If people only talked facts, a widespread silence would arise

If, by some miracle, a large number of people were forced to only form words which accurately reflected the facts, a widespread silence would result. This is because most of what gets discussed nowadays, does not correspond to the facts, but arises from a wide variety of opinions and passions. The thing is that whatever we add to external conditions, without it corresponding to the facts, extinguishes our potential for higher knowledge.

It even happened  that a small experiment for law students was minutely prepared and carried out on twenty people. The twenty were then asked to describe in writing what they had seen. Three got it half right and seventeen totally wrong.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 – Lebendiges Naturerkennen, Intellektueller Sündenfall und spirituelle Sündenerhebung – Dornach, 20 January 20, 1923 (page 128)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on June 13, 2016

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Healthy and properly thinking is necessary for higher knowledge

In order to know how to relate these pictures (of the spiritual world) to the spiritual reality they represent, we have to apply to them the exact thought processes we have acquired as modern human beings. We really have to think within this world of pictures in the very way we have learnt to think in the ordinary physical world. Every thoughtless glance is damaging to modern initiation. All the healthy ways of thinking we have developed as modern human beings must be brought to bear on higher knowledge. Just as we can find our way about the ordinary physical world if we can think properly, so can we only find our way about in the world of the spirit — which we enter through modern initiation — if we are able to penetrate with the thinking we have gained here in the physical world into all the knowledge we attain through Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 210 – Old and New Methods of Initiation: Lecture 7 – Dornach, 12th February 1922

Translated by Johanna Collis

Previously posted on December 7, 2014

Hold on to the facts

What we speak nowadays corresponds little to outward facts. It is mostly the outcome of various opinions and passions. However, when we add to our external sensory perceptions what does not match pure reality, and reflect it as thoughts, we destroy our capacity for higher knowledge. […] The most basic rule for ascending to the higher worlds is this: learn to hold on to the pure facts of the physical world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 – Lebendiges Naturerkennen Intellektueller Sündenfall und spirituelle Sündenerhebung– Dornach, January 20, 1923 (page 128-129)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 24, 2016

Higher knowledge is neither speculation, nor a system of thought, it is a beholding

It is neither speculation, nor a system of thought that has led us to a knowledge of the higher worlds; it is a beholding. Even as the development of the body, from the embryonic stage onwards, gives us a conception of the external physical world, so the steps described to you in principle (details can be found in the books I have mentioned) lead us to a knowledge of soul-processes and enable us to live in a spiritual world in which we existed before birth and into which we enter when we pass through the portal of death. Objective vision leads to a knowledge of the higher worlds.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 79 – Paths to Knowledge of Higher Worlds – Christiania (Oslo), November 26, 1921

We must seek for the god in the invisible worlds and in all external creatures, facts, and processes

Some spiritual movements want to divert the human being from the external world; one should look for the higher self only in oneself. This point of view can never lead to a real knowledge; it is unchristian and antichristian at the same time. Only in the orientation to the world, which surrounds us, we find our higher self. We must seek for the god in the invisible worlds and in all external creatures, facts, and processes. If anybody says to us, deny the external world, this external matter does not exist, he denies the divine world; and there is for a big perspective no worse knowledge than turning away from the outside world. Just the deepening in the outside world leads to higher knowledge. Everything physical dries out, if it is raised a little above the earth, everything mental dries out, if it is raised a little above the spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Inner Development – Berlin, 19th April 1906