Blind faith in authority

We live in an age of the most careless thinking and at the same time it is an age of the blindest trust in authority. People live to-day entirely under the impression that they must believe in, they must recognise authority, that they must have the sanction of outside powers. They desire a warrant for this or that. For the most part men do not consider to-day that it is an individual concern, that they will eventually have to take up the matter for themselves! So, they go to whom ‘right and law is bequeathed like a hereditary sickness’ and accept conclusions without weighing how those conclusions were reached; for they consider it right to accept authority blindly.

A man is ill — he takes not the least trouble to learn the simplest thing about the illness. Why should he? We have recognised and certified physicians whose business it is to look after our bodies; we need not trouble in the least about them!

If information on any subject be desired, people go to those who ought to know, to the theologian, to the philosopher, to this one or to that.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 165 – ON THE DUTY OF CLEAR, SOUND THINKING – Dornach, 1st January 1916

Previously posted on April 4, 2020

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The power of the fairy tales

Materialists say myths and fairy tales originated in the childhood stage of the human race. But in its childhood, humanity was taught by the gods. In the process of our evolution, myths and fairy tales are gradually lost, but children should not grow up without them. It makes a tremendous difference whether or not children are allowed to grow up with fairy tales. The power of the fairy tale images, which give wings to the soul, becomes apparent only at a later age.

Growing up without fairy tales leads later to boredom, to world-weariness. Indeed, it can even cause physical symptoms — fairy tales can help to prevent illnesses. The qualities that seep into our soul from fairy tales later emerge as a zest for life, enthusiasm for being alive, and an ability to cope with life, all of which can be seen even in old age. Children have to experience the power of the content of fairy tales while they are young and can still do so. People who cannot live with ideas that have no reality on the physical plane will be dead to the spiritual world. Philosophies based only on the material world are the death of our soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on March 23, 2020

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Too much sleep

If we decided to sleep more, as some retired people do, we would sleep too much. Of course, that is no objection to sleeping a lot. Since intellectual work takes a lot out of our physical organization, people doing that kind of work need much sleep. But if we sleep too much, we have too many new life forces and these then begin to proliferate; the human being then abounds with life forces. This surplus of life forces leads to illness. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 –  Presence of the dead: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

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An illness to be aware of

Now nobody who strives honestly for self-knowledge today can fail to come to the conclusion that he is incapable of laying hold of that for which he is striving; that his power of comprehension lags behind his striving. He feels the ineffectiveness of his efforts. This is a very real experience. A certain feeling of ineffectiveness is experienced by everyone who in the quest for self-knowledge takes honest counsel with himself. It is a wholesome feeling, for it is nothing else than awareness of the sickness in us, and when we have an illness without being aware of it, then we are all the more ill. In feeling at some point in our life the powerlessness to lift ourselves to the Divine, we become aware of that sickness of which I have spoken, the sickness that has been implanted into us. And in becoming aware of this sickness, we feel that as the body is today, our soul would be condemned to die with it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – How Do I Find the Christ? – Zürich, October 16th, 1918

Translated by A. P. Shepherd, D.D., and D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on February 16, 2020

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Health-giving thoughts

Thought possesses healing power. […] Someone who understands these things may say to you that certain thoughts give health, and the person who hears this may at a certain time be affected by this or that illness. Indeed, my dear friends, the fact that we cannot at present be relieved of all illnesses by the mere power of thought is due to an ancient heritage. But are you able to say what illnesses would have overtaken you if you had not possessed the thoughts? Could you say that your life would have been passed in its present degree of health if you had not possessed these thoughts?

In the case of a person who has applied himself to spiritual science guided by Anthroposophy and who dies at the age of 45 years, can you prove that, without these thoughts, he would not have died at 42 or 40 years of age? Human beings tend always to think from the wrong direction when they deal with these thoughts. They direct their attention to what cannot be bestowed upon them, by reason of their karma, but do not pay attention to what is bestowed upon them by reason of their karma. But if, in spite of everything contradictory in the external physical world, you direct your look with the power of inner confidence which you have gained through intimate familiarity with the thoughts of spiritual science, you then come to feel the healing power, a healing power which penetrates even into the physical body, refreshing, rejuvenating — the third element, which the Christ as the Healer brings with his never ceasing revelations into the human soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 187 – The Birth of Christ in the Human Soul – Basel, December 22, 1918

Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker

Previously posted on July 30, 2018

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