How can I accept in good faith what these researchers say?

If someone asks, “How can I accept in good faith what these researchers say since I am unable to perceive the spiritual world myself?”, then this is completely unfounded. For it is entirely possible merely by reflecting on what is given, to attain the certain conviction that what is communicated is true, and if anyone is unable to form this conviction through reflection, it is not because it is impossible to believe something one cannot see, but solely because his reflection has not been sufficiently thorough, comprehensive and unprejudiced. In order to gain clarity in regard to this point we must realize that human thinking, when it arouses itself with inner energy, is able to comprehend more than is usually presumed. For in thought itself an inner entity is already present that is connected with the supersensible world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science–V–Cognition of the higher worlds. Initiation (part 3)

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

Occ_Science

Previously posted on April 13, 2018

The more superficially one thinks, the easier it is to prove something

Nowadays one can, as some intelligent left-wing socialists do, prove without a doubt that Marxism is intrinsically true; one can, from another point of view, just as easily prove that Marxism is complete nonsense. It is possible these days to prove most things. We need to understand this.

These days, children are instilled with the notion that they ought to prove things. However, therein lies something incredibly tragic, this capability to prove things so readily, so rigorously and thereby be so easily convinced of a concept. Because of all the ways to become convinced of something, the easiest is the current method to prove matters. There is no easier means to acquire a conviction today than to prove a conviction to be the right one. Precisely by proving something in this way, people have lost their sensitivity, lost the ability to sense that beliefs in life must be fought for and acquired, that one needs to conquer a conviction if it should become an integral part of the soul.

Why is this so? Why are we so easily convinced of something? It happens because we have become accustomed to superficial thinking. These days people tend to stay on the surface with their thinking; they do not bother to penetrate deeply into things. Moreover, the more superficially one thinks, the easier it is to prove something. This is particularly important to understand. The thinner the concepts are – and on the surface of things all concepts are thin and abstract -, the better these concepts seem to provide arguments for what one wants to believe and assume from completely different substrates, from very unconscious subjective feelings, from arbitrary will impulses, subconscious beliefs and assumptions.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Soziales Verständnis aus geisteswissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis – Dornach, October 18, 1919 (page 147-148)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on September 19, 2019

Not the words, but the spirit behind them

In our present materialistic age, one can be a downright materialist, another a downright spiritualist. People belonging to either current can present their beliefs in a similarly convincing manner. The question, however, is not so much about the words one uses to declare his conviction. The question is: what is the spirit that really lies behind the words? What matters is not the literal content of words, but the spirit at their origin. Words alone are only good for those who are satisfied with concepts, not reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, 1 February 1920 (page 139)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 8, 2016

The more superficially one thinks, the easier it is to prove something  

Nowadays one can, as some intelligent left-wing socialists do, prove without a doubt that Marxism is intrinsically true; one can, from another point of view, just as easily prove that Marxism is complete nonsense. It is possible these days to prove most things. We need to understand this.

These days, children are instilled with the notion that they ought to prove things. However, therein lies something incredibly tragic, this capability to prove things so readily, so rigorously and thereby be so easily convinced of a concept. Because of all the ways to become convinced of something, the easiest is the current method to prove matters. There is no easier means to acquire a conviction today than to prove a conviction to be the right one. Precisely by proving something in this way, people have lost their sensitivity, lost the ability to sense that beliefs in life must be fought for and acquired, that one needs to conquer a conviction if it should become an integral part of the soul.

 Why is this so? Why are we so easily convinced of something? It happens because we have become accustomed to superficial thinking. These days people tend to stay on the surface with their thinking; they do not bother to penetrate deeply into things. Moreover, the more superficially one thinks, the easier it is to prove something. This is particularly important to understand. The thinner the concepts are – and on the surface of things all concepts are thin and abstract -, the better these concepts seem to provide arguments for what one wants to believe and assume from completely different substrates, from very unconscious subjective feelings, from arbitrary will impulses, subconscious beliefs and assumptions.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Soziales Verständnis aus geisteswissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis – Dornach, October 18, 1919 (page 147-148)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

The thought of reincarnation and karma will essentially transform modern life

What is of particular importance for the modern anthroposophist is the gaining of conviction with regard to reincarnation and karma. The way in which men gain this conviction, how they succeed in spreading the thought of reincarnation and karma — it is this that from now onwards will essentially transform modern life, will create new forms of life, an entirely new social life, of the kind that is necessary if human culture is not to decline but rise to a higher level. Experiences in the life of soul such as were described yesterday are, fundamentally speaking, within the reach of every modern man, and if only he has sufficient energy and tenacity of purpose he will certainly become inwardly convinced of the truth of reincarnation and karma.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – Reincarnation and Karma: Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 21st February 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 18, 2017