All talk of limits to human knowledge is a nonsense

All talk of limits to human knowledge is a nonsense. One should rather ask: Is it not possible for the human being to rise to a higher level of knowledge? Are not what one calls the eyes and the ears of the spirit perhaps a reality? There have always been individuals who have worked on certain latent faculties and who can thus see more than others. Their testimony might be just as valid as the testimony of those who look through the microscope. How many people have actually seen what the scientific history of creation teaches? I would like to ask, how many people have seen what they talk about? How many, for example, have in actual fact, proof of the development of the human embryo? If they were to ask themselves such questions they would see what a blind faith it is that governs them. And if it is a justified faith, then the faith based on the testimony of the Initiates who speak from their spiritual experiences is equally justified.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Woman and Society – Hamburg, 17th November 1906

Previously posted on February 15, 2015

This is no fable! The ‘inferior talent’ of women.

A famous naturalist tried some time ago to attribute the ‘inferior talent’ of women to the lighter weight of the female brain! This is no fable! This man asserted that the greatness of the spirit was dependent on the size of the brain, and that women, on average, have a smaller brain than men. And quite truly it then happened that the methods of this learned professor were applied to himself. After his death, his brain was weighed, and it turned out that he had an abnormally small brain, a much smaller brain than those women whom he held to be of inferior mind because of their lighter brain weight.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Woman and Society – Hamburg, 17th November 1906

Previously posted on February 14, 2015

Thinking in accordance with reality

Unless we acquire the faculty for the perception of truth in this physical world we shall never be able to unfold it in regard to the spiritual world. The capacity to find our true bearings in the spiritual world must be developed here in the physical world.
It is for this purpose that we are placed in the physical world, where it behoves us to seek agreement between idea and objective reality, in such a way that this may become natural to us, may become a habit and a faculty which we then carry with us into the spiritual world.
But in these days there are so many who make statements with utter disregard of their conformity with objective fact, simply out of their feelings and emotions! This tendency is the very reverse of what is needed for the onward progress of humanity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 170 – Memory and Habit: III – Dornach, 28th August 1916

Improvement through repeated earthly lives

Consider for a moment all that human beings think! Would it not be terrible if every human thought were objectively engraved in cosmic substance and remained there for ever and ever? That, however, is what would happen if man were not able, through repeated earthly lives, either to correct thoughts that are not worthy of permanence or entirely reject and substitute others for them. This is provided for in evolution by the repetition of earthly lives, for man is thus enabled to better what is impressed upon the etheric substance of the cosmos every time he passes through death and he can strive to the end that after his final incarnation on Earth only that will have been given over to the etheric substance of the cosmos which is worthy of permanence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 170 – Memory and Habit – Dornach, 27th August 1916

If a person does not acquire the ability to look behind the facade so to speak, he will not at all be able to understand anything about the forces that direct and guide life

One never learns to know people from a world view that is merely outwardly oriented. Once a viewpoint that is clouded by materialism orientates itself only on the outer appearance of a person, once the human being does not know what hides behind this physical corporality, and he thereby does not get the opportunity to look behind the scenes so to speak, he is not at all capable, really unable, to understand something about the forces that guide and direct life. That is precisely the task of spiritual knowledge. It has to be admitted that this task is not currently fulfilled in the right measure. [….] However, that is not what really matters, what is important is that which becomes possible through spiritual insight. It can be something that not only teaches us, but provides powerful schooling for our inner soul forces as well. That is what can best be brought about through spiritual knowledge, when we look at the spiritual worldview from out of the perspective of what can be developed through it.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 054 – Die Welträtsel und die Anthroposophie – Hamburg, 2nd March 1908 (page 91-92)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 30, 2016