One cannot extract thoughts out of a world devoid of thoughts

The first thing that should be present in someone who wants to develop truly practical thinking is faith and confidence in the reality, the reality of thoughts. What does that mean? From a glass in which there is no water, one cannot pour water. And in a world, in which there are no thoughts, one cannot find any thoughts. It is most absurd to believe that the sum of our thoughts is present only in us. If someone dismantles a clock and discovers the laws out of which it was built by thinking, then he must assume that the clockmaker put the parts of the clock together according to these laws. No one should believe that one can design and from a world that was not designed and formed out of thoughts. Everything we discover about nature and natural events consists of nothing else but what first must have been laid into it before. There are no thoughts in our souls, which were not out there in the world beforehand.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 057 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909  (page 251)

Translated by Nesta Carsten

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Previously posted on May 17, 2018

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Practical thinking

There are three things to take into consideration if one truly wants to school practical training of thinking in itself: firstly, a person must develop interest in outer reality, interest in the facts and objects in his surroundings. Interest in the world around us, that is the magic word for training thinking. Passion and love for what we do, that is the second. And gratification for the topic that we are contemplating, that is the third. He who understands these three things: interest in the environment, passion and love for what we do and pleasure in thinking, will soon find that these are the most important requirements for developing practical thinking.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 057 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909 (page 252)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger 

The whole lecture in another translation can be found here.

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Previously posted on May 16, 2018

See also June 20, 2014

Practical thinking

People who call themselves practical imagine that their actions are guided by the most practical principles. When you look into the matter closely, you will, however, frequently discover that what they call their practical way of thinking is not thinking at all, but the mere “jogging along” with old opinions and acquired habits of thought. You will often find there is very little that is really practical behind it. What they call practical consists in this: they have learned how their teachers, or their predecessors in business, thought about the matter in hand, and then they simply take the same line. Anyone who thinks along different lines they regard as a very unpractical person. In effect, his thinking does not accord with the habits to which they have been brought up. In cases where something really practical has been invented, you will not generally find that it was done by any of the “practical” people.

Source: Rudolf Steiner –  GA 108 – Practical Training in Thought – Carlsruhe, 18th January, 1909

Translated by George Kaufmann and edited by H. Collison

 Previously posted on February 4, 2018

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Practical thinking

The first that must exist with that who wants to experience a practical development of thinking is that he confides in reality, in the reality of thoughts. What does this mean? You cannot scoop water from a glass without water. You cannot take out thoughts from a world without thoughts. It is absurd if one believes that the whole sum of our thoughts and mental pictures exists only in us. 

If anybody disassembles a clock and reflects the principles of its construction, then he must suppose that the watchmaker has joined the parts of the clock first according to these principles. Nobody should believe that one could find any thought from a world, which is not created and formed according to thoughts. All that we learn about nature and its events is nothing else than what must be put first into this nature and its events. It is no thought in our soul, which has not been outdoors in the world first. Aristotle said more correctly than some modern people did: what the human being finds in his thinking last exists in the world outdoors first.

However, if anybody has this confidence in the thoughts, which are contained in the world, then he sees very easily that he has to educate himself at first to a thinking full of interest in the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – The Practical Development of Thinking – Berlin, 11th February, 1909

practrain_cov-1

Practical thinking

There are three things to take into consideration if one truly wants to school practical training of thinking in itself: firstly, a person must develop interest in outer reality, interest in the facts and objects in his surroundings. Interest in the world around us, that is the magic word for training thinking. Passion and love for what we do, that is the second. And gratification for the topic that we are contemplating, that is the third. He who understands these three things: interest in the environment, passion and love for what we do and pleasure in thinking, will soon find that these are the most important requirements for developing practical thinking.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 057 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 11 February 1909 (page 252)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on July 16, 2016

See also June 20, 2014