Wisdom

When man needs wisdom in order to understand things, that is, when he extracts wisdom from them, it shows that wisdom exists in the things themselves. For however much the human being might try to understand the things by means of ideas filled with wisdom, he would be unable to extract any wisdom from them were it not already embodied in the things themselves. Anyone who wishes by means of wisdom to comprehend things that, as he thinks, have not first received wisdom, may also imagine that he can take water out of a glass into which none has previously been poured.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – IV. The Evolution of the Cosmos and Man

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

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Medication to help with falling asleep

Some people sleep badly. If young people who have difficulties falling asleep are given medication like opium or morphine, they sleep better; that’s for sure. It cannot be denied that it is effective. But if young people are given medication like morphine or any other sleep-inducing medicines, for that matter, again and again, the body becomes weak over time. The person comes to need more and more of this sleeping medication. He can no longer do without it. He becomes dependent on this medicine, and after some time, one has to do with a man who is no longer fully possessed of his powers. That is why we should find different ways to fight insomnia and find a more inner way. And one can actually fight against this inability to fall asleep inwardly. For example, if the insomniac endeavours to think about one and the same word, making the inner effort to think of one word only, he gets more and more inner strength to fall asleep. This is a much better method. In this way, the human being does not weaken himself.

Source (German): Rudolf  Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, December 2, 1922 (page 85-86)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Full lecture, translated by Maria St. Goar

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Previously posted on July 11, 2018

Duality

Everywhere in life we find duality: light and shade, positive and negative, male and female, left and right, right and wrong, good and evil. Duality is deeply rooted in the nature of all existence, and he who wants to understand nature, must be aware of this duality and always have it clearly in mind. Only when we perceive this duality in our own life, can we come to understand the world. The pupil must make it his duty to think in terms of these dualities. He should never have one aspect only in mind but he should always be aware of both sides when thinking. […] 

Only when one imposes on oneself the inner duty never to think in terms of a single aspect only, but to think always in terms of duality, can one come to know the full truth. When humanity learns to think in dualities, thinking will be factually correct and in accordance with reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 89 – Bewußtsein – Leben – Form – Berlin, April 3, 1905 (page 291)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted  on July 7, 2018

One faculty being acquired at the expense of another

Evolution consists in one faculty being acquired at the expense of another, and thus as the epochs took their course, the faculty which man once possessed of understanding the spiritual world became less and less. Our clear reasoning and cognitional faculties, our present logical thinking which we regard as the most important feature of modern culture — these did not exist in those early times. They had to be developed by man in the epoch to which we now belong, at the expense of the old clairvoyant consciousness. Clairvoyant consciousness will have to be cultivated again in the future evolution of mankind, but in a different way. It has to be added to the purely physical consciousness that is bound up with the faculty of intellectual logic. A rising and a falling can be traced in the evolution of human consciousness and we see therein a deep purpose in man’s development.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 60 – Zarathustra – Berlin, 19th January 1911

Translated by Walter F. Knox

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Previously posted on June 20, 2018

The most excellent first stage of all spiritual-scientific training

It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that it is necessary for the observer of supersensible realms first to acquire a view by means of the above-mentioned logic, before he tries to approach the spiritual world through his own perception. He must also recognize how comprehensible the manifest world of the senses appears when it is assumed that the communications of spiritual science are correct. All experience in the supersensible world remains an insecure, even dangerous, groping, if the above-mentioned preparatory path is ignored. Therefore in this work the supersensible facts of earth evolution are first communicated, before the path to supersensible knowledge itself is dealt with. 

We must also consider the fact that anyone who finds his way purely through thinking into what supersensible cognition has to impart is not at all in the same position as someone who listens to the description of a physical process that he himself is unable to observe, since pure thinking is itself a supersensible activity. Thinking, as a sensory activity, cannot of itself lead to supersensible occurrences. If, however, this thinking be applied to the supersensible occurrences described by supersensible perception, it then grows through itself into the spiritual world. In fact, one of the best ways of acquiring one’s own perception in the supersensible realm is to grow into the higher world by thinking about the communications of supersensible cognition, for, entrance into the higher realms in this way is accompanied by the greatest clarity of perception. For this reason a certain school of spiritual-scientific investigation considers this thinking the most excellent first stage of all spiritual-scientific training. 

Source:Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – IV. The Evolution of the Cosmos and Man

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

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