Not pride nor modesty

Whenever we bring clearly before us what we are, we waver always between pride and modesty. We must certainly not give way to pride, but neither must we surrender to modesty. It would be a surrender if, after taking account of our place in the world from a cosmic standpoint, we were to fail to reckon our human task in the highest possible terms. We can never think highly enough of what we ought to be. We can never take seriously enough the deep sense of cosmic responsibility which must overcome man if he holds in view the relationship of the whole universe to his human existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – THE INNER ASPECT OF THE SOCIAL QUESTION: Lecture 1 – Zürich, February 4, 1919



Strange nonsense

[…] the strangest nonsense becomes self-understood. To Descartes, as you know, is due the saying ‘I think, therefore I am.’

Countless clever thinkers have accepted this as true: ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Yet the result is this: From morning until evening I think, therefore I am. Then I fall asleep. I do not think, therefore I am not. I wake up again, I think, therefore I am. I fall asleep, and as I now do not think, I am not. This then is the consequence: A man not only falls asleep, but ceases to be when he falls asleep. There is no less fitting proof of the existence of the spirit of man than the theorem: ‘I think.’ Yet this began to be the most widely accepted statement in the age of evolution of Consciousness (the age of the Spiritual Soul). When we point to such things today, it is like a sacrilege — we cannot help ourselves!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 237 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume III – Lecture I – Dornach, 1st July 1924

Translated by George Adams & D.S. Osmond


Previously posted on May 18, 2018

One cannot extract thoughts out of a world devoid of thoughts

The first thing that should be present in someone who wants to develop truly practical thinking is faith and confidence in the reality, the reality of thoughts. What does that mean? From a glass in which there is no water, one cannot pour water. And in a world, in which there are no thoughts, one cannot find any thoughts. It is most absurd to believe that the sum of our thoughts is present only in us. If someone dismantles a clock and discovers the laws out of which it was built by thinking, then he must assume that the clockmaker put the parts of the clock together according to these laws. No one should believe that one can design and from a world that was not designed and formed out of thoughts. Everything we discover about nature and natural events consists of nothing else but what first must have been laid into it before. There are no thoughts in our souls, which were not out there in the world beforehand.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 057 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909  (page 251)

Translated by Nesta Carsten


Previously posted on May 17, 2018

Practical thinking

There are three things to take into consideration if one truly wants to school practical training of thinking in itself: firstly, a person must develop interest in outer reality, interest in the facts and objects in his surroundings. Interest in the world around us, that is the magic word for training thinking. Passion and love for what we do, that is the second. And gratification for the topic that we are contemplating, that is the third. He who understands these three things: interest in the environment, passion and love for what we do and pleasure in thinking, will soon find that these are the most important requirements for developing practical thinking.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 057 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909 (page 252)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 

The whole lecture in another translation can be found here.


Previously posted on May 16, 2018

See also June 20, 2014