Not just the literal content

Today, lazy people, concerning themselves with the content of words only, often say when they read something: ‘I have read this before somewhere or other.’ They must learn to realise that what is of real importance is not the content of what is said, but who it is who is speaking; to realise that the man must be recognised from what he says, because the words are only gestures and the real point is to know who is making these gestures. That is what humanity must come to realise.

Here we have a great mystery of everyday life. It makes all the difference whether each sentence is the outcome of intense struggle on the part of the personal Ego or has been ‘inspired’ in some way either from below, or from above, or from one side or another. The power of suggestion is actually the greater in what has been inspired in this way, because in reading what has been the outcome of struggle, we ourselves have to wrestle with it. The time is approaching when the primary importance must no longer be attached to the purely literal content of what is before us, but above all to who is saying this or that — I do not mean only the actual physical personality, but the whole human-spiritual setting.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – How Do I Find the Christ? – Zürich, October 16th, 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Alan P. Shepherd

josef-rolletschek-rudolf-steiner-1894-2CMRYFA

Rudolf Steiner 1894 – painted by Josef Rolletschek

Previously posted on February 6, 2018

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Important task

Again and again let us conjure up in our soul the necessity of feeling that this small number of men that is now living in the very midst of a materialistic world and is led through its Karma to the possibility of grasping mankind’s most important task for the future, that this small number of men is called upon to fulfill important, most important tasks, through its soul-life.

We should realize without any pride, we should realize modestly and humbly the great difference between a soul that is gradually finding its way into the spiritual world, and all the people outside, who have not the slightest idea of this, who are, above all, NOT WILLING to have any idea of it.

This fact should not merely arouse in us discouraging and painful feelings, but produce feelings that incite us to continue our work with increasing energy and to work faithfully within the stream of spiritual science, to which we were led through our Karma.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – The Moment of Death and the Period Thereafter – Leipzig, 22nd February, 1916

Previously posted on December 3, 2016

The difference between an initiate and a clairvoyant

The person who, without being clairvoyant, understands everything spiritual science has to say, is an initiate. However, he who can enter these worlds, which we call the invisible world, is a clairvoyant. In earlier times, not so long ago, there existed a strict separation in the secret schools, between clairvoyants and initiates. As an initiate, without being clairvoyant, a person could attain to knowledge of higher worlds, if only he or she used their intellect in the right way.

On the other hand, someone could be clairvoyant without being initiated into a particularly high degree. It will be clear to you what is meant. Imagine two people, a very scholarly man, who knows all that physics and physiology possibly have to say about light and the phenomena of light, but who is so near-sighted, that he can barely see ten centimetres in front of himself: his eyesight is weak, but he is thoroughly acquainted with the laws of light.

Similarly, someone can be initiated into the spiritual world, but still be unable to perceive clearly what he sees. Another has excellent sight in the outer sensory world but has almost no knowledge of everything the scholarly man knows. Thus, there can also be clairvoyants who are able to perceive the spiritual world – they see into the spiritual world, but have no realisation, no knowledge of that which they see.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Die Erkenntnis der Seele und des Geistes – Berlin, October 10, 1907 (page 26)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Difference between male and female

I should like to remind you of something I have often pointed out with regard to the difference between male and female, pointing out the fact that to some extent the female element — not the single individual woman but rather “womanhood” — has not entirely descended to the physical plane, whereas the man — again not a single individuality, not man in a particular incarnation but “manhood” — has crossed the line and descended lower. As a result true humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations.

But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole, it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist [Mark] after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 139 – The Gospel of St. Mark: Lecture 10 – Basel, September 24, 1912  

Not just the literal content

Today, lazy people, concerning themselves with the content of words only, often say when they read something: ‘I have read this before somewhere or other.’ They must learn to realise that what is of real importance is not the content of what is said, but who it is who is speaking; to realise that the man must be recognised from what he says, because the words are only gestures and the real point is to know who is making these gestures. That is what humanity must come to realise.
Here we have a great mystery of everyday life. It makes all the difference whether each sentence is the outcome of intense struggle on the part of the personal Ego or has been ‘inspired’ in some way either from below, or from above, or from one side or another. The power of suggestion is actually the greater in what has been inspired in this way, because in reading what has been the outcome of struggle, we ourselves have to wrestle with it. The time is approaching when the primary importance must no longer be attached to the purely literal content of what is before us, but above all to who is saying this or that — I do not mean only the actual physical personality, but the whole human-spiritual setting.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – How Do I Find the Christ? – Zürich, October 16th, 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Alan P. Shepherd