In practice things are different from what they seem to be in theory – 3 of 4

“But,” someone will say, “what has all this to do with the science of spirit? Does the scientist of spirit really believe that his teachings would have helped Councillor Kolb to have a better understanding of life? What use would it have been to him to have known something about reincarnation, karma, and all the supersensible worlds? No one would want to maintain that ideas about planetary systems and higher worlds would have enabled the councilor to avoid having to admit one day that the most unpleasant aspects of political economy can be managed quite well at one’s desk.” The scientist of spirit can really only answer — as Lessing did in a particular case: “I happen to be this `no one,’ and I insist upon it.” Only this does not mean to say that the teaching of “reincarnation,” or knowledge about “karma” enables a person to act in the right way in social life. That would naturally be naive. It would of course be no good directing those destined to be councilors to Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine instead of sending them to Schmoller, Wagner or Brentano at the university. — What it depends upon is this: Would a theory of political economy originating from the scientist of spirit be such that it could be managed well at one’s desk but would let one down in actual life? And this would not be the case.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Reincarnation and ImmortalityThe science of spirit and the social question – 1905

Previously posted on February 7, 2014

In practice things are different from what they seem to be in theory – 2 of 4

We can learn everything that makes us capable of taking a relatively important position, and at the same time we can be quite isolated from the life which we are supposed to influence. Is this not rather like being educated at an engineering school and then, when faced with building a bridge, not knowing anything about it? But no: it is not quite like that. A person who has not studied the building of bridges properly will soon have his weaknesses made clear to him when he begins the actual work. He will prove himself to be a bungler and will be rejected everywhere. But a person who is insufficiently prepared in social life will not reveal his weaknesses so quickly. Badly built bridges collapse, and even the most prejudiced will realize that the builder was a bungler. What is bungled in social life only comes to light in the sufferings of those whose lives are regulated by it. It is not as easy to have an eye for the connection between the suffering and this kind of bungling as it is for the relationship between the collapse of the bridge and an incapable builder.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Reincarnation and ImmortalityThe science of spirit and the social question – 1905

Previously posted on February 6, 2014

In practice things are different from what they seem to be in theory – 1 of 4

The science of spirit sharpens our understanding of the demands which social life makes just because it leads the spirit into the luminous heights of the supersensible. However paradoxical this may appear, it is nevertheless true.

An example will show what is meant. An extremely interesting book has recently appeared called As a Worker in America (Berlin, K. Siegismund). The author is a certain government councilor named Kolb who took it upon himself to spend several months as an ordinary worker in America. Through doing this he acquired a judgment about human beings and life which apparently neither the education which led to his councillorship had been able to give him, nor the experiences he had had in his post and in the other positions one occupies before becoming a councilor. Therefore for years he held a relatively responsible position, and it was only after he had left this and lived for a short time in a distant country that he got to know life in such a way that he was able to write the following noteworthy sentence in his book: “How often had I asked with moral indignation when I saw a healthy man begging: Why doesn’t the scoundrel work? Now I knew. Yes, in practice things are different from what they seem to be in theory, and even the most unpleasant aspects of political economy can be managed quite bearably at one’s desk.”

Now there is not slightest intention here of creating a misunderstanding. The fullest possible recognition must be given to a man who persuades himself to leave his comfortable position in life and to undertake hard work in a brewery and a bicycle factory. The high esteem accorded to this deed is strongly emphasized in order to avoid the impression that we are about to indulge in negative criticism of him. — But to everyone who wants to see, it is absolutely clear that all the education and knowledge that he had gained had failed to give him the means of judging life. Let us try to understand what is implied in this admission: We can learn everything that makes us capable of taking a relatively important position, and at the same time we can be quite isolated from the life which we are supposed to influence.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Reincarnation and ImmortalityThe science of spirit and the social question – 1905

Previously posted on February 5, 2014

Astrology – 2 – Our brain is a picture of the heavens

The active forces of the starry world push us into physical incarnation. Clairvoyant perception allows us to see in a person’s organization that he or she is indeed the result of the working together of such cosmic forces. I want to illustrate this in a hypothetical form that nevertheless corresponds fully to clairvoyant perceptions.

If we examined the structure of a person’s brain clairvoyantly and could see that certain functions are located in certain places and give rise to certain processes, we would find that each person’s brain is different. No two people have the same brain. If we could take a picture of the entire brain with all of its details visible, we would get a different picture for each person. If we photographed a person’s brain at the moment of birth and took a picture of the sky directly above his or her birthplace, the two pictures would be alike. The stars in the photograph of the sky would be arranged in the same way as certain parts of the brain in the other picture. Thus, our brain is really a picture of the heavens, and we each have a different picture depending on where and when we were born. This indicates that we are born out of the entire universe.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity – Lecture Three – Copenhagen, June 8th 1911

Previously posted on February 4, 2014

Astrology – 1 – The true science of these things has largely been lost

Each of us is assigned a particular horoscope, in which the forces are revealed that have led us into this life. For example, if in a particular horoscope Mars is above Aries, this means that certain Aries forces cannot pass through Mars but are weakened instead.

Thus, human beings on their way into physical existence can get their bearings through their horoscope. Before ending this discussion — which, after all, seems a daring one in our time — we should note that most of what is presented today in this area is the purest dilettantism and pure superstition. As far as the world at large is concerned, the true science of these things has largely been lost. Therefore, the principles presented here should not be judged according to the claims of modern astrology, which is highly questionable.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity – Lecture Three – Copenhagen, June 8th 1911

Previously posted on February 3, 2014