Rudolf Steiner on Nietzsche’s addiction

Very few people know, for instance, that the secret of the style of the Zarathustra of Nietzsche rests upon the fact that he took certain poisonous substances into his system which called forth in him the particular rhythm, the particular style of Zarathustra. In Nietzsche a quite definite substance lived as thought. This, of course, is something abnormal, a diseased condition, though it is in a certain sense something magnificent. We cannot permit ourselves to live in illusions about these things if we wish to understand them, [….]

We must realize what it means that Nietzsche partook of certain poisons, but we must not imitate him. Thus by causing the human organism to take on an etheric mode of existence these poisons irradiate the thought system, thus calling forth what we see in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.


This lecture is number 8 of 12 in the lecture series entitled The Sun Mystery … Death, Resurrection and is also included in the lecture series Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity – The Hague, 13 April 1922

Translated by Lisa Dreher and Henry B. Monges


Nietzsche looks good but he spoils everything with that weird mustache. 😀

Strange nonsense

[…] the strangest nonsense becomes self-understood. To Descartes, as you know, is due the saying ‘I think, therefore I am.’

Countless clever thinkers have accepted this as true: ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Yet the result is this: From morning until evening I think, therefore I am. Then I fall asleep. I do not think, therefore I am not. I wake up again, I think, therefore I am. I fall asleep, and as I now do not think, I am not. This then is the consequence: A man not only falls asleep, but ceases to be when he falls asleep. There is no less fitting proof of the existence of the spirit of man than the theorem: ‘I think.’ Yet this began to be the most widely accepted statement in the age of evolution of Consciousness (the age of the Spiritual Soul). When we point to such things today, it is like a sacrilege — we cannot help ourselves!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 237 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume III – Lecture I – Dornach, 1st July 1924

Translated by George Adams & D.S. Osmond


Previously posted on May 18, 2018

One cannot extract thoughts out of a world devoid of thoughts

The first thing that should be present in someone who wants to develop truly practical thinking is faith and confidence in the reality, the reality of thoughts. What does that mean? From a glass in which there is no water, one cannot pour water. And in a world, in which there are no thoughts, one cannot find any thoughts. It is most absurd to believe that the sum of our thoughts is present only in us. If someone dismantles a clock and discovers the laws out of which it was built by thinking, then he must assume that the clockmaker put the parts of the clock together according to these laws. No one should believe that one can design and from a world that was not designed and formed out of thoughts. Everything we discover about nature and natural events consists of nothing else but what first must have been laid into it before. There are no thoughts in our souls, which were not out there in the world beforehand.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 057 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909  (page 251)

Translated by Nesta Carsten


Previously posted on May 17, 2018

Nothing is accomplished by definitions

Nothing is accomplished by definitions, though their insufficiency is generally not observed. Many definitions, especially those which are considered scientific, appear very clever; but they all have a hitch somewhere — which recalls that definition once given in ancient Greece to the question, What is man? “Man is a two-legged creature without feathers.” Whereupon the next day a pupil brought a plucked fowl and said: “This is a man, for it is a two-legged creature without feathers.” Things are not so simple that they can be treated thus with the ordinary intellectual tools.

Source: GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth: Lecture III – Dornach, December 14, 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

Previously posted on March 10, 2018


     Franziska Steiner-Blie, mother of Rudolf

Genus and Individuality  

It is impossible to understand a human being completely if one takes the concept of genus as the basis of one’s judgment. The tendency to judge according to the genus is at its most stubborn where we are concerned with differences of sex. Almost invariably man sees in woman, and woman in man, too much of the general character of the other sex and too little of what is individual. 

In practical life this does less harm to men than to women. The social position of women is for the most part such an unworthy one because in so many respects it is determined not as it should be by the particular characteristics of the individual woman, but by the general picture one has of woman’s natural tasks and needs. A man’s activity in life is governed by his individual capacities and inclinations, whereas a woman’s is supposed to be determined solely by the mere fact that she is a woman. She is supposed to be a slave to what is generic, to womanhood in general. As long as men continue to debate whether a woman is suited to this or that profession “according to her natural disposition”, the so-called woman’s question cannot advance beyond its most elementary stage. What a woman, within her natural limitations, wants to become had better be left to the woman herself to decide. 

If it is true that women are suited only to that profession which is theirs at present, then they will hardly have it in them to attain any other. But they must be allowed to decide for themselves what is in accordance with their nature. To all who fear an upheaval of our social structure through accepting women as individuals and not as females, we must reply that a social structure in which the status of one half of humanity is unworthy of a human being is itself in great need of improvement. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 4 – The Philosophy of Freedom – Chapter 14: Individuality and Genus

Translated by Michael Wilson

Previously posted on December 16, 2015