Passionless thinking

There is usually only one area where we have pure thoughts, that is in mathematics. When people calculate, their passions are usually very little involved. Because the majority of people everywhere wish to exercise their feeling and critical faculty they have no love for mathematics. Here one cannot vote in parliamentary fashion. Mathematical truth is recognised by man through truth itself; a problem can only have one solution. Whether one or a million people hold their own view about it, the problem must find the same solution. Nowhere should we need majority decisions, if it were possible in all spheres to make decisions in a way as free from emotion, as objectively, as in mathematics. In Europe one can only point to this as to an ideal, in the hope that one day, in other spheres of life, judgements will be, reached equally objectively and free from emotion.

Thinkers would not disagree so violently if they would take all the factors into consideration completely objectively, for truth cannot approach man in different ways. People hold different opinions because with their instincts and passions they are involved in their ideas in different ways. […..] No philosophy dealing with human matters was expressed so objectively, with such pure mathematical thinking, as the Vedanta philosophy which is truly philosophical in the highest sense of the word. Whoever imbues himself with this, knows what the following means: ‘I need no other person in order to know whether something is true.’ Whoever actually raises himself to this clear, passionless thinking, needs no other opinion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – THE FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM: Lecture XXI – Berlin, 19th October 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett

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Anger

Outbursts of violent temper hinder the right development of the emotions and also the will, and also have a far more extensive influence, as we can see at once. Now, anger is something that a person does not by any means have under his control. Only gradually can he master the habit of becoming angry, and one must have patience with oneself. To anyone who believes he can achieve this with a turn of the hand I must repeat the story of a teacher who took very much to heart the task of ridding his pupils of anger. When he was faced by the fact, that after constant efforts, a boy still became angry, he himself became so angry that he threw the ink bottle at the child’s head. A person who permits himself to do such a thing must think for many, many weeks about karma.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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Previously posted on  5 September 2018

Objective reality

We will never be able to discover the facts of the spiritual world unless we develop an attitude that acknowledges the facts of the physical world. The right way of experiencing the spiritual world must be developed here in the physical world. That is why we have been placed in the physical world: it is our task here to seek for ideas that are in harmony with objective reality, so that we acquire this ability and so that it becomes a habit we can carry with us into the spiritual world.

But today so many people base their assertions on nothing but emotion and are not in the least interested in whether they agree with objective reality. This is precisely the opposite of the direction in which humanity must move if it is to progress. And, especially in our materialistic age, the notion of thinking in accordance with reality has been so frightfully distorted by the influences we have been describing; thinking that is in accord with reality has become a rarity. And an honest attempt to think in accordance with reality today collides with all the contemporary thinking that is at variance with reality. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 170 – Riddle of Humanity: Lecture Thirteen: Dornach, 28 August 1916

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Conscious and subconscious soul life

There are many subconscious experiences in the human soul. There are depths of the human soul life that do not become concepts, mental pictures, acts of volition, at least not conscious ones, but only in the character of the human soul life. There is a subconscious soul life; and everything is there that can be in the conscious soul life. However, emotions, passions, sympathies and antipathies which we feel in the usual life consciously can also be in the subconscious regions, they are not perceived in it, but have an effect in the soul like a natural force, — save that they are mental and not physical. There is a whole region of the subconscious soul life.

The human being asserts, believes, and means many things not because he is completely aware of their premises; but he believes and means them from the subconscious soul life because unconscious emotions, inclinations urge him. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 63 – Spiritual Science as a Treasure for Life: Lecture II: Theosophy and Antisophy – Berlin, 6 November 1913

Portrait Steiner by Sunny West

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Thinking in accordance with reality

Unless we acquire the faculty for the perception of truth in this physical world we shall never be able to unfold it in regard to the spiritual world. The capacity to find our true bearings in the spiritual world must be developed here in the physical world.
It is for this purpose that we are placed in the physical world, where it behoves us to seek agreement between idea and objective reality, in such a way that this may become natural to us, may become a habit and a faculty which we then carry with us into the spiritual world.
But in these days there are so many who make statements with utter disregard of their conformity with objective fact, simply out of their feelings and emotions! This tendency is the very reverse of what is needed for the onward progress of humanity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 170 – Memory and Habit: III – Dornach, 28th August 1916

Previously posted on June 23, 2018

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