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An Outline of Occult Science

In the second part of Faust, Goethe puts the following words into the mouth of a seeress: “Him I love who craves the impossible,” and Goethe himself, in his “Prose Proverbs,” says: “To live in the idea means treating the impossible as though 't were possible.” Such sentiments must not be put forward as objections against what has here been stated, for the demands made by Goethe and his seeress (Manto) can be fulfilled only by those who have first educated themselves through desire for that which is possible, and have in so doing, arrived at being able, by means of their strong “will,” to treat the “impossible” in such a manner that through their willing it becomes transformed into the possible. A certain equanimity should pervade the soul of the occult student concerning the world of feeling. And to attain this result, it is necessary that the soul should have mastery over the expressions of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain. But it is just concerning the acquisition of this faculty that some prejudice might arise: one might be afraid of becoming dull and indifferent if he does not “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Yet this is not what is meant. What is pleasurable should rejoice the soul, and sorrow should give it pain, but what the soul is to learn to achieve is control over the expression of joy and sorrow. If that is his aim, the student will become aware that, far from becoming “dull and unsympathetic,” he will be growing all the more receptive to the joy and sorrow around him. But it is true that the student will here find that he needs to watch himself carefully for a considerable time to be able to acquire the faculty indicated. He must be careful to see that he partakes of pain and pleasure to the full, yet without so giving himself up to either that he gives involuntary expression to it. It is not justified sorrow that should be suppressed, but the involuntary weeping; not the revulsion against a mean act, but the blind raging in anger; not the precaution against danger, but the senseless “being afraid,” etc.