like, reversing what is plantlike, spiritualizing what is animal-like.

September 4, 1919
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Head and Limbs, Soul and Spirit
The form of the human head aspect (from within outward) compared to the form of the human limb aspect (from outside inward). The human being as a "dam" for the spirit-soul. The absorptive tendency of the spirit-soul process. The creation of superfluous matter (formation of fat) by the chest-digestive system; how this matter is consumed by the spirit-soul working through the limbs. The pooling of the spirit-soul in the head and its coursing along the nerve paths. The opacity of living organic matter to the spirit and the transparency of the physically dead skeletal and nervous system to the spirit. The overabundance of spiritual activity in physical work and of bodily activity in mental work. Purposeful and senseless activity and its effects upon sleep; calisthenics and eurythmy in this context. Extreme sports as "practical Darwinism." Insomnia as a result of too much spirit-soul activity and drowsiness as a result of too much physical work. The senselessness of cramming for exams. Healthy and unhealthy kinds of thinking activity. Importance of spiritualizing external work for teaching and social life and importance of bringing blood to inner work for teaching and health.

September 5, 1919
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The Head in Relation to the Whole Body
The three aspects of the physical body. The three aspects of the head: the head, the chest (the nose as metamorphosed lung) and the limbs (jaws); the limbs as metamorphosed jaw. The chest-torso between the head and the limbs: the tendency of the upper chest aspect toward the head aspect (larynx and speech) and the lower chest aspect toward a coarsened limb formation (sexuality). Appealing to imagination through teaching material in the last elementary school years. Example of the Pythagorean theorem. The conditions of the teacher: permeate the teaching material with feeling will and maintain a lively imagination. Pedantry is immoral. Nineteenth century views concerning the use of imagination in teaching; Schelling. The teacher's motto: Imagination, Sense of Truth, Feeling of Responsibility.