As a child, Steiner did not play

A good portion of my youthful life was bound up with the task which had grown so close to me (from 1884 to 1890 Steiner worked in a merchant family in Vienna as an educator and teacher of the four sons). For a number of years I went during the summer with the family of the children whom I had to tutor to the Attersee in the Salzkammergut, and there became familiar with the noble Alpine nature of Upper Austria. I was gradually able to eliminate the private lessons I had continued to give to others even after beginning this tutoring, and thus I had time left for prosecuting my own studies.

In the life I led before coming into this family I had little opportunity for sharing in the play of children. In this way it came about that my “play-time” came after my twentieth year. I had then to learn also how to play, for I had to direct the play, and this I did with great enjoyment. To be sure, I think I have not played any less in my life than other men. Only in my case what is usually done in this direction before the tenth year I repeated from the twenty-third to the twenty-eighth year.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter VI

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On the right Rudolf Steiner, in the chair sister Leopoldine

Previously posted  on August 11, 2018

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Steiner taught himself Latin and Greek

His teaching (the teacher of the German language and literature in the three upper classes) gave me much to do. For he covered in the fifth class the Greek and Latin poets, from whom selections were used in German translation. Then for the first time I began to regret once in a while that my father had put me in the Realschule instead of the Gymnasium. For I felt how little of the character of Greek and Roman art I should get hold of through the translations. So I bought Greek and Latin text-books, and carried along secretly by the side of the Realschule course also a private Gymnasium course of instruction. This required much time; but it also laid the foundation by means of which I met, although in unusual fashion yet quite according to the rules, the Gymnasium requirements. I had to give many hours of tutoring, especially when I was in the Technische Hochschule in Vienna. I soon had a Gymnasium pupil to tutor. Circumstances of which I shall speak later brought it about that I had to help this pupil by means of tutoring through almost the whole Gymnasium course. I taught him Latin and Greek, so that in teaching him I had to go through every detail of the Gymnasium course with him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life: Chapter II

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Previously posted on August 10, 2018

The reality of the spiritual world was to me as certain as that of the physical

The reality of the spiritual world was to me as certain as that of the physical. I felt the need, however, for a sort of justification for this assumption. I wished to be able to say to myself that the experience of the spiritual world is just as little an illusion as is that of the physical world. With regard to geometry I said to myself: “Here one is permitted to know something which the mind alone, through its own power, experiences.” In this feeling I found the justification for the spiritual world that I experienced, even as, so to speak, for the physical. And in this way I talked about this. I had two conceptions which were naturally undefined, but which played a great role in my mental life even before my eighth year. I distinguished things as those “which are seen” and those “which are not seen.”

I am relating these matters quite frankly, in spite of the fact that those persons who are seeking for evidence to prove that anthroposophy is fantastic will, perhaps, draw the conclusion from this that even as a child I was marked by a gift for the fantastic: no wonder, then, that a fantastic philosophy should also have evolved within me.

But it is just because I know how little I have followed my own inclinations in forming conceptions of a spiritual world – having on the contrary followed only the inner necessity of things – that I myself can look back quite objectively upon the childlike unaided manner in which I confirmed for myself by means of geometry the feeling that I must speak of a world “which is not seen.”

Only I must also say that I loved to live in that world. For I should have been forced to feel the physical world as a sort of spiritual darkness around me had it not received light from that side.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter I

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Previously posted  on August 8, 2018

These questions about all possible sorts of things made me as a boy very lonely

Toward Wiener-Neustadt and farther on toward Styria, the mountains fall away to a level country. Through this level country the Laytha River winds its way. On the slope of the mountains there was a cloister of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer. I often met the monks on my walks. I still remember how glad I should have been if they had spoken to me. They never did. And so I carried away from these meetings an undefined but solemn feeling which remained constantly with me for a long time. It was in my ninth year that the idea became fixed in me that there must be weighty matters in connection with the duties of these monks which I ought to learn to understand. There again I was filled with questions which I had to carry around unanswered. Indeed, these questions about all possible sorts of things made me as a boy very lonely.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter I

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Previously posted  om May 30, 2014

Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people

Self-knowledge is one of the hardest things to acquire, and it is precisely those who think they know themselves best who are most likely to be deceived: they think too much about themselves. You should get out of the habit of fixing your attention on yourself and constantly using the word “I” — “I think, I believe, I consider this right”. Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people. Suppose, for instance, that someone is very clever. If he displays his cleverness in the company of people who are not so clever, his behaviour will be very ill-timed; he will be doing it only to please his own egoism. He ought to adapt his response to the needs and capacities of others.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIV: Rosicrucian Training – The Interior of the Earth – Earthquakes and Volcanoes – Stuttgart, 4th September 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Painting David Newbatt

Previously posted on August 7,  2018