“Now man may delude himself, he may yield to the belief that there is nothing invisible, and that that which is manifest to his senses and intellect contains everything which can possibly exist. But such an illusion is only possible on the surface of consciousness and not in its depths. Feeling and desire do not yield to this delusive belief. They will be perpetually craving, in one way or another, for that which is invisible. And if this is withheld, they drive man to doubt, to uncertainty about life, or even to despair. Occult science, by making manifest what is unseen, is calculated to overcome all hopelessness, uncertainty, and despair—everything, in short, which weakens life and makes it unfair for its necessary service in the universe.” ~Rudolf Steiner
We Delude Ourselves
Deluding ourselves has become so much a part of our world today that many are deluding themselves into believing they are not deluding themselves. They listen to new o hear what the wish to hear rather than the truth. And if the reporters tell them the truth, and it isn’t what they want to hear, the label it fake news. Fantasies are excepted as real with no proof whatsoever. But truth with plenty of proof is scoffed at if it isn’t what people wish to be true.
Another way we delude ourselves is hiding from reality with entertainments and activities that serve no purpose except to keep us happily occupied with fantasies. We pay teachers and researches very little, but pay a fortune for movie actors and football players. That simple fact tells us where our society has placed the emphasis: on entertainment rather than truth.
Illusion of Matter
One of the primary ways we delude ourselves is in the beliefs regarding the dimensions of reality. It is comforting to many to believe that the dimension they are in is the only dimension. To believe in higher dimensions means having to work to get to those realms. We would rather not work, so we pretend they don’t exist.
But Steiner says we can’t successfully delude ourselves that way. Deep down we know it is a lie. We may be uncertain of the truth, but we know it isn’t in the limited realm of matter. Death, wars, disease, re the gifts of this realm. There has to be something better. And those who say there is no proof of such higher dimensions have simply not looked for such proofs. Of course, you can’t judge the quality of grapes using a test designed to judge the quality of eggs. Likewise, you can’t prove the spiritual by using the limited means of matter to do so. Since the spiritual is not matter, matter cannot prove its existence. Which is why the only way to stop deluding ourselves is to awaken our spiritual faculties. Only the spirit and soul can “see” and understand the spiritual worlds.
To be fair, I should mention that materialists are not the only ones to be deluded. Spiritual people often delude themselves as well. Most Christian believe, for example, that each of us has his own personal guardian angel to protect us. Yet when I dis a search for Bible passages that mention guardian angels, not one of them actually says that. They say that there are angels who guide us and protect us collectively, but nowhere doe it say that we are each assigned an individual angel to care for us. So where dis+ such a notion come from? My feeling is church leaders wanted to discourage people from doing spiritual development on their own, so they started the idea of guardian angels who would tell us what we should do. The idea being, if the non-existent guardian angels didn’t tell you to do it, then you shouldn’t do it.
Another way we delude ourselves is with the belief that spiritual development is for the afterlife, and we should stick to caring for our material self as long as we are trapped on the level of matter. None of the great spiritual masters ever taught such a thing. Jesus, Buddha, and most others taught that we needed to develop our spiritual self now, not later. You don’t wait for the flood to build an ark.
There are other delusions spread by false spiritual teachers and conventional churches that I won’t bother to go into. The point is, we need to avoid deluding ourselves spiritually as well as physically.