Schools must again teach people something of value

Schools must again teach people something of value. Today, much importance is placed on learning the skills required for making machines. Nothing can be said against this from the standpoint of spiritual science because it is quite worthwhile. 

But the skills needed to cope among human beings are neglected. An abstract social science, ignorant of man’s needs, was invented and this is taught instead. Above all, one must study man as we have done here, but unhappily what I told you is not taught. Look back on your own school days! Where is something like this taught today? That is what our age lacks. Teaching men the things they learn today is about as good for them as feeding them rocks instead of bread. Maybe the stomach of a goose can take rocks but that of a human being cannot! To do so would ruin the digestive system, and when you teach men what is being taught today, you actually ruin their heads. 

You know that the arm becomes weak if it is unused, and the head also becomes weak if it is not used in the right way. While the head was developing in the mother, it received forces from the stars. If it is told nothing about them, if it entertains no thoughts of them, it grows weak, just as muscles do when they are not exercised. If the child learns nothing of the real world, it remains weak. 

The worst thing about conditions today is that people have weak heads and do not understand anything about one another. They separate themselves according to social standing and do not speak to those of other classes. This is like training a man to become an athlete while neglecting his biceps. If, in educating men, I leave their heads weak, they will not know the very thing that matters most. This is how things stand.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness: II: Illnesses Occurring in the Different Periods of Life – Dornach, October 24, 1922

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Progress of the human mind / Human coexistence

We can no longer deny that one fact is sure: that big progress of the human mind, which has constructed the machines etcetera, which has spun round our whole earth with a matchless traffic network, this development of the human mind did not keep abreast of the reflection that is the optimal way of the human living together. 

Today nobody would believe that a machine constructs itself that no intelligence, no mental power must be applied to bring a machine into being and to create a traffic system. However, how many are there today who — even if they do not admit it — take the view in their innermost feeling that the human coexistence originates completely from itself that one does not need any mental strength to intervene in it as one intervenes in a factory.

Source:  Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Spiritual Science and the Social Question – Hamburg, 2nd March 1908

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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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The welding together of human beings with machines 

I have told you that in this epoch we have to solve the problem of how the radiations from human states of mind are carried over into machines; of how human beings are to be brought into relation with an environment which must become increasingly mechanized. […]

The only question is whether in the course of world-history they are going to be brought on to the scene by men who are unselfishly aware of the great aims of earth-evolution and wish to shape these developments for the healing of mankind, or by groups of men who want to use them for their own or the group’s selfish ends.

The point is not what is going to happen, for it certainly will happen, but how it happens — how these things are handled. The welding together of human beings with machines will be a great and important problem for the rest of the earth-evolution. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – The Wrong and Right Use of Esoteric Knowledge – Lecture 3 – Dornach, 25th November 1917

Translated by Charles Davy

Previously posted on January 27, 2018

The welding together of human beings with machines

I have told you that in this epoch we have to solve the problem of how the radiations from human states of mind are carried over into machines; of how human beings are to be brought into relation with an environment which must become increasingly mechanized. […]

The only question is whether in the course of world-history they are going to be brought on to the scene by men who are unselfishly aware of the great aims of earth-evolution and wish to shape these developments for the healing of mankind, or by groups of men who want to use them for their own or the group’s selfish ends.

The point is not what is going to happen, for it certainly will happen, but how it happens — how these things are handled. The welding together of human beings with machines will be a great and important problem for the rest of the earth-evolution.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – The Wrong and Right Use of Esoteric Knowledge – Lecture 3 – Dornach, 25th November 1917

Translated by Charles Davy

Previously posted on 29 January 2016