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Everything concerning the mind is called mental (from Latinmens "opinion, understanding, insight, disposition, character"; derived from the Indo-European root *men-, "to think, consider, admonish, mean"). Mental is a soul process in which a purely spiritual activity is wholly or partially reflected in consciousness, or more precisely in I-consciousness, as our personal "inner life" or "soul life".

Contrary to the usual use of language today, from an anthroposophical point of view a clear distinction must be made between the purely spiritual process and its mental image in the soul as a carrier of consciousness, conditioned by the physical body. The term "mind" used in Anglo-Saxon literature refers only to this body-conditioned mental reflection and must therefore not be confused with either the independent body-free reality of the spirit or the immortal soul. Mind is defined here as "the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought."[1]

„... what I call my inner life in the above sense is not at all, in a higher sense, my spirit. This inner life is only the result of purely sensual processes, belongs to me only as a completely individual personality, which is nothing but the result of its physical organisation. When I transfer this inner life to outer things, I am really thinking into the blue. My personal soul life, my thoughts, memories and feelings are within me because I am a natural being organised in such and such a way, with a very specific sensory apparatus, with a very specific nervous system. I am not allowed to transfer this human soul of mine to things. I would only be allowed to do so if I found a similarly organised nervous system somewhere. But my individual soul is not the highest spiritual thing in me. This highest spiritual must first be awakened in me through the inner sense. And this awakened spiritual in me is at the same time one and the same with the spiritual in all things.“ (Lit.:GA 7, p. 44f)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. cf. the article "mind" in Oxford Dictionaries, retrieved 2019-01-31.)