It is of no avail to speak of virtue, selflessness or freedom

Those who boast most about their altruism are really the least unselfish of all. Just as those who use the word “truth” in every third sentence usually are the least truthful. It is important to penetrate deeper and deeper into the truths and insights of spiritual science; not to pursuit ideals as: I know I will overcome my I – With such a phrase nothing is gained. Nothing happens, for example when I tell a burning stove: you must be a good stove, you need to make the room warm. – You can stroke the stove and treat him with loving kindness but nothing will happen. That stove will remain cold. Only when the wood is added and lighted will the stove become hot. Similarly, it has no value to preach virtue, selflessness or freedom. The right thing is: give the people fuel; and the right fuel in this instance will be the spiritual truths.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Die Erkenntnis der Seele und des Geistes – Berlin, December 12, 1907 (page 148)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Enjoyment in school

From the change of teeth up to the time of adolescence the child really lives continually in the present, and is interested in what is going on in the world around him. When educating we must constantly keep in mind that children of primary school age want always to live in the present. How does one live in the present? One lives in the present when one enjoys the world around one, not in an animal way, but in a human way. And indeed the child of this age wants also to enjoy the world in the lessons he receives. Therefore from the outset we must make our teaching a thing of enjoyment for the children — not animal enjoyment, but enjoyment of a higher, human kind — not something that calls forth in them antipathy and repulsion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture IX – Stuttgart, August 30, 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on May 1, 2014


About interest, memory and willpower

Only by working through the force of habit and custom in man can you give order to his will and therewith also to his memory. In other words, you must understand how everything that awakens an intense interest in the child also contributes to a very great extent towards making his memory strong and efficient. For the power of the memory must be derived from the feeling and will and not from mere intellectual memory exercises.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture VIII – Stuttgart, 29 August 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on April 30, 2014


Anna Eunike (1853-1911) Steiner’s first wife

True, profound knowledge is born out of suffering

Every genuine knowledge is born out of sorrow, of suffering, of grief. True, profound knowledge is never born out of joy. True, profound knowledge is born out of suffering.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 226 –  Man’s Being, His Destiny and World Evolution: Lecture 5 – Kristiania, 20th May 1923

Previously posted on April 29, 2014

Translated by Erna McArthur


Many people at the present time do not want any science of the spirit, any knowledge of the spiritual

Do you not see the continually growing number of people at the present time who do not want any science of the spirit, any knowledge of the spiritual? Do you not see how numerous are the people to whom the old forces of religion no longer give any inner stimulus? Whether they go to church or not is a matter of complete indifference to large numbers of human beings nowadays. The old religious impulses mean nothing to them. But neither will they bring themselves to give a thought to what can stream into our civilization as new spiritual life. They resist it, reject it, regard it as folly, as something inconvenient; they will not allow themselves to have anything to do with it. But, you see, human beings as we live on earth are veritably a unity. Our spiritual nature cannot be separated from our physical nature; both work together as a unity between birth and death. And even if human beings do not receive the spiritual through their faculties of soul, the spiritual takes effect, nevertheless. Since the last third of the nineteenth century the spiritual has been streaming around us; it is streaming into earthly evolution. The spiritual is there in very truth — only people are not willing to receive it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman: Lecture Three – Bern, 4th November 1919

Previously posted on April 27, 2014