Whoever hits you on the right cheek, turn the other one to him also  

We speak of reincarnation and the law of karma. One can tell oneself: I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I can assume that it exists. I’ll act as if my assumption is true and wait to see what comes of it. A man who thinks and acts like this will make amazing discoveries. In everything that happens to him he’ll think: I caused this in a past life and now bear the consequences of my own deeds. If such a man unconsciously did something foolish and he’s punished for it, he’ll think: I’ll make myself aware of this foolishness, so that I can see that I was the one who brought on these ugly consequences. This is the real meaning of: Whoever hits you on the right cheek, turn the other one to him also.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – ESOTERIC LESSONS I: Number 18Stuttgart, 9-15-1907


Fragments from The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy (3 of 3)

It is not moral talk or prudent admonitions that influence the child in this sense. Rather is it what the grown-up people do visibly before his eyes. The effect of admonition is to mould the forms, not of the physical, but of the etheric body; and the latter, as we saw, is surrounded until the seventh year by a protecting etheric envelope, even as the physical body is surrounded before physical birth by the physical envelope of the mother-body. All that has to evolve in the etheric body before the seventh year — ideas, habits, memory, and so forth — all this must develop ‘of its own accord,’ just as the eyes and ears develop within the mother-body without the influence of external light … What we read in that excellent educational work — Jean Paul’s ‘Levana’ or ‘Science of Education’ — is undoubtedly true. He says that a traveler will have learned more from his nurse in the first years of his life, than in all his journeys round the world. The child, however, does not learn by instruction or admonition, but by imitation. The physical organs shape their forms through the influence of the physical environment. Good sight will be developed in the child if his environment has the right conditions of light and colour, while in the brain and blood-circulation the physical foundations will be laid for a healthy moral sense if the child sees moral actions in his environment. If before his seventh year the child sees only foolish actions in his surroundings, the brain will assume such forms as adapt it also to foolishness in later life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy

Translated by George and Mary Adams


Previously posted on April 11, 2018


At the present time, one regards every man as intelligent, even as if he were wise. However, that is not the case. One can be intelligent and have the most stupid thoughts. The greatest foolishness is thought out very intelligently. Especially if one looks at a large part of contemporary science, it must be said: This science is actually intelligent in all areas, but it is certainly not wise.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 10, 1924 (page 214)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on May 23, 2018

Squabbles over differences of opinion

Nowadays people often squabble over opinions. But that cannot continue, simply because it is necessary that everyone has their own opinion. When a tree is photographed from different sides, it is still the same tree, but the descriptions will be quite different; thus, every person can have his own opinion – depending on the position he places himself.

The wise man will no longer fight over opinions. He will however, find some opinions healthy, and others unhealthy. But people no longer need to fight about opinions that differ from their own. It’s like looking at different pictures and then noticing: those pictures are quite unalike, these are good, and those others have failed. It can at most be interesting how a man comes to his opinion: whether an opinion is formed out of wisdom, or foolishness, whether an opinion is commonplace and infertile or noble and fruitful for humanity – that is of interest.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, 16 August 1920 (page 62-63)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on April 27, 2018

All the terrible, hopelessly commonplace and superficial things that are now being written and said in this world

Anyone who wants to gain a little understanding of the present position, and looks at our time in the light of the serious truths we have been considering, must develop a reasonable degree of feeling for all the terrible, hopelessly commonplace and superficial things that are now being written and said in this world.

Imagine a band of children smashing up all the pots and plates, glasses and everything in the house. The adults who see this happening are considering how to stop it, for the children keep running to the larder and all over the house to find more things to smash. Finally the adults have an idea as to how they can stop it. A number of people who are watching, people who actually consider themselves to be the teachers of these children, find a solution: They take care that everything breakable is collected and smashed to pieces — and that, they think, should put an end to it all! I do not know how many people would not consider those teachers to be fools. This is the kind of situation where people would see the truth. Yet there are people who consider themselves to be wise and who say to the whole world: Carnage must continue until peace comes; everything has to be broken, so there will be nothing left to smash in the world. This is considered wisdom. Go on murdering people for as long as you can and you will stop the murder. This is wisdom!

For anyone who has even a spark of logic it is no longer wisdom when the teacher says to a band of children: To make sure nothing else gets smashed up, I will quickly get people to collect all other breakable objects and smash them; I reckon nothing else will get smashed after that. Why do people call this foolishness and the other thing political foresight? Because people’s thinking stops at the very point where it should be most intense, which is where their thoughts relate to great questions of destiny.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness : Lecture 1: The Driving Force Behind Europe’s War – Dornach, 29 September 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on August 22, 2015