Both sides

People will only learn to think in a thorough, energetic way when they use the spiritual philosophy of life and train themselves to be all-rounders in this way, when they come to realize that everything needs to be considered from different angles.  Practical life does already force us to do so day by day. People are quite right when they say that fire is a great boon. Yet it is also true to say that fire causes great harm, burning down towns and villages. It is not possible to be absolute and say “Fire is good”, or “Fire is evil”.  

When it comes to fire, practical life teaches us to accept that there are two sides to it. Yet when we are asked to do the same with spirits of the higher worlds, Lucifer and Ahriman, for instance, we are redundant to accept this.  Instead we tend to ask: “is Lucifer a good or an evil spirit?” and “is Ahriman a good or an evil spirit?”. People want to have definitions to answer those questions, and an answer like “Lucifer and Ahriman may be both good and evil” is considered unsatisfactory.  There is no such demand when it comes to fire.  There everyday life makes us change a wrong opinion into a right one.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 150 – Die Welt des Geistes und ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein – Stockholm, June 10, 1913 (page 86)

Previously posted on November 9, 2015

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