In January of 2017, the news was everywhere that scientists had discovered a new organ, the mesentery, in the human body. Located in the abdominal cavity, what had been thought to be a segmented series of structures, was found to be a continuous structure.
In February of 2018, a new technology called “cryo-ET” that can zoom in on individual cells that have been frozen and capture them in 3D, revealed a previously unseen microscopic, left-handed helix structure that exists at the tip of the sperm tail.
In January of 2019, NASA scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known Earth rock (about 4 billion years old) on the moon. A fragment from one of the rocks returned by Apollo 14 astronauts contained quartz, feldspar, and zircon, all common on the Earth, but highly uncommon on the Moon.
Scientists continue to examine our natural world with ever more advanced technology. Most of us will readily accept the evidence of new findings like those cited above and will incorporate this information into our body of knowledge. But what actually constitutes evidence that we can trust?
Let’s see what Dr. Steiner* has to say:
We do not all have to become chemists for the findings of chemistry to be useful for us, and we do not all have to be astronomers to benefit from the findings of astronomy. By the same token, there need only be a few spiritual researchers, and yet everyone can understand the results of their research with ordinary, sound common sense...
But that is exactly what many people deny. They take the reports of the spiritual researchers as nothing more than beautiful fantasies and proceed to dissect and analyze them logically... These people usually admit they have not yet trained themselves to develop their capacities for higher knowledge.
We can agree on what the chemists and physicists are saying because, if we become chemists and physicists ourselves, we will clearly see that they were right... We have to undergo training as chemists to judge the findings of chemistry or become physicists to evaluate the results of physics. By the same token, we have to become spiritual researchers to assess the insights of spiritual science. However, unprejudiced people with sound common sense can understand it... Many prejudices and preconceived ideas will have to be overcome before spiritual science can take its rightful place in modern life.
Excerpt from Social Issues: Meditative Thinking & the Threefold Social Order, Lecture 1, Basel, Switzerland 5/01/1920 by Rudolf Steiner.
If we lack sufficient training, or, having that, we lack access to the necessary technology, we will be unable to prove the theories or conclusions of our natural scientists. Yet most of us acknowledge that the dedicated training and the appropriate tools scientists possess qualifies them to analyze and confirm their work. We believe the evidence they report.
Acceptance of the findings of spiritual science requires the same acknowledgement. If we lack sufficient training, if we haven’t yet developed our organs of spiritual perception, we can nevertheless read about the findings of spiritual science in an effort to understand that world using the same scientific method with which we are all familiar. Dr. Steiner, after all, was a scientist in both spheres.
What is it, though, that drives any of us to learn? The source of our curiosity and the subsequent drive for knowledge are part of what the study of spiritual science can reveal. If we want to know more, we can read the Steiner lecture quoted above, which is found in the book by the same name.
“Religion and Science: Conflict or Harmony?”
“Why should we trust science?”
“The Relationship between Science and Spirituality”