Sound judgment

How often human beings do not see in an unconfused way what exists, but rather what they crave to see! In how many cases do men believe something, not because they have discerned it, but because it is acceptable to them to believe! Or what errors arise because one does not go to the bottom of a thing, but forms a hasty judgment! All these reasons for deception in ordinary life might be multiplied indefinitely. What tricks are played upon sound judgment by partisan feeling, passion, and so forth. If such errors of judgment in ordinary life are disturbing and often disastrous, they are the greatest conceivable danger to the wholesomeness of the supersensible experience. No general rule can be given to the student for his guidance in the higher worlds, beyond the advice to do everything possible for his healthy power of discernment and for his sound, independent judgment.  

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 12 – The Stages of Higher Knowledge – Chapter 4: Inspiration and Intuition

Translated by by Lisa Monges and Floyd McKnight

Previously posted on March 4, 2018

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The principle “I believe” has to be replaced with “I believe what I know.”

Truly spiritual thoughts nourish our soul and maintain it. It would be the death of our soul if it always had to live in thoughts taken only from the physical world. In earlier times, religious beliefs were such spiritual thoughts human souls need. That phase of our development has been completed, and we live now in a time when we on earth will gradually lose the ability to take in what speaks only to our emotions, our faith. 

We can still preserve this faith for a time, galvanizing it, so to speak, but we cannot keep it for the future. The principle “I believe” has to be replaced with “I believe what I know.” People will begin to feel that this new principle must be applied. Otherwise we deny ourselves any possibility of knowing something about the life between death and a new birth. Then we would return to pitiful conditions in our next incarnation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

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The Belief in Authority has moved from Religion to Science

Nowadays, the human being proudly tells himself that he only believes in what he can grasp within himself. However, to one who can look deeper, it seems the belief in authority that used to belong to the religious confessions has merely sprung over to another sphere. Moreover, this sphere is, indefinitely, but with an all the stronger belief therein, what is abstractly called “science”. As soon as the word “science” falls, there rises to the surface in contemporary humanity, the belief in authority from a completely different direction than previously.

To what science establishes as valid, an authority of much higher power than ever before is attributed – for reasons that, in widespread circles, are not entirely clear.

How often one hears today, as the answer to a question arising from the inner being of a person: “Science says this or that.” This generally acknowledged power, namely science, has now claimed all authority for itself. This authority is accepted by those who consider themselves to be knowledgeable of the times they live in, even concerning questions that relate to their worldview as well.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 77a – Die Aufgabe der Anthroposophie gegenüber Wissenschaft und Leben – Darmstadt, July 28, 1921 (page 56-57)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 17, 2019

It is a complete misunderstanding to say spiritual science must also be believed

I have often emphasized that it is a complete misunderstanding to say spiritual science must also be believed. When people say this, it is because they are so crammed full with materialistic prejudices that they do not look at what spiritual science really has to offer. As soon as it is examined, everything becomes understandable. One does not need clairvoyance for this; our ordinary understanding is enough to really grasp and comprehend all this gradually — of course, “gradually” will be inconvenient for some people.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: Lecture One: Understanding the Spiritual World (Part One) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on October 16, 2016

It is a complete misunderstanding to say spiritual science must also be believed

Spiritual science can be understood by every person who wants to understand its findings. It strives to give people what each individual soul can truly achieve on its own, not by following the religious founders, as in earlier times. And although it must be individual researchers who make the results of this science of the spirit available today, they do so in a form that can be understood by everyone who wants to. 

I have often emphasized that it is a complete misunderstanding to say spiritual science must also be believed. When people say this, it is because they are so crammed full with materialistic prejudices that they do not look at what spiritual science really has to offer. As soon as it is examined, everything becomes understandable. One does not need clairvoyance for this; our ordinary understanding is enough to really grasp and comprehend all this gradually — of course, “gradually” will be inconvenient for some people.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: Lecture I: Understanding the Spiritual World (Part 1) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on October 16, 2016