One does not aim at clearness of thinking in our time at all

Our time strives for intelligence and logic, but those who want to be at the head of the scientific or cultural efforts of our time do not possess a lot of keen mind and logic.

One does not aim at the whole clearness of thinking in our time at all. If one fully aimed at the clearness of thinking, one would also be able to understand spiritual science completely. Who thinks clearly cannot argue anything against that which spiritual science has to bring forward — of course on the whole; since the spiritual scientist can be mistaken as the human being can generally be mistaken. 

Countless examples could be given which show us that just our time is little inclined to apply clear, keen thinking.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death – Cologne, 19th June 1915

Previously posted on September 6, 2016

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Understanding between religions

In a future not far distant, intimate understanding will take the place of what led in past times to bitterest conflict and disharmony as long as humanity was divided into regional civilisations which knew nothing of each other. But what will operate on a universal scale over the globe as a spiritual movement embracing all earthly humanity, must operate also between soul and soul.

What a distance still separates the Buddhists and the Christians, how little do they understand and how insistently do they turn away from each other on the circumscribed ground of their particular creeds! But the time will come when their own religion will lead more and more Buddhists to Anthroposophy, and Christianity itself will lead more and more Christians to Anthroposophy. And then complete understanding will reign between them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – The Festivals and Their Meaning II: Lecture III – The Death of A God and Its Fruits In Humanity – Dusseldorf, 5th May 1912

Translated by D. S. Osmond, A. P. Shepherd & C. Davy

Previously posted on September 5, 2016

Pain and suffering/Joy and happiness/Karma (2 – End)

Simple reflection upon the influence of personal enjoyment shows that inherent in it is something that makes us stagger and blots out our true being. No sermon is here being delivered against enjoyment, nor is an invitation extended to practice self-torture, or to pinch ourselves with red hot pliers, or the like. If one recognizes a situation in the right way, it does not mean that one should escape from it. No escape, therefore, is suggested, but a silent acceptance of joy and happiness whenever they appear. We must develop the inner attitude that we experience them as grace, and the more the better. Thus do we immerse ourselves the more in the divine. Therefore, these words are said not in order to preach asceticism, but in order to awaken the right mood toward joy and happiness.

If it is thought that joy and happiness have a paralyzing and extinguishing effect, and that therefore man should flee from them, then one would promote the ideal of false asceticism and self-torture. In this event, man, in reality, would be escaping from the grace that is given to him by the gods. Self-torture practiced by ascetics, monks and nuns is nothing but a continuous rebellion against the gods. It behooves us to feel pain as something that comes to us through our karma. In joy and happiness, we can feel that the divine is descending to us.

May joy and happiness be for us a sign as to how close the gods have attracted us, and may our pain and suffering be a sign as to how far removed we are from what we are to become as good human beings. This is the fundamental attitude toward karma without which we cannot really move ahead in life. In what the world bestows upon us as goodness and beauty, we must conceive the world powers of which it is said in the Bible, “And he looked at the world and he saw that it was good.” But inasmuch as we experience pain and suffering, we must recognize what man has made of the world during its evolution, which originally was a good world, and what he must contribute toward its betterment by educating himself to bear pain with purpose and energy.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Facing Karma – Vienna, 8th February 1912

Translated by Dietrich V. Asten

Previously posted on September 23, 2015

Pain and suffering/Joy and happiness/Karma (1 of 2)

While our pain and suffering lead us to ourselves and make us more genuinely ourselves, we develop through joy and happiness, provided that we consider them as grace, a feeling that one can only describe as being blissfully embedded in the divine forces and powers of the world. Here the only justified attitude toward happiness and joy is one of gratitude. Nobody will understand joy and happiness in the intimate hours of self-knowledge when he ascribes them to his karma.

If he involves karma, he commits an error that is liable to weaken and paralyze the spiritual in him. Every thought to the effect that joy and happiness are deserved actually weakens and paralyzes us. This may be a hard fact to understand because everyone who admits that his pain is inflicted upon himself by his own individuality would obviously expect to be his own master also with regard to joy and happiness.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Facing Karma – Vienna, 8th February 1912

Translated by Dietrich V. Asten

Previously posted on September 22, 2015

Nationalism/Universal humanity

A passion, a violent eruption of nationalism has come upon humankind, and that is as damaging to the social life on earth as is materialism for the life of thinking. So, in the same way that humanity is to work itself out of materialism in order to reach freedom and life in the spirit, it must work itself out of all nationalism, in any form, towards universal humanity. Without that, there can be no progress.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Soziales Verständnis aus geisteswissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis – Dornach, October 23, 1919 (page 191)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger