A window for the dead

The dead, although dwelling in an element akin to sleep, yet have a vast range of interests and sweep the whole world with their glance. And we ourselves can greatly assist them. This may be done by thinking of the dead as vividly as possible; especially by sending thoughts to them which bring to life, in the most striking way, what we experienced in their company. Abstract concepts are not understood by the dead. 

Hence I must send out such thoughts as the following: Here is the road between Kristiania and a near-by place. Here we two walked together. The other person, who is now dead, walked at my side. I can still hear him speaking. I hear the sound of his voice. I try to recall how he moved his arms, how he moved his head. 

By visualizing, as vividly as possible, what we experienced together with the dead; by sending out our thoughts to the dead whom we conjure up before our soul in a familiar image, we can make these thoughts, as it were, soar or stream towards the dead. Thus we provide the dead with something like a window, through which they can look at the world. Not only the thought sent by us to the dead comes forth within them, but a whole world. They can gaze at our world as if through a window.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 226 – Man’s Being, His Destiny and World-Evolution: Lecture II – Kristiana, 17th May 1923

Translated by Erna McArthur

Previously posted on February 24, 2017


The Shadow Side of our Personal Convictions

The shadow side of personal conviction is wilfulness, pride in our thoughts. As good as it is to advocate one’s own opinion without reservation, from another point of view, it is necessary to assert the ideas of one’s fellow human beings as entirely as well. And how little does this fit the character of those who hold fast to their conviction! They often show intolerance in their feeling and thinking, which makes it impossible for them to engage in the opinions of others. 

Sure: they will almost always advocate the importance of tolerance. But in practice, they can hardly manage it because it is not a question of recognising a principle but living it. One must make it one’s own through practice. One should get used to inward tolerance, tolerance of thought, through strict self-discipline. And if you manage it in the smallest instances, it will eventually become a fundamental characteristic for your entire life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – LUCIFER- GNOSIS 1903-1908 GRUNDLEGENDE AUFSÄTZE ZUR ANTHROPOSOPHIE UND BERICHTE – april 1904 (page 453)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on February 2, 2020

Why are most Theologians so enraged by Anthroposophy?

Nothing burdens people today more than when someone tells them, ‘If you want to maintain your connection with the spirit in the future, you have to do something for it.’  Most people would like the Mystery on Golgotha to have happened to exempt them from having to do anything about what concerns them. 

They prefer Christ to redeem them from their sins and enter heaven without any effort of their own. And that is why most theologians become so enraged at Anthroposophy. Because the anthroposophical viewpoint can never state that humanity does not have to do anything to maintain its connection with the Spirit, that future earthly development can continue without the participation of the human being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 183 – Die Wissenschaft vom Werden des Menschen – Dornach, September 2, 1918 (page 180)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Superficial Mysticism

In many circles where there is a striving toward mysticism, people feel particularly highly advanced; but it is a mysticism that leads to superficiality of the soul. With this superficiality, one does not penetrate the eternal mysteries of life. It only penetrates when one has the patience to awaken the slumbering forces of the soul or at least to let one’s thinking penetrate what the slumbering soul forces may find from stage to stage.

The superficiality of the heart must be conquered. Victory over superficial mysticism can develop the ability to discover the powers of the soul, which lead in the right way from the temporary to the eternal, to the imperishable. That is what is genuinely able to work fruitfully in the most different areas of contemporary life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 77b – Kunst und Anthroposophie/Der Goetheanum -Impuls – Dornach, August 21, 1921 (page 24-25)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on December 21, 2019

The spiritual scientist needs to stand with both feet on the ground 

What I have described here is the force of higher knowledge, which in some sense only occurs when the spiritual scientist gives himself over to such higher insights. It is not something that takes hold of him or makes him into a mystical dreamer, living outside of life. It is something he can handle, something that he can consciously summon up, in the same way, that one performs a scientific experiment and returns to ordinary life afterwards; in which one is a balanced, thoughtful person with all the soberness needed in life. Indeed, one who tends to have a pathological state of mind in ordinary life, who cannot use his full personality in ordinary life like any other person, can also not in the real sense of the word be a spiritual scientist.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 77a – Die Aufgabe der Anthroposophie gegenüber Wissenschaft und Leben – Darmstadt, July 29, 1921 (page 145-146)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on November 14, 2019