The fruitfulness in things is not in what is lacking in them, but in what they have

Another important quality is the “yea saying” sense. This can be developed in one who in all things has an eye for the good, beautiful, and purposeful aspects of life, and not, primarily, for the blameworthy, ugly and contradictory. In Persian poetry there is a beautiful legend about Christ, which illustrates the meaning of this quality. A dead dog is lying on the road. Among the passersby is Christ. All the others turn away from the ugly sight; only Christ pauses and speaks admiringly of the animal’s beautiful teeth. It is possible to look at things in this way, and he who earnestly seeks for it may find in all things, even the most repulsive, something worthy of acknowledgment. The fruitfulness in things is not in what is lacking in them, but in what they have.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 12 – The Stages of Higher Knowledge – Chapter 1

Translation by Lisa Monges and Floyd McKnight

Previously posted on September 3, 2014


Maurice Maeterlinck – About Death

Recently a book was published which I can enthusiastically recommend, because it was written by a very intelligent man and proves what nonsense even intelligent people can say about spiritual things. I mean Maurice Maeterlinck’s Vom Tode (“About Death”). Among many nonsensical things, he affirms that when a person dies he is a spirit, and can no longer suffer because he has no physical body. Maeterlinck, a very intelligent man, suffers under the illusion that only the physical body can suffer and a dead person can therefore not suffer. He doesn’t notice the phenomenal, almost incredible nonsense it is to affirm that only the physical body, which consists of physical forces and chemical elements, can suffer. As if a stone could suffer! The physical body cannot suffer; it is the soul that suffers. It has come to the point where people think the opposite of what makes sense about the simplest things.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 148 – The Fifth Gospel: Lecture III – Oslo, Norway – October 3, 1913

Translated by Frank Thomas Smith

Previously posted on August 24, 2014

Why should we consider philosophy at all?

Why should we consider philosophy at all, because after all it only deals with the futile efforts of mankind? Well that is not the case, it really isn’t. What we achieve when we delve deeply into these viewpoints and futile struggles, is something irreplaceable  and infinitely meaningful. For to come to true knowledge of the immortal soul, for knowledge of the spiritual world and the Divine Beings,  philosophy will certainly always be barren, but she will not remain infertile regarding the development of certain other human faculties, for the development of certain human abilities.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 156 – Okkultes Lesen und okkultes Hören – Dornach 19 december 1914 (page 155-156)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on January 21, 2015

Waldorf Schools: Something made by a person a little touched in the head

Naturally the education officers regarded what was done in other schools (than the Waldorf School) as a kind of ideal. It is true they always said: one cannot attain the ideal, one can only do one’s best under the circumstances. Life demands this or that of us. But one finds in actual practice when one has dealings with them that they regard all existing arrangements set up either by state authorities or other authorities as exceptionally good, and look upon an institution such as the Waldorf School as a kind of crank hobby, a vagary, something made by a person a little touched in the head.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education – Lecture VII: The Organisation of the Waldorf School – Oxford 23rd August 1922

Translated by Daphne Harwood

Previously posted on August 5, 2014

Too much money is not good, knowing too much neither

Having too much knowledge is not good for people, just as having too much money is not good for them. It might sound like a strange comparison, but it is true: too much money is not a good thing, just as too much knowledge is not good if people cannot counteract it by using it in service of mankind or the world.  

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, 3 February 1923 (p. 310)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 11, 2015