Ex Deo Nascimur

When the Gods created man, they gave him defects so that he could test his strength on them. We should thank the Gods for our defects, for combating them makes us strong and free. But we shouldn’t love the defects for even a moment. We couldn’t thank Gods who made us pure and without defects, because they would have made us into weaklings. We should tell ourselves: And even the world was full of devils we still come from God, Ex Deo nascimur

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Esoteric Lessons Part II - Kassel, 11th December 1910

Health / Attitude / Epidemics

There is nothing material that does not originate from the spirit. What people experience in health and disease stems from their inner attitude, their thoughts. It is certainly a true proverb: What you think today, you will be tomorrow.  It  should be clear to you that if an era has bad, depraved thoughts, the next generation and the next era have to pay the price physically. It is a true saying: The sins of the fathers will be visited on the future generations. It will not be without consequence that the people of the 19th century began to think in such a grossly materialistic way, to turn their minds away from everything spiritual. What people have thought then will have consequences. And we are not so far removed from the time when peculiar diseases and epidemics will occur in human life! What we call nervousness will occur, at the latest within half a century, in severe measure. Just as plague and cholera and leprosy in the Middle Ages once were rife, so there will be psychic epidemics, diseases of the nervous system in epidemic form. These are the consequences of the fact that people lack a spiritual core in their lives. Where an awareness of this spiritual core as the centre of life is present, there people will become healthy under the influence of a healthy, true worldview.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlin January 29, 1906 (p. 18)

Translated by Nesta Carsten

Not concepts and definitions, but direct observation of reality

At the present time people generally give validity only to natural phenomena, phenomena of the physical world which are part of historical evolution. They will have to give validity again to spiritual events, which can be perceived with the aid of spiritual science, for only then can the events in which human beings are caught up be really understood.

With reference to this important event it is quite easy to establish how seriously people are in error if they base themselves only on concepts and definitions when considering the world and not on direct observation of reality. One always has the feeling one ought to base oneself on defined concepts — what is Ahriman, what is Lucifer, what are the particular spirits in one hierarchy or another? Those are the questions we ask, and we believe that having got the definitions we have also understood something about the way these entities work. An extreme example of the inadequacy of definitions is the following, which I have quoted before. It may not have been the ideal way of defining the human being, but it is the definition which was given in a school in Greece: A human being is a creature who walks on two legs and does not have feathers. The next time the pupil came to school he brought a plucked cockerel: a creature who walked on two legs and had no feathers. This is a human being, he said, according to the definition.

Many definitions of this kind are generally accepted, and many of our scientific definitions are therefore more or less in accord with the truth. We must not base ourselves on such definitions in anthroposophy, however. Perception will be poor if we base ourselves on abstract definitions. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 12: – The Spirits of Light and the Spirits of Darkness - Dornach, 26 October 1917

This strange modern way of working in the abstract has nothing to do with any kind of reality

A few days ago I was sent a treatise on profound theosophical matters which was, in fact, merely a treatise on the ‘something’; it only dealt with the ‘something’ — the ‘unimproved something’ and the ‘improved something’, and how the improved takes hold of the unimproved, and how the ‘improved something’ takes precedence over the ‘unimproved something’. And so: conscious and unconscious ‘something’, improved and unimproved ‘something’ — going one way and then the other, here again, there again; and in the final instance you have no more than this strange modern way of working in the abstract — though here applied to things of the spirit — which likes to see itself in the abstract and in reality is flight from reality and no longer has anything to do with any kind of reality. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 11: Recognizing the Inner Human Being  - Dornach, 21 October 1917

People are influenced by the spiritual world to a much greater extent than they are prepared to admit

It is the belief that spiritual entities and their activities have no part in human affairs. People do not like to speak of events in human affairs having spiritual causes. Anyone who knows the real situation, however, is well aware that psychic or spiritual influences from the spiritual world on human beings here in the physical world are, in fact, particularly powerful at the present time. It is not at all uncommon to find people today who will tell you that a dream, or something like a dream — they do not normally understand what is going on, but these are always non-physical elements — drove them to a particular course of events. Psychic influences of this kind play a much greater role today than materialists are prepared to believe. Anyone who has the opportunity to go into such things will find them at every turn. If you were to take the published works of today’s better poets and do a statistical analysis of how many poems have come into existence in a way for which there is a rational explanation, and how many by an inspiration — a definite spiritual influence from the other world, with the poet experiencing it in a dream or something similar — you would be surprised how great is the percentage of direct influences from the spiritual world. People are influenced by the spiritual world to a much greater extent than they are prepared to admit. And the human actions performed under the influence of the spiritual world are indeed significant ones.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 9: The Battle between Michael and ‘The Dragon’ - Dornach, 14 October 1917

You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible

Humanity must once again find a living approach, and people must realize that dead truths cannot govern life, only living truths can do so. The following is a dead truth.

We are supposed to train human beings to be intelligent human beings. Therefore — as dead truth says — we must cultivate the intellect as early as possible, for this will produce intelligent people. This is arrant nonsense, however. It is as much nonsense as it would be to train a one-year-old to be a shoemaker. People will, in fact, be intelligent only if they are not given intellectual training too early. It is often necessary to do the opposite of what we want to achieve in life. We cannot eat our food raw, but have to cook it first. And if this cooking process were to include the processes which are involved in eating, we might perhaps save ourselves the effort of eating! You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible, but only by cultivating in them when very young the faculties which will later have them prepared to be intelligent. The abstract truth is: the intellect is cultivated via the intellect. The living truth is: the intellect is cultivated by healthy belief in rightful authority. Both parts of the statement have quite a different content in the living truth compared to the dead, abstract truth. This is something humanity will have to come to realize more and more as time goes on.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 7: Working from Spiritual Reality – Dornach, 12 October 1917

Demonic powers

If human beings are not prepared to take up impulses which can only come from spiritual knowledge, the body will be filled with demonic powers.

Bron: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – LECTURE 5: Changes in Humanity’s Spiritual Make-upDornach, 7 October 1917