About vegetarianism

It is no use being fanatic about these things. There are people who simply cannot live if they don’t have meat. A person must consider carefully whether he really will be able to get on without it. If he does decide he can do without it and changes over from a meat to a vegetarian diet, he will feel stronger than he was before. That’s sometimes a difficulty, obviously: some people can’t bear the thought of living without meat. If, however, one does become a vegetarian, he feels stronger — because he is no longer obliged to deposit alien fat in his body; he makes his own fat, and this makes him feel stronger.

I know this from my own experience. I could not otherwise have endured the strenuous exertion of these last twenty-four years! I never could have traveled entire nights, for instance, and then given a lecture the next morning. For it is a fact, that if one is a vegetarian one carries out a certain activity within one that is spared the non-vegetarian, who has it done first by an animal. That’s the important difference.

But now don’t get the idea that I would ever agitate for vegetarianism! It must always be first established whether a person is able to become a vegetarian or not; it is an individual matter.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 354 – The Evolution of the Earth and The Influence of the Stars – Lecture VI – Dornach, July 31, 1924

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 (page 150)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 29, 2014

Too much money is not good, knowing too much neither

Having too much knowledge is not good for people, just as having too much money is not good for them. It might sound like a strange comparison, but it is true: too much money is not a good thing, just as too much knowledge is not good if people cannot counteract it by using it in service of mankind or the world.  

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, 3 February 1923 (p. 310)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 20, 2014

A definition can never explain the essence of a thing

The big mistake, the great illusion, of the materialistically minded people, is that they believe a definition or a description can fully explain the essence of a thing. 

I have often illustrated the grotesque nature of this belief in the past by pointing out the fact that a school of Greek philosophers once sought to define a human being and finally found that a human being is a creature with two legs and no feathers. Now, that is undoubtedly true. One can say that it is an absolutely correct definition. The next day, someone who understood the definition brought with him a plucked rooster and said: “This is a creature with two legs and no feathers, so it must be a human being.”

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 253 – Probleme des Zusammenlebens in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft – Dornach, September 11, 1915 (page 33)

Anonymous translator

Deeply painful

It is deeply painful to me to see how our original intentions and aims are now presented in the newspapers. The articles and clichés are passed on from one paper to the next and are translated into every language, and in each language another distortion and more stupidity are added. Of course, it is not hard to understand what happens when the aims of our serious and sincere spiritual science clash with what the outer world can understand. But I want to show you how solemnly and reverently we must approach our cause. It is important that we be aware how deep our understanding for the tasks of spiritual science in the world must be.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path – Lecture Two: Understanding the spiritual world (Part Two) – Berlin, May 12, 1914