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

practical-philosophy

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

One does not aim at clearness of thinking in our time at all

Our time strives for intelligence and logic, but those who want to be at the head of the scientific or cultural efforts of our time do not possess a lot of keen mind and logic.

One does not aim at the whole clearness of thinking in our time at all. If one fully aimed at the clearness of thinking, one would also be able to understand spiritual science completely. Who thinks clearly cannot argue anything against that which spiritual science has to bring forward — of course on the whole; since the spiritual scientist can be mistaken as the human being can generally be mistaken. 

Countless examples could be given which show us that just our time is little inclined to apply clear, keen thinking.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death – Cologne, 19th June 1915

Previously posted on September 6, 2016

Memory

Our memory is sometimes a bit better, sometimes a bit poorer, but we do have a memory. We have experiences; later we remember these experiences. What we experience in the spiritual world is different. We can experience it in its greatness, in beauty, in meaning – but when we have experienced it, it is over with. And it must be experienced again, if the soul wants it to stand in front of it again. It does not imprint itself in the memory in the usual way. It imprints itself in the memory only then, when one first take the trouble to transfer it into concepts, if one uses one’s mental capacity in the supersensible world. That is very difficult. One must indeed think without the help of the body. Therefore, one must have learned to order one’s concepts beforehand, must have become an orderly logician, so that one does not forget this logic, when one perceives in the spiritual world.

 Source(German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 –Die geistig-seelischen Grundkräfte der Erziehungskunst – Oxford, August 20, 1922 (page 84-85)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on December 6, 2017