Both sides

People will only learn to think in a thorough, energetic way when they use the spiritual philosophy of life and train themselves to be all-rounders in this way, when they come to realize that everything needs to be considered from different angles. Practical life does already force us to do so day by day. People are quite right when they say that fire is a great boon. Yet it is also true to say that fire causes great harm, burning down towns and villages. It is not possible to be absolute and say “Fire is good”, or “Fire is evil”.  When it comes to fire, practical life teaches us to accept that there are two sides to it.

Yet when we are asked to do the same with spirits of the higher worlds, Lucifer and Ahriman, for instance, we are redundant to accept this. Instead we tend to ask: “is Lucifer a good or an evil spirit?” and “is Ahriman a good or an evil spirit?”. People want to have definitions to answer those questions, and an answer like “Lucifer and Ahriman may be both good and evil” is considered unsatisfactory. There is no such demand when it comes to fire.  There everyday life makes us change a wrong opinion into a right one.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 150 – Die Welt des Geistes und ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein – Stockholm, June 10, 1913 (page 86)

This English translation has been copied from the book: How the Spiritual World Projects into Physical Existence – The Influence of the Dead (page 65) – Published by Rudolf Steiner Press

Previously posted on December 19, 2016

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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

Previously posted on May 8, 2015

Both sides

People will only learn to think in a thorough, energetic way when they use the spiritual philosophy of life and train themselves to be all-rounders in this way, when they come to realize that everything needs to be considered from different angles.  Practical life does already force us to do so day by day. People are quite right when they say that fire is a great boon. Yet it is also true to say that fire causes great harm, burning down towns and villages. It is not possible to be absolute and say “Fire is good”, or “Fire is evil”.  

When it comes to fire, practical life teaches us to accept that there are two sides to it. Yet when we are asked to do the same with spirits of the higher worlds, Lucifer and Ahriman, for instance, we are redundant to accept this.  Instead we tend to ask: “is Lucifer a good or an evil spirit?” and “is Ahriman a good or an evil spirit?”. People want to have definitions to answer those questions, and an answer like “Lucifer and Ahriman may be both good and evil” is considered unsatisfactory.  There is no such demand when it comes to fire.  There everyday life makes us change a wrong opinion into a right one.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 150 – Die Welt des Geistes und ihr Hereinragen in das physische Dasein – Stockholm, June 10, 1913 (page 86)

Previously posted on November 9, 2015