I gladly renounce happiness 

In the book Letters by Rudolf Steiner, I read the following remarkable sentences from a letter from Steiner to his first wife, Anna Eunike.   

I often thought of your words before your farewell last Monday. Do not believe, dear Anna, that I am striving for what people call happiness. I gladly renounce happiness. To think that I am aiming for happiness is a misconception. I want to be productive and work as much as I can. More than that, I don’t want. (letter 595 – Berlin, 6 February 1904)  

The question is what those words of Anna Eunike were. That becomes somewhat clearer in a subsequent letter from Steiner to her.  

But you, dear Anna, have taken a wrong view of everything lately. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been able to say you want me to be happy. Don’t misunderstand me. I know you mean it. But I certainly don’t strive to be personally happy. I only want to be understood. But of myself – as a person – people should take no notice. (letter 596 – Berlin, 14 February 1904)

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 39 – BRIEFE – BAND II 1890-1925 (blz. 432-433)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 


Anna Eunike (1853-1911)




It is a complete misconception when one inclines towards ascetical behaviour during earthly physical development if one considers the latter as the enemy of the higher human being. It is an untruth because earthly experience gives something to the human being that he could not obtain in any other way. It is wrong to despise life in the physical body, to view the body as something low. It is particularly important and the most meaningful thing in the whole of human life. 

And spiritual science cannot at all agree with the kind of mysticism or wrong direction of Christianity – not the right direction, but the wrong one – that despises the earthly world. Between death and a new birth, man experiences the world from a different perspective; he experiences it so that now, not only the beings who worked in him during the time he was within the physical and etheric bodies but the Creator Beings themselves are working in him as well. There he has a different experience. That is why, during our earthly life, we have the task of getting to know not only the sensory but also the supersensory world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 184 – Die Polarität von Dauer und Entwickelung im Menschenleben – Dornach, September 8, 1918 (page 64)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

A boundless absurdity

Some people are so greatly influenced by theories built up on the basis of exact scientific experience that they cannot do otherwise than regard the contents of a book like this as a boundless absurdity. The exponent of supersensible truths is able to view such a fact entirely free from any illusions. People will certainly be prone to demand that he give irrefutable proofs for what he states, but they do not realize that in so doing they are the victims of a misconception. They demand, although unconsciously, not the proofs lying within the things themselves, but those that they personally are willing to recognize or are in a condition to recognize.

The author of this book is sure that any person, taking his stand on the basis of the science of the present day, will find that it contains nothing that he will be unable to accept. He knows that all the requirements of modern science can be complied with, and for this very reason the method adopted here of presenting the facts of the supersensible world supplies its own justification. In fact, the way in which true modern science approaches and deals with a subject is precisely the one that is in full harmony with this presentation. Anyone who thinks thus will feel moved by many a discussion in a way described by Goethe’s deeply true saying, “A false teaching does not offer any opening to refutation because it rests upon the conviction that the false is true.”

Argument is fruitless with those who allow only such proofs to weigh with them as fit in with their own way of thinking. Those who know the true nature of what is called “proving” a matter see clearly that the human soul finds truth through other means than by argument. It is with these thoughts in mind that the author offers this book for publication.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – From the Prefaces to the First, Second, and Third Editions

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Previously posted on March 16, 2015