Rudolf Steiner is one of those persons whose amazingly diverse output make him difficult to categorize. He has variously been described as a philosopher, scientist of the invisible, polymath, clairvoyant, educationalist, original thinker.
Here is a short intruduction to his work (in German) from YouTube
Born in 1861 in Kraljevec, which was then on the border of Austria and Hungary but is now in Croatia, Rudolf Steiner spent his childhood in splendid and majestic country surroundings. But as the son of a railway employee, he lived close to the railway and gained a stong interest in all things mechanical. His childhood was in no way unusual up to the age of seven, but at this age Steiner became aware (as he rather quaintly says in his autobiography) that he was 'able to lay hold upon something in the spirit alone' and that this 'brought to him an inner joy'. He realised, however, that knowledge of this other world was something that would not easily be understood by those he came into contact with and so he kept it to himself for many years. At 11 he travelled by rail everyday to the nearest secondary modern school where the subject closest to his heart was mathematics. 'Mathematics was very important for me as the foundation under all my strivings after knowledge. In mathematics there is afforded a system of percepts and concepts which have been reached independently of any external sense perceptions and yet, said I to myself constantly at that time, one carries over these perceptions and concepts into sense-reality and discovers its laws. Through mathematics one learns to understand the world, and yet in order to do this one must first evoke mathematics out of the human mind' .
At about eighteen Steiner by chance came across a 'simple man of the plain people' . He was a man without formal education who gathered herbs and sold them on to local apothecaries. And yet this man became the first person to whom Steiner could speak openly of the spiritual world 'as to one who experienced it'. Steiner gradually came to feel that he was in the company of an initiate - 'a soul from ancient times who, untouched by civilisation, science, or the contemplation of the present, brought him close to the intuitive knowledge of former times'.
To be continued