Feeling and intellect

Someone who thinks in a materialistic way easily believes one can only arrive at understanding through abstract concepts. It takes great effort  for him to come to the insight that the other soul faculties are just as necessary to understand the world, as is the intellect. It is not just meant metaphorically when it is said that one can understand just as well with the feelings, the heart or with a sense of becoming aware of something – as it were sensing it – as with the intellect. Intellectual understanding is only one means to understand the things of this world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Die Erziehung des Kindes vom Gesichtspunkte der Geisteswissenschaft – 1907 (page 334)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 17, 2015



Practical thinking

People who call themselves practical imagine that their actions are guided by the most practical principles. When you look into the matter closely, you will, however, frequently discover that what they call their practical way of thinking is not thinking at all, but the mere “jogging along” with old opinions and acquired habits of thought. You will often find there is very little that is really practical behind it. What they call practical consists in this: they have learned how their teachers, or their predecessors in business, thought about the matter in hand, and then they simply take the same line. Anyone who thinks along different lines they regard as a very unpractical person. In effect, his thinking does not accord with the habits to which they have been brought up. In cases where something really practical has been invented, you will not generally find that it was done by any of the “practical” people.

Source: Rudolf Steiner –  GA 108 – Practical Training in Thought – Carlsruhe, 18th January, 1909

Translated by George Kaufmann and edited by H. Collison

 Previously posted on February 4, 2018


Logical arguments hardly ever convince people

As a rule it is not the alleged reasons which lead people to their statements. Beneath and behind the reasons, it is the habits of thought which they have acquired, and which determine their whole way of feeling. While they put forward reasons, they are only masking feelings that are instinctive with thoughts that are habitual. Thus often, not only is the wish father to the thought, but all the feelings and habits and ways of thinking are parents of the thoughts. A man who knows life, knows how little possibility there is of convincing people by logical grounds and arguments. That which decides in the soul is far deeper than the logical reasons.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Practical Training in Thought – Carlsruhe, 18th January, 1909

Translated by George Kaufmann / New and Revised Edition by H. Collison


Egoism / Suffering / Poverty

How often may one not hear it stated, as a truth beyond question, that it would be a thing against all nature to try and constitute a society on principles of good-will and human kindliness. People are much more ready to go on the principle that a human community will, as a whole, be most prosperous, when it also allows the individual to reap and garner the full — or the largest possible — proceeds of his own labor.

Exactly the contrary, however, is taught by Anthroposophy, which is founded on a more profound knowledge of man and the world. Anthroposophy, in fact, shows that all human suffering is purely a consequence of egoism, and that in every human community, at some time or other, suffering, poverty, and want must of necessity arise, if this community is founded in any way upon egoism.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Anthroposophy and the Social Question

Translated by Harry Collison 


Meeting the Guardian of the Threshold of the Spiritual World

What a satisfaction it is that the first momentous meeting with a being of the supersensible world is the meeting with our own being in its true reality which will guide us further in human evolution.

We may say that there is hidden within man a being that keeps careful watch and ward on the boundary which has to be crossed at the entrance to the supersensible world.

This spiritual being, hidden in man, which is man himself, but which he can as little perceive with ordinary consciousness as the eye can see itself, is the guardian of the threshold of the spiritual world.

We learn to recognise him at the moment at which we are not only actually he, but are also confronting him, as though we were standing outside him, and he were another being.

As with other experiences of supersensible worlds, it is the strengthened and reinforced faculties of the soul which make visible the guardian of the threshold.

For, setting aside the fact that the meeting with the guardian becomes raised into knowledge by clairvoyant spiritual sight, that meeting is not an event which happens only to the man who has become clairvoyant.

Exactly the same fact as is represented by this meeting happens to every human being every time he falls asleep, and we are confronting ourselves — which is the same thing as standing before the guardian of the threshold — for so long as our sleep lasts.

During sleep the soul rises to its supersensible nature. But its inner forces are not then strong enough to bring about consciousness of itself.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 17 –  A Road to Self-Knowledge and The Threshold of the Spiritual World: VIII. Concerning the Guardian of the Threshold and some Peculiarities of Clairvoyant Consciousness