The most favorable conditions for germs (1 of 2)

People today are haunted by a fear we can compare with the medieval fear of ghosts. It is the fear of germs. Objectively, both states of fear are the same. Both fit their respective age: People of the Middle Ages held a certain belief in the spiritual world; therefore quite naturally they had a fear of spiritual beings. The modern age has lost this belief in the spiritual world; it believes in material things. It therefore has a fear of material beings, be they ever so small. 

Objectively speaking, the greatest difference we might find between the two periods is that ghosts are at any rate sizable and respectable. The tiny germs, on the other hand, are nothing much to write home about as far as frightening people is concerned. Now of course I do not mean to imply by this that we should encourage germs, and that it is good to have as many as possible. That is certainly not the implication. Still, germs certainly exist and ghosts existed also, especially as far as those people who held a real belief in the spiritual world are concerned. Thus, they do not even differ in terms of reality.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – Presence of the Dead: Lecture Three: Awakening Spiritual Thoughts – Basel, May 5, 1914

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on August 21, 2020

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Changing interests

We must keep in mind that we become different from other men through our occult development. Our interests change, and one often hears esoterics complain that they’ve lost interest in many things that used to interest them, and that they feel a inner boredom and emptiness. This is a quite normal state that soon passes. And the emptiness of their soul will soon be filed with interests that’ll replace the other ones a thousandfold. Nevertheless, we should not give up our connection with other men and the interests that filled us previously, and above all things we shouldn’t demand that people must change their circle of interests.

Source Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Oslo, June 20, 1910

Previously posted on November 17, 2019

About the theory of relativity

I would have to go into many things were I to explain in detail what I have put forward simply as facts. It is time such things were discussed, for clear ideas corresponding to facts are needed. Otherwise it is not possible to refute such brilliant nonsense as, for example, the theory of relativity which has made Einstein a figure of renown.  

The theory of relativity seems so self-evident: for example, when a cannon is fired at a distance the sound is heard after a certain interval; if one moves nearer to the cannon the sound is heard sooner. Now, according to the theory of relativity if one moved with the speed of sound one would not hear it for one would go with it. If one went even faster than the sound, then one would hear something which is fired later, before one would hear what was fired earlier. 

This idea is generally accepted today but it has no relation whatever to reality. To go as fast as sound would mean to be sound and to hear none. These quite distorted ideas exist today as the theory of relativity and enjoy the greatest respect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 176 – The Karma of Materialism: Lecture 2 – Berlin, August 7, 1917

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Albert Einstein

In essence, thinking is certainly not a brain-process

Nothing of what man experiences on earth can be experienced without the support of the bodily nature. We might easily imagine, for example, that thinking is a purely spiritual act, and that in the way it comes about on earth in the human soul it has nothing to do with existence in a body. In one sense this is so. But spiritually independent as human thinking is, it could not take its course here in earth existence were it unable to have the support of the body and its processes. I may avail myself of a comparison which I have often used here on similar occasions. When a man is walking, the ground he walks on is certainly not the essential part of his activity; the essential part is inside his skin; but without the support of the ground he could not get along.

It is the same with thinking. In essence, thinking is certainly not a brain-process, but without the support of the brain it could not take its earthly course. In the light of this comparison one gets a right conception of the spirituality as well as of the physical limitations of human thinking In short, my dear friends, here in earthly life there is nothing in man that does not depend on the body for support. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – MEMORY AND LOVE – Stuttgart, 4 December, 1922

Previously posted on October 29, 2019

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Vanity / Shame / Satisfaction

While in the case of a person in exoteric life, when he has uttered certain words, when he has said something or other, that is the end of the matter; in the case of a person who has undergone a anthroposophical development there comes a clear after-feeling regarding what he has said; he feels something like an inner shame when he has expressed what is not right in a moral or intellectual sense; and something like a sort of thankfulnes — not satisfaction with himself — when he has been able to express something to which the wisdom he has attained can give assent.

And if he feels — and for this, too, he acquires a delicate sensitiveness — that something like an inner self-satisfaction, a self-complaisance with himself arises when he has said something that is right, that is a sign that he still possesses too much vanity, which is no good in his development. He learns to distinguish between the feeling of satisfaction which follows when he has said something with which he can agree, and the self-complaisance which is worthless. He should try not to allow this latter feeling to arise, but only to develop the feeling of shame when he has said anything untrue or non-moral, and when he has succeeded in saying something suitable to the occasion, to develop a feeling of gratitude for the wisdom he now has part in, and to which he does not lay claim as his own, but receives as a gift from the universe.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man: Lecture 5 – The Hague, March 24, 1913

Translated by Harry Collison

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