Clairvoyance – Understanding

In olden times, man had clairvoyant revelations and did not understand them. Today man must first understand, must exert to the utmost his intellectual power, must exert to the utmost his reason. If he so exerts it through that which lies before him in Spiritual Science, then mankind will again develop the power of receiving the Spiritual clairvoyantly. This is certainly something that most people today wish to avoid, viz., to make use of their healthy human reason in order to understand Spiritual Science. Were it possible to avoid the use of man’s reason, it would also be possible to avoid altogether the entrance of spiritual revelations into our earthly world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 195 – The Cosmic New Year – Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 31st December 1919

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on June 8, 2015


The child is a subtle observer and imitator of his surroundings

It is indeed true that the child’s actions imitate what goes on in the child’s surroundings. I have indicated in my public lecture how the child, completely at one with his sense-organism, inwardly experiences every gesture, every movement made by the people around him. But he experiences every gesture, every movement, in its moral significance. Hence a child who is confronted with a choleric father experiences the immoral element connected with a choleric temperament. And the child experiences, through the subtlest movements of the people around him, the thoughts that these people harbor. Hence we should never permit ourselves to have impure, immoral thoughts in a child’s presence and say: Such thoughts are permissible, because the child knows nothing about them. This is not true. Whenever we think, our nerve-fibers are always vibrating in one way or another. And this vibration is perceived by the child, especially during his earliest years. The child is a subtle observer and imitator of his surroundings.

The strangest and — it might be said — the most interesting fact, in an exalted sense, is the following: The child does not imitate everything, but takes his choice. And this choosing is done in a very complicated manner.

Let us assume that the child has before him a hot-headed, choleric father who does many things that are not right. The child, wholly one with his sense-organism, must absorb all these things. Since his eye cannot protect itself, it must perceive what takes place in the child’s surroundings.

What the child absorbs, however, is absorbed only in the waking state. Eventually the child goes to sleep. Children sleep a great deal. And during sleep the child is able to choose: What he wants to absorb is sent out of his soul into his body, his physical organism; what he does not want to absorb is ejected during sleep into the etheric world. Thus the child takes into his bodily organism only those things that have been predestined for him by his destiny, his Karma. The working of destiny is seen with especial vividness in the child’s very first years.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 226 – Man’s Being, His Destiny and World-Evolution – Lecture IV – Kristiana (Oslo), 19th May 1923

Translated by Erna McArthur

Previously posted on June 7, 2015

Prenatal education

Before birth the human being is still in the protection of Beings who stand above the physical. It is to them that we must leave the immediate and individual relationship between the world and the human being. Hence a prenatal education cannot be addressed to the child itself. It can only be an unconscious result of what the parents — especially the mother — achieve. If until birth the mother behaves in such a way that she brings to expression in herself what is morally and intellectually right, in the true sense of the word, then of its own accord what the mother achieves in this continuous self-education will pass over to the child. The less we think of beginning to educate the child before it sees the light of the world and the more we think of leading a right and proper life ourselves, the better will it be for the child. Education can only begin when the child becomes a true member of the physical world — and that is when he begins to breathe the external air.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man – Lecture I – Stuttgart, 21st August 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on June 6, 2015


What we are conscious of, is after all only a very small portion of our life.

Say for example there was an incisive moment, an all-important event in your life. You met another human being with whom you then went on through life together; or it was some other event, essential to your future life. If you look back in time from this event, you will be struck by the fact that something like a plan was leading you towards it, beginning long before. Something that happened, say, between your thirtieth and fiftieth year — follow it backward through your life and you will very likely find: ‘I entered on the path leading to this event when I was ten or twelve years old; all that then followed was leading up to it, so that I landed there.’

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 228 – MAN AS A PICTURE of the LIVING SPIRIT – London, 2nd September 1923

Translated by George Adams

Picture/True being

Truth is, we never bring our real and inmost Ego with us from the spiritual world into the physical and earthly; we leave it in the spiritual world. Before we came down into earthly life it was in the spiritual world, and it is there again between our falling asleep and our awakening. It stays there always, and if by day — in the present form of human consciousness — we call ourselves an ‘I,’ this word is but an indication of something which is not here in the physical world at all; it only has its picture in this world.

We do not see ourselves aright if we say: ‘Here am I, this robust and real man, standing upon Earth; here am I with my inmost being.’ We only see ourselves aright if we say: ‘Our true being is in the spiritual world, and what is here of us on Earth is but a picture — an image of our true being.’ It is entirely true if we regard what is here on Earth, not as the real man himself, but as the picture of the real man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 228 – MAN AS A PICTURE of the LIVING SPIRIT – London, 2nd September 1923

Translated by George Adams