What is the meaning of memory in the information age? When all knowledge is seemingly digitized and available for reference at any time, do we really need human memory? One consequence of the proliferation of the digital age is the deterioration of our capacity to remember—a symptom that is readily apparent in the steady increase of dementia in contemporary society.
Rudolf Steiner indicates that memory is the determining factor in self-awareness. Even a partial loss of memory leads to loss of self-awareness and the sense of our “I.” Thus, memory is crucial for the development of “I”-consciousness—not just for the individual, but also for humanity as a whole.
Steiner’s research into memory, recollection, and forgetting has many implications for the way we learn and for inner development and spiritual growth. This unique selection of passages from his works offers insights into ways that consciousness can remain autonomous and creative in today’s digital environment. It also provides ideas for improving education and emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning.
C O N T E N T S:
• The Development of Memory throughout Human History
• The Formation of Memory: Remembering and Forgetting in the Human Individual
• How Remembering and Forgetting Are Transformed by the Schooling Path—Imagination and Inspiration
• Remembering Backwards (Rückschau) and Memory Exercises
• Subconscious Memories of the Pre-birth Period and of Life between Death and a New Birth
• Memory and Remembering after Death
• The Development of Memory in the Future
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.