How am I to know that what is presented by anyone as the science of initiation is correct, when I cannot myself see into the spiritual world?

It is true, not everyone today can cross the threshold to the spiritual world; but no one would be prevented from perceiving the truth of what is said by those who have crossed that threshold. It is false reasoning when it is said again and again by one or another: How am I to know that what is presented by anyone as the science of initiation is correct, when I cannot myself see into the spiritual world? That is false reasoning. Common sense which is not led astray by the erroneous ideas of our time in the natural or the social sphere can decide of itself whether the element of truth rules in what anyone says. If someone speaks of spiritual worlds, you must take account of everything: the manner of speaking, the seriousness with which things are treated, the logic which is developed, and so on, and then it will be possible to judge whether what is presented as information about the spiritual world is charlatanism, or whether it has foundation. Anyone can decide this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth – Lecture III: Historical Occurrences of the Last Century – Dornach, 14th December 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

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Previously posted  on August  5, 2018

Fear of the new and unknown  

Daily we are experiencing that there actually lives a fear of the new and unknown in the souls of many people. They come and say, ‘ What is brought to us here is in contradiction with proven scientific results.’ Often such a supposed proof is firmly believed in and it is hardly possible to penetrate the preconceived thought patterns. But these thought combinations are nothing else but a pleasant mask with which the fear of the new and unknown clothes itself. And because it’s so nice to be able to say to oneself: one can prove something with logic, all arguments speak against this new way of looking at the world, one hides the fear; a fear that one would be ashamed of when one can see it in its true form.  Even much that nowadays is merited as scientifically sound, which occurs with seemingly strict logic is nothing else but the masked inner fear for the new and unknown.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 77b – Kunst und Anthroposophie, Der Goetheanum-Impuls – Dornach, 21 August 1921 (page 18)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on May 28, 2018

A true philosopher should be a practical human being

One must be able to live in these higher worlds, but at the same time be able to bring oneself back again, so as to stand firmly on one’s own two feet. That is why in speaking of these things I state emphatically that for me as for a good philosopher a knowledge of how shoes and coats are sewn is almost more important than logic. A true philosopher should be a practical human being. One must not be thinking about life if one does not stand within it as a really practical human being. And in the case of one who is seeking super-sensible knowledge this is still more necessary. Knowers of the super-sensible cannot be dreamers or fanatics — people who do not stand firmly on their own two feet. Otherwise one loses oneself because one must really come out of oneself. But this coming-out-of-oneself must not lead to losing oneself. The book, Occult Science, an Outline, was written from such a knowledge as I have described.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Esoteric Development: Lecture IV: The Attainment of Spiritual Knowledge – Oxford, August 20, 1922

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Our opinions do not depend at all on whether to us something is proved logically

So many people take care if they have seen into a worldview so that they are convinced of it to convincing also other people. They believe that it is a very creditable endeavour if they say, because I understand it so clearly, nevertheless, I should be able to convince everybody. However, this is naive. Our opinions do not depend at all on whether to us something is proved logically. This is possible in the fewest cases.

Since the opinions and convictions are formed from quite different subsoil of his soul — from his will nature, from his mood and feeling nature, so that someone can understand your logical discussions, your astute conclusions very well. Nevertheless, he does not at all accept them because that what a human being believes and what he confesses does not flow from his logic and his understanding, but from the whole personality, that is from those members, where the will, where the mood arise. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 60 – Predisposition, Talent and Education of the Human Being – Berlin, 12 January 1911

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Spiritual experiences without healthy reason are worthless (2 of 3)

Even if people were able to have many super-sensible experiences, but disdained to apply healthy reason to them, these experiences would be of no use whatever to humanity in the future. On the contrary, they would do serious harm, for a super-sensible experience is of use only when it is translated into the language that human reason can understand. 

The real evil of our time is not that men have no super-sensible experiences; they could have plenty if they so wished. Such experiences are accessible, but healthy reason is not applied in order to reach them. What is lacking to-day is the application of this healthy human reason.

It is of course unpleasant to have to say this to a generation that prides itself particularly on the exercise of this very reason. But at the present time it is not super-sensible experience that is in the worst plight; it is healthy logic, really sound thinking, and above all, too, the force of truthfulness that are worst off. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 3, 2016