According to modern preconceptions there is something inexorable in the play of nature, indeed pleasantly inexorable for materialistic thinkers. They imagine that the Earth’s course would be exactly the same were no human beings in existence; that whether they behave decently or not makes no fundamental difference or really alters anything. But that is not the case! The all-essential causes of what happens on the Earth do not lie outside man; they lie within mankind. And if Earthly consciousness is to expand to cosmic consciousness, humanity must realize that the Earth—not over short but over long stretches of time—is made in its own likeness, in the likeness of humanity itself. There is no better means of lulling man to sleep than to impress upon him that he has no share in the course taken by Earth-existence. This narrows down human responsibility to the single individual, the single personality.

from Lucifer and Ahriman (1919)

Portrait of Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner

Occultist, Social Reformer, and Architect
February 25, 1861 – March 30, 1925

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian occultist, social reformer, architect, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy. Many of his ideas are pseudoscientific. He was also prone to pseudohistory.

In the first, more philosophically oriented phase of this movement, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality. His philosophical work of these years, which he termed “spiritual science,” sought to apply what he saw as the clarity of thinking characteristic of Western philosophy to spiritual questions, differentiating this approach from what he considered to be vaguer approaches to mysticism. In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media, including drama, dance and architecture, culminating in the building of the Goetheanum, a cultural center to house all the arts. In the third phase of his work, beginning after World War I, Steiner worked on various ostensibly applied projects, including Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, and anthroposophical medicine.

Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual approach. He based his epistemology on Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s world view, in which “thinking is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.” A consistent thread that runs through his work is the goal of demonstrating that there are no limits to human knowledge.

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Alan Watts

Landscape, Soundscape in Painting, Music, and Mystical Vision

During a seminar at the New College of Sausalito, Alan asks: what is an aesthetically satisfying composition—not just in the visual and auditory arts, but also in the arrangement of the universe?

Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham

Psychedelics and Mathematical Vision

Through visions and swirling fractal forms, three trailblazers embarked on a cosmic journey to the furthest frontiers of consciousness. Seeking to map the mathematical landscapes glimpsed in psychedelic states, they pondered perplexing philosophies and disputed the deepest quandaries of science and spirit. Though technology promises portals to enchanted realms of pattern and meaning, can cold silicon chips ever capture the warmth of Gaia's embrace?