Wisdom and beauty born out of suffering and pain

A brilliant man, Fabre d’Olivet, made a right comparison when he wished to show how the highest, noblest, purest in human nature arises out of pain. He said that the arising of wisdom and beauty out of suffering is comparable to a process in nature, to the birth of the valuable and beautiful pearl. For the pearl is born from the sickness of the oyster, from the destruction inside the pearl-oyster. As the beauty of the pearl is born out of disease and suffering, so are knowledge, noble human nature and purified human feeling born out of suffering and pain.

So we may well say with the old Greek poet, Aeschylos: Out of suffering arises learning; out of learning, knowledge. And just as in respect of much else, we may say of pain that we have grasped it I only when we know it not only in itself but in what proceeds from it. As so many other things, pain too is known only by its fruits.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death: THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING – Berlin, 8th November, 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell and V. E. Watkin

See also: https://rudolfsteinerquotes.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/there-can-be-no-beauty-in-the-world-without-pain-and-suffering-and-illness-2/


Antoine Fabre d’Olivet (1767-1825)


Many believe they may call themselves true Christians, and yet they speak of others — anthroposophical Christians, for instance — as heretics. There is very little true Christian feeling here. The question may perhaps be permitted: “Is it really Christian to think that I may do whatever I like and that Christ came into the world in order to take it all away from me and to forgive my sins, so that I need have nothing more to do with my Karma, with my sins?” I think there is another word more applicable to such a way of thinking than the word “Christian”; perhaps the word “convenient” would be better. “Convenient” it would certainly be if a man had only to repent, and then all the sins he had committed in the world were obliterated from the whole of his later Karma.

The sin is not blotted out from Karma; but it can be blotted out from the Earth-evolution, and this it is that man cannot do because of the human weakness that results from the Luciferic temptation. Christ accomplishes this. With the remission of sins we are saved from the pain of having added an objective debt to the Earth-evolution for all eternity. […]

And he who deeply grasps Christ’s attitude towards sin and debt may speak thus: “Because man in the course of the Earth’s existence could not blot out his guilt for the whole Earth, a Cosmic Being had to descend in order that the Earth’s debt might be discharged.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – Christ and the Human Soul: Lecture Three – Norrkoping, 15th July, 1914

Translated by Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 16, 2018



We are what we now are through all the hard and kind blows of fate: we are in the end nothing but the result of this fate of ours. We ask ourselves: What else are we but the result of this fate. If this or that had not befallen us it would not have shaken and jolted our soul and we would not be what we are now.

And if we survey our whole fate like this we find that our present self and its whole experience depends on our fate, like the sum in an addition table depends on the separate equations and addenda. As the sum in an addition is nothing but what flows together through the separate addenda we are essentially nothing but the sum of all the gentle and hard blows of fate that we have known, and in making this reflection we grow into our fate. The first feeling to which we can then give ourselves, is: you are one with thy fate.

And whereas formerly we had separated ourselves from our fate, whereas formerly we had set ourselves up detached, as a separate Self, the separate Self now flows into the stream of these events in our fate. But it flows in such a way that it is no longer a ‘result’ in the stream of the present; but while we gradually experience this flowing together, fate takes our Self — what we are — along with it.

We look back on the expiration of the blows of fate and we find, in looking at our fate, our own activity in it; we grow into the emergence of our fate. We not only feel ourselves one with our fate, but we grow gradually so into our fate that we become identical with our fate and its action. And again, it is one of the most important great inner experiences that, looking back on a blow of fate, we do not say: It has fallen on us by chance, but we say: We were in this fate before it came; through it we have only made ourselves what we are today. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 64 – The Human Soul in Life and Death – Berlin, November 26, 1914

Previously posted on October 12, 2018


Intellectualistic proof of God’s existence cannot be given

What has had to be said concerning Cosmology applies still more to knowledge of a religious kind. Here we have to build up knowledge which has its origins in the experience of the spiritual world. To draw conclusions concerning such experience from the subject-matter of ordinary consciousness is impossible. In intellectual concepts the religious content cannot be opened out but only clarified. When one began to seek for proofs of God’s existence, the very search was a proof that one had already lost the living connection with the divine world. For this reason also no intellectualistic proof of God’s existence can be given in any satisfactory way. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 25 – Cosmology, Religion and Philosophy: CHAPTER IV: EXERCISES OF COGNITION AND WILL – Dornach, September 1922


Although Anthroposophy is still scorned today, it will not always be so

People will gradually long more and more for great spiritual truths. Although Anthroposophy is still scorned today, it will not always be so. It will spread, and overcome all its external opponents, and everything else still opposing it, and anthroposophists will not be satisfied by merely preaching universal love. It will be understood that one cannot acquire Anthroposophy in one day, any more than a person can take sufficient nourishment in one day to last the whole of his life. Anthroposophy has to be acquired to an ever increasing extent. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – The Spiritual Foundation of Morality: III – Norrkoping, 30th May, 1912

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on October 9, 2018