About nervousness, concentration and willpower

Because in our time the belief in the concentration of the mind exists so little and is searched so little, also a lot of other evil appears as defects of self-education, above all nervousness. While one develops the will, while one lets his muscles interact with the outer life, one has to develop his nervous system by mental concentration. [….]

The human being cannot become nervous by education of his will, but by a wrong education of his will. The will education can lead to nervousness, while the human being searches it wrongly, if he wants to get around to it with some inner means that work on his mental pictures instead connecting himself with the outer world and strengthening his will with its obstacles. Thereby his will can easily become nervous.  

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 61 – The Self-Education of the Human Being – Berlin, 14 March 1912

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About sports, games and self-education

In a way, playing remains an important educational factor for the whole life. Of course, I do not mean the card game here, because all games that are directed to the intellect claim the personal of the human being that is bound mostly to the instrument of the brain. Even if much favourable is said about chess, it can never be a factor of self-education because it depends on that which is bound mostly to the instrument of the brain that has to infer. If the human being is active with gymnastics where he has to set his muscles in motion in such a way that he can infer nothing at all that he does not strain his intellect, but directly develops with the activities and not with intellectual understanding, then we deal with a self-pedagogic play.

From it, we directly gain an important principle of any self-education. This is that the human being who has to educate himself by the education of his intellect and in particular by the education of his will depends on the care of the contact and interrelation with the outside world. The human will can be educated not by inner intellectual training, but it strengthened, so that the human being has a firm hold inside if he maintains the will while the own will and the outside world interact.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 61 – Human History: Lecture XIV: The Self-Education of the Human Being – Berlin, March 14, 1912

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Thinking / Truth / Self-education

We have to take pains to stimulate and strengthen within us a mood that may be expressed as follows. It must be as though we were constantly saying to ourselves: I ought not to expect that my thinking can give me knowledge of the truth, I ought rather solely to expect of my thinking that it shall educate me. It is of the utmost importance that we should develop in us this idea, namely, that our thinking educates us. If you will really take this point of view as a practical rule of life you will find that there are many occasions when you are led to quite different conclusions from those that seem at first sight to be inevitable. […]

So long as one expects by thinking to come to conformity with some objective reality, so long as we give ourselves up to the belief that by thinking or by the elaboration of concepts or, let us say, by the elaboration in thought of experiences we have in the world, we can come to reality, so long are we indeed in desperate case, if someone comes forward and shows us that a particular statement and its exact opposite can equally well be proved. For if this is so, how are we ever to arrive at Truth? 

If, however, we have learned that where the situation demands a decisive pronouncement, thinking can come to no conclusion about reality, if we have persistently educated ourselves instead to look upon thinking as a means to become wiser, as a means to take in hand our own self-education in wisdom, then it does not disturb us at all that at one time one thing can be proved and at another time its opposite can be proved. For we very soon make the following discovery. The fact that the elaboration of concepts does not, so to say, expose us in the least to the onset of reality, is the very reason why we are able to work with perfect freedom within the sphere of concepts and ideas and to carry on our own self-education by this means. 

If we were perpetually being corrected by reality, then the elaboration of concepts would not afford us a means of educating ourselves in this manner in perfect freedom. I would like to ask you to give careful consideration to this fact. Let me repeat it. The elaboration of concepts affords us a means of effective and independent self-education, and it can only do so because we are never disturbed in the free elaboration of concepts by the interference of reality.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 134 – The World of the Senses and the World of the Spirit: Lecture II – Hanover, 28th December 1911

Previously posted on January 26, 2019

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The best way to educate children is through self-education   

It is no exaggeration to say that the one who, in the environment of the child, as far as this is before the age of seven, from his inner being tries very hard to be a good person, a person who has a good attitude to life, who conscientiously decides not to do anything wrong in his thought life, his emotional life, towards the child, not even unspoken, has the most substantial influence on the child because of the imponderable features of life. 

In this respect, there is still much to be looked at, which – if I may say so – still exist between the lines in life. As we have gradually encapsulated ourselves in a more materialistic life, especially as far as the finer things in life are concerned, we have become more accustomed to finding such things unimportant. Only when they are valued again will there be the definite impetus that pedagogy needs, especially in an age that wants to call itself social, a socially-minded age. You cannot correctly assess specific life experiences if you do not appreciate those things that underlie man’s spirit and soul.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297 – Idee  und  Praxis der  Waldorfschule – Bazel, 27 november 1919 (bladzijde  163-164)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Spritual Science/Education/Self-education

Spiritual science does not merely signify the acquisition of knowledge; it signifies most pre-eminently an education, a self-education of our souls. We make ourselves different; we have other interests. When a man imbues himself with spiritual science, the habits of attention for this or for that subject which he developed during previous years, alter. What interested him before, interests him no longer; that which had no interest for him previously, now begins to interest him in the highest degree. One ought not simply to say that only a person who has gone through esoteric development can attain to a connection with the spiritual world; esotericism does not begin with occult development. The moment we make any link with spiritual science with our whole heart, esotericism has already begun; our souls begin at once to be transformed. There then begins in us something resembling what would arise, let us say, in a being who had previously only been able to see light and darkness, and who then through a special and different organisation of the eyes, begins to see colors. The whole world would appear different to such a being. We need only observe it, we need only realise it, and we shall soon see that the whole world begins to have a different aspect when we have for a time gone through the self-education we can get in a spiritual science circle.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 136 – The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature: Lecture 1 – Helsinki, 3rd April 1912

Previously posted on June 16, 2015