Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge

Here we see verified a great historical law that should be of special significance to the spiritual scientist: As long as people knew what the Lord’s Supper was, they did not discuss it. They began to discuss it only after they had lost direct knowledge of it. 

Let us consider the fact that people discuss a particular matter as an indication that they do not really know it. Where knowledge exists, knowledge is narrated, and there is no particular desire for discussion. Where people feel like discussing something, they have, as a rule, no knowledge of the truth. Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of decline regarding the seriousness of a subject matter when discussions about it are to be heard. Discussions portend the decline of a particular trend. 

It is very important that time and again in Spiritual Science we learn to understand that the wish to discuss something should actually be construed as a sign of ignorance. On the other hand, we should cultivate the opposite of discussion, and that is the will to learn and the will to gradually comprehend what is in question.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 109 – Christianity in Human Evolution: Lecture II: Leading Individualities and Avatar Beings – Berlin, February 15, 1909

Translated by Frances E. Dawson, and Edited by Gilbert Church


A childish belief

The present phase of evolution may be characterised in a general way by saying that all the experiences confronting mankind in the physical world during the earth’s further existence will represent a decline, a retrogression. The time when human progress was made possible through the constant refinement of the physical forces, is already over. In the future, too, mankind will progress, but only through spiritual development, through development on a higher level than that of the processes of the physical plane. 

Men who rely entirely on the processes of the physical plane will find in them no source of satisfaction. An indication given in spiritual science a long time ago, in the Lecture-Course on the Apocalypse, namely that we are heading for the “War of All against All”, must from now onwards be grasped in all its significance and gravity; its implications must not remain in the realm of theory but also come to expression in the actions, the whole behaviour of men. The fact that — to use a colloquialism — people in the future are not going to get much fun out of developments on the physical plane, will bring home to them that further evolution must proceed from spiritual forces.

This can be understood only by surveying a lengthy period of evolution and applying what is discovered to experiences that will become more and more general in the future. The trend of forces that will manifest in the well nigh rhythmical onset of war and destruction — processes of which the present catastrophe is but the beginning — will become only too evident. It is childish to believe that anything connected with this war can bring about a permanent era of peace for humanity on the physical plane. That will not be so.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and AhrimanMan’s Responsibility for the Earth – Lecture III – Bern, 4th November, 1919

Translated by D. S. Osmond

This lecture was given one year after Armistice Day – November 1918

Since then we’ve had a world war 2 with 80 million dead – not mentioning the wounded and tens of millions of dead from various wars, including the war of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

Multitude of armed conflicts have started and ended and a multitude continue.



National ideals / Decline of humanity

Someone who speaks of the ideal of race and nation and of tribal membership today is speaking of impulses which are part of the decline of humanity. If anyone now considers them to be progressive ideals to present to humanity, this is an untruth. Nothing is more designed to take humanity into its decline than the propagation of ideals of race, nation and blood. Nothing is more likely to prevent human progress than proclamations of national ideals belonging to earlier centuries which continue to be preserved by the luciferic and ahrimanic powers. The true ideal must arise from what we find in the world of the spirit, not in the blood.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness: Lecture 12: The Spirits of Light and the Spirits of Darkness – Dornach, 26 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Without spiritual impulses everything will lead to decadence, to barbarism, to the fall of civilisation

What must be emphasised over and over again is the need there is today for things to be taken with deep seriousness. This goes against the grain. People choose to believe that things will continue in the same way. No, they will not.

If life continues without the stimuli that come from the spiritual world, industry can go on, banks can be in existence and universities where all the sciences are taught, other professions can be developed — but everything will lead to decadence, to barbarism, to the fall of civilisation.

Those who are not willing to apply in practical life what can come out of Spiritual Science are working, not for ascent but for decline. And the majority of people today want decline and simply delude themselves into the belief that an ascent can still come out of it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 202 – The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia – Lecture IV – Dornach, 26th December 1920