There must be narrow-minded people as well as artists

There must be narrow-minded people as well as artists. It would be a bad thing if there were only artists, or if everyone who believes that he or she should get acknowledgment as an artist, would receive such credit. I would like to know what life would be like then. Genius is certainly necessary in life, but narrow-mindedness also needs to exist in the world. And if there were no bourgeois people around any longer, there would more than likely soon be no more geniuses either. One cannot simply apply the categories “good” and “bad” to life, because life is multiform. Talking is easy, but one should only express things which are derived from life itself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, August 30, 1920 (page 109)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Prartisteviously posted on August 4, 2018

Today, people still deny the existence of a spiritual realm

Just as mankind has to do with the three realms of nature, he also has to do with three spiritual realms. Now you may say: It is of no consequence whether I believe it or not, for these three kingdoms are not visible, not perceptible. Yes, gentlemen, I have known people, to whom it had to be explained that air exists! They could not believe that there was something like air. When I say to such a person, this is a table – that he can believe, for when he goes to the table, he can knock on the table, and when he looks at it, he sees the table with his own eyes, but he cannot bump into the air. He looks around and says, there is nothing here. However, everyone nowadays admits the existence of air. The existence of air is simply accepted. 

In the same way, it will happen that people will come to admit the existence of a spiritual world. Today, people still say: The spiritual realm simply does not exist – in the same manner that the peasants used to say: There is no air. – In my native village the peasants used to say: there is no air at all, only the big-headed people from the city assert that because they want to give the impression that they are so clever; one can walk through it because there is nothing to walk through! – But that was long ago. Today, farmers also accept that air exists. But even the smartest people still don’t recognize that there are spiritual beings everywhere! They will, however, acknowledge it in due time, because otherwise certain things simply will be inexplicable, things that will need to be understood.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, June 25, 1924 (page 306)

Translated bij Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on July 27, 2018


There is a lovely anecdote about how the different peoples study natural history, say, for example, studying a kangaroo, or maybe some animal from Africa. 

The Englishman makes a trip to Africa – as Darwin once did, to acquire scientific knowledge, travels around the world and considers the animal in the environment where it really lives. Then he can see how it lives, what his natural circumstances are. 

The Frenchman brings the animal from the wilderness into the zoo. He studies it at the zoo; He does not consider the animal in its natural environment, but in the zoo. 

And what does the German do? He does not interfere with the animal at all, what it looks like, but he sits in his study and begins to think. The thing in itself does not interest him – in line with the Kantian philosophy, as I have told you recently – but he is only interested in what is in his head.  There he thinks about it. And after he has thought about it long enough, he says something. But what he has to say is not in accord with reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 20, 1924 (page 273)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 26, 2018

Illusion of the personal self

The human being believes that he is a personality, separated from the rest of the world.  Already a mere reflection could teach him that he himself is no independent being in the physical. If temperature in this room was 200 degrees higher than now, we would not be able to exist here as we exist now. As soon as the circumstances change outside, the conditions are no longer appropriate to our physical existence.

We are only the continuation of the outside world and absolutely inconceivable as a special being. This is even more the case in the psychic and in the spiritual worlds.
We see that the human being, understood as a self, is only an illusion, that he is a member of the general divine spirituality.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 053 – Origin and Goal of the Human Being – Lecture XVI: The Great Initiates – Berlin, 16th, March 1905

Previously posted on September 3, 2016

I must say that I understand Kant, because otherwise others may say that I am stupid

Today there is still a peculiar worship of all that has been printed. The only reason I have been able to read Kant, was that his books have been edited by the “Universalbibliothek”  –  because otherwise, I would never have been able to  afford his books; but the books were cheap, despite the fact that they are so thick– and since then, the devil is actually loose around Kant, because nowadays everyone is able to read him. That is, they read the first page, but they do not understand what they read. They think: ”I must pretend to understand Kant because otherwise, people will say that I am stupid.”

Then they hear that Kant is “the Emperor of literary Germany”; and they think: ”By golly, now we know what’s going on, that means we are also clever, intelligent people! –” Most of them admit to themselves: ” Yes, I must give the impression that I understand Kant, because people will say that I am stupid when I do not understand Kant”. In reality, people do not understand him. Only, they do not want to admit it; they say to themselves: ”I must understand Kant, because he is very clever. I understand something very intelligent, if I understand Kant! In this way, I make a good impression on people.”

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 14, 1924 (page 244-245)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 1, 2018