Half- or quarter-truths have far worse effects than complete errors

Half- or quarter-truths have far worse effects than complete errors. Thus it is a half- or quarter-truth which underlies what is so frequently described today as analytical psychology or psychoanalysis. People are truly seeking but they are groping in the dark; they divine that many things are hidden in the foundations of the soul, but they cannot resolve to take the real steps into the spiritual world, so as to find what is hidden there, in the depths of the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – The Influence of the Dead on the Life of Man on Earth – Zurich, 3 December 1916

Whoever wants to attain wisdom dare not take notice of his own opinion

One of the first basic sayings which has to be conquered is the old, beautiful saying of the wise Greeks: “Whoever wants to attain wisdom dare not take notice of his own opinion.” You will find that whoever has really experienced the spiritual scientific route, will say: Yes, my opinion doesn’t provide much; I can give descriptions of experiences, but not regularization principles, not claims of action, and these descriptions should be taken as instructions flowing into the theory of occult science. Opinions and points of view need be given up by the spiritual researcher. He has no point of view because all observations are like images originating from different points of view, which are as varied as people looking at the world from the most diverse angles. On the one side is the image of the materialistic standpoint, then from the other side that of a spiritual or a mechanistic or the easy-life observation. These are all observation angles. To not only recognise them theoretically but to live with every world view in order to create images as to how each observation creates a different side, that is the inner tolerance which is important here. One opinion shouldn’t fight another. As a result an inner and from this an outer tolerance develops which we need if we, mankind, want to meet our healing in future.

Source: Rudolf Steiner: GA 108 – What is Self-knowledge? – Vienna, 23 November 1908

Translated by Hanna von Maltitz

Aggressive Educators/Health

The child not only receives sense impressions from its outer environment, but it also absorbs the behaviour of other people through its feeling-life; their attitude and their character, their good will or bad intensions. Therefore as an educator one must dedicate oneself to strive towards a life of purity in thought and feelings, so that the child can become pure in thought and feelings as well. One must also be aware that one’s own conduct has an influence not only on the soul but also on the body. What the child lets flood into itself as it were spontaneously and lets stream into its will, vibrates further in its physical organism. A hot-tempered educator causes the child’s body to become fragile in such a way that he will in later life become prone to disease-causing influences. How one educates in this respect, will later emerge as a state of health in the life of the adult.

Source: Rudolf Steiner 297a – Education for Life: Self-Education and the Practice of Pedagogy – Prague, 4 April 1924

German: Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Praag, 4 april 1924 (p. 167)

Translated by Nesta Carsten

The conviction of reincarnation and karma will transform modern life

But what is of particular importance for the modern anthroposophist is the gaining of conviction with regard to reincarnation and karma. The way in which men gain this conviction, how they succeed in spreading the thought of reincarnation and karma — it is this that from now onwards will essentially transform modern life, will create new forms of life, an entirely new social life, of the kind that is necessary if human culture is not to decline but rise to a higher level. Experiences in the life of soul such as were described yesterday are, fundamentally speaking, within the reach of every modern man, and if only he has sufficient energy and tenacity of purpose he will certainly become inwardly convinced of the truth of reincarnation and karma. But the whole character of our present age is pitted against what must be the aim of true Anthroposophy.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – Reincarnation and Karma – Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 21 February 1912

Spiritual scientific insights/Practice of everyday life  

The quest for insight only for the sake of gaining insight would be egotistical. Whoever searches for cognizance in order to acquire vision of higher worlds is acting selfishly. But he who wants to apply this insight directly in the practice of everyday life is working on the continuation of the evolution of future mankind. It is very important to learn how to transform spiritual scientific insights ever more energetically into practical deed.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Die Theosophie des Rosenkreuzers – München, 5 juni 1907

Translated by Nesta Carsten

Knowledge/World evolution/Ennoblement of humanity

All knowledge sought after merely to gain more knowledge, merely to gather treasures for yourself, leads you astray. All knowledge however, that you seek in order to ripen and to be used in service of the ennoblement of humanity and for the sake of world evolution, takes you a step forwards on your way.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 -Wie  erlangt man Erkenntnisse der höheren Welten (p. 28)

Translated by Nesta Carsten

We will not reach our goal with beautiful slogans

It is true that there are often wonderful ground principles mentioned regarding pedagogy. For example, it is rightly said: Yes, in education there are such principles as “one should not cram things into the children from outside; one should let that what one wants them to acquire come out of their own talents and capabilities.” Very true, an excellent basic rule – but abstract and theoretical. And thus we see that by far the majority of our practical life is based on abstractions, is born out of theoretical programs. Because what one really needs in order to be able to draw forth from the individuality that which the child needs to develop, is true knowledge of the human being. Human insight which enters into the depths of the being of man. However such knowledge the science available to modern civilization, despite her great triumphs, does not have.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 51)

Translated by Nesta Carsten