Common sense

Even the Initiate, if he has not developed his reason in the right way, gains nothing whatever from his super-sensible experiences. When someone today — please take what I am now saying as a really serious matter — has learnt to think in a way perfectly adapted to meeting the demands of school examinations, when he acquires habits of thought that enable him to pass academic tests with flying colours — then his reasoning faculty will be so vitiated that even if millions of experiences of the super-sensible world were handed to him on a platter, he would see them as little as you could physically see the objects in a dark room.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on February 27, 2016

After the seventh cultural period the earth will be visited by a catastrophe

The transformations in the things of the earth existing outside the human being occur with a certain relationship to humanity’s own evolution. After the seventh cultural period (5733-7893) has run its course, the earth will be visited by a catastrophe that may be likened to what occurred between the Atlantean and post-Atlantean ages, and the transformed earth conditions after this catastrophe will again evolve in seven time periods. Human souls who will then be incarnated will experience, at a higher stage, the union with the higher world experienced by the Atlanteans at a lower stage.

Only those human beings, however, in whom are incarnated souls that have developed in a manner possible through the influences of the Greco-Latin epoch (747 BC -1413 AD) and the subsequent fifth, sixth, and seventh cultural epochs of the post-Atlantean evolution will be able to cope with the newly formed earth conditions. The inner being of such souls will correspond to what the earth has then become. Other souls will then have to remain behind, whereas previously they would have had the choice of creating the conditions for advancement. Souls who will have created the possibility for themselves, in the transition from the fifth (1413-3573) to the sixth post-Atlantean period (3573-5733), of penetrating supersensible knowledge with the forces of intellect and feeling, will have the maturity for the corresponding conditions following the next great catastrophe. The fifth and sixth periods are, so to speak, decisive.

In the seventh, the souls who will have reached the goal of the sixth will develop correspondingly further; the other souls, however, will, under the changed conditions of the environment, find but little opportunity of retrieving what they have neglected. Only at some future time will conditions appear again that will permit this. — Evolution thus advances from age to age.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – VI – The present and future of cosmic and human evolution

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

The publication of this book appeared to be a risk

In 1909 the publication of this book (An Outline of Occult Science) appeared to be a risk. For I knew indeed that professional scientists are unable to call up in themselves the necessary impartiality, nor are the numerous personalities able to do so who are dependent on them for their judgment.

But, before my soul there stood the very fact that at the time when the consciousness of mankind was furthest removed from the world of spirit, the communications from that world would answer a most urgent necessity.

I counted upon the fact that there are human beings who feel, more or less desperately, the remoteness from all spirituality as a grave obstacle to life that causes them to seize upon the communications of the spiritual world with inner longing.

During the subsequent years this has been completely confirmed. Theosophy and Occult Science, books that presume the goodwill of the reader in coping with a difficult style of writing, have been widely read.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – Preface, sixteenth to twentieth edition – January 10, 1925 – Goetheanum Dornach, Switzerland

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges

No one can become insane by being occupied with religious ideas

Spiritual science more than any other science is in a position to say something about so-called spiritual or mental illness. The name is actually misleading; one cannot speak of the spirit being ill. Furthermore, there is widespread confusion among lay people as well as professionals, mainly because of the way such illnesses are presented in popular literature. The descriptions are thought of as the reality. Megalomania, persecution-mania, religious-mania are spoken of, but these terms only point to symptoms. No one can become insane by being occupied with religious ideas. Yet the most curious statements are put forward, for example that the discord between old and modern world conceptions was the cause of Friedrich Hölderlin’s illness. [Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) was among the greatest of German lyric poets. His images were usually derived from classical Greek themes]. The illness from which he suffered would still have overtaken Hölderin even if he had not been a poet; though in that case he would have expressed himself differently.

When a deeply religious person becomes mentally ill, his religious ideas become distorted. Had he been steeped in materialistic ideas, then they would have become distorted. The cause of mental illness is deeply rooted in human nature where it must be sought.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge – Lecture VIII: Insanity in the Light of Spiritual Science – Berlin, 31st January 1907

Translated by Rita Stebbing

Previously posted on July 10,  2014

Descent  and Ascent

Just as it is true that humanity had to descend from a spiritual past, into materialism, so it is also true that it must rise again to spirituality. A spiritual world-conception alone can produce something that gives rise to harmony, peace and love. Even in this sphere, spiritual science can be of practical help in the highest possible way.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VIII: Supplementary Thoughts on the Law of Reincarnation and Karma – Kassel, 23rd June 1907

Previously posted on February 26,2016