Too much money is not good, knowing too much neither

Having too much knowledge is not good for people, just as having too much money is not good for them. It might sound like a strange comparison, but it is true: too much money is not a good thing, just as too much knowledge is not good if people cannot counteract it by using it in service of mankind or the world.  

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, 3 February 1923 (p. 310)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 11, 2015

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Do not think too much

The first ground rule for the study of man is that one does not have to think too much. That will seem strange at first, but you will soon understand what I mean. By thinking about something a man does obviously not learn particularly much about anything. If he only broods on what he saw, he will as a rule not make much sense of it.

Thus If one wants to learn about the world, one should not expect too much from thinking; It is not so important to think about something. When one needs to consider the facts, one must of course do that. But one must not consider this to be the main purpose. It does not bring any knowledge to brood on things afterwards. One has to look at other things, compare them and find the coherences. The more one looks for the coherences, the more one becomes aware of nature. Those who only think about nature find nothing more there than what they already knew.

If someone is a materialist, then he also talks about nature in a materialistic way, because that is how he stands in the world. He discovers nothing new. If someone talks about nature in an idealistic way, he does that because he already is an idealist. One can always find that by thinking, people find only what they already knew beforehand. Proper thinking arises only when one is led by the facts.


Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, January 10, 1923 (page 237)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 15, 2015

What claims to be “humble” or “simple” today is often supreme arrogance

More and more generally it is being said that people should steep themselves in the very simplicity of the Gospels and not attempt to understand the Mystery of Golgotha by entering into the complexities of spiritual science. Those who feign unpretentiousness in their study of the Gospels are the most arrogant of all, for they despise the honest search for knowledge demanded in spiritual science. So arrogant are they that they believe the highest revelations of the spiritual world can be garnered without effort, simply by browsing on the simplicity of the Gospels. What claims to be “humble” or “simple” today is often supreme arrogance. In sects, in religious confessions — it is there that the most arrogant people are to be found.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three – Bern – 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on August 4, 2014

Life in Devachan

Life in Devachan, if viewed in its reality, loses every element of comfortlessness; that the human being, when he ceases to regard it from his earthly, egotistical standpoint, can experience it as a condition of infinite blessedness — even apart from the fact that all freedom from the physical body, freedom from the lower nature in which he is enclosed here, brings with it a feeling of intense relief. The fact that these encasements have fallen away — this in itself brings a feeling of beatitude. Devachan is thus a time of expansion and expression in all directions; there is a richness and an absence of restriction that are never experienced on the earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – V :Mans Communal Life Between Death and a New Birth. Birth into the Physical World – Munich, 29th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on July 18, 2014

Nothing is worse than not to try to gain an understanding of every kind of human feeling and human sensation and human life

Really nothing is worse during this esoteric progress than not to try to gain an understanding of every kind of human feeling and human sensation and human life. Of course, this does not postulate the principle — this must be emphasised again and again — that we should pass over all the wrong that is done in the world without criticism, for that would be an injustice towards the world; but it postulates something else; whereas before esoteric development we may have felt a certain pleasure in finding fault with some human failing, this pleasure in finding fault with other people entirely ceases in the course of esoteric development.

Who does not know in external life people who like to deliver very pertinent criticisms of other people’s faults? Not that the pertinence of judgment over human faults has to cease, not that under all circumstances, such an act as was committed, let us say, by Erasmus of Rotterdam when he wrote his book, The Praise of Folly, should be condoned; no, it may be quite justifiable to be stern against the wrongs done in the world; but in the case of one who undergoes an esoteric development every word of blame he utters or sets in motion pains him, and prepares more and more pain for him.

And the sorrow at being obliged to find fault is something which can also act as a barometer of the esoteric development. The more we are still able to feel pleasure when we are obliged to find fault or when we find the world ludicrous, the less we are really ready to progress; and we must gradually gain a sort of feeling that there is, developing more and more within us, a life which makes us see these follies and errors in the world with eyes, of which one is critical, and the other filled with tears, one dry and the other wet.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture V – The Hague, 24th March 1913

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on July 17, 2014