Human thinking, the present intellect, lies in a stratum of being where it does not reach down to realities. One can therefore prove something quite strictly, and also prove its opposite. It is possible today to prove spiritualism on the one hand and materialism on the other. And people may fight against each other from equally good standpoints because present-day intellectualism is in an upper layer of reality and does not go down into the depths of being. And it is the same with party opinions. A man who does not look deeper but simply lets himself be accepted into a certain party-circle — by reason of his education, heredity, circumstances of life and State — quite honestly believes — or so he thinks — in the possibility of proving the tenets of the party into which he has slipped, as he says. And then — then he fights against someone else who has slipped into another party! And the one is just as right as the other. This calls forth chaos and confusion over mankind that will gradually become greater and greater unless men see through it.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 - The Ahrimanic Deception - Zurich, October 27, 1919
In the spring, the first issue of the Liberal Thinking Calendar of the Free-Thinkers (Freidenkerkalender) appeared, devoted to the religious education of children. The man responsible for it appears well-meaning and no doubt thoroughly convinced of the truth of what he writes. He develops the following theory. One should give no religious education to children because it is unnatural. For if one allows children to grow up without injecting religious concepts and feelings into them, one notices that they do not come to them of their own accord. This is supposed to demonstrate that it is unnatural to instill such ideas into children because they merely come from outside.
There can be no doubt that adherents of the free-thinker movement receive such ideas with enthusiasm and even consider them to be profound. Yet one need but reflect on the following. It is common knowledge that if a young child were removed to a desert island before he learned to speak, and there grew up without ever hearing the human voice, he would never learn to speak! This shows clearly that children do not learn to speak unless speech comes to them from outside. The good free-thinking preacher would also have to forbid his followers from teaching children how to talk, for speech also is not developed of its own accord. Thus something that appears eminently logical, and that is regarded as profound by a considerable group of people, is nothing but logical nonsense. As soon as one thinks it through it simply does not hold. This is a typical example of a person wearing blinders.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – XII – Munich, March 10, 1913
Spiritual science can only arise on earth. Nowhere else can it be learned. It is a revelation of the supersensible world but in such a form as can arise only here on earth.
One might well say that supposing all this to be true, surely one could be instructed about the supersensible in the spiritual world in a form other than that of spiritual science! One can certainly think this, but it is not true. For if a person is at all predisposed to gain a genuine connection with higher worlds, he can do so only by means of spiritual science. If he fails to draw near to spiritual science or anthroposophy on earth, no other form of existence will help him to get to know it. But no other form of existence will help him to gain a genuine human connection with the supersensible worlds, either.
This need not plunge us into despair about the many people who are still refusing to know anything about anthroposophy. They will return and establish a connection with it at a later stage.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 - Life Between Death and Rebirth – XI: The Mission of Earthly Life as a Transitional Stage for the Beyond – Frankfurt, 2nd March 1913
Under certain circumstances, what is called love may, however, be very self-seeking. Observation of life will show how often what is called love is self-seeking. But an egotism extended beyond the person may also be very selfless, that is, it may protect, cherish and take care of what belongs to it.
By such examples as these, my dear friends, we ought to learn that life cannot be parcelled out according to ideas. We talk of egotism and altruism, and we can make very beautiful systems with such ideas as egotism and altruism. But facts tear such systems to pieces; for when egotism so extends its interests to what is around it that it considers this as part of itself, and thus cherishes and takes care of it, it then becomes selflessness; and when altruism becomes such that it only wishes to make the whole world happy according to its own ideas, when it wishes to impress its thoughts and feelings on the whole world with all its might, and wishes to adopt the axiom, ‘If you will not be my brother, I will break your head,’ then even altruism may become very self-seeking. The reality which lives in forces and in facts cannot be enclosed in ideas, and a great part of that which runs counter to human progress lies in the fact that in immature heads and immature minds there arises again and again the belief that the reality can in some way be bottled up in ideas.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture VII – The Hague – 26th March 1913
Today there are souls who feel, even if out of the deepest recesses of their instincts that they wish to experience something of the spiritual world! They are the pioneers of a future when souls will come who will consider it important to cultivate a spiritual life founded on the cognition of the spiritual worlds. Spiritual life must be cultivated on earth in the sense of the new spiritual science, because otherwise humanity will increasingly enter into the other world spiritually dumb, lacking the capacity to open itself rightly.
It is also a fallacy to believe that we can wait until we have crossed the threshold of death to experience something of a spiritual nature over there. In order to experience anything of this kind one must have attained the faculty to perceive. But this faculty cannot be developed after death unless one has first acquired it here on earth. We do not live in vain in the material world! It is not for nothing that our souls descend to the physical world. They descend so that we may acquire what actually can only be acquired here, namely, spiritual cognition.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – IX – Linz, January 26, 1913
Those who do not admit that the religions were adapted to particular conditions, but maintain that all religious systems have emanated from one undifferentiated source, can never acquire real knowledge.
To speak only of unity amounts to saying that salt, pepper, paprika and sugar are on the table, but we are not concerned with each of them individually. What we are looking for is the unity that is expressed in these different substances. Of course, one can speak like this, but when it is a question of passing on to practical reality, of using each substance appropriately, the differences between them will certainly be apparent. Nobody who uses these substances will claim that there is no different, then just put salt or pepper instead of sugar into your coffee or tea, and you will soon find out the truth! Those who make no real distinction between the several religions, but say that they all come from the same source, are making the same kind of blunder.
If we wish to know how a living thread runs through the different religions towards a great goal, we must seek to understand this thread, and study and value of each religion for its particular sphere.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – III – Hanover, 18th November 1912