You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible

Humanity must once again find a living approach, and people must realize that dead truths cannot govern life, only living truths can do so. The following is a dead truth.

We are supposed to train human beings to be intelligent human beings. Therefore — as dead truth says — we must cultivate the intellect as early as possible, for this will produce intelligent people. This is arrant nonsense, however. It is as much nonsense as it would be to train a one-year-old to be a shoemaker. People will, in fact, be intelligent only if they are not given intellectual training too early. It is often necessary to do the opposite of what we want to achieve in life. We cannot eat our food raw, but have to cook it first. And if this cooking process were to include the processes which are involved in eating, we might perhaps save ourselves the effort of eating! You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible, but only by cultivating in them when very young the faculties which will later have them prepared to be intelligent. The abstract truth is: the intellect is cultivated via the intellect. The living truth is: the intellect is cultivated by healthy belief in rightful authority. Both parts of the statement have quite a different content in the living truth compared to the dead, abstract truth. This is something humanity will have to come to realize more and more as time goes on.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 7: Working from Spiritual Reality – Dornach, 12 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

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