Sound judgment

How often human beings do not see in an unconfused way what exists, but rather what they crave to see! In how many cases do men believe something, not because they have discerned it, but because it is acceptable to them to believe! Or what errors arise because one does not go to the bottom of a thing, but forms a hasty judgment! All these reasons for deception in ordinary life might be multiplied indefinitely. What tricks are played upon sound judgment by partisan feeling, passion, and so forth. If such errors of judgment in ordinary life are disturbing and often disastrous, they are the greatest conceivable danger to the wholesomeness of the supersensible experience. No general rule can be given to the student for his guidance in the higher worlds, beyond the advice to do everything possible for his healthy power of discernment and for his sound, independent judgment.  

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 12 – The Stages of Higher Knowledge – Chapter 4: Inspiration and Intuition

Translated by by Lisa Monges and Floyd McKnight

Previously posted on March 4, 2018

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If man were not to develop anything else but intelligence he would become an evil being

Since the middle of the fifteenth century, a gradual transformation of intelligence is taking place. Although it is still very much like that of the Greeks it is undergoing a transformation, and we are in the beginning of it. In the coming centuries and millennia this intelligence will become something very, very different. Even today it shows a tendency toward what will come in future, a tendency merely to grasp what is error, untruth, deception; a tendency to ponder only what is evil.

The mystery pupils and especially the initiates had known for some time that human intelligence approaches its development toward evil, and that it becomes more and more impossible to recognize the good through mere intelligence. Mankind finds itself today within this transition. We may say, it is still barely possible, if men exert their intelligence and do not bear especially wild instincts in themselves, to look toward the light of what is good. But human intelligence will more and more develop the inclination to plan evil, to bring error into knowledge, and insert evil into man’s moral life.

This is one of the reasons initiates called themselves men of anxiety. Indeed, if one observes the evolution of mankind from this aspect as I have just done, it causes anxiety, precisely because of the way intelligence is developing. It is not for nothing that it fills modern man with pride and haughtiness. This is the pre-taste of intelligence becoming evil in the fifth post-Atlantean age, which is beginning now. If man were not to develop anything else but intelligence he would become an evil being on earth. If we want to think of a wholesome future for mankind, we must not count on the one-sided development of intelligence. In Egypt and Chaldea, it was good; later it entered into a relationship with the forces of death; and it will enter into a relationship with the forces of error, deception, and evil.

This is something about which mankind should have no illusions. In an unbiased fashion humanity should reckon with the fact that it has to protect itself against this one-sided development of intelligence. It is not in vain that precisely through the anthroposophically oriented science of the spirit another element will be added by taking in what can be gained through a renewed perception of the spiritual world. This cannot be grasped by intelligence, but only if we take into ourselves what the science of initiation brings down from the spiritual world through vision.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – Education as a Social Problem: Lecture V: The Metamorphoses of Human Intelligence: Present Trends and Dangers – Dornach, 16 augustus 2021

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Rudolf Steiner by Bernhard Hoetger

The fruit of spiritual knowledge

The human being can deceive himself. He can yield to the belief that there is no hidden world, that what appears to his senses and his intellect contains everything that can possibly exist. But this deception is only possible, not for the deeper, but for the surface consciousness. Feeling and desire do not submit to this deceptive belief. In one way or another, they will always crave for a concealed something, and if this is withdrawn from them, they force the human being into doubt, into a feeling of insecurity of life, indeed, into despair. A cognition that reveals the hidden is capable of overcoming all hopelessness, all insecurity, all despair, in fact all that weakens life and makes it incapable of the service required of him in the cosmos.

This is the beautiful fruit of the knowledge of spiritual science that it gives strength and firmness to life, and not alone gratification to the passion for knowledge. The source from which this knowledge draws its power to work and its trust in life is inexhaustible. No one who has once really approached this source will, by repeatedly taking refuge in it, go away unstrengthened.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: I: THE CHARACTER OF OCCULT SCIENCE

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

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Chaos has arisen because the reality is considered in an unspiritual way

If people insist that this war is just like the wars of the past and that we’ll be making peace just as peace has been made before — let them talk. They are the people who love maya and do not distinguish between truth and deception. Let them make what may seem like ‘peace’ — order will only arise from the chaos that fills the world today when insight based on the science of the spirit dawns in human minds. You may feel in your hearts that it will be a long time before such order comes; you may think it will be a long time before people are prepared to let the dawn of such a science arise, and you will be right. You have to accept that it will be a long time before order arises from the chaos. For it will not come until human hearts understand the realm of the spirit. Order can only come when it is understood how this chaos has arisen.

Chaos has arisen because the reality is considered in an unspiritual way and the world of the spirit cannot be ignored with impunity. You may think it is enough to live with thoughts and ideas that are wholly derived from the physical world. It is what people generally think today, though this does not make it true. The most completely and utterly wrong idea humanity has ever had is — to put it simply — that the spirits will put up with being ignored. You may consider it egotistical and selfish on their part, but the terminology is different in their world. Egotism or not, the spirits take their revenge if they are ignored here on earth. This is a law, an iron necessity. One way to characterize the present time is to say that the present human chaos is the revenge of the spirits who have been ignored for too long.

Bron: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – The Driving Force Behind Europe’s War: Lecture 1 – Dornach, 29 September 1917

Sound judgment

How often human beings do not see in an unconfused way what exists, but rather what they crave to see! In how many cases do men believe something, not because they have discerned it, but because it is acceptable to them to believe! Or what errors arise because one does not go to the bottom of a thing, but forms a hasty judgment! All these reasons for deception in ordinary life might be multiplied indefinitely. What tricks are played upon sound judgment by partisan feeling, passion, and so forth. If such errors of judgment in ordinary life are disturbing and often disastrous, they are the greatest conceivable danger to the wholesomeness of the supersensible experience. No general rule can be given to the student for his guidance in the higher worlds, beyond the advice to do everything possible for his healthy power of discernment and for his sound, independent judgment.  

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 12 – The Stages of Higher Knowledge – Chapter 4: Inspiration and Intuition

Translated by by Lisa Monges and Floyd McKnight

Previously posted on December 9, 2015