Thinking during sleep

It is not true that thinking ceases during sleep; we think from the moment of falling asleep until we wake. Man’s thoughts are in perpetual flow in his ether-body, only he is unaware of it. Not until the moment when he returns to the body do the thoughts light up in his consciousness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 224 – The Forming of Destiny in Sleeping and Waking – Bern, April 6, 1923

Previously posted on March 14, 2019

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The term Anthroposophy

The term “Anthroposophy” should really be understood as synonymous with “Sophia,” meaning the content of consciousness, the soul attitude and experience that make a man a full-fledged human being. The right interpretation of “Anthroposophy” is not “the wisdom of man,” but rather “the consciousness of one’s humanity.” In other words, the reversing of the will, the experiencing of knowledge, and one’s participation in the time’s destiny, should all aim at giving the soul a certain direction of consciousness, a “Sophia.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 257 – Awakening to Community – IV – The development of the Anthroposophical Society. The soul-drama of the anthroposophist. – Stuttgart, February 13, 1923

Translated by Marjorie Spock

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The life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways

We are only separated from the so-called dead through the fact that we are not in a position to perceive with our ordinary consciousness how the forces of the dead, the life of the dead, the actions of the dead, play into our own life. These forces, these actions of the dead, continually permeate the life of our feeling and the life of our will. Therefore we can live with the dead. And it is indeed important to realize at the present time that the task of Anthroposophy is to develop this consciousness — that we are in touch with the souls of the dead.

The earth will not continue to evolve in the direction of the welfare of humanity unless humanity develops this living feeling of being together with the dead. For the life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 179 – Historical Necessity and Freewill: Lecture 3: Our Life with the Dead – Dornach, December 10, 1917

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Previously posted on March 24, 2018

The characteristic of consciousness

Plants are in a continuous state of sleep. A person who does not judge accurately in these things can easily fall into the error of ascribing a kind of consciousness also to plants that is similar to that of animals and men in their waking state. That, however, can happen only if he has an unclear idea of the nature of consciousness. It is then stated that if an external stimulus is applied to the plant it makes certain movements like the animal. One speaks of the “sensitivity” of some plants that, for example, contract their leaves if certain outer stimuli act upon them. 

Yet it is not the characteristic of consciousness that a being reacts to certain stimuli, but that the being experiences something in its inner nature that adds something new to the mere reaction. Otherwise, one could also speak of consciousness when a piece of iron expands under the influence of heat. Consciousness is present only when, through the effect of heat, the being, for example, inwardly experiences pain.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: II: THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF MANKIND

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges

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The dead are always present

We are living together with the so-called dead. The dead are always present. They move and have their being in a super-sensible world. We are not separated from them by our ‘real being,’ only by our condition of consciousness. We are only separated from them as in sleep we are separated from the things around us; we sleep in a room and do not see the chairs and other things. Though we do not describe it thus, yet as regards our feeling and will, we ‘sleep’ in the so-called waking condition among the dead, just as we do not perceive the physical objects around us when we sleep. 

Thus we do not live separated from the world ruled by the forces of the dead, we are together with them in one common world. In our ordinary consciousness we are only separated from them by the state of that consciousness.

This knowledge of our common life with the dead will be one of the most important elements which Spiritual Science is to implant in the general human consciousness, in the general civilisation of mankind for the future; for those who believe that what takes place around them occurs only through the forces perceived in the life of the senses, know nothing of the reality; they do not know that the forces of the dead are always at work, always present.

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 3: The Living and the Dead– Berlin, 5th February 1918

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on May 28, 2017