Opinions and truth

In our age special stress is laid upon this ego or ‘I’ in the direction of thought. One hears nothing more often said than — this is my standpoint, I think this or that — as though the opinion of this or that person had any significance compared with the truth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture 10 – The Hague, 29th March 1913

Previously posted on January 26, 2015

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Borstbeeld door David Dozier

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Life gains in worth and significance

The purpose of this book (Theosophy) is to give a description of some of the regions of the supersensible world. The reader who is only willing to admit the existence of the sensible world will look upon this description as merely an unreal production of the imagination. Whoever looks for paths that lead beyond this world of the senses, however, will soon learn to understand that human life only gains in worth and significance through insight into another world. He will not, as many fear, be estranged from the “real” world through this new power of vision because only through it does he learn to stand securely and firmly in this life and learns to know the causes of life. Without this power of vision he gropes like a blind man through their effects. Only through the understanding of the supersensible does the sensible “real” acquire meaning. A man therefore becomes more and not less fit for life through this understanding. Only he who understands life can become a truly practical man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man: From the prefaces to the first, second and third editions

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D

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About suicide

Here we may express, somewhat differently, what has indeed already been expressed in another form in a like connection, in the book Theosophy in reference to the always deplorable phenomenon of a man bringing his life to an end by his own will. No man would do this if he could see the significance of his deed; and when once Spiritual Science has really been taken into people’s feelings and thoughts, there will be no more suicides. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 3 -The Human Soul and the Universe – Berlin, February 20, 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 5, 2016

The best kind of anthroposophist

It might be thought that the best kind of anthroposophist is one who works at his development for a time and then engages in some activity which brings blessing on his fellow-men. But it may be that our position in external life does not enable us to put into application in the world what we elaborate in the soul. There may be no greater fallacy than to imagine that a man can be a good anthroposophist only if he actually turns to account in the world what he has learnt inwardly.

For decades we may not be in a position to put into application any of the impulses that are now within us. Then one day we may happen to be traveling with someone in a railway carriage and are able to say something of significance which otherwise we should have had no opportunity of saying. This single action may be more significant in life than one of much wider scope. We must realise clearly what we are capable of doing and that through the working of karma, the opportunity for turning it to account will be given us at the right moment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 118 – The Sermon on the Mount and the Return of Christ – Düsseldorf, February 20, 1910

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

The dead are perpetually working into our physical world

You must remind yourselves that as well as living through his life here between birth and death, man passes again and again through the life between death and a new birth. Just as here on earth we have experiences through the instrumentality of our body, we also have experiences between death and a new birth, and these experiences are by no means without significance for what we do during our earthly existence in the physical body. But neither are they without significance for what happens on earth as a whole.

For only part — and indeed the rather lesser part — of what happens on the earth originates from those who are living in the physical body. The dead are perpetually working into our physical world. The forces of which man is unwilling to speak to-day in the age of materialism are nevertheless at work in the physical world. Our physical environment is fashioned and permeated not only by the forces emanating from the spiritual world, from the Beings of the higher Hierarchies, but forces proceeding from the dead also penetrate into what surrounds and overtakes us here. So that a full and complete survey of man’s life is possible only if we look beyond what can be told us by knowledge obtained through the senses and through history, here on earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 1, 2016