The first ground rule for the study of man is that one does not have to think too much. That will seem strange at first, but you will soon understand what I mean. By thinking about something a man does obviously not learn particularly much about anything. If he only broods on what he saw, he will as a rule not make much sense of it.
Thus If one wants to learn about the world, one should not expect too much from thinking; It is not so important to think about something. When one needs to consider the facts, one must of course do that. But one must not consider this to be the main purpose. It does not bring any knowledge to brood on things afterwards. One has to look at other things, compare them and find the coherences. The more one looks for the coherences, the more one becomes aware of nature. Those who only think about nature find nothing more there than what they already knew.
If someone is a materialist, then he also talks about nature in a materialistic way, because that is how he stands in the world. He discovers nothing new. If someone talks about nature in an idealistic way, he does that because he already is an idealist. One can always find that by thinking, people find only what they already knew beforehand. Proper thinking arises only when one is led by the facts.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, January 10, 1923 (page 237)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on March 15, 2015