Muddled, fantastic speculations

Many of our contemporaries have received the idea more or less superficially that spiritual science is something that lies far away from all practical life and cannot at all intervene anyhow in this practical life of the daily routine. You do not find the idea as seldom as it expresses itself in the words: oh, this spiritual science, it is something for single people who are tired of life who do not deal with anything practical and have time enough to deal with all sorts of muddled, fantastic speculations as the spiritual-scientific ideas are.

I do not deny from the outset that strictly speaking such a reproach is even justified with many theosophical/anthroposophical phenomena that it is often true that those who deal with theosophical/anthroposophical matters and ideas really face the everyday life as strangely as possible. However, even among those who have hard to fight and to work in the everyday life and bring themselves through only with pain and misery, those are found who are driven from inner sympathy, from the yearning of their hearts to spiritual science. Among them many a man will be for whom this duality — the everyday occupation, the everyday work from morning to night and then the merging in the great ideas has something marvellous. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture XI: Occupation and Earnings – Berlin, 12 March 1908

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Sugar

When the soul undergoes development, it then experiences all the sugar it takes into its body, or already has within it, as something giving it inner firmness, supporting it inwardly, permeating it to a certain extent with a sort of natural sense of selfhood. And in this respect a sort of eulogy might even be pronounced on sugar. In passing through a soul development a person may even often notice that he needs to take sugar, because the psychic development inevitably tends to make him become more and more selfless. Through an orderly anthroposophical development the soul of itself becomes more selfless. […] 

It might be said that, through eating sugar, a sort of blameless ego-sense is produced, forming a counterpoise to the necessary selflessness in the spiritual realm of morals. Otherwise there might all too easily be the temptation not only to become selfless, but also dreamy and fantastic, to lose the healthy capacity for judging earthly conditions. An addition of sugar to the food gives the power, in spite of the ascent into the spiritual world, to stand firmly on the earth with both feet, and to cultivate a healthy estimate of earthly things. [ …] 

On the whole, we may say the consumption of sugar intensifies physically the character of the human personality. We may be so certain of this that we may even say that it is easier for those who take sugar to imprint the character of their personality upon their physical body than for those who do not; but it stands to reason that this must be kept within healthy limits.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – Effects of Occult Development: Lecture II – The Hague – March 21, 1913

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Improbable, confused and fantastic

Whoever has worked for many years within these circles, or are inwardly active in such circles, will think back to a time when they had, for the first time, heard something about the anthroposophic occult science of man, and they will remember that some of the first communications not only appeared improbable, but perhaps confused and fantastic — perhaps even worse could be said about them. However, with the passing time you may get used to certain impressions as the anthroposophic world view comes ever closer, and the world of feeling makes it possible to share things which are revealed from Higher Worlds. These revelations become absorbed just like facts on the physical place, taking place in the physical world, they too are taken in. 

Whatever one can call proof of spiritual statements is not to be sought in the same fields as are the proofs for scientific certainties. With such a line of argument one can’t do much. The line of argument which is available for experiences in the anthroposophic world view lies in the complete intimate transformation as experienced within the soul life. Long before we can happily penetrate to perceiving the spiritual worlds through the application of spiritual scientific or occult methods, we can build in ourselves a presentiment, a premonition out of the correctness, from deep legitimacy, that which is shared regarding Higher Worlds.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Regarding Higher Worlds – Vienna, 21st November 1908

Translated by Hanna von Maltitz

 Previously posted on October 25, 2017

Ability to Receive Anthroposophy Limited

If one presents a public lecture about spiritual science or anthroposophy, then one is forced to take into account the inability to take in what is offered, by the contemporary world, one must be very much aware of this limited ability. One has to be clearly conscious of the fact that in our time, although there is an influx of insights streaming in from the spiritual world, insights which are necessary for humankind today, it is very difficult nowadays to be uninhibited in taking these truths in. Most people who are not well prepared to receive it will experience the deeper spiritual-scientific truths as a shock, as something which appears as fantastic or as a dream.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – Die Mission der neuen Geistesoffenbarung – München, February 25, 1911 (page 86)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 14, 2017

The reality of the spiritual world was to me as certain as that of the physical

The reality of the spiritual world was to me as certain as that of the physical. I felt the need, however, for a sort of justification for this assumption. I wished to be able to say to myself that the experience of the spiritual world is just as little an illusion as is that of the physical world. With regard to geometry I said to myself: “Here one is permitted to know something which the mind alone, through its own power, experiences.” In this feeling I found the justification for the spiritual world that I experienced, even as, so to speak, for the physical. And in this way I talked about this. I had two conceptions which were naturally undefined, but which played a great role in my mental life even before my eighth year. I distinguished things as those “which are seen” and those “which are not seen.”

I am relating these matters quite frankly, in spite of the fact that those persons who are seeking for evidence to prove that anthroposophy is fantastic will, perhaps, draw the conclusion from this that even as a child I was marked by a gift for the fantastic: no wonder, then, that a fantastic philosophy should also have evolved within me.

But it is just because I know how little I have followed my own inclinations in forming conceptions of a spiritual world – having on the contrary followed only the inner necessity of things – that I myself can look back quite objectively upon the childlike unaided manner in which I confirmed for myself by means of geometry the feeling that I must speak of a world “which is not seen.”

Only I must also say that I loved to live in that world. For I should have been forced to feel the physical world as a sort of spiritual darkness around me had it not received light from that side.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter I

Previously posted on February 26, 2015