"By applying certain methods one can recognise whether something is true or not. For instance, in my book "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds" it would have been an easy thing to write: ´These teachings were given through higher inspiration, etc., they come from the masters and so forth...´ But the principle of the theosophical movement is violated if the writer does not bear the responsibility for what is written. If it is ever claimed that an author is not responsible for the book that has been written, you can be sure that the book does not contain truth but lucifer-ahrimanic deception. Nowadays the masters do not allow a writer to disclaim responsibility; therefore one is obliged to measure things against the yardstick of reason, and not simply take things on authority. Of course it is far easier to depend entirely on a personality cult, for reason and logic are harder taskmasters. Only those who examine and test what is given from the world of spirit can keep faith with Christian Rosenkreutz. "
-Rudolf Steiner, at the Christian Rosenkreutz group, Hamburg 17th June 1912
He was asked by Walter Johannes Stein: "What's the source of knowledge of the higher worlds?" He said, "Basil Valentine," [Stefan Rautter] an alchemist.
"Those who are unacquainted with the principles of occult investigation may believe that it would be better if such facts had not previously been made known. But in the spiritual world there is a definite law, the significance of which we will make clear by example. Suppose that in a certain year some properly trained clairvoyant had perceived this or that in the spiritual world. Now imagine that ten or twenty years later, another equally trained clairvoyant could see the same thing even if he had known nothing whatsoever about the result obtained by the first clairvoyant. If you were to believe that this could happen, you would be making a great mistake, for the truth is that a fact of the spiritual world that has once been discovered by a clairvoyant or by an occult school, cannot be investigated a second time if the would-be investigator has not first been informed that it has already been discovered.
"If therefore, in the year 1900 a certain fact had been investigated and in the year 1950 another clairvoyant reaches the stage of being able to perceive the same thing, he can succeed only if he has realized that someone has already investigated and fathomed it. Therefore already known facts in the spiritual world can be perceived only when their import has been consciously grasped as communications already made.
"This is the law that establishes for all epochs the foundation of universal brotherliness. It is impossible to penetrate into any domain of the spiritual world without a link having first been made with what has already been fathomed by the Elder Brothers of Humanity. The spiritual world sees to it that nobody can become a law unto himself, saying, `I am not concerned with what is already there. I shall investigate only for myself.' None of the facts communicated in spiritual science today could be perceived by individuals, however highly developed and advanced, if they had not been previously known.
"Because a link must be there with what has already been discovered, the theosophical movement had also to be founded on this basis.
"In a comparatively short time from now, many individuals will become clairvoyant, but they would be able to see only unreality, not the truth, in the spiritual world if they had not heard of what had already been investigated. First one must have knowledge of these truths, such as given by theosophy, or the science of the spirit, and only then can they be actually perceived. Even a clairvoyant must get to know what has already been discovered, and then, after conscientious training, he can perceive the facts himself.
"It may be said that the divine beings fertilize a faculty of seership only once in a human soul and if the single, virginal fertilization has been achieved, then other human beings must pay attention to what this first soul has discovered in order to have the right to see it themselves. This law lays the foundations of an inner, universal brotherliness, a true brotherhood of men. From epoch to epoch wisdom has passed through the occult schools and been faithfully harbored by the Masters, and we, too, must help to preserve this treasure and maintain brotherliness with those who have already achieved something if we wish to make our way into the higher regions of the spiritual world. What is striven for on the physical plane as moral law is natural law in the spiritual world."
-Rosicrucian Occultism, Rudolf Steiner, Budapest, 4th June 1909