A forgotten stream in Swiss spiritual life


14-02-2018 2 comments Print!

About thirty-five years ago I had my stormy encounter with anthroposophy. It happened in one night. My husband was out to a delivery (we were general practitioners then, and I was at home to receive telephone messages). We had bought a few books by Rudolf Steiner to understand why homeopathic remedies work - for we had discovered that they actually do work, having been using them for a while.

The book I took up that evening, to read the first lines of Steiner, was Theosophy  in a  Dutch translation. 

I was astonished, stunned. And I read the whole night, till the book had no more lines to read anymore. From that night on, we kept reading, one book after another, out of a hunger or thirst we had had no idea about before. After a year or so we also discovered the more philosophical works, and the later books about thinking, for instance  "Vom Menschenrätsel' (The Riddle of Man). In the meantime I had got used to reading the books in German. In my own psyche a change appeared, I began to feel the motion of thinking, the possibility to 'feel' the thoughts, not only the contents, but also the process of thinking. I found explanations and  stimulations in the books of Rudolf Steiner, and it could happen that only one sentence would strike me with a possibility of inner evolution in it. Later, as I was writing my first book, I used these sentences as quotes. And in this book 'Vom Menschenrätsel' the part about Ignaz Paul Vitalis Troxler, a Swiss physician and philosopher, struck me intensely.  Hippocrates seems to have said: “He who is a physician and philosopher at once is akin to a God”. Something like that I felt in the words about Troxler. The description of his theory of knowledge by Steiner was a revelation to me, I lived with one special sentence for years - I still live with it. I will give a quote of this sentence in the context of Steiner’s words. I will italiicse the sentence.
'One of those spirits of whom today little is spoken of is Ignaz Paul Vitalis Troxler. From his numerous writings, only his 1835 'Lectures on Philosophy' are mentioned here. Through them a personality expresses itself, which certainly has a consciousness of how the human being, who makes use only of his senses and of the intellect charged with the observations of the senses, can recognize only a part of the world. Troxler, like Immanuel Hermann Fichte, feels that while he is thinking, he is in a supersensible world. But he also feels how man, when he looses himself from the force which binds him to the senses, can not only confront a world that has been conceived with the mind in the Hegelian sense, but how, as he draws himself into his inner being he can experience the flowering of pure spiritual ways of knowing, through which he views a spiritual world, just as the senses view a sensory world.. From a 'superspiritual sense' speaks Troxler. And you can form an idea of ��what he means by this in the following way. The human being observes the things of the world through his senses. This gives him sensory picture-images of things. He then thinks about these images. This opens up to him thoughts that no longer carry the sensory-imaginal in themselves. Thus, through the power of his mind, the human being adds the supersensible thoughts to the images of the senses. If he now experiences himself in the being that is thinking in him, so that he ascends beyond mere thinking to spiritual experience, then, from this experience, an inner, purely spiritual power of visualizing (imagination) takes hold of him. He then looks at a world in images, which can serve supersensible reality as its revelation. These images are not received by the senses; but they are as full of life as the sensory images; they are not the result of a reverie, but of the soul's imaginative experiences in the supersensible world.'

The stimulus is: Not just to think about sensory perceptions, but to experience thinking in the being that thinks - which I am myself, but on a higher level. Then this experience becomes a spiritual experience and an imaginative power takes hold of the soul, instead of the intellectual thinking.
Now, in modern internet times, it has become possible to find this book on the internet. So I will quote more texts by Steiner about Troxler and by Troxler himself. Of course these texts are only available in the German language, so they will have to be translated.

Mieke Mosmuller
Ignaz Paul Vitalis Troxler, born on the 17th of August 1780 in Beromünster, Switzerland; Death: 6th of March 1866, Aarau, Switzerland.

Give your comment please

Please send me notifications per e-mail incase of new comments
  • From Mariette van Rees Vellinga @
    Ja, lieve Mieke, ik ben je heel dankbaar dat je deze vrijwel vergeten en ook miskende geestesstroming weer in het daglicht stelt! Verdiep je je in deze stroming van de "spekulatieve theïsten" ("schouwend Godsbewustzijn"), waartoe naast Immanuel Hermann Fichte en Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler ook nog de Duitse Hugenoot Moriz Carrière, de Tchech Augustin Smetana en de Pool August Cieszkowski behoorden, dan kun je beleven hoe zij de opmaat en overgang vormt naar de anthroposofie van Rudolf Steiner. Daar wordt dan door het lichaamsvrije levende etherdenken de anthroposofie tot wérkelijke geesteswetenschap. Innig dankbaar ben ik je dat jij door jóúw werk óns weer bewust kunt maken van het immense belang van deze ontwikkelingen en óns weer de vérdere weg kunt wijzen naar dit schouwende Christus-bewustzijn!
    Mariette van Rees Vellinga
  • From @
    Ook ik zou een soortgelijke ervaring met Theosofie kunnen beschrijven. Hoe bepaalde zinnen levende uitspraken worden die dag (en nacht?) met je meegaan.
    Ik heb er later nog meer opgetekend uit andere, voornamelijk pedagogische voordrachten. Het zijn 'wegwijzers' geworden.
    Te lezen op vrijeschoolpedagogie.com