Opinions and Facts

You know from my lectures that I do not like to shoot my mouth off about my opinions. The opinions of an individual person are basically of no great value. I have always tried to allow the facts to speak for themselves, also in the field of spiritual science.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 125 – Wege und Ziele des geistigen Menschen – München, 26 August 1910 (page 71)

This English translation has been copied from the book: GA 125 – Paths and Goals of the Spiritual Human Being – Life questions in the light of spiritual science


Tara of the Flowers  close up of portrait

Art of Carol Herzer

Previously posted on 7 February 2017


Verdicts and opinions without any special development

Have you ever observed how constantly one hears people say, when some new fact of knowledge is brought forward: “This is how I look at it! This is my point of view!” And they say this so easily, without having undergone any special development of mind or soul. 

It is indeed quite generally accepted that everyone has a right to pronounce his verdict, speaking from the point of view of wherever he stands at the moment. And people are even deeply offended and grow quite angry if one ventures to suggest that there is a kind of knowledge for the attainment of which it is necessary to undergo inner development. 

I said just now that when in the last third of the 19th century the possibility began to arise for men to seek initiation in the modern way, enemy powers were already in action. As you see, they wanted to carry the principle of equality even into the realm of mind and spirit, so that there too all human beings shall be regarded as on the same level. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 214 – MANS LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS – Lecture III – Man’s Life in Sleep and After Death – London, 30 August 1922

Translated from the German by George and Mary Adams

V211-social media

Passionless thinking

There is usually only one area where we have pure thoughts, that is in mathematics. When people calculate, their passions are usually very little involved. Because the majority of people everywhere wish to exercise their feeling and critical faculty they have no love for mathematics. Here one cannot vote in parliamentary fashion. Mathematical truth is recognised by man through truth itself; a problem can only have one solution. Whether one or a million people hold their own view about it, the problem must find the same solution. Nowhere should we need majority decisions, if it were possible in all spheres to make decisions in a way as free from emotion, as objectively, as in mathematics. In Europe one can only point to this as to an ideal, in the hope that one day, in other spheres of life, judgements will be, reached equally objectively and free from emotion.

Thinkers would not disagree so violently if they would take all the factors into consideration completely objectively, for truth cannot approach man in different ways. People hold different opinions because with their instincts and passions they are involved in their ideas in different ways. […..] No philosophy dealing with human matters was expressed so objectively, with such pure mathematical thinking, as the Vedanta philosophy which is truly philosophical in the highest sense of the word. Whoever imbues himself with this, knows what the following means: ‘I need no other person in order to know whether something is true.’ Whoever actually raises himself to this clear, passionless thinking, needs no other opinion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – THE FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM: Lecture XXI – Berlin, 19th October 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett


The logic of opponents

All kinds of people wanted their children to attend Waldorf School, anthroposophists and non-anthroposophists. Very strange opinions were held. Naturally enough parents are fondest of their own children and of course want to send them to an excellent school. To give one example, we have had the following experience. There are many opponents whose opposition is based on scientific grounds; and they know that anthroposophy is so much foolish, unscientific rubbish. 

Nevertheless they send their children to the Waldorf School. They even discover that the Waldorf School suits their children admirably. Recently two such people visited the Waldorf School and said — But this Waldorf School is really good, we notice this in our children; but what a pity that it is based on anthroposophy. Now the Waldorf School would not be there at all if anthroposophy were not there. So, you see, the judgment of many people amounts to this: It is as if one would say: That is an excellent dancer; the only pity is that he must stand on two legs. Such is the logic of opponents.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 310 – HUMAN VALUES IN EDUCATION X. The Relation of the Art of Teaching to the Anthroposophical Movement – Arnheim, 24 July 1924

Translated by Vera Compton-Burnett


About truths and opinions (5 – End)

If mathematical truths were not so simple and obvious then the passions aroused in acknowledging them would lead to many difficulties. For if covetousness entered in then perhaps many housewives would determine that 2 x 2 = 5 and not 4. These things are only so obvious and simple that they can no longer be clouded by sympathy and antipathy. Continually wider regions will be grasped by this form of truth and more peace can come to mankind if truth is grasped in this manner. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture IX – Berlin, 1st June 1908


 Previously posted on July 26, 2018