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The Foundations of Human Experience (CW 293)

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Opening address, Stuttgart, August 20, 1919

14 lectures, Stuttgart, August 21-September 5, 1919 (CW 293)

2 lectures, Berlin, March 15 and 17, 1917 (CW 66)


“Although we can physically see children only after their birth, we need to be aware that birth is also a continuation. We do not want to look only at what the human being experiences after death, that is, at the spiritual continuation of the physical. We want to be aware that physical existence is a continuation of what higher beings have done without our assistance. Our form of educating can have the correct attitude only when we are aware that our work with young people is a continuation of what higher beings have done before birth.” —Rudolf Steiner



This course on education contains some of the most remarkable and significant lectures ever given by Rudolf Steiner. Because these lectures were given to teachers, however, they have suffered the misconception that they are useful only to teachers. Any teacher who wants to teach in a way that encompasses the whole child certainly needs a functional understanding of what Steiner presents here, but these lectures will also greatly benefit parents, psychologists, counselors, or anyone else involved with child development. 


Steiner gives his most concise and detailed account of human nature in these lectures, which are absolutely essential for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of Steiner's spiritual science. Those who are willing to work through this work will discover here a new, powerful, convincing, and profoundly phenomenological “anthropology” of human spiritual psychology. 


In these lectures, Steiner laid out for the first time the principles that form the basis for renewing the art of teaching. The Foundations of Human Experience is the most important text for studying and understanding the human developmental and psychological basis for Waldorf education.


Translated from the German editions: Allgemeine Menschenkunde als Grundlage der Pädagogik (GA 239); appendix from Geist und Stoff. Leben und Tod (GA 66). An older translation of CW 239 was titled Study of Man. 


  • Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
  • Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker
  • Foreword by Henry Barnes
  • 348 pages
  • 5.5" x 8.5"
  • Published July 1996
  • Paperback