A certain fear

We have referred today, as in past lectures, to other types of beings intimately connected to our lives. A certain fear of those worlds you have heard of here, might assail you and lead you to think that it would be better to remain ignorant of all these things. But isn’t that how the ostrich behaves, when it hides its head in the sand? The things we referred to are absolutely real. It is not by closing your eyes that you will make them disappear, but by knowing about them. The only way to drive away all those creatures, is to manage your life in a manner that, increasingly, makes you master of it. Knowledge and truth are the only means to set you free; religious documents do not lie when they state: ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.’

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 98 – Natur- und Geistwesen – ihr Wirken in unserer sichtbaren Welt – Stuttgart, February 11, 1908 (page 210)

Anonymous translator

 Rudolf Steiner joven

Previously posted on 23 October 2016


Steiner’s visit to Friedrich Nietzsche

Shortly before I began the actual writing of that book (Nietzsche as the Adversary of His Age), Nietzsche’s sister, Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche, appeared one day at the Goethe and Schiller Institute. She was taking the preliminary steps toward the establishment of a Nietzsche Institute, and wished to learn how the Goethe and Schiller Institute was managed. Soon afterward there came to Weimar the editor of Nietzsche’s works, Fritz Koegel, and I made his acquaintance.

Later I got into a serious disagreement with Frau Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Her emotional and lovable spirit claimed at that time my deepest sympathy. I suffered inexpressibly by reason of the disagreement. A complicated situation had brought this to pass; I was compelled to defend myself against accusations; I know that it was all necessary, that the happy hours I was permitted to spend among the Nietzsche archives in Naumburg and Weimar should now lie under a veil of bitter memories; yet I am grateful to Frau Förster-Nietzsche for having taken me, on the first of many visits I made to her, into the chamber of Friedrich Nietzsche. There he lay on a lounge enveloped in darkness, with his beautiful forehead-artist’s and thinker’s forehead in one. It was early afternoon. Those eyes which in their blindness yet revealed the soul, now merely mirrored a reflection of the surroundings which could find no longer any way to reach the soul. One stood there and Nietzsche knew it not. And yet one could have believed, looking upon that brow permeated by the spirit, that this was the expression of a soul which had all the forenoon long been shaping thoughts within, and which now would fain rest a while. An inner shudder which seized my soul may have signified that this also underwent a change in sympathy with the genius whose gaze was directed toward me and yet failed to rest upon me. The passivity of my gaze so long fixed won in return a comprehension of his own gaze: his longing always in vain to enable the soul-forces of the eye to work.

And so there appeared before my soul the soul of Nietzsche, hovering above his head, boundless in its spiritual light; surrendered wholly to the spiritual worlds, longing after its environment but failing to discover it; and yet chained to the body, which would have to do with the soul only so long as the soul longed for this present world. Nietzsche’s soul was still there, but only from without could it hold to the body, that body which so long as the soul remained within it had offered resistance to the full unfolding of its light.

I had ere this read the Nietzsche who had written; now I perceived the Nietzsche who bore within his body ideas drawn from widely extended spiritual regions – ideas which still sparkled in their beauty even though they had lost on the way their primal illuminating powers. A soul which from previous earthly lives bore rich wealth of light, but which could not in this life cause all its light to shine. I had admired what Nietzsche wrote; but now I saw a luminous form behind that which I had admired.

In my thoughts I could only stammer over what I then beheld; and this stammering is in effect my book, Nietzsche as the Adversary of His Age. That the book is no more than a stammering conceals what is none the less true, that the form of Nietzsche I beheld inspired the book.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter XVIII

Friedrich Nietzsche_2

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Previously posted on  20 October 2018

I gladly renounce happiness 

In the book Letters by Rudolf Steiner, I read the following remarkable sentences from a letter from Steiner to his first wife, Anna Eunike.   

I often thought of your words before your farewell last Monday. Do not believe, dear Anna, that I am striving for what people call happiness. I gladly renounce happiness. To think that I am aiming for happiness is a misconception. I want to be productive and work as much as I can. More than that, I don’t want. (letter 595 – Berlin, 6 February 1904)  

The question is what those words of Anna Eunike were. That becomes somewhat clearer in a subsequent letter from Steiner to her.  

But you, dear Anna, have taken a wrong view of everything lately. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been able to say you want me to be happy. Don’t misunderstand me. I know you mean it. But I certainly don’t strive to be personally happy. I only want to be understood. But of myself – as a person – people should take no notice. (letter 596 – Berlin, 14 February 1904)

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 39 – BRIEFE – BAND II 1890-1925 (blz. 432-433)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 


Anna Eunike (1853-1911)


Anecdote farmer Zeltner 

When the anthroposophists laid the foundation stone for the Goetheanum in Dornach, a village near Basel, Switzerland, on 20 September 1913, many anthroposophical Society members naturally began settling near the site. Many were well-off and did not have to work for a living. They had time to listen to Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, money to follow him on his lecture tours, and enthusiasm to do some artistic work now and then. When they got too tired, they went for nature walks in the Dornach area. To the ordinary people in Dornach, a farming village, those anthroposophists were just odd, a bunch of rich idlers. They had little faith in the whole “temple” thing and allowed themselves to be influenced by the local clergy. Perhaps not all farmers are naturally suspicious of city people, but that was certainly the case with the father of Mrs von Arx, a midwife from Dornach. She recalled the following event from her childhood, around 1914. Her father, farmer Zeltner and a barrel-maker in Oberdornach did not like those anthroposophical idlers much and regularly treated them rudely. One day he was mowing his meadow along Melcher Road. A stroller approached him slowly and spoke as he passed by the mowing farmer:

“Tricky work you are doing there.”

Zeltner, already bathed in sweat, replied rather harshly:

“What do my lords understand about that when they have nothing to do but walk around?”

The other man replied, “I used to do that too.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Zeltner mumbled. But the gentleman spoke calmly:

“When I was little, I often mowed down a steep railway embankment for our goats.”

He stepped up to Zeltner, took the scythe out of his hands and began mowing precisely according to the rules. Farmer Zeltner paused: “Well, damn, he can do it too!”

Thereupon they started talking about the grass, about which herbs were the best for good milk. The strange gentleman turned out to be as good a connoisseur of all grasses as farmer Zeltner. He inquired whether there was milk in surplus and whether it was sold. When this was confirmed, he had milk collected from the Zeltner family every day from then on.

That gentleman was Rudolf Steiner.

Source (German): Erinnerungen an Rudolf Steiner by Hans Kühn (page 506)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Drawing by Jopie Huisman


F.W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven about Rudolf Steiner

Anyone who undertakes to describe the life of Rudolf Steiner in our time faces a difficult task. He has to write about someone who has left a work so versatile and so profound at the same time that it would take centuries to understand, process and unfold all that he gave.

One can hardly imagine a mind capable of showing, in all the fields in which Rudolf Steiner worked, to what new results, to what entirely new methods of work, above all, this mighty life’s work leads; a mind encompassing and deep enough to describe the human development value of this superhuman creative genius in all the fields in which it worked.

Source: F.W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven – Rudolf Steiner (First print 1932)

Translated by Google Translate (The translation may not be perfect but the content has been rendered correctly).