Forgive my inserting at this point a personal remark — you know I am not fond of doing so, and I do so seldom. Anyone who looks at what I wrote when I first began my work, decades ago, will see that at that time I disregarded what I had to bring forward as my own opinion. I did not write my opinion about Goethe, but tried to express the thoughts that came forth from Goethe. I did not write my own Theory of Knowledge, but a Theory of Knowledge implicit in Goethe’s Conception of the World.
In this way it is possible quite consciously to connect oneself with men long dead and work out of their spirit. Indeed this is what gives one, as it were, a true, legitimate certificate to influence the living. It is a bad certificate which people of our time are so very keen upon: namely, that every individual, scarcely has he conceived an opinion, should wish to communicate it forthwith to as many followers as possible.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – The Influence of the Dead on the Life of Man on Earth – Zurich, 3 December 1916
Painting by David Newbatt