It is an absolute necessity, in making the ascent into higher worlds to get to know oneself thoroughly and exactly

When man begins from out of the world of Imagination to light up his sleep consciousness, when he begins to lighten it with knowledge and experiences, then it is important for him to make sure that he himself gets out of the way and so shuts out of his consciousness all that might cause disturbance to his physical and etheric bodies.

It is an absolute necessity, in making the ascent into higher worlds to get to know oneself thoroughly and exactly. When we really know ourselves we cease as rule to love ourselves. Self-love comes to an end when we begin to have self-knowledge; and this self-love — which is always present in a man who has not attained to self-knowledge, for it is an illusion to imagine we do not love ourselves; we love ourselves more than anything else in the world — this self-love must have been overcome if we are to be able to shut ourselves out of our consciousness.

We must, in actual fact, come to the point where we say to ourselves: As I am now, I must eliminate myself. We have already gone a long way in this direction in that we have attained to self-surrender. But we must now not love ourselves at all. We must have the possibility at every moment to feel — I must put myself right on one side; for if I do not shut out completely all those things in me that otherwise I quite like to feel in me, errors, trivialities, prejudices sympathies, antipathies — if I do not put these right away then my ascent into higher worlds cannot be made aright.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 134 – THE WORLD OF THE SENSES AND THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT – Lecture II – Hannover, 28 December 1911



Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people

Self-knowledge is one of the hardest things to acquire, and it is precisely those who think they know themselves best who are most likely to be deceived: they think too much about themselves. You should get out of the habit of fixing your attention on yourself and constantly using the word “I” — “I think, I believe, I consider this right”. Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people. Suppose, for instance, that someone is very clever. If he displays his cleverness in the company of people who are not so clever, his behaviour will be very ill-timed; he will be doing it only to please his own egoism. He ought to adapt his response to the needs and capacities of others.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIV: Rosicrucian Training – The Interior of the Earth – Earthquakes and Volcanoes – Stuttgart, 4th September 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy


Painting David Newbatt

Previously posted on August 7,  2018

An entity that contacts nothing can have no knowledge of itself 

A simple observation can convince everyone how ego-consciousness develops and becomes strong in a child. Suppose he knocks his head against the corner of a table. If you observe closely you will find that the feeling of “I” is intensified after such a thing happens. In other words, the child becomes aware of himself, is brought nearer to a knowledge of self. 

Of course, it need not always amount to an actual injury or scratch. Even when the child puts his hand on something there is an impact on a small scale that makes him aware of himself. You will have to conclude that a child would never develop ego-consciousness if resistance from the world outside did not make him aware of himself. The fact that there is a world external to himself makes possible the unfolding of ego-consciousness, the consciousness of the “I.” […]

An entity that contacts nothing can have no knowledge of itself, not, at least, in the world in which we live! 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: III: Man’s Journey Through the Planetary Spheres and the Significance of a Knowledge of Christ – Hanover, November 18, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on November 22, 2016

Essential for a teacher

The first essential for a teacher is self-knowledge. If for instance a child makes blots on his book or on his desk because he has got impatient or angry with something his neighbour has done, then the teacher must never shout at the child for making blots and say: “You mustn’t get angry! Getting angry is a thing that a good man never does! A man should never get angry but should bear everything calmly. If I see you getting angry once more, why then — then I shall throw the inkpot at your head!

If you educate like this (which is very often done) you will accomplish very little. The teacher must always keep himself in hand, and above all must never fall into the faults which he is blaming his children for. But here you must know how the unconscious part of the child’s nature works. A man’s conscious intelligence, feeling and will are all only one part of his soul life; in the depths of human nature, even in the child, there holds sway the astral body with its wonderful prudence and wisdom.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – The Kingdom of Childhood: Lecture 3 – Torquay, 14th August, 1924

Translated by Helen Fox

Previously posted on November 14, 2016

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 November 12, 2017