Afraid to be convinced. Spiritual truths can terrify people.

There is one symptom peculiar to our own time which is most remarkable. It is curious how people who are normally so brave and courageous today, are terrified when they hear that the claims of spiritual knowledge are to be recognized. They are bewildered. I have often told you that I noticed that many who had attended one or two lectures were not seen again for some time. Meeting them in the street I asked why they had never turned up again. “I dare not”, came the reply. “I am afraid you might convince me.” They find such a possibility dangerous and disturbing and are not prepared to expose themselves to the risk. I could cite many other examples of a similar kind from my own experience, but I prefer to give examples from the wider field of public life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha: Lecture 9 – Berlin, 1st May, 1917

Translated by A. H. Parker 

Previously posted on September 9, 2017

Moral thinking/Esoteric development

There is nothing more disturbing for the knowledge of the supersensible worlds than filling the human soul with immoral impulses. That is why it is deeply founded to demand a kind of moral thinking in the most eminent sense as a preparation of the esoteric development.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death – Nuremberg, 14th March 1915

Previously posted on May 21, 2017

Our failure to develop love and compassion

The egoism we develop in the physical world, without being willing to acquire self-knowledge, shows up when it is carried into spiritual worlds. Nothing is so disturbing, nothing can be so bitter and disheartening as to experience the result of our failure to develop love and compassion in the physical world. Ascending into the spiritual world, we are filled with anguish by the selfishness and lack of love we have achieved in the physical-sense world. When we cross the threshold, everything is revealed, not only the obvious but also the hidden egoism that rages in the depths of men’s souls.

Someone who with outward egoism frankly insists that he wants this or that for himself is perhaps much less egoistic than those who indulge in the dream that they are selfless, or those who assume a certain egoistic self-effacement out of theosophical abstractions in their upper consciousness. This is especially the case when the latter declaim their selflessness in all sorts of repetitions of the words “love” and “tolerance.” What a person carries up into higher worlds in the form of an unloving lack of compassion is transformed into hideous, often terrifying figures he meets on entering the spiritual worlds, figures that are extremely disturbing for the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 147 – Secrets of the Threshold – Lecture VIII – Munich, 31 August 1913

Translated by Ruth Pusch

Previously posted on May 28, 2016

Afraid to be convinced; Spiritual truths can terrify people

There is one symptom peculiar to our own time which is most remarkable. It is curious how people who are normally so brave and courageous today, are terrified when they hear that the claims of spiritual knowledge are to be recognized. They are bewildered.

I have often told you that I noticed that many who had attended one or two lectures were not seen again for some time. Meeting them in the street I asked why they had never turned up again. “I dare not”, came the reply. “I am afraid you might convince me.”

They find such a possibility dangerous and disturbing and are not prepared to expose themselves to the risk. I could cite many other examples of a similar kind from my own experience, but I prefer to give examples from the wider field of public life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha: Lecture 9 – Berlin, 1st May, 1917

Translated by A. H. Parker

Nothing is so disturbing, nothing can be so bitter and disheartening as to experience the result of our failure to develop love and compassion

The egoism we develop in the physical world, without being willing to acquire self-knowledge, shows up when it is carried into spiritual worlds. Nothing is so disturbing, nothing can be so bitter and disheartening as to experience the result of our failure to develop love and compassion in the physical world. Ascending into the spiritual world, we are filled with anguish by the selfishness and lack of love we have achieved in the physical-sense world. When we cross the threshold, everything is revealed, not only the obvious but also the hidden egoism that rages in the depths of men’s souls. Someone who with outward egoism frankly insists that he wants this or that for himself is perhaps much less egoistic than those who indulge in the dream that they are selfless, or those who assume a certain egoistic self-effacement out of theosophical abstractions in their upper consciousness. This is especially the case when the latter declaim their selflessness in all sorts of repetitions of the words “love” and “tolerance.” What a person carries up into higher worlds in the form of an unloving lack of compassion is transformed into hideous, often terrifying figures he meets on entering the spiritual worlds, figures that are extremely disturbing for the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 147 – Secrets of the Threshold – Lecture VIII – Munich, 31 August 1913

Translated by Ruth Pusch

Previously posted on February 2, 2014