Self-knowledge and self-control

Let’s take a closer look at esoteric life. We know that various changes take place in our soul life through the exercises we received. For instance, the passions that a man had before get stronger. Old inclinations, drives and passions one thought one had overcome and put aside reemerge from the dark shafts of soul life and assert themselves vehemently. Or an esoteric often thoughtlessly does something which he would have been ashamed of before the start of his esoteric training or wouldn’t have done at all. His antipathies and sympathies for people become stronger than before; his whole soul life becomes stirred up. In short, a man gets to know what he’s really like in his soul depths so that he has real self-knowledge. Therefore strict and strong self-control is indispensable for an esoteric pupil.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Esoteric Lessons Part II – Basel, 20th September 1912

Previously posted on April 13, 2014


Man’s body is the most perfect form that the Gods developed

A man’s body is the most perfect thing that the Godhead created for him. Man’s body is the most perfect form that the Gods developed. It’s an instrument through which man’s soul looks out into the world. The human body is equipped in a wonderful way. Man’s body is supposed to be a sacred temple for his soul. But the soul is not yet perfected. It’s just beginning to develop. Man’s body makes no mistakes; it’s the imperfect soul that’s constantly making them. Passions, desires, and drives live in it, and it uses the body to satisfy these desires.
But just as there are senses in man’s body through which the soul looks out into the world, so organs will also gradually develop in the soul that will make it ever more perfect. Such organs are already developing in the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Berlin, 18th April 1906


Consider one of the most savage men, who eats up his fellow-men, and compare him with an average European, and the latter again with a highly developed individual — Goethe, for example, or Schiller, or Francis of Assisi. The savage blindly follows the instincts and passions contained in his astral body. He has an Ego, but this Ego still lives completely under the sway of the astral body. An average man of the present time is already able to distinguish good and evil, and this is due to the fact that he has worked upon his astral body. He has worked upon it and even transformed certain instincts into so-called ideals.

Man reaches an ever higher stage of development the more he transforms his astral body through his Ego. The modern average European has transformed a good part of this astral body. An individuality such as Schiller or Goethe has already transformed the greater part of the astral body. But a human being who has subjugated all his passions through his will, as for instance, Francis of Assisi, has an astral body which is entirely transformed by his Ego, there is nothing left in this astral body which is not completely under the sway of the Ego.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture III. MAN’S SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS, HIS WORK UPON THE LOWER MEMBERS OF HIS BEING AND HIS DESTINY AFTER DEATH – Kassel, 18th June 1907

If people only talked facts, a widespread silence would arise

If, by some miracle, a large number of people were forced to only form words which accurately reflected the facts, a widespread silence would result. This is because most of what gets discussed nowadays, does not correspond to the facts, but arises from a wide variety of opinions and passions. The thing is that whatever we add to external conditions, without it corresponding to the facts, extinguishes our potential for higher knowledge.

It even happened  that a small experiment for law students was minutely prepared and carried out on twenty people. The twenty were then asked to describe in writing what they had seen. Three got it half right and seventeen totally wrong.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 – Lebendiges Naturerkennen, Intellektueller Sündenfall und spirituelle Sündenerhebung – Dornach, 20 January 20, 1923 (page 128)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on June 13, 2016

Hold on to the facts

What we speak nowadays corresponds little to outward facts. It is mostly the outcome of various opinions and passions. However, when we add to our external sensory perceptions what does not match pure reality, and reflect it as thoughts, we destroy our capacity for higher knowledge. […] The most basic rule for ascending to the higher worlds is this: learn to hold on to the pure facts of the physical world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 – Lebendiges Naturerkennen Intellektueller Sündenfall und spirituelle Sündenerhebung– Dornach, January 20, 1923 (page 128-129)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 24, 2016