What is it that holds man back from spirit-knowledge? 

For what is it that holds man back today from spirit-knowledge? — Lack of soul courage, not to say soul cowardice. Man wants to receive everything passively, wants to set himself down in front of the world as if it were a movie, and wants to let the microscope and the telescope tell him everything. He does not want to temper the instrument of his own spirit, of his own soul, by activity. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 223 – The Cycle of the Year – Lecture V – Dornach, 4th April 1923 (wrong date, in the German GA 223 it is 8th April 1923)

Translated by Barbara Betteridge & Frances E. Dawson 

Previously posted on January 7, 2017

The virtue of Courage

Another virtue can be called — though it is difficult to describe it exactly — the virtue of Courage. It contains the mood which does not remain passive towards life, but is ready to use its strength and activity. It can be said that this virtue comes from the heart. Of one who has this virtue in ordinary life it can be said: he has his heart in the right place. This is a good expression for our condition when we do not withdraw in a timid way from things which life asks from us, but when we are prepared to take ourselves in hand and know how to intervene where it is necessary. When we are inclined to get moving, confidently and bravely, we have this virtue. It is connected with a healthy life of feeling, which develops bravery at the right moment, while its absence brings about cowardice.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Great Virtues – Zürich, January 31, 1915

Cruelty

[…] a quality very widely spread, especially in the thought-system of the present time, and that is cruelty. Only it is rooted in the subconscious life and people are unaware that they possess it. Because the people of our time have no courage to practise cruelty externally, they practise it in their concepts and ideas. In many a work of our time we can feel this latent cruelty in the whole manner of exposition. In much that is done and said in our time we can perceive it. It is far more widespread in the foundations of human souls than we imagine.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 172 – Matter Incidental to the Question of Destiny – Dornach, 18th November 1916

Translated by George Kaufmann

Previously posted on March 29, 2016

Fear of the spiritual world

The soul life of man, as well, is entirely accommodated to space and time. If you enter a world to which you are not adapted, the lack of adaptation implies sensations of pain and suffering; so that the first entrance into the spiritual world is not won without the vanquishing of pain and suffering. […] There are indeed few people today who have sufficient inner courage to venture themselves, as it were, into the bottomless and timeless in actual experience. Certain people, however, are bound by their destiny to cross over the threshold; and without the wisdom which can be brought over from beyond the threshold no further progress is possible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth: Lecture III: Historical Occurrences of the Last Century – Dornach, December 14, 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

Previously posted on February 7, 2015

Cruelty

[…] a quality very widely spread, especially in the thought-system of the present time, and that is cruelty. Only it is rooted in the subconscious life and people are unaware that they possess it. Because the people of our time have no courage to practise cruelty externally, they practise it in their concepts and ideas. In many a work of our time we can feel this latent cruelty in the whole manner of exposition. In much that is done and said in our time we can perceive it. It is far more widespread in the foundations of human souls than we imagine.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 172 – Matter Incidental to the Question of Destiny – Dornach, 18th November 1916

Translated by George Kaufmann

Previously posted on May 17, 2014