The physical body is really the most perfect thing imaginable. An anatomist will always speak with the utmost admiration of the human heart, which functions in a wonderful way, even though human beings do little else throughout life than imbibe what is poison for it. Alcohol, tea, coffee and so on attack the heart in the most incredible fashion. But so wonderfully has this organ been built that it can withstand all this into ripe old age.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend: Lecture 11 – Berlin, 15th May 1905

Translated by John M. Wood


Nothing more absurd than this can be believed

For spiritual scientific research, the heart is also an extraordinarily interesting organ. You know that our trivial science is inclined to treat knowledge of the heart quite lightly. It looks upon the heart as a pump, a pump that pumps the blood through the body. Nothing more absurd than this can be believed, for the heart has nothing whatsoever to do with pumping the blood; rather the blood is set into activity by the entire mobility (Regsamkeit) of the astral body, of the I, and the heart is only a reflection of these movements.

The movement of the blood is an autonomous movement, and the heart only brings to expression the movement of the blood caused by these forces. The heart is in fact only the organ that expresses the movement of the blood; the heart itself has no activity in relation to this movement of the blood. Contemporary natural scientists become very angry if you speak of this issue.

Many years ago, I think in 1904 or 1905, on a journey to Stockholm, I explained this issue to a natural scientist, a medical man, and he was almost apoplectic about the idea that the heart should no longer be regarded as a pump but that the blood itself comes into movement through its own vitality, that the heart is simply inserted in the general movement of the blood, participating with its beat, and so on.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 205 – Therapeutic Insights: Lecture IV – Dornach, July 2, 1921

Translated by May Laird-Brown

The way to the heart is through the head

The way to the heart is through the head. Even love is no exception to this. When it is not the mere expression of the sex drive, it is then based upon the mental pictures which we make for ourselves of the loved one. And the more idealistic these mental pictures are, the more blissful is the love. Here also the thought is father to the feeling. One says: Love makes us blind to the weaknesses of the loved one. The matter can also be grasped the other way round and it can be maintained that love opens the eye in fact for precisely the good qualities of the loved one. Many pass these good qualities by without an inkling, without noticing them. One person sees them, and just because he does, love awakens in his soul. What has he done other than make for himself a mental picture of something of which a hundred others have none. They do not have the love because they lack the mental picture.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 4 – The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity: I: Conscious Human Action

Translated by William Lindeman

Previously posted on November 29, 2015

What should be required above all in examinations for teachers

Those who wish to become teachers to-day are examined as to what they know, but what does this prove? As a rule only that the candidate has for the time of the examination, hammered into his head something which — if he is at all suited for that particular subject — he has been able to gather from many books, day after day acquiring what it is not in the least necessary to acquire in that way.

What should be required above all in such examinations is to ascertain whether the candidate has the heart, mind and temperament for gradually establishing a relationship between himself and the children. Examination should not test the candidate’s knowledge, but ascertain his power, and whether he is sufficiently a ‘man.’

To make such demands to-day would, I know, simply mean for the present time one of two things. Either it would be said that anyone who demands such tests is quite crazy, such a man does not live in the world of reality; or if reluctant to give such an answer, they would say: ‘Something of the kind does take place, we all want that.’ People suppose that results come about from this training, because they only understand the subject in so far as they bring their consideration to bear upon it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 7: Confidence in Life and Rejuvenation of the Soul: A Bridge to the Dead – Berlin, 26th March, 1918

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on October 5, 2014

No engineering skill in the world could imitate this

What enormous wisdom is needed to build up the simplest physical body of any living being; not to mention the most wonderful structure all living beings on earth; the human body!

Observe, for instance, man’s upper thigh bone; how wonderfully and in accordance with every rule of architecture the single little osseous joists and beams are put together! In its upper part, the upper thigh bone is far more complicated than it appears to us externally; for it is composed of a trestle of beams whose angles are arranged so skillfully that the weight of the whole body is borne by the least quantity of matter; truly a far greater work of art than the most complicated bridge construction; no engineering skill in the world could imitate it!

Or contemplate the structure of the heart: it is built so wisely that man with all his wisdom is but a child in comparison to that wisdom which reveals itself in the structure of the heart. How many things does the human heart withstand, though man’s foolish attempts to ruin it every day, for instance, through our so-called stimulants — coffee, alcohol, nicotine.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture II: Introductory Explanations Concerning the Nature of Man – Kassel, 17th June 1907