An inner push is needed

An inner push is needed, as it were, so that modern man may set out along this spiritual path. And this inner push — recently I spoke of it as a real awakening — is a development which many people prefer to avoid. The opposition of modern people to Anthroposophy is really due to the fact that they have not experienced this push, this jerk, within their soul. It is uncomfortable to experience it. For it casts us, as it were, into the vortex of cosmic development. People would much rather remain quiet, with their rigid sharply outlined thoughts that only turn to lifeless thing which are not on the defensive, when the world is to be grasped, whereas everything that is alive defends itself, moves and tries to slip out of our thoughts, when we try to grasp it with lifeless concepts. Modern people do not like this. They feel it. They cloak it in all manner of other things and become quite furious when they hear that a certain direction, coming from many different spheres of life, calls for an entirely different way of grasping the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 121 – KNOWLEDGE PERVADED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF LOVE – Dornach, February 18, 1923

Translated by Sabine H. Seiler

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The first essential is to avoid one-sidedness

Someone can offer me a perfectly correct proof of this or that and yet it will not hold good in a sphere to which it does not belong. Anyone, therefore, who intends to occupy himself seriously with the paths that lead to a conception of the world must recognise that the first essential is to avoid one-sidedness. That is what I specially want to bring out to-day.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 151 – Human and Cosmic Thought: Lecture 2 – Berlin, January 21, 1914

Translation revised by Charles Davy

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Portrait by David Newbatt

The reaction is to avoid having anything to do with this

Nowadays, if you start to discuss, with someone who is interested in these matters, the possibility of achieving a knowledge of spiritual life in conjunction with the sensuous and physical world, you will generally meet with a sympathetic reception. At any rate, the question will be raised: Are there paths by which man can reach some kind of spiritual knowledge? even though it may often turn out that the only knowledge of a spiritual world allowed is one that takes the form of general concepts and ideas, a vague pantheism perhaps or a conception of life reminiscent of mysticism. 

If however you should then attempt, as it became necessary for me to do in my book Occult Science, to describe a real cosmology, a science of the origin and development of the world in specific terms, discussion with a rationalist is usually at an end. He reacts strongly to the suggestion that anyone today might be in a position, on some epistemological basis or other, to make a statement about a spiritual origin of the world, about forces operating spiritually in the world’s development, and about the possibility that this development, after having passed through a sensuous and physical phase, might lead back once more into a spiritual form of existence. 

The reaction of the rationalist to such a suggestion, implicit in the specific descriptions in Occult Science, for example, is to avoid having anything to do with someone who makes claims of this kind. He will think that, if a man sets out to make specific statements about such matters, he is probably on the verge of losing his reason; at least, we cannot compromise ourselves by becoming involved in discussing these details.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 83 – The Tension Between East and West: 5: Cosmic Memory – Vienna, 5th June, 1922 

Translated by B. A. Rowley

Previously posted on March 29, 2017

Clairvoyance – Understanding

In olden times, man had clairvoyant revelations and did not understand them. Today man must first understand, must exert to the utmost his intellectual power, must exert to the utmost his reason. If he so exerts it through that which lies before him in Spiritual Science, then mankind will again develop the power of receiving the Spiritual clairvoyantly. This is certainly something that most people today wish to avoid, viz., to make use of their healthy human reason in order to understand Spiritual Science. Were it possible to avoid the use of man’s reason, it would also be possible to avoid altogether the entrance of spiritual revelations into our earthly world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 195 – The Cosmic New Year – Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 31st December 1919

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on June 8, 2015

The reaction is to avoid having anything to do with this

Nowadays, if you start to discuss, with someone who is interested in these matters, the possibility of achieving a knowledge of spiritual life in conjunction with the sensuous and physical world, you will generally meet with a sympathetic reception. At any rate, the question will be raised: Are there paths by which man can reach some kind of spiritual knowledge? even though it may often turn out that the only knowledge of a spiritual world allowed is one that takes the form of general concepts and ideas, a vague pantheism perhaps or a conception of life reminiscent of mysticism.

If however you should then attempt, as it became necessary for me to do in my book Occult Science, to describe a real cosmology, a science of the origin and development of the world in specific terms, discussion with a rationalist is usually at an end. He reacts strongly to the suggestion that anyone today might be in a position, on some epistemological basis or other, to make a statement about a spiritual origin of the world, about forces operating spiritually in the world’s development, and about the possibility that this development, after having passed through a sensuous and physical phase, might lead back once more into a spiritual form of existence.

The reaction of the rationalist to such a suggestion, implicit in the specific descriptions in Occult Science, for example, is to avoid having anything to do with someone who makes claims of this kind. He will think that, if a man sets out to make specific statements about such matters, he is probably on the verge of losing his reason; at least, we cannot compromise ourselves by becoming involved in discussing these details.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 83 – The Tension Between East and West: 5: Cosmic Memory – Vienna, 5th June, 1922

Translated by B. A. Rowley