Fanaticism is the worst thing in the world

Fanaticism is the worst thing in the world, particularly in education, — a fanaticism which makes a man press on in one direction and push ahead regardless of anything but his one aim, reduced to precise slogans.

But if one looks at the world, without prejudice one will concede: views and opinions are but views and opinions. If I have a tree here and photograph it, I have one view of it; the view from here has a definite form; but the view is different from here, and again different from over there; so that you might think it was not the same tree if you only had the pictures to go by. In the same way there are points of view in the world, there are outlooks. Each one only regards one aspect of things. If you know that things must be looked upon from the most manifold standpoints you avoid fanaticism and dwell in many-sidedness, in a universality.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 – Spiritual Ground of Education: Lecture IX: The Teachers of the Waldorf School – 25th August, 1922 | Oxford

Translated by Daphne Harwood

Previously posted on February 12, 2018



If anybody asserts, this is true, he is a poor devil or a fool  

Our contemporaries do not want to get involved in these higher worlds. Our age is tired of the consideration of the supersensible world, and, hence, this age is very gullible toward those who put up the sentence: what I cannot perceive is not true, and if anybody asserts, it is true, he is a poor devil or a fool. — Too many people become believers of such an opinion in this age. Even if we also realise which big and immense progress our age has performed concerning the physical science, nevertheless, we also see on the other side how little the predominating part of our contemporaries is inclined to penetrate into the supersensible world. One means that the penetration in the supersensible world makes the human being weak and foreign towards the sensuous world. This is a prejudice. If anybody has a piece of iron and says: this iron has magnetic force; touch it with another iron and you have a magnet — another may come and say, nonsense! The piece of iron is good for hammering down nails. — These are the true daydreamers who take the sensuous, the practical only in such a way as that man who hammers down nails only with the magnet.

The realists, the monists, the utilitarians, and others are the true daydreamers. They know the forces of the physical world only and triumph if the immense progress is done by merely revealing the forces of the physical world. Spiritual science has to argue nothing at all against this physical world. However, it also knows that it is high time that the human beings learn again that in the physical the spiritual is concealed, and that just the human beings become dreamy when they close their spiritual eye to the spiritual world. Today true realists, apostles of reality are those who point to the spiritual forces! What do these truthful realists want? They want that the real forces slumbering behind the sensuous are introduced in this world that they settle down in our whole development that we do not only introduce the telegraph, the telephone and the railway, the usual forces but also the spiritual forces.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture XV: The Heaven – Berlin, 14 May 1908

Portraits of Rudolf Steiner 0018

Wisdom and Practical Life

Looking at what is described here, it is easy to see that it is really not about something merely theoretical, but something that touches the whole human being. For today I have put forward precisely those insights that directly concern the human being himself. 

Indeed, not everyone can be a spiritual researcher, just as not everyone can be a chemist or an astronomer. But with common sense, everyone can understand what astronomy, chemistry and physics teach. In the same way, common sense can understand what the spiritual investigator brings out of the human soul’s depths if only one does not close oneself off through scientific prejudice. Then, however, when it is raised and becomes wisdom, it also comes to be integrated into practical life.

And since I do not like to speak in general abstractions, I would like to show through concrete examples how these matters become part of practical life when they flow into the human being through the insights of anthroposophical spiritual science.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 255b – Die Anthroposophie und ihre Gegner – Stuttgart, January 4, 1921 (page 279)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Picture/Spiritual knowledge

To paint a picture, one must be an artist; but to experience the beauty and inner content of the picture one need not be an artist, one has only to approach the picture with a sincere and open mind. It is the same with spiritual knowledge. In order to “paint” in ideas, one must be a researcher in the spirit; but once the picture is painted, it stands there for others to behold. And if these, who are not themselves “artists”, are free from prejudice and are sincere seekers after truth, they will receive health and healing from the descriptions of the spiritual world.


Rudolf  Steiner in 1892 painted by Otto Fröhlich

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE: A WAY OF LIFE – The Hague, November 16, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted  on May 11, 2017