As a child, Steiner did not play

A good portion of my youthful life was bound up with the task which had grown so close to me (from 1884 to 1890 Steiner worked in a merchant family in Vienna as an educator and teacher of the four sons). For a number of years I went during the summer with the family of the children whom I had to tutor to the Attersee in the Salzkammergut, and there became familiar with the noble Alpine nature of Upper Austria. I was gradually able to eliminate the private lessons I had continued to give to others even after beginning this tutoring, and thus I had time left for prosecuting my own studies.

In the life I led before coming into this family I had little opportunity for sharing in the play of children. In this way it came about that my “play-time” came after my twentieth year. I had then to learn also how to play, for I had to direct the play, and this I did with great enjoyment. To be sure, I think I have not played any less in my life than other men. Only in my case what is usually done in this direction before the tenth year I repeated from the twenty-third to the twenty-eighth year.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

The reality of the spiritual world was to me as certain as that of the physical

The reality of the spiritual world was to me as certain as that of the physical. I felt the need, however, for a sort of justification for this assumption. I wished to be able to say to myself that the experience of the spiritual world is just as little an illusion as is that of the physical world. With regard to geometry I said to myself: “Here one is permitted to know something which the mind alone, through its own power, experiences.” In this feeling I found the justification for the spiritual world that I experienced, even as, so to speak, for the physical. And in this way I talked about this. I had two conceptions which were naturally undefined, but which played a great role in my mental life even before my eighth year. I distinguished things as those “which are seen” and those “which are not seen.”

I am relating these matters quite frankly, in spite of the fact that those persons who are seeking for evidence to prove that anthroposophy is fantastic will, perhaps, draw the conclusion from this that even as a child I was marked by a gift for the fantastic: no wonder, then, that a fantastic philosophy should also have evolved within me.

But it is just because I know how little I have followed my own inclinations in forming conceptions of a spiritual world – having on the contrary followed only the inner necessity of things – that I myself can look back quite objectively upon the childlike unaided manner in which I confirmed for myself by means of geometry the feeling that I must speak of a world “which is not seen.”

Only I must also say that I loved to live in that world For I should have been forced to feel the physical world as a sort of spiritual darkness around me had it not received light from that side.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter I

Good habits will produce good health

Good habits will produce good health; bad ones will create a tendency to some specific illness in the next life. A strong determination to rid oneself of a bad habit will work down into the physical body and produce a tendency to good health. How a disposition to infectious diseases arises in the physical body has been particularly well observed. Whether we actually get a disease will depend on what we do; but whether we are specially liable to contract it is the result of the inclinations we had in a previous life. Infectious diseases, strangely enough, can be traced back to a highly developed selfish acquisitiveness in a previous life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VII: Workings of the Law of Karma in Human Life – Stuttgart, 28th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

How am I to know that what is presented by anyone as the science of initiation is correct, when I cannot myself see into the spiritual world?

It is true, not everyone today can cross the threshold to the spiritual world; but no one would be prevented from perceiving the truth of what is said by those who have crossed that threshold. It is false reasoning when it is said again and again by one or another: How am I to know that what is presented by anyone as the science of initiation is correct, when I cannot myself see into the spiritual world? That is false reasoning. Common sense which is not led astray by the erroneous ideas of our time in the natural or the social sphere can decide of itself whether the element of truth rules in what anyone says. If someone speaks of spiritual worlds, you must take account of everything: the manner of speaking, the seriousness with which things are treated, the logic which is developed, and so on, and then it will be possible to judge whether what is presented as information about the spiritual world is charlatanism, or whether it has foundation. Anyone can decide this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth – Lecture III: Historical Occurrences of the Last Century – Dornach, 14th December 1919

Translated by Lisa D. Monges

Christ is represented much more as the Divinity in the Koran confession than in that of the modern Protestant

If we go as missionaries to foreign cultures, or even to people in our own lands, and wish to force upon them the worship of Jesus within a religious denomination, we will not be understood since the knowledge of these people extends far beyond what is brought to them by this or that missionary.

I should like to know, for example, what a Turk would say if a modern Protestant pastor should try to convey to him his conception of Christ. This conception as it is dealt with by modern Protestant pastors holds that there was once a Socrates, and then one who was somewhat more than Socrates, the Christ, the human being, the special human being, but still the human being — or any of those confused things that are said today in modern Protestantism about Christ. The Turk would say to him, “What! You tell me such a thing and you wish to be called a Christian? Just read the nineteenth chapter of the Koran; much more is contained in it about the Christ than what you are telling me!”

In other words, the Turks know a great deal more concerning Christ Jesus than what the modern Protestant pastors are prone to present because the Koran contains more about Him and Christ is represented much more as the Divinity in the Turkish confession than in that of the modern Protestant. This is simply not realized because nowadays people do not often go so far as really to read the original religious documents; rather, they utter much superficial nonsense regarding all possible religions.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 172 – The Karma of Vocation – Dornach, 27th November 1916

Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker