Knowledge of man / Social conditions (1 of 2)

You people study what is in my Occult Science, and to do that you have to develop certain concepts that most people would still call “utter madness.” A few days ago, I got yet another letter from someone studying Occult Science, and he said that nearly every chapter was pure nonsense. You can understand people saying it is pure nonsense. Why, it is quite obvious that they often say it these days. Yet these people who do not put themselves out to accept the kind of concepts that lead to Saturn, Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan, and do not get down to developing ideas about a world that is not limited to the senses will also not acquire any knowledge of man. 

They do not see the human being in the other person but notice at the most that one person has a more pointed nose than the other, and one has blue eyes whereas the other has brown. But they notice nothing of man’s inner being that manifests as his soul and organizes his body. The same force which enables us to take an interest, and I am not saying now that it enables us to have super-sensible occult powers, but the same force that enables us to take an interest in super-sensible knowledge also gives us the kind of knowledge of man that we need today.

To be continued 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Social Understanding Through Spiritual Scientific Knowledge – Dornach, October 4, 1919

Prviously posted on Januariy 30, 2017



I am aware of course that modern science will regard this as nonsense, but it is none the less true — man as he is today cannot possibly exist six thousand years hence, any more than it is possible for a man who is now twenty years old to be alive in two hundred years time. We can discover through occult investigation that in the sixth millennium women as they are constituted today will become sterile and that an entirely different reproductive process will exist by that time. I realize that this will sound the purest nonsense to those who think along the lines of modern science; nevertheless the fact is undeniable.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 –  Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha: Lecture 3 – Berlin, 10th April 1917

Translated by A. H. Parker

Previously posted on June 9, 2016

Greater wars will come

We have to come back to the spirit by way of the intellect. And that, you see, is the task of anthroposophy. It has no wish to do what would please many people, that is, to bring primitive conditions back to humanity-ancient Indian wisdom, for example. It is nonsense when people harp on that. Anthroposophy, on the other hand, sets value on a return to the spirit, but a return to the spirit precisely in full possession of the intellect, with the intellect fully alive. It is important, gentlemen, and must be borne strictly in mind, that we have nothing at all against the intellect; rather, the point is that we have to go forward with it. Originally human beings had spirit without intellect; then the spirit gradually fell away and the intellect increased. Now, by means of the intellect, we have to regain the spirit. Culture is obliged to take this course.

If it does not do so — well, gentlemen, people are always saying that the World War was unlike anything ever experienced before, and it is indeed a fact that men have never before so viciously torn one another to pieces. But if men refuse to take the course of returning to the spirit and bringing their intellect with them, then still greater wars will come upon us, wars that will become more and more savage. Men will really destroy one another as the two rats did that, shut up together in a cage, gnawed at each other till there was nothing left of them but two tails. That is putting it rather brutally, but in fact mankind is on the way to total extermination. It is very important to know this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 354 – The Evolution of the Earth and Man and The Influence of the Stars: Lecture VIII – Dornach, 6th August 1924

Translated by Gladys Hahn

Previously posted on May 17, 2017

Purposeful Action

When a human being is suffering, people sometimes say: “He deserves his suffering and must bear his karma; if I help him, I am interfering with his karma.” This is nonsense; I know his poverty, his misery is caused through his earlier life, but if I help him, new entries will be made in his book of life; my help brings him forward. 

It would be foolish to say to a merchant who could be saved from disaster by 1,000 or 10,000 Marks: “No, for that would alter your balance.” 

It is precisely this possibility of altering the balance that should induce us to help a man. I help him because I know that nothing is without its karmic effect. This knowledge should spur us on to purposeful action.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VII – The Technique of Karma – Berlin, May 31, 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on January 4, 2017

You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible

Humanity must once again find a living approach, and people must realize that dead truths cannot govern life, only living truths can do so. The following is a dead truth. 

We are supposed to train human beings to be intelligent human beings. Therefore — as dead truth says — we must cultivate the intellect as early as possible, for this will produce intelligent people. This is arrant nonsense, however. It is as much nonsense as it would be to train a one-year-old to be a shoemaker. People will, in fact, be intelligent only if they are not given intellectual training too early. It is often necessary to do the opposite of what we want to achieve in life. 

We cannot eat our food raw, but have to cook it first. And if this cooking process were to include the processes which are involved in eating, we might perhaps save ourselves the effort of eating! You cannot make people intelligent by cultivating the intellect as early as possible, but only by cultivating in them when very young the faculties which will later have them prepared to be intelligent. The abstract truth is: the intellect is cultivated via the intellect. The living truth is: the intellect is cultivated by healthy belief in rightful authority. Both parts of the statement have quite a different content in the living truth compared to the dead, abstract truth. This is something humanity will have to come to realize more and more as time goes on.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 177 – Fall of the Spirits of Darkness – Lecture 7: Working from Spiritual Reality – Dornach, 12 October 1917

Translated by Anna R. Meuss

Previously posted on August 14, 2016