Controlling our Thinking

We are now in a period when a significant change must come about: People must become thinking people instead of thinking machines. It is terrible, is it not, when you say something like that, because people of our time take it for granted that they are thinking people, and if you ask them to become thinking people, they actually find it an insult. But that is how it is.

Since the middle of the 15th century, people have become more and more like thinking machines. People surrender themselves to thoughts, as it were; they do not control them. Imagine what it would be like if you did the same with your limbs as most people do with their thinking organs today. Ask yourself if the modern human being can be inclined – I say can be – to randomly take in a thought and randomly shut down a thought. Thoughts are bubbling up in people’s heads today. People cannot resist them; they automatically surrender to them. A thought arises, the previous one disappears, it flies and flashes through the mind, and people think in such a way that one could best say: it thinks in the human being.

Imagine that your arms and legs would behave similarly, that you would be able to control them as little as you can control your thinking. Imagine a person walking down the street, his arms moving in the same uncontrolled way as his thinking organ moves! You know how much goes through a person’s head when he walks down the street, and now imagine how he would continually gesture with his arms and hands in the same way that he does with the thoughts in his head!

And yet, we are facing the age when people have to learn to control their thoughts in the same way they control their arms and legs. We are entering that era. A particular inner discipline of our thinking is what has to occur now and from which people today are still exceedingly far away.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 190 – Vergangenheits- und Zukunftsimpulsen im sozialen Geschehen – Dornach, March 23, 1919 (page 48-49)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Sustained by other forces

As man is at the present time, he has no influence at all upon his physical body. What man physically is and does is brought about from outside by creative forces. He cannot himself regulate the movement of the molecules of his brain; neither of himself can he control the circulation of the blood. In other words, the physical body is produced independently of man and is also sustained for him by other forces. It is as it were only lent to him. Man is incarnated into a physical body produced for him by other forces.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – Foundations of Esotericism – Lecture II – Berlin, 27th September 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett

Previously posted on November 14, 2015

Spiritual beings behind the physical world

People think they are free to make resolves, to think and to form ideas, but they are guided by spiritual beings behind the physical world. What men call their understanding, by which they believe they can control the course of time, is the expression of spiritual beings behind.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – Goethe’s Secret Revelation – Berlin, 12th  March 1909

Previously posted on 15th December 2013

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Control of Thought

How difficult it is for a person to push away intruding thoughts time and again. Often thoughts keep on intruding – especially the unpleasant ones – for days on end. One cannot get rid them. It gets even more difficult once we have taught ourselves to concentrate our thoughts. The thought content on which we have concentrated, takes hold of us and we need to summon up tremendous effort to eliminate it again.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education – Oxford, 20 August 1922

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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