Enjoyment in school

From the change of teeth up to the time of adolescence the child really lives continually in the present, and is interested in what is going on in the world around him. When educating we must constantly keep in mind that children of primary school age want always to live in the present. How does one live in the present? One lives in the present when one enjoys the world around one, not in an animal way, but in a human way. And indeed the child of this age wants also to enjoy the world in the lessons he receives. Therefore from the outset we must make our teaching a thing of enjoyment for the children — not animal enjoyment, but enjoyment of a higher, human kind — not something that calls forth in them antipathy and repulsion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture IX – Stuttgart, August 30, 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on July 25, 2015

Social morality is a plant, which has its roots in the school classroom

Social morality is a plant, which has its roots in the school classroom, where children between their seventh and fourteenth year are taught. As a gardener looks to the lowest part of his garden, the soil, so would human society need to look at the lowermost part of the school, in which children of this age are taught, because that is the basis for all morality, for all the good.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 304 – Erziehungs- und Unterrichtsmethoden auf anthroposophischer Grundlage –  Kristiania (Oslo), November 24, 1921 (page 179)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on December 4, 2017

The school of godlessness

The last four hundred years were in fact a schooling for humanity — the school of godlessness, in which there was purely human experimentation, a return to chaos if seen from a particular point of view. Everyone is experimenting today, without being aware of the connection with higher worlds — apart from those who have once more sought and found that connection with spiritual realms. Nearly everyone lives entirely for himself today, without perceiving anything of the real and all-penetrating common design. That of course is the cause of the dreadful dissatisfaction everywhere.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend – Lecture 20 – Berlin, 2nd January 1906

Translated by John M. Wood

Previously posted on May 13, 2015

The physical world is the school (1 of 3) – Ordinary life is an embryonic stage for the higher life

To be born means to proceed from an embryo to a stage at which one perceives the outer world with the senses. If one does not pass through an embryonic stage one can never be ready to be born. Those who know this stage also know that ordinary life is an embryonic stage for the higher life. This leads us deep into the meaning of ordinary life.

It could be quite easy for someone who directs his gaze towards the spiritual world to become convinced that there is such a world and that man is a citizen of it. He could then proceed to disregard the physical world and to believe that one cannot depart from it quickly enough, and that one should mortify the flesh, the sooner to reach the spiritual world. This shows ignorance. It is as senseless as if one would not allow the human embryo to mature but would bring it into the world at two months, and expect it to live there.

Likewise for the higher world, one has to develop to become mature. Such is he who has developed his higher self. The physical world is the school. He who has developed his ego here is ready to enter the kingdom of heaven, which means to be born again.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – The Gospel of St. John – Third Lecture – Berlin, 5th March 1906

Previously posted on October 27, 2014

Karma-Moral-Egoism (1 of 5)

The objection is frequently made that anthroposophy does not really work its way into the realm of morality. In fact it is said that through certain of its teachings it in some respects not only does not counter egotism but furthers it. Those who are of this opinion share the following thoughts. They say that anthroposophy demonstrates how the human being develops his existence from life to life and that the main point is that even if he suffers defeats he has the possibility of striving ever higher, employing in a subsequent life the results of what he has learned in a given life as in a kind of “school.” He who immerses himself completely in this belief in human perfectibility will strive to render his “I” ever more pure, to make it as rich as possible, so that he may ascend ever higher and higher. This, so these people say, is after all really an egotistic striving. For we anthroposophist, they say, seek to attract teachings and forces from the spiritual world in order to elevate our “I” to ever greater heights. This is therefore an egotistic basis for human action.

These people maintain further that we anthroposophists are convinced that we prepare a bad karma for ourselves through imperfect actions. Thus in order not to do so the anthroposophist will avoid doing this or that which he would otherwise have done. He therefore refrains from the action for fear of karma. For the same reason he would probably also do this or that which he otherwise would not have done, and this too would be but one more quite egotistic motivation for an action. There are a number of people who say that the teachings of karma and reincarnation as well as the rest of the striving for perfection which originates in anthroposophy leads people to work spiritually for a refined form of higher egotism.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – The Significance of Spiritual Research For Moral Action – Bieleveld, 6 March 1911

Translated by Alan P. Cottrell, Ph.D.

Previously posted on December 27, 2015