Character / Soul / Body

Character is not confined to the inner life of the soul, but penetrates into a man’s external physique and limbs. It finds expression, first, in his gestures; second, in his physiognomy; and third, in the plastic formation of the skull, the origin of what we call phrenology.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul / Paths of Experience – Volume One: LECTURE 5: Human Character – Munich, 14th March 1909

Translated by C. Davy and C. von Arnim

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Controlling our Thinking

We are now in a period when a significant change must come about: People must become thinking people instead of thinking machines. It is terrible, is it not, when you say something like that, because people of our time take it for granted that they are thinking people, and if you ask them to become thinking people, they actually find it an insult. But that is how it is.

Since the middle of the 15th century, people have become more and more like thinking machines. People surrender themselves to thoughts, as it were; they do not control them. Imagine what it would be like if you did the same with your limbs as most people do with their thinking organs today. Ask yourself if the modern human being can be inclined – I say can be – to randomly take in a thought and randomly shut down a thought. Thoughts are bubbling up in people’s heads today. People cannot resist them; they automatically surrender to them. A thought arises, the previous one disappears, it flies and flashes through the mind, and people think in such a way that one could best say: it thinks in the human being.

Imagine that your arms and legs would behave similarly, that you would be able to control them as little as you can control your thinking. Imagine a person walking down the street, his arms moving in the same uncontrolled way as his thinking organ moves! You know how much goes through a person’s head when he walks down the street, and now imagine how he would continually gesture with his arms and hands in the same way that he does with the thoughts in his head!

And yet, we are facing the age when people have to learn to control their thoughts in the same way they control their arms and legs. We are entering that era. A particular inner discipline of our thinking is what has to occur now and from which people today are still exceedingly far away.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 190 – Vergangenheits- und Zukunftsimpulsen im sozialen Geschehen – Dornach, March 23, 1919 (page 48-49)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Truths in small doses

It was only in the middle of the Atlantean epoch that the true human form appeared. In the previous epoch, and indeed at a very early period, the external form of man was very mobile; not only could he move his limbs as at present, but through inner powers he could elongate or shorten them, etc. To the ordinary consciousness of today it seems a kind of outrage to say such things about past conditions of the earth and of man. Even here among Anthroposophists you may have observed that we endeavour to develop certain truths step by step; we give them forth gradually, in small doses — they are then more easily digested.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 105 – Universe, Earth and Man: VII – Stuttgart, 11th August 1908

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Previously posted on November 4, 2017

Truths in small doses

It was only in the middle of the Atlantean epoch that the true human form appeared. In the previous epoch, and indeed at a very early period, the external form of man was very mobile; not only could he move his limbs as at present, but through inner powers he could elongate or shorten them, etc. To the ordinary consciousness of today it seems a kind of outrage to say such things about past conditions of the earth and of man. Even here among Anthroposophists you may have observed that we endeavour to develop certain truths step by step; we give them forth gradually, in small doses — they are then more easily digested.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 105 – Universe, Earth and Man: VII – Stuttgart, 11th August 1908