From a letter by Steiner to Richard Specht (December 23, 1891)

I have just finished reading Hermann Bahr’s Russian Journey. It would not be fair if I denied that I actually enjoyed reading it. Sometimes my mind needs food that is not too profound, that doesn’t evaporate immediately but still offers something to taste. With my other reading, I usually have to think; I don’t have to make an effort, but it electrifies me, it brings life into my limbs; I often have to jump up from my chair. With Hermann Bahr, I can lie comfortably on the sofa and probably only move my legs. There is one drawback: I cannot read a line by Bahr without smoking. During a book by Bahr, the cost of cigarettes even rivals the book’s price, if not more. Without a chaotic cloud of blue-grey smoke in front of me, I cannot absorb a sentence of Bahr into my consciousness. I also understand Bahr only since I smoke.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 39 – BRIEFE BAND II – 1890-1925 (page 133-134)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Richard Specht (1870-1932)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Specht

Previously posted on June 9, 2021

Control of Thought  

How difficult it is for a person to push away intruding thoughts time and again. Often thoughts keep on intruding – especially the unpleasant ones – for days on end. One cannot get rid them. It gets even more difficult once we have taught ourselves to concentrate our thoughts. The thought content on which we have concentrated, takes hold of us and we need to summon up tremendous effort to eliminate it again.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 –Die geistig-seelischen Grundkräfte der Erziehungskunst – Oxford, 20 August 1922 (page 87)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previoualy posted on June 24, 2016

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It is the effort which counts (2 of 2)

Even if it were to be the case that everything we have taken up was wrong and the only thing we have done is to make an effort, this means we shall have developed the eye of the soul so that we are now able to see what it there in the spiritual world.

Now the situation is that the teachings of the different religious teachers are in no way completely wrong. It is rather that the truth concerning the supersensible world has been presented from different points of view and only appears to be contradictory. The one must be taken to complement the other. What is essential is that all these religious systems have something in common, and this is that they all provide the human soul with concepts the soul uses to make itself strong to enter the spiritual world, so that the soul is raised from death in its spiritual depths. 

Individual religious teachers give to the souls what those souls are capable of receiving, depending on the conditions given in individual races — I would say depending on climatic conditions of the country and on the time when such teachers come forth. They all have in common that they give power and strength to the souls of men. We may also say they make them radiant within so that the souls may be real not only in the physical world but also in the spiritual world. Food to strengthen the soul is the universal truth that has been given to men in all religious systems, depending on the given situation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations: Lecture 6: Spiritual Perception Essential at the Present Time – Berlin, January 26, 1915

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It is the effort which counts (1 of 2)

People find it very easy to say: When I get you to tell me of the supersensible worlds how can I know that all these ideas are really correct?’ Let us imagine someone was spreading ideas about the supersensible worlds, ideas accepted by a number of people, and these were in fact wrong, or one-sided, or did not turn out to be correct in the sense we speak of things being correct in the outer physical world. In such a case it would still have been better for people to have taken up the wrong ideas than to have taken up no ideas at all concerning the supersensible world. Why? It would have been better because the soul has to make an effort in accepting any kind of idea about the supersensible world. You may take up correct ideas or incorrect ideas but you have to make an effort, and it is this effort which counts in the spiritual world when we go through the gate of death. It is this effort that will benefit us after death or, indeed, benefits us altogether when we enter into the spiritual world.

Let us assume we had made our own what is a completely wrong view of the spiritual world. By taking it up we have developed our soul forces just as a gymnast develops his limbs. And whatever we have developed will be ours and we carry it with us into the spiritual world. By taking it with us into the spiritual world we then have something there that is similar to our having eyes here on earth. We shall no longer be blind in the spiritual world. Even if it were to be the case that everything we have taken up was wrong and the only thing we have done is to make an effort, this means we shall have developed the eye of the soul so that we are now able to see what is there in the spiritual world.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations: Lecture 6: Spiritual Perception Essential at the Present Time – Berlin, January 26, 1915

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Why are most Theologians so enraged by Anthroposophy?

Nothing burdens people today more than when someone tells them, ‘If you want to maintain your connection with the spirit in the future, you have to do something for it.’  Most people would like the Mystery on Golgotha to have happened to exempt them from having to do anything about what concerns them. 

They prefer Christ to redeem them from their sins and enter heaven without any effort of their own. And that is why most theologians become so enraged at Anthroposophy. Because the anthroposophical viewpoint can never state that humanity does not have to do anything to maintain its connection with the Spirit, that future earthly development can continue without the participation of the human being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 183 – Die Wissenschaft vom Werden des Menschen – Dornach, September 2, 1918 (page 180)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on September 23, 2020

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