Three Destructive Currents 

There are three currents which through their inward relationship had the greatest power of destruction in human evolution, […]

[1ST Current]

First among them is what I call Americanism, which tends to produce greater and greater fear of the spirit, making the world a mere opportunity for living in the physical. [earlier on Steiner refers to “Americanism” as being a collective concept, not applying to individual Americans.] It is quite different when Britain wants to make the world into a kind of commercial mart. Americanism would make it a physical dwelling equipped with all possible comfort, in which man can lead an agreeable and wealthy life. That is the political creed of Americanism, and whoever does not detect it is blind to the facts and merely shuts his eyes and ears. Man’s connection with the Spiritual is bound to die out under such an influence. In these forces of Americanism lies what must actually bring the earth to an end destruction dooming it at last to death, because the Spirit will be shut out from it.

[2nd Current]

The second destructive element is not only that of Catholicism, but all Jesuitism, which in essence is virtually allied to Americanism. If the latter is the cultivation of the impulse to build up fear of the spirit, so the former seeks to awaken the belief that one should not seek contact with the spirit, which it deems impossible; it wishes Spiritual blessings to be dispensed by those who are called into the teaching office of the Catholic Church. This influence seeks to atrophy forces in human nature which incline to the super-sensible.

[3rd Current]

The particular indications of the third stream can be seen arising in a terrible form in the East: a social state based on a purely animal, physical socialism. Without plastering it with dogmas, we call it “Bolshevism”, and it will not easily be overcome by mankind.

These are the three distinctive elements in the modern development of humanity. To bring knowledge to bear upon them, so that the events of the present day may be met in the right way, it is possible only through Spiritual Science.

Source: Rudolf Steiner -GA 181 – A Sound Outlook for To-day and a Genuine Hope for the Future – Lecture 6: Problems of the Time (I) – Berlin, July 30, 1918

Rudolf Steiner-1

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About arithmetic and morality

There are two things which in logic seem very far removed from one another: arithmetic and moral principles. It is not usual to hitch arithmetic on to moral principles because there seems no obvious logical connection between them. But it is apparent to one who looks at the matter, not logically, but livingly, that the child who has a right introduction to arithmetic will have quite a different feeling of moral responsibility from the child who has not. And — this may seem extremely paradoxical to you, but since I am speaking of realities and not of the illusions current in our age, I will not be afraid of seeming paradoxical, for in this age truth often seems paradoxical. — If, then, men had known how to permeate the soul with mathematics in the right way during these past years we should not now have bolshevism in Eastern Europe. This it is that one perceives: what forces connect the faculty used in arithmetic with the springs of morality in man. […]

[…] in addition we do not go from the parts to arrive at the sum, but we start with the sum and proceed to the parts. Thus to get a living understanding of addition we start with the whole and proceed to the addenda, to the parts. For addition is concerned essentially with the sum and its parts, the members which are contained, in one way or another, within the sum.

In this way we get the child to enter into life with the ability to grasp a whole, not always to proceed from the less to the greater. And this has an extraordinarily strong influence upon the child’s whole soul and mind. When a child has acquired the habit of adding things together we get a disposition which tends to be desirous and craving. In proceeding from the whole to the parts, and in treating multiplication similarly, the child has less tendency to acquisitiveness, rather it tends to develop what, in the Platonic sense, the noblest sense of the word, can be called considerateness, moderation. And one’s moral likes and dislikes are intimately bound up with the manner in which one has learned to deal with number. At first sight there seems to be no logical connection between the treatment of numbers and moral ideas, so little indeed that one who will only regard things from the intellectual point of view, may well laugh at the idea of any connection. It may seem to him absurd. We can also well understand that people may laugh at the idea of proceeding in addition from the sum instead of from the parts. But when one sees the true connections in life one knows that things which are logically most remote are often in reality exceedingly near.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education: V: HOW KNOWLEDGE CAN BE NURTURE – Oxford, 21st August 1922

Translated by Daphne Harwood

About arithmetic and moral principles

A child is able to take in the elements of Arithmetic at quite an early age. But in arithmetic we observe how very easily an intellectual element can be given the child too soon. Mathematics as such is alien to no man at any age. It arises in human nature; the operations of mathematics are not foreign to human faculty in the way letters are foreign in a succeeding civilisation. But it is exceedingly important that the child should be introduced to arithmetic and mathematics in the right way. And what this is can really only be decided by one who is enabled to overlook the whole of human life from a certain spiritual standpoint.

There are two things which in logic seem very far removed from one another: arithmetic and moral principles. It is not usual to hitch arithmetic on to moral principles because there seems no obvious logical connection between them. But it is apparent to one who looks at the matter, not logically, but livingly, that the child who has a right introduction to arithmetic will have quite a different feeling of moral responsibility from the child who has not. And — this may seem extremely paradoxical to you, but since I am speaking of realities and not of the illusions current in our age, I will not be afraid of seeming paradoxical, for in this age truth often seems paradoxical. — If, then, men had known how to permeate the soul with mathematics in the right way during these past years we should not now have bolshevism in Eastern Europe. This it is that one perceives: what forces connect the faculty used in arithmetic with the springs of morality in man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education: Lecture V: How Knowledge Can Be Nurture – Oxford, 21st August 1922

Previously posted on April 19, 2014

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About arithmetic and moral principles

A child is able to take in the elements of Arithmetic at quite an early age. But in arithmetic we observe how very easily an intellectual element can be given the child too soon. Mathematics as such is alien to no man at any age. It arises in human nature; the operations of mathematics are not foreign to human faculty in the way letters are foreign in a succeeding civilisation. But it is exceedingly important that the child should be introduced to arithmetic and mathematics in the right way. And what this is can really only be decided by one who is enabled to overlook the whole of human life from a certain spiritual standpoint.

There are two things which in logic seem very far removed from one another: arithmetic and moral principles. It is not usual to hitch arithmetic on to moral principles because there seems no obvious logical connection between them. But it is apparent to one who looks at the matter, not logically, but livingly, that the child who has a right introduction to arithmetic will have quite a different feeling of moral responsibility from the child who has not. And — this may seem extremely paradoxical to you, but since I am speaking of realities and not of the illusions current in our age, I will not be afraid of seeming paradoxical, for in this age truth often seems paradoxical. — If, then, men had known how to permeate the soul with mathematics in the right way during these past years we should not now have bolshevism in Eastern Europe. This it is that one perceives: what forces connect the faculty used in arithmetic with the springs of morality in man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education: Lecture V: How Knowledge Can Be Nurture – Oxford, 21st August 1922

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