Theosophy, by Rudolf Steiner, , at sacred-texts.com
This book will give a description of some of the regions of the supersensible world. The reader who is willing to admit the existence of the sensible world only will regard this delineation as a mere unreal production of the imagination. He, however, who looks for paths that lead beyond this world of the senses will soon learn to understand that human life only gains in worth and significance through sight into another world. Such a man will not, as many fear, be estranged from the "real" world through this new power of vision. For only through it does he learn to stand fast and firm in this life. He learns to know the causes of life, while without it he gropes like a blind man through their effects. Only through the understanding of the supersensible does the sensible "real" acquire meaning. One therefore becomes more, and not less, fit for life through this understanding. Only he who
understands life can become a truly practical man.
The author of this book describes nothing to which he cannot bear witness from experience, that kind of experience which one has in these regions. Only that which in this sense has been personally experienced will be dealt with.
One cannot read this book as one is accustomed ordinarily to read books at the present day. In certain respects every page, and even many a sentence, will have to be worked out by the reader. This has been intentionally aimed at. For only in this way can the book become to the reader what it ought to become. He who merely reads it through will not have read it at all. Its truths must be experienced, lived. Only in this sense has theosophy any value.
The book cannot be judged from the standpoint of science if the point of view adopted in forming such a judgment is not gained from the book itself. If the critic will adopt this point of view, he will certainly see that the presentation of the facts given in this book will in no way conflict with the truly scientific
methods. The author is satisfied that he has been on the alert not to come into conflict with his own scientific scrupulousness, even by a single word.
Those who feel more drawn to another method of searching after the truths here set forth will find one in my "Philosophie der Freiheit" (Philosophy of Freedom), Berlin, 1892. The lines of thought taken in these two books, though different, lead to the same goal. For the understanding of the one the other is by no means necessary, although undoubtedly helpful for some persons.
He who looks for "ultimate" truths in this book will, perhaps, lay it aside unsatisfied. The primary intention of the author has been to give the fundamental truths underlying the whole domain of theosophy. It lies in the very nature of man to ask at once about the beginning and the end of the world, the purpose of existence, and the nature and being of God. Anyone, however, who looks, not for mere phrases and concepts for the intellect, but for a real understanding of life, knows that in a work which' deals with the elements of wisdom, things may not be said which belong
to the higher stages of wisdom. It is, indeed, only through a comprehension of these elements that it becomes clear how higher questions should be asked. In another work forming a continuation of this one, namely, in the author's "Die Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss" (An Outline of Occult Science), further particulars on the subject here dealt with will be found.