17 QUESTION: Do the great ideas start in the Spirit World, or do they start here and are taken back?
ANSWER: Oh no. They start in the Spirit World, of course. For every specialty, art or science – and I have mentioned this before – there are special spheres. Different creatures work and create in the respective spheres. When these beings are incarnated, they bring something of their knowledge with them. Only part of it, of course. They cannot remember all of it.
They unfold their gift here with the help of their friends in the Spirit World who guide them accordingly. But the ideas are created in the Spirit World. The entire Earth is only the effect, not the origin or cause. So everything must be created in the Spirit World.
34 QUESTION: My question concerns the prolongation of life through science, the extension of the life span and the elimination of child death. Since everything is so beautifully planned, how is it that science claims to have some part in the extension of life?
ANSWER: Science can find only what God’s Spirit World allows it to find. This permission depends on two factors: one is that the findings have to fit into the general plan, concerning the entire Earth sphere at any particular given time. The other factor is that the human beings in question, in this case the scientists, make the necessary effort. Effort is always an integral part and constitutes the first step.
The same holds true, as mentioned before, for reaching for contact with the Divine World by an individual or a group. If the effort is not made on the human side, if the human attitude does not fulfill the basic requirements, the Spirit World cannot do its part. Similarly, I can speak through this human person only because of her efforts. If she refused to sit down here, I could not do anything to come through here.
It is the same with a scientist, or an artist for that matter. With all his talent, he cannot accomplish anything quite by himself. He or she must have spiritual helpers who can manifest only if he is fulfilling the necessary requirements. Now, if science is discovering today so many new things, it is because this fits into the present stage of development. There must always be some leeway to see what humanity does with such findings, whether they are used for good or for evil, selfish, destructive purposes.
In the latter case, material progress will ultimately wither away, as it has happened before. So if life is longer, it is because it fits into the whole picture of overall development. Since humanity as a whole is farther advanced, people may accomplish more in one lifetime – and that works hand in hand with the technical and scientific improvements which, in turn, will only bear fruit if spiritual improvement follows, at least to some degree. So science on the whole, or the scientist individually, is to be taken but as an instrument.
39 GUIDE COMMENT: I have a good reason to mention these notions of time and measurement tonight. Scientists have sensed and found some of this truth through nuclear physics and outer-space exploration. In the not too distant future, exploration of outer space will be as commonly accepted as air travel is today. When pilots sit in an ordinary airplane, they do not need instruments to indicate whether they are ascending or descending. When explorers finally fly through outer space, this will not be so, and you will all come to see the truth of what I tell you.
The moment you leave the gravitational field of Earth, you will not be able to determine whether you are going up or down. When the plane ascends, you will be under the impression that it is descending, and vice versa. This is very significant, my friends. For even though you still live in the world of manifestation, when you explore outer space by technical means, you approach the laws of the spirit. These phenomena should open the eyes of a thinking person.
40 QUESTION: One of my students asked: What is more important, knowledge in the form of general knowledge, science, knowledge of the universe, the manifested world, or emotional self-knowledge? Clearly, emotional self-knowledge is more important. But what do you have to say to those spiritual aspirants who in some way disregard science? They claim that spiritual development alone would bring the highest good without it being integrated with the knowledge of the manifested world.
ANSWER: There are many whose call it is to concentrate mainly on their spiritual development, and they fulfill their task by doing so. There can be no doubt about it. Certainly this is the most important thing for all human beings. But it is a mistake to transfer their own task on all others, or to make a general rule of it.
The unfoldment of the universal forces is manifold and varied. Nothing must be curtailed. Many have different tasks: one in the arts, others in science, and so on. Oneness must eventually result from such diversity throughout Creation. The ideal case would be that scientists, artists, or whoever else is contributing to the final oneness, follow their own spiritual development while they simultaneously worked on their particular talent and task. This certainly can be done.
In fact, their work would increase many times in quality and creativity if it were combined with purification and self-development. There are many talented human beings who have not yet progressed that far, however. They may have a great talent in one direction, and eventually they contribute with it to the unfoldment of the spiritual forces, even though the connection cannot always be discovered right away.
In a roundabout way, scientific improvement must lead to the same spiritual reality as self-knowledge, no matter how much science may be abused temporarily. Therefore it is a mistake to advocate one’s own inclination for all.
So some human beings may combine their spiritual development with science, others with an art, still others perhaps in the kitchen, in nature, and so on. In much later stages, all these will become one, but this oneness can never be accomplished if you are not first one with yourself.
You have often heard the expression “to be one.” How can you follow this through in practice? By this work of image-finding [Lecture #40 More on Image-Finding: A Summary]. It will be much easier to understand how you are not “one” at this time when you find your images. You will then see how your intellect, your conscious layers, are convinced of your good motives because of the rationalizations you have concocted for yourself.
But when you dig deeper you will find out that your reactions and desires take an entirely different direction. So you are split in several respects. If you cannot become one within yourself – and that can be done only in this work – then how can you become one in all the divine manifestations much later? First things must come first.
There are now several thoughts in this room: “Why should it be possible to purify only in this way? There are many people who do not know anything about images, yet they also develop.” True, my friends, but in the last analysis, it always comes back to this: no matter what period of history, what part of the Earth you live in, no matter what names are chosen, the idea always remains the same – to find how you deviate in your unconscious from your conscious mind.
Those who do not take this wonderful opportunity now cannot escape this work at a later time. Granted, the same purification is possible in the Spirit World, and by coming back incarnation after incarnation with the same images until life teaches the entity and thus gradually dissolves them. But think how much you can save yourself, if you are willing to do this work.
Only those who have understood some of their images will have an inkling of how much they would have had to go through until they learned what they have to learn, and what they could learn in this search.
You are always so concerned with finding out about your previous incarnations. It would be more useful if you would meditate and think about your future. By knowing your images and finding and understanding them truly, you can very well figure out what your future incarnations might be if you were not to take this great opportunity.
QA150 QUESTION: In connection with strengthening the ego and then being able to let go of the ego self, I would like to ask what you could say about the future of science or scientific thought.
ANSWER: This is a very relevant question, for we might equate science with the ego, and intuition and the real self with spiritual and metaphysical realities. Now, parallel to man’s integration between his ego and the real self – the spiritual self – mankind will come to the point where metaphysics and science will integrate instead of remaining two opposites. These were, for the longest times, even completely incompatible, contradictory. They will find a unity in proportion to mankind’s integration in this respect.
Not everyone has to have reached that point, but a certain amount of individuals, the pioneers in each era, will have to get to that integration. That will have an overwhelming effect on the masses and will create a power that will extend, apparently not at all in relationship to the general development of the masses.
The few who have gotten there will have this power and influence. The approach to human affairs will no longer be on an intellectual basis – on which problems cannot only not be resolved but must even increase – or on an emotional, fearful, neurotic basis where one acts out of fear and out of one’s difficulties.
But the problems, the human affairs, will be approached from the real self that is not incompatible with but integrated with the intellect or with the ego self. There is the relationship here.
QUESTION: I think it holds out a wonderful promise, but I feel that the present development of science, in some ways at least, seems to be going in the direction of meaninglessness. In the way that the ego seems to be strengthened, everything is quantified, everything is being measured, but in the end there is just the measurement, and the thing that is measured somehow vanishes.
ANSWER: Yes. That is true, but then there is also another stream, another direction that begins here or there vaguely in small little factions, where the directional signs begins to go in the other way.
Of course it is just as with religious truth as so it is with scientific truth, not that in reality they are any different; they are both the same. But in human affairs, these are different aspects, and the same fate befalls them both. There are the spiritually advanced people with the insight who realize and proclaim the reality of this unity, and there are the followers who misunderstand, misinterpret, and begin to divide it off again.
This is with science precisely the same as it has been with religion for centuries and centuries. For in science too, these few great ones have made this discovery. But their followers do not understand.