All stages of life bring gifts to man

Nowadays we pay very little attention to the fact that throughout life a constant process of ripening goes on. Inwardly honest men, such as Goethe, feel this. Even in his latest years Goethe was still eager to learn. His inward growth continued; he felt he had not finished with the task of becoming a man. And in looking back on his youth and prime he saw in all that had come to him then a preparation for the experiences brought by old age. Nowadays people very seldom think in that way — least of all when taking account of man as a social being. Everyone, as soon as he is twenty, wants to belong to some corporate body and — in the favourite phrase — to exercise his democratic judgment! It never occurs to anyone that there are things in life worth waiting for, because increasing ripeness comes with the years. Men today have no idea of that!

That is one thing we must learn, my dear friends — that all stages of life — and not only the first two or three decades of youth — bring gifts to man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – INNER ASPECT OF THE SOCIAL QUESTION: Lecture I – Zurich, 4 February 1919



Goethe’s Last Words

You know that among the many clichés which became current in the nineteenth century, it was said that the great pioneer of the nineteenth century closed his life by calling out to posterity: “More light!” As a matter of fact Goethe did not say “More light!” He lay on his couch breathing with difficulty and said: “Open the shutters!” That is the truth. The other is the cliché that has connected itself with it. The words Goethe really spoke are perhaps far more apt than the mere phrase “More light”. The state of things at the end of the nineteenth century does indeed arouse the feeling that our predecessors have closed the shutters. Then came the younger generation; they felt cramped; they felt that the shutters which the older generation had closed so tightly must be opened. Yes, my dear friends, I assure you that although I am old, I shall tell you more of how we can now attempt to open the shutters again.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 217 – THE YOUNGER GENERATION – Lecture 1 – Dornach, 3 October 1922

Translated by R. M. Querido


The childish way of psycho-analysts

The progress of mankind in spiritual life will depend on its ability [to regard life in this way,] to observe in all detail what flows across from former epochs of the world’s evolution into later epochs through the human beings themselves. Then we shall cease, in the childish way of psycho-analysts, to explain the peculiarities of souls by speaking of ‘hidden underlying regions’ and the like. After all, one can ascribe anything one likes to what is ‘hidden’. We shall look for the real causes. In some respects, no doubt, the psycho-analysts do quite good work. But these pursuits remind us of the story of how someone heard that in the year 1749 a son was born to a certain patrician. Afterwards this son emerged as a very gifted man. To this day we can point to the actual birth-place in Frankfurt of the man who afterwards came forth as Wolfgang Goethe. ‘Let us make excavations in the earth and see by dint of what strange emanations his talents came about’. Sometimes the psycho-analysts seem to me just like that. They dig into the earth-realm of the soul, into the hidden regions which they themselves first invent by their hypotheses, whereas in reality one ought to look into the preceding lives on earth and lives between death and a new birth. Then if we do so, a true understanding of human souls is opened out to us. Truly the souls of men are far too rich in content to enable us to understand their content out of a single life alone.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships, Volume II: Lecture II – Dornach, 12th April 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Previously posted on April 16, 2018

Imaginative perception

To discover the true significance of thinking, to find the real truth — that thinking has cosmic significance — it is necessary to progress to imaginative perception, as described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. Stripping our thinking of the abstract nature we consciously associate with it, and entering into that ocean of weaving thoughts, we encounter the necessity to have not only the abstract thoughts in there that we have as citizens of the earth but to conceive images in it. For everything is created from images. 

Images are the true or origins of things; images are behind everything around us; and it is into these images we enter when we immerse ourselves in the ocean of weaving thoughts. Those are the images Plato spoke of; they are the images all who have spoken of spiritual primary causes had in mind, the images Goethe had in mind with his archetypal plant. These images are to be found in imaginative thinking. This imaginative thinking is a reality and we become immersed in it when we enter the billowing world of thoughts that move with the stream of time.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations: Lecture 14: The Cosmic Significance of Our Sensory Perceptions – Our Thinking, Feeling and Will Activity – Berlin, July 6, 1915


By David Newbatt

Arguments / Pros and Cons

A concept, an idea, a mental picture is real, as soon as one approaches the spiritual facts and beings, is nothing but an image, a photo which one gets in the physical world, we say of a tree. If one takes a photo of a tree from one side and a photo from another side, a photo from the third side — these pictures look different. However, they all are of the one and same tree. Only because one takes these photos from different sides one can receive a complete idea of reality. However, one does not like that today. One likes limited concepts. One wants to adhere to them. Spiritual science cannot do this. Spiritual science describes a matter from most different sides; it describes it once from one side and knows that it gives an one-sided picture only; then it describes it from a second side, from a third side, from a third viewpoint.

Indeed, what astonishes even more is the following. If one really wants to become a spiritual scientist, one has to be completely penetrated by the sentence that Goethe formed: between two contrary opinions, the problem is right in the middle. One must know not only — if one wants to know the truth of a spiritual being or a spiritual fact — what militates for it, but also what speaks against it.

The listeners who have frequently heard talks by me know that it is my habit from the spiritual-scientific attitude to not only say what militates for, but also what militates against a matter. In particular, I have the habit of doing this always if I hold talks about more intimate talks on higher fields of anthroposophy. That is why someone who peruses my writings not only discovers with which arguments one can found certain spiritual facts, spiritual beings, but also with which arguments one can disprove the things. Only thereby, one receives truthful experience.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 72 – II: Anthroposophy Does not Disturb Any Religious Confession – Basel, 19 October 1917

Pros And Cons - Balance Concept
Pros and Cons – Balance and Evaluation Concept