What is intellectually proved should not be regarded as of real value or efficacy in life

Everywhere today we see parties being formed for one object or another. People nowadays have no discernment, nor do they desire to have it where party opinions and party programs are concerned. With intellectual ingenuity, proof can be furnished in support of the most radically opposing theories. Very clever arguments can be used to prove the soundness of Leninism – but the same applies to directly contrary principles and also to what lies between the two extremes. An excellent case can be made out for every party program: but the one who establishes the validity of the opposite program is equally right. 

The intellectualism prevailing among people today is not capable of demonstrating the inner potentialities and values of anything. It can furnish proofs; but what is intellectually proved should not be regarded as of real value or efficacy in life. People oppose one another in parties because the soundness of every party opinion – at any rate the main party opinions – can be proved with equal justification. Our intellect remains at the surface layer of understanding and does not penetrate to the deeper layer where the truth actually lies. This, too, must be fundamentally and thoroughly understood.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three -Bern – 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on February 7, 2018

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The age of intellectualism

We can say that it is one of the peculiarities of the present day that, above all, thinking, intellectualism has advanced since the middle of the fifteenth century. It is necessary that as part of the immense schooling it must undergo throughout earthly development, humanity must undergo the experience of being educated through intellectualism. In this sense, humanity must experience life with intellectuality as its core principle. The human being could never acquire true freedom without assimilating the intellectual principle in his being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 197 – Gegensätze in der Menschheitsentwickelung  / West und Ost, Materialismus und Mystik, Wissen und Glauben – Stuttgart, March 5, 1920 (page 9-10)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Present-day intellectualism is in an upper layer of reality and does not go down into the depths of being

Human thinking, the present intellect, lies in a stratum of being where it does not reach down to realities. One can therefore prove something quite strictly, and also prove its opposite. It is possible today to prove spiritualism on the one hand and materialism on the other. And people may fight against each other from equally good standpoints because present-day intellectualism is in an upper layer of reality and does not go down into the depths of being.

And it is the same with party opinions. A man who does not look deeper but simply lets himself be accepted into a certain party-circle — by reason of his education, heredity, circumstances of life and State — quite honestly believes — or so he thinks — in the possibility of proving the tenets of the party into which he has slipped, as he says. And then — then he fights against someone else who has slipped into another party! And the one is just as right as the other. This calls forth chaos and confusion over mankind that will gradually become greater and greater unless men see through it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – The Ahrimanic Deception – Zurich, October 27, 1919

Translated by M. Cotterell/Revised by William Riggens

Previously posted on July 25, 2017

What is intellectually proved should not be regarded as of real value or efficacy in life

Everywhere today we see parties being formed for one object or another. People nowadays have no discernment, nor do they desire to have it where party opinions and party programs are concerned. With intellectual ingenuity, proof can be furnished in support of the most radically opposing theories. Very clever arguments can be used to prove the soundness of Leninism – but the same applies to directly contrary principles and also to what lies between the two extremes. An excellent case can be made out for every party program: but the one who establishes the validity of the opposite program is equally right.

The intellectualism prevailing among people today is not capable of demonstrating the inner potentialities and values of anything. It can furnish proofs; but what is intellectually proved should not be regarded as of real value or efficacy in life. People oppose one another in parties because the soundness of every party opinion – at any rate the main party opinions – can be proved with equal justification. Our intellect remains at the surface layer of understanding and does not penetrate to the deeper layer where the truth actually lies. This, too, must be fundamentally and thoroughly understood.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three -Bern – 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on May 16, 2014

Present-day intellectualism is in an upper layer of reality and does not go down into the depths of being

Human thinking, the present intellect, lies in a stratum of being where it does not reach down to realities. One can therefore prove something quite strictly, and also prove its opposite. It is possible today to prove spiritualism on the one hand and materialism on the other. And people may fight against each other from equally good standpoints because present-day intellectualism is in an upper layer of reality and does not go down into the depths of being.

And it is the same with party opinions. A man who does not look deeper but simply lets himself be accepted into a certain party-circle — by reason of his education, heredity, circumstances of life and State — quite honestly believes — or so he thinks — in the possibility of proving the tenets of the party into which he has slipped, as he says. And then — then he fights against someone else who has slipped into another party! And the one is just as right as the other. This calls forth chaos and confusion over mankind that will gradually become greater and greater unless men see through it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – The Ahrimanic Deception – Zurich, October 27, 1919

Translated by M. Cotterell/Revised by William Riggens

Previously posted on March 8, 2014