An association of foolish people

Again and again, if it happens that people speak to those outside the anthroposophical society about me, saying for example: ‘The doctor has said this or that ‘, one should place oneself in the shoes of the person who hears someone else making such statements! For example, if someone says – such things happen in our association, I do not even say jokingly that this does not happen amongst us – so if someone says: ‘The doctor takes care of the spiritual development of the members‘, what should a person from outside think other than that this is an “Association of Foolish People”, who blindly follow one human being. […] We need to take Spiritual Science seriously, and we should do nothing to harm it.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 253 – Probleme des Zusammenlebens in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft – Dornach, September 10, 1915 (page 31)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on November 1, 2016

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A definition can never explain the essence of a thing

The big mistake, the great illusion, of the materialistically minded people, is that they believe a definition or a description can fully explain the essence of a thing.

I have often illustrated the grotesque nature of this belief in the past by pointing out the fact that a school of Greek philosophers once sought to define a human being and finally found that a human being is a creature with two legs and no feathers. Now, that is undoubtedly true. One can say that it is an absolutely correct definition. The next day, someone who understood the definition brought with him a plucked rooster and said: “This is a creature with two legs and no feathers, so it must be a human being.”

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 253 – Probleme des Zusammenlebens in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft – Dornach, September 11, 1915 (page 33)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on October 28, 2016

There is no worse phrase than this: ‘just look into yourself.’

There is no worse phrase than this: ‘look deep into yourself. ‘There one finds, however, only the lower self. One must seek lovingly outside oneself, and then one will find what one is seeking. I have known people who said: ‘what do I need? I don’t need anything at all, because I’m Atma (soul). ‘– and even though they constantly say “Atma, I’m Atma”, they do not become conscious of Atma, all they know about it is that it is a word with four letters. It leads to closing oneself off when gazing into yourself. For we are part of the whole. The finger is only finger because it is part of the body. If we separate it from the organism, then it is no longer a finger. The finger does not separate itself from the organism; but the human being is so “clever” that he believes that he could detach himself from the earth, although if he is just a few kilometers above the surface of the earth, he perishes. […] It is the worst possible mistake to want to find the god within yourself. Losing oneself through entering into all the details of the world, that is the right path. He who dedicates him or herself to love and humility will find godliness, while he who seeks God in himself, hardens.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 98 – Natur- und Geistwesen – ihr Wirken in unserer sichtbaren Welt – Vienna, November 7, 1907 (page 38-39)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 26, 2016

Who is a True Christian?

Let us imagine that there is a man who knows nothing of the name of Christ Jesus, nothing of what is communicated in the Gospels, but that he understands the radical difference between the nature of wisdom and might and that of love. Such a man, even though he knows nothing of the Mystery of Golgotha, is a Christian in the truest sense. A man who knows that love is there for the paying of debts and brings no profit for the future, is a true Christian. To understand the nature of love — that is to be a Christian!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Love and Its Meaning in the World – Zurich, 17th December, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & E.A. Frommer & S. Derry

Spiritual Perfecting and Deeds of Love

Spiritual perfecting will be for earthly man the goal most worthy of aspiration — (this is described at the beginning of my second Mystery Play, The Soul’s Probation) — but nobody who understands what deeds of love truly are will say that his own striving for perfection is selfless. Striving for perfection imparts strength to our being and to our personality. But our value for the world must be seen to lie wholly in deeds of love, not in deeds done for the sake of self-perfecting. Let us be under no illusion about this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Love and Its Meaning in the World – Zurich, 17th December, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond &  E.A. Frommer & S. Derry