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Common Misconceptions

Who can study Anthroposophy?

Is access to esoteric knowledge available only to a privileged few? No. That would be contrary to the very purpose of Anthroposophy. Steiner stated that one of the purposes of Anthroposophy is to make public occult knowledge that was previously secret. This is one of his constant themes from the very beginning.

"We are living in an age when supersensible knowledge can no longer remain the secret possession of a few. No, it must become the common property of all, in whom the meaning of life within this age is stirring as a very condition of their soul's existence."
Rudolf Steiner. Supersensible Knowledge. 1916. 29 Nov 2004. < >. (1916 magazine article, reprinted in GA 35)

Or the very first sentence of his book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (a 1904 reprint of a series of magazine articles from 1902-1903)

"There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which he can acquire for himself a knowledge of higher worlds."
(Online at

Steiner repeatedly states that his Anthroposophy is accessible to anyone.

"Anyone can set out on the esoteric path; it is closed to no one. The mysteries are present in the breast of each human being. All that is required a serious inner work in the possibility to free ourselves of all the obstacles the block this subtle inner life. We must realize that the world's greatest and most distant aspects are revealed to us in the most intimate ways. Humanity's wisest members have no other means of attaining great truths in the path described here. They achieve these truths because they discovered the path with themselves, because they knew that they have to practice patients in steadfastness in carrying out these routines."
Rudolf Steiner. First Steps in Inner Development. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1999. Page 23. Lecture of 15 Dec 1904 (GA 53) translated by Catherine Creeger.

On the other hand, no one is obligated to walk this path.

"No one is exhorted to become an occultist; one must come to occultism of one's own volition. Whoever says that we do not need occultism will not need to occupy himself with it. At this time, occultism does not appeal to mankind in general. In fact, it is extremely difficult in the present culture to submit to those rules of conduct which will open the spiritual world."
Rudolf Steiner. Esoteric Development. New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1982. Pages 2-3. Lecture of December 7 th, 1905 (GA 54).

Further, Anthroposophy is comprehensible to anyone, precisely thorough logic.

"These facts [spiritual truths] have been investigated and communicated, and they can be grasped by healthy human intelligence, if this healthy intelligence will be unprejudiced enough not to base its conclusions wholly on what goes by the name of proof, logical deduction, and the like, in regard to the outer sense world. On account of these hindrances it is frequently stated that unless someone is able oneself to investigate supersensible worlds, one cannot understand the results of supersensible research." (Page 81)

"Once again I would like to emphasize: if these things are investigated, everyone who approaches the results with an unprejudiced mind can understand them with ordinary, healthy human reason –just as he can understand what astronomers or biologists have to say about the world. The results can be tested, and indeed one will find that this testing is the first stage of initiation-knowledge. For initiation-knowledge, one must first have an inclination towards truth, because truth not untruth and error, is one's object." (Page 101)
Rudolf Steiner. "Esoteric Development." New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1982. From GA 305, Lecture of September 20 th 1922.

For the purposes of propaganda writing, throwing words like "privileged few" may seem effective. But nothing could be further from Steiner’s vision of Anthroposophy.

Daniel Hindes
July 25th, 2005

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