Intelligence/Wisdom

At the present time, one regards every man as intelligent, even as if he were wise. However, that is not the case. One can be intelligent and have the most stupid thoughts. The greatest foolishness is thought out very intelligently. Especially if one looks at a large part of contemporary science, it must be said: This science is actually intelligent in all areas, but it is certainly not wise.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 10, 1924 (page 214)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Urgent necessity of gaining knowledge about the spiritual world

Man on Earth can gain more and more knowledge of what the nature of his life will be when he passes through the gate of death. There are people who say: ‘Why do I need to know all this? I shall surely see it all after death!’ — That attitude is just as if a man were to doubt the value of eyesight. For as the Earth’s evolution takes its course, man enters more and more into a life in which he must acquire the power to partake in these after-death experiences by grasping them, to begin with in thought, here on the Earth. To shut out knowledge of the spiritual worlds while we are on the Earth is to blind ourselves in soul and spirit after death. A man will enter the spiritual world as a cripple when he passes through the gate of death, if here, in this world, he disdains to learn about the world of spirit, for humanity is evolving towards freedom — towards free spiritual activity. This fact should become clearer and clearer to mankind and should make men realize the urgent necessity of gaining knowledge about the spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 219 – Man and the World of Stars: II: Moral Qualities and the Life After Death. Windows of the Earth. – Dornach, December 1, 1922

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Thoughts and health

Correct ideas have a healing effect on man, and wrong ideas make him sick. One can find a wrong idea behind every disease, if one traces it back. Mankind in general is responsible for this and not individuals. Interest also has a destructive effect when people run from one sensation to the other and always want to be amused. That makes people sick. It’s also a hindrance to progress to have a personal interest in higher knowledge. Men become scleroticized thereby. A man must not become indifferent to his surroundings. He must retain his feeling and sympathy for his surroundings. Some say that sympathy can also come from egotism. That may be the case. Many kinds of sympathy only arise because one doesn’t want to see other people suffer. That’s even a good thing. It’s better for a man to help someone out of egotistical sympathy than not to help him at all. But we must learn to develop a sympathy that stands above egoism, that helps neighbors because it’s one’s duty to help them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lesson – Berlin, 15th May, 1908

Previously posted on February 5, 2015

There is no development without suffering

Suffering is a side effect of higher development. We cannot avoid it in attaining insight. Human beings will one day say to themselves: ‘I am grateful for the joy the world gives me, but if I had to face the choice of keeping my joys or my sufferings, I would want to keep my sufferings for the sake of gaining insight. Every suffering presents itself after a certain time as something we cannot do without, because we have to grasp it as part of the development contained within evolution. There is no development without suffering, just as there is no triangle without angles.
[…]
By overcoming egotism, human beings get over the mood of depression and feeling lamed or paralyzed. In this phenomenon we can see something that is good: strength out of insufficiency or inadequacy. Thank God that I am encouraged by an inadequate deed–that is, by its failure–to further action! Human striving is not a vague matter of luck. Only those whose free will turns away from the destiny of the human being remain unredeemed. In the synthesis of the world process, suffering is a factor.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World, April 21, 1909 – 2008 edition, p. 147 (not  available in http://www.rsarchive.org)