The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Fourth Dimension
GA 324a

Questions and Answers IX

27 November 1913, Berlin

QUESTION: Do human beings between death and rebirth have the same perception of time as those incarnated in bodies?

My [Note 31] lecture on March 19, 1914 on the human being between death and rebirth will supply more information on this subject. [Note 32] For today, let me just say that life after death means leaving the relationships of the sense-perceptible, physical world and entering totally different relationships of space and time. With the theory of relativity, we are beginning to develop different concepts of time. [Note 33] We can make the transition from the factors in the formula for movement into the circumstances of the spiritual world only when we use these factors in the form \(c = s/t\), because s and t as we know them belong to the sense-perceptible world, while \(c\) (or \(v\) for velocity) actually belongs to the domain of inner experience, even with regard to an inorganic object. Thus when we want to understand time in the spiritual world, we must first speak of the quantum of speed that the being in question has,- then, through comparison, we as outsiders can determine something about temporal relationships. Through a comparison of sorts, for example, we can discover that speed is three times as great in life in kamaloka. Such investigations give us an impression of the relationship between time in spiritual life and time in the life of the senses. In the spiritual world, different principles of time prevail. In comparison with those of the sense-perceptible world, these principles are internalized and variable. Because the time we experience there is dependent on inner developmental processes, it cannot be compared in clear mathematical terms with periods of time in the physical world.

  1. Questions and answers after the public lecture "Vom Tode,” held in Berlin in the House of Architects (published in GA 63).

  2. Rudolf Steiner's lecture of March 19, 1914, "Zwischen Tod und Wiedergeburt des Menschen" (published in GA 63).

  3. With regard to the remainder of this question-and-answer session, see also the questions and answers of March 7, 1920, and the accompanying notes.