People will accept obvious nonsense on authority

Today people are satisfied with many things because certain incorrect theories have made the illusions far greater than they really need be. I have often quoted a characteristic example. Children in their 12th, 13th, and 14th years are told that lightning comes from friction in the clouds and it is admitted at the same time that the clouds are wet. Of course they are; but then when it is a matter of producing the electric spark which is the earthly replica of the lightning, it is found necessary to keep the electrical apparatus and everything belonging to it perfectly dry in order that no water of any kind is present; so that it comes to this — the only thing that is present when the lightning originates, is removed and yet the lightning is the same phenomena as the electric spark!

Children and grown up people are quite satisfied to be lulled to sleep with all kinds of hypotheses of this kind. There are innumerable examples of the same kind where people will accept obvious nonsense simply on authority and yet in our days there is much talk of the laying aside of all authority — people say that they are no longer credulous of’ authority. Yet as a matter of fact if they had been so credulous it would have been quite impossible for the Marxian-Socialistic world conception to arise in our epoch, for it is far more credulous of authority even than ancient Catholicism!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 192 – The Necessity for New Ways of Spiritual Knowledge – Lecture 2 – Stuttgart, September 28, 1919




It is not easy, at first, to believe that feelings like reverence and respect have anything to do with cognition. This is due to the fact that we are inclined to set cognition aside as a faculty by itself — one that stands in no relation to what otherwise occurs in the soul. In so thinking we do not bear in mind that it is the soul which exercises the faculty of cognition; and feelings are for the soul what food is for the body. If we give the body stones in place of bread, its activity will cease. It is the same with the soul. Veneration, homage, devotion are like nutriment making it healthy and strong, especially strong for the activity of cognition. Disrespect, antipathy, underestimation of what deserves recognition, all exert a paralyzing and withering effect on this faculty of cognition. For the spiritually experienced this fact is visible in the aura. A soul which harbors feelings of reverence and devotion produces a change in its aura. Certain spiritual colorings, as they may be called, yellow-red and brown-red in tone, vanish and are replaced by blue-red tints. Thereby the cognitional faculty is ripened; it receives intelligence of facts in its environment of which it had hitherto no idea. Reverence awakens in the soul a sympathetic power through which we attract qualities in the beings around us, which would otherwise remain concealed.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds – 1: How Is Knowledge of the Higher Worlds Attained?

Healing forces/Forces of sickness/Morality

Knowledge of the healing forces is inseparable from knowledge of the forces of sickness. One cannot be taught without the other. No one in the world can gain knowledge of the healing forces, without at the same time learning about the forces of sickness. So you can see how important it is for people to be morally good through and through as regards such serious matters. For someone who can heal a person’s soul can also make a person’s soul sick in the same degree. Therefore such truths may not be imparted by the gods to man until a stage of morality has been reached at which the healing medicine cannot be transformed into poison.

Source: Rudolf SteinerGA 173 The Karma of Untruthfulness I: Lecture Nine – Dornach, 24th December 1916


The humility towards those who are lower than we are, and at whose expense we have been able to rise, must be present everywhere in the world. If a plant were able to think, it would thank the minerals for giving it the ground on which it can lead a higher form of life, and the animal would have to bow down before the plant and say: “To thee I owe the possibility of my own existence.” In the same way man should recognise what he owes to all the rest of nature. So also, in our society, a man holding a higher position should bow before those who stand lower and say: “But for the diligence of those who labour on my behalf, I could not stand where I do.” 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture XIII: Oriental and Christian Training – Stuttgart, 3rd September 1906

The truth can take many forms

There is no absolute truth — each truth has its particular mission at a certain time. We talk of anthroposophy today, but we know that when we come to reborn in the future we shall hear something very different and stand in quite a different relationship to one another.

Let us cast our gaze back to a time when we were perhaps even then assembled together in some region of Northern Europe, where people gathered round a Druid priest who imparted truth to them in the form of myths and legends. If we had not heeded what he then said and if he had not influenced our souls, we should not be able today to understand the truth which anthroposophy now brings to us in a different form. When we are reborn, we shall hear the truth spoken in another and a higher form. Truth evolves, as does everything else in the world. It is the form of the divine Spirit, but the divine Spirit has many forms. If we thoroughly imbue ourselves with this characteristic of truth, we shall acquire a quite different relation to it. We shall say: Indeed we live in the truth, but it can take many forms.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture XI: The Post-Atlantean Culture-Epochs – Stuttgart, 1st September 1906