How can I accept in good faith what these researchers say?

If someone asks, “How can I accept in good faith what these researchers say since I am unable to perceive the spiritual world myself?”, then this is completely unfounded. For it is entirely possible merely by reflecting on what is given, to attain the certain conviction that what is communicated is true, and if anyone is unable to form this conviction through reflection, it is not because it is impossible to believe something one cannot see, but solely because his reflection has not been sufficiently thorough, comprehensive and unprejudiced. In order to gain clarity in regard to this point we must realize that human thinking, when it arouses itself with inner energy, is able to comprehend more than is usually presumed. For in thought itself an inner entity is already present that is connected with the supersensible world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science–V–Cognition of the higher worlds. Initiation (part 3)

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges


Previously posted on April 13, 2018

The Master has said

We must not assume that everything which looks like blind faith is so. For example, we are told that in the old Pythagorean Mystery Schools  there was a familiar phrase: The Master has said. But this never meant: The Master has said, therefore we believe it! For his students it meant something like this: The Master has said; therefore it demands that we should reflect on it and see how far we can get with it if we bring all our forces to bear upon it. To “believe” need not always imply a blind belief springing from a desire for self-annihilation. It need not be blind belief if you accept communications springing from spiritual research because you trust the researcher. You may have learnt that his statements are in strictly logical form, and that in other realms, where his utterances can be tested, he is logical and does not talk nonsense. On this verifiable ground the student can hold a well-founded belief that the speaker, when he is talking about things not yet known to the student, has an equally sure basis for his statements.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul, Vol 1: Lecture 6: Asceticism and Illness – Berlin, 11th November 1909

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on March 21, 2018



Practical training in thought  

True practice in thinking presupposes a right attitude and proper feeling for thinking. How can a right attitude toward thinking be attained? Anyone who believes that thought is merely an activity that takes place within his head or in his soul cannot have the right feeling for thought. Whoever harbors this idea will be constantly diverted by a false feeling from seeking right habits of thought and from making the necessary demands on his thinking. He who would acquire the right feeling for thought must say to himself, “If I can formulate thoughts about things, and learn to understand them through thinking, then these things themselves must first have contained these thoughts. The things must have been built up according to these thoughts, and only because this is so can I in turn extract these thoughts from the things.”

It can be imagined that this world outside and around us may be regarded in the same way as a watch. The comparison between the human organism and a watch is often used, but those who make it frequently forget the most important point. They forget the watchmaker. The fact must be kept clearly in mind that the wheels have not united and fitted themselves together of their own accord and thus made the watch “go,” but that first there was the watchmaker who put the different parts of the watch together. The watchmaker must never be forgotten. Through thoughts the watch has come into existence. The thoughts have flowed, as it were, into the watch, into the thing.

The works and phenomena of nature must be viewed in a similar way. In the works of man it is easy to picture this to ourselves, but with the works of nature it is not so easily done. Yet these, too, are the result of spiritual activities and behind them are spiritual beings. Thus, when a man thinks about things he only re-thinks what is already in them. The belief that the world has been created by thought and is still ceaselessly being created in this manner is the belief that can alone fructify the actual inner practice of thought.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Practical Training In Thought – Carlsruhe, January 18, 1909

Translated by Henry B. Monges in 1949, and revised by Gilbert Church, Ph.D. in 1966

Previously posted on March 11, 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

The Spiritland – The person with spiritual vision is as familiar with spirit beings as he is with his dog or his cat

It must above all things be emphasized that this world is woven out of the substance of which human thought consists. The word “substance,” too is here used in a far from strict or accurate sense. Thought, however, as it lives in man, is only a shadow picture, a phantom of its true nature. Just as the shadow of an object on the wall is related to the real object that throws this shadow, so is the thought that makes its appearance through a human brain related to the being in the spiritland that corresponds to this thought.

When his spiritual sense is awakened, man really perceives this thought being, just as the eye of the senses perceives a table or a chair. He goes about in a region of thought beings. The corporeal eye perceives the lion, and the thinking directed to the sensibly perceptible thinks merely the thought, “lion” as a shadow, a shadowy picture. The spiritual eye sees in spiritland the thought “lion” as really and actually as the corporeal eye sees the physical lion.

Here we may again refer to the analogy already used regarding the land of the soul. Just as the surroundings of a man born blind operated upon appear suddenly with the new qualities of color and light, so do the surroundings of the person who learns to use his spiritual eye appear as a new world, the world of living thoughts or spirit beings. In this world there are to be seen, first, the spiritual archetypes of all things and beings that are present in the physical and soul worlds. Imagine a painter’s picture existing in his mind before it is painted. This gives an analogy to what is meant by the expression archetype. It does not concern us here that the painter has perhaps not had such an archetype in his mind before he paints and that it only gradually develops and becomes complete during the execution of the picture.

In the real world of spirit there exist such archetypes for all things, and the physical things and beings are copies of these archetypes. It is quite understandable when anyone who only trusts his outer senses denies this archetypal world and holds that archetypes are merely abstractions gained by an intellectual comparison of sense objects. Such a person simply cannot see in this higher world. He knows the thought world only in its shadowy abstraction. He does not know that the person with spiritual vision is as familiar with spirit beings as he himself is with his dog or his cat, and that the archetypal world has a far more intense reality than the world of the physical senses.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy -Chapter III: The Three Worlds: 3. The Spiritland

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Previously posted on June 25, 2016