One sided truth gives only the poorest sketch

One can never look at the truths about the higher worlds from too many aspects. One should realize that from any one aspect it is possible to give only the poorest sketch. And when one looks at the same thing from the most diverse aspects, the impressions one receives in this way only gradually complement each other to form an ever more animated picture. Only such pictures, not dry, schematic concepts, can help the man who wants to penetrate into the higher worlds. The more animated and colorful the pictures, the more can one hope to approach the higher reality.

It is obvious that it is just the pictures from the higher worlds which arouse mistrust in many today. A person is quite content to be given conceptual schemes and classifications — with as many names as possible — of Devachan, of the development of the planets, and so forth; but he becomes more difficult when somebody presumes to describe the supersensible worlds as a traveller describes the landscapes of South America. Yet one should realize that it is only through fresh, animated pictures that one is given something useful, not through dead schemes and names.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 11 – Cosmic Memory – The Life of Earth

Previously posted on September 15, 2015

Arrogance/Wisdom/Goodness

There is no greater arrogance than to say that one only needs to be a good person, and then everything is in order. After all, one must first know how to do it; how to really be a good person.  Rejecting wisdom, with our present-day consciousness, would be a sign of great arrogance. True understanding of what is good requires that we intrude deeply into the secrets of wisdom. That would of course be inconvenient because we would have to learn much. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA-number unknown

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on December 29, 2017

Barbarian music

My love for “pure music” increased with the passage of years; my horror at the “barbarism” of “music as expression” continued to increase. And in this matter it was my lot to get into a human environment in which there were scarcely any other persons than admirers of Wagner. This all contributed much toward the fact that only much later did I grudgingly fight my way to an understanding of Wagner, the obviously human attitude toward so significant a cultural phenomenon. This struggle, however, belongs to a later period of my life. In the period I am now describing, a performance of Tristan, for example, to which I had to accompany one of my pupils, was to me “mortally boring.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter IV

About mistakes and accomplishments

Let us learn to regard the mistakes of human beings as their own affair and the accomplishments of human beings as something that concerns all of humankind. People’s errors belong to their karma; their deeds concern humanity. Let us learn not to be troubled by people’s mistakes; they themselves must atone for them. Let us rather be thankful for their accomplishments, for the entire evolution of humanity lives from them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104a – Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse: Part 1: Lecture Three – Munich, 8th May 1907

Translated by James H. Hindes

Previously posted on July 27, 2015

The Akasha Chronicle

Whatever a person has done and accomplished is recorded in that imperishable book of history even if there is no mention of it in our history books. We can experience there everything that has ever been done on Earth by conscious beings. Suppose the seer wants to know something about Caesar: he will take some little incident from history as a starting-point on which to concentrate. This he does “in the spirit”; and then around him appear pictures of all that Caesar did and of all that happened round him — how he led his legions, fought his battles, won his victories.

All this happens in a remarkable way: the seer does not see an abstract script; everything passes before him in silhouettes and pictures, and what he sees is not what actually happened in space; it is something quite different. When Caesar gained one of his victories, he was of course thinking; and all that happened around entered into his thoughts; every movement of an army exists in thought. The Akasha Chronicle therefore shows his intentions, all that he thought and imagined as he was leading his legions; and their thoughts, too, are shown. It is a true picture of what happened, and whatever conscious beings have experienced is depicted there. (Plants, of course, cannot be seen.) Hence the Initiate can read off the whole past history of humanity — but he must first learn how to do it.

These Akasha pictures speak a confusing language, because the Akasha is alive. The Akasha image of Caesar must not be compared with Caesar’s individuality, which may already have been reincarnated again. This sort of confusion may very easily arise if we have gained access to the Akasha pictures by external means. Hence they often play a part in spiritualistic séances. The spiritualist imagines he is seeing a man who has died, when it is really only his Akasha picture. Thus a picture of Goethe may appear as he was in 1796, and if we are not properly informed we may confuse this picture with Goethe’s individuality. It is all the more bewildering because the image is alive and answers questions, and the answers are not only those given in the past, but quite new ones. They are not repetitions of anything that Goethe actually said, but answers he might well have given. It is even possible that this Akasha image of Goethe might write a poem in Goethe’s own style. The Akasha pictures are real, living pictures. Strange as these facts may seem, they are none the less facts.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE TWO: THE THREE WORLDS – Stuttgart, 23rd August, 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy