Sound judgment

How often human beings do not see in an unconfused way what exists, but rather what they crave to see! In how many cases do men believe something, not because they have discerned it, but because it is acceptable to them to believe! Or what errors arise because one does not go to the bottom of a thing, but forms a hasty judgment! All these reasons for deception in ordinary life might be multiplied indefinitely. What tricks are played upon sound judgment by partisan feeling, passion, and so forth. If such errors of judgment in ordinary life are disturbing and often disastrous, they are the greatest conceivable danger to the wholesomeness of the supersensible experience. No general rule can be given to the student for his guidance in the higher worlds, beyond the advice to do everything possible for his healthy power of discernment and for his sound, independent judgment.  

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 12 – The Stages of Higher Knowledge – Chapter 4: Inspiration and Intuition

Translated by by Lisa Monges and Floyd McKnight

Previously posted on March 4, 2018


Feeling and intellect

Someone who thinks in a materialistic way easily believes one can only arrive at understanding through abstract concepts. It takes great effort  for him to come to the insight that the other soul faculties are just as necessary to understand the world, as is the intellect. It is not just meant metaphorically when it is said that one can understand just as well with the feelings, the heart or with a sense of becoming aware of something – as it were sensing it – as with the intellect. Intellectual understanding is only one means to understand the things of this world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Die Erziehung des Kindes vom Gesichtspunkte der Geisteswissenschaft – 1907 (page 334)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 17, 2015


Logical arguments hardly ever convince people

As a rule it is not the alleged reasons which lead people to their statements. Beneath and behind the reasons, it is the habits of thought which they have acquired, and which determine their whole way of feeling. While they put forward reasons, they are only masking feelings that are instinctive with thoughts that are habitual. Thus often, not only is the wish father to the thought, but all the feelings and habits and ways of thinking are parents of the thoughts. A man who knows life, knows how little possibility there is of convincing people by logical grounds and arguments. That which decides in the soul is far deeper than the logical reasons.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 108 – Practical Training in Thought – Carlsruhe, 18th January, 1909

Translated by George Kaufmann / New and Revised Edition by H. Collison


Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply (3 of 3)

Yes, my dear friends, we continually undergo experiences which strike in upon our feeling life and are the reaction of the world to an experience we had in the sphere of feeling during the previous seven-year period. An event that stirs and moves our feelings resounds again into our life of soul during the next stage of life. People do not usually remark such things, but anyone who takes a little trouble can learn to observe them, even externally.

Who of you has not at one time had the experience that someone you know well suddenly becomes dejected and out of humour? You have no idea why, but a change has come over him “out of the blue”, as we say. If you follow up the matter and have the eyes of your soul open to observe the particular way in which such a man conducts himself in life, if you can feel what is in between the words he says — or rather, what is within the words — then you will be able to go back to some earlier event that affected him deeply. And during the whole of the interval something has been going on in the world which would not have been going on if the man had not had that moving experience. The whole thing is a process which, besides being experienced by the man himself, takes place also as an absolutely objective experience outside him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – ELEMENTAL BEINGS AND HUMAN DESTINIES – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Translation revised by Charles Davy

Previously posted on May, 2020


Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply (2 of 3)

Now let us go back to the event that makes a strong impression on our life of feeling. Suppose the event happens between the change of teeth and puberty. A very remarkable thing then takes place, which in these days of crude observation is not generally noticed. The impression made upon your feeling is there, and then gradually the vibrations of it die away in your consciousness. But something takes place in the objective world quite apart from what is in your consciousness, quite apart from any share your life of soul has in it. And this process that goes on in the objective world may be compared with the setting up of a vibratory motion. It vibrates out into the world. And the remarkable thing is that it does not go out and out endlessly into the infinite, but when it has spread itself out for a sufficient distance — when its elasticity is, so to speak, used up — it swings back and makes its appearance in the next seven-year period as an impulse that works upon your life of soul from outside. I will not say that such an event always comes back seven years later, for the lapse of time depends on the whole form and character of the individual life, but it falls into the course of the next seven-year period, although very often entirely without your notice.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – ELEMENTAL BEINGS AND HUMAN DESTINIES – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Translation revised by Charles Davy

Previously posted on May 2, 2020