True and False Paths of Spiritual Research (CW 243)

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Rudolf Steiner
Introduction by Paul King
Revised by Paul King
Translated by Harry Collison and A. H. Parker

11 lectures in Torquay, England, August 11–22, 1924 (CW 243)

“Bearing in mind we are dealing here with spiritual research and not just spiritual experiences in general, a ‘true’ path in this sense is one that leads to genuine and reliable results that advance our knowledge of the human being and the world. A ‘false’ path is one that uses methods that are inappropriate for the subject, or anachronistic, or occur in a drug-altered or dulled state of consciousness; for although these may involve momentous experience for the experiencer, they tend to be too subjective or chaotic to be of value for the purposes of knowledge” (from the introduction).

In these cherished lectures, Rudolf Steiner posits a question: Why investigate the spiritual worlds at all? He then explores the contemporary need for spiritual knowledge and authentic paths that can lead to it.

Speaking in Torquay, England, at the International Summer School (organized by his friend and colleague D.N. Dunlop), Steiner surveys the differences in various types of consciousness—from ancient to modern times, in waking and dreaming, from space into time—and the changes that have taken place in relation to knowledge and science in history. 

Rudolf Steiner then discusses the mystery nature of crystallized minerals and metals, such as copper and silver, and their relationship to the planets. He also describes how the ages of life can become organs of perception. In a dramatic conclusion Steiner explains the role of moon beings; ahrimanic elemental beings; and the true nature of mediumship, ectoplasm, and spiritual possession. 

Presented here in a fresh translation that corrects many errors in previous editions, the text is complemented with notes, an introduction by Paul King, and an index. 

This volume is a translation from German of Das Initiaten - Bewußtsein. Die wahren und die falschen Wege der geistigen Forschung (GA 243). The previous edition was titled True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation (1985).

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