It is only actual experience that gives knowledge

It is only actual experience that gives knowledge; no theory ever does so. Every theory starts from some special domain and then proceeds to generalize. True knowledge can only be acquired when we start from life and from experience. We must not therefore consider the laws of gravity by themselves, or the laws of plant life, or the laws of animal instinct, or the laws of mental coercion, because if we do, we think only of their details, generalize them, and then arrive at entirely false conclusions.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 219 – Man and the World of Stars: III: From Man’s Living Together with the Course of Cosmic Existence Arises the Cosmic Cult. –     Dornach, December 29, 1922

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond