Imaginative perception

To discover the true significance of thinking, to find the real truth — that thinking has cosmic significance — it is necessary to progress to imaginative perception, as described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. Stripping our thinking of the abstract nature we consciously associate with it, and entering into that ocean of weaving thoughts, we encounter the necessity to have not only the abstract thoughts in there that we have as citizens of the earth but to conceive images in it. For everything is created from images. 

Images are the true or origins of things; images are behind everything around us; and it is into these images we enter when we immerse ourselves in the ocean of weaving thoughts. Those are the images Plato spoke of; they are the images all who have spoken of spiritual primary causes had in mind, the images Goethe had in mind with his archetypal plant. These images are to be found in imaginative thinking. This imaginative thinking is a reality and we become immersed in it when we enter the billowing world of thoughts that move with the stream of time.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations: Lecture 14: The Cosmic Significance of Our Sensory Perceptions – Our Thinking, Feeling and Will Activity – Berlin, July 6, 1915


By David Newbatt

Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge

Here we see verified a great historical law that should be of special significance to the spiritual scientist: As long as people knew what the Lord’s Supper was, they did not discuss it. They began to discuss it only after they had lost direct knowledge of it. 

Let us consider the fact that people discuss a particular matter as an indication that they do not really know it. Where knowledge exists, knowledge is narrated, and there is no particular desire for discussion. Where people feel like discussing something, they have, as a rule, no knowledge of the truth. Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of decline regarding the seriousness of a subject matter when discussions about it are to be heard. Discussions portend the decline of a particular trend. 

It is very important that time and again in Spiritual Science we learn to understand that the wish to discuss something should actually be construed as a sign of ignorance. On the other hand, we should cultivate the opposite of discussion, and that is the will to learn and the will to gradually comprehend what is in question.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 109 – Christianity in Human Evolution: Lecture II: Leading Individualities and Avatar Beings – Berlin, February 15, 1909

Translated by Frances E. Dawson, and Edited by Gilbert Church


Cleverer than Plato

Unlike others, we spiritual scientists do not talk of the marvellous progress we have made. Just listen to a modern physician, one who is very much taking the present-day point of view, or to a modern philosopher and so on. They say: ‘We need not go far back to find people who amounted to nothing at all. Someone like Paracelsus really was an idiot, and a grammar school teacher today is cleverer than Plato every was.’ 

Plato’s philosophy was thoroughly picked to pieces by Hebbel. The latter put down in his diary, as an idea for a play, that a grammar school teacher had a reincarnated Plato in his class. He intended to make a dramatic figure of him, showing the schoolmaster to be dealing with his reincarnated Plato who was quite incapable of grasping anything his teacher was saying about Plato. Hebbel intended to make a play of this. It really is a pity he did not do so, for it really is a very good idea.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations – Lecture 13 – The Prophetic Nature of Dreams: Moon, Sun and Saturn Man – Berlin, June 22, 1915


Friedrich Hebbel (March 18, 1813 – December 13, 1863)

The most favorable conditions for germs (2 – End)

However, the important point we want to make today is that germs can become dangerous only if they are allowed to flourish. Germs should not be allowed to flourish. Even materialists will agree with this statement, but they will no longer agree with us if we proceed further and, from the standpoint of proper spiritual science, speak about the most favorable conditions for germs. 

Germs flourish most intensively when we take nothing but materialistic thoughts into sleep with us. There is no better way to encourage them to flourish than to enter sleep with only materialistic ideas, and then to work from the spiritual world with the ego and the astral body on those organs that are not part of the blood and the nervous system. 

The only other method that is just as good is to live in the center of an epidemic or endemic illness and to think of nothing but the sickness all around, filled only with a fear of getting sick. That would be equally effective. If fear of the illness is the only thing created in such a place and one goes to sleep at night with that thought, it produces afterimages, Imaginations impregnated with fear. That is a good method of cultivating and nurturing germs. If this fear can be reduced even a little by, for example, active love and, while tending the sick, forgetting for a time that one might also be infected, the conditions are less favorable for the germs.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – Presence of the Dead: Lecture Three: Awakening Spiritual Thoughts – Basel, May 5, 1914

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on August 22, 2020