From a world, in which no thoughts are, one cannot extract any thoughts  

The first thing that must be present in someone who wants to develop truly practical thinking is faith and confidence in the reality, in the actuality of the thoughts. What does that mean? From a glass in which there is no water, one cannot get water. And from a world in which no thoughts are one cannot get thoughts. It is totally absurd to believe that the whole sum of our thoughts and images is present only in ourselves. When someone dismantles a clock and contemplates on the laws according to which the clock was built, then he must assume that the clockmaker assembled the parts of the clock according to these laws. No one should believe that one can derive thoughts from a world that is not designed and formed according to thoughts. Everything we discover about nature and natural events is exactly that which was first laid into nature and natural events. There is no thought within our soul that did not at first exist somewhere in the outer world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909 (page 251)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger