Why do the spiritual powers not intervene in the affairs on the physical plane?

One should not ask a question such as: Why do the spiritual powers not intervene in the affairs on the physical plane and bring order about? That ought not to be asked because what human beings do is often in direct revolt against the spiritual powers. Very often those in revolt are the very people who are forever talking about spirit, spirit, spirit. I recently read on the cover of a magazine an advertisement of some kind in which the word spirit was repeated ad nauseam. These days spirit dominates everything, it is enough to make one despair! Spirit is supposed to manufacture the germs and gas masks and what not. Everything is called spirit. The question is: do people realize what spirit this is? 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 176 – The Karma of Materialism: Lecture 9– Berlin, September 25, 1917

Bleistiftportät_Rudolf_Steiner

Greater wars will come

We have to come back to the spirit by way of the intellect. And that, you see, is the task of anthroposophy. It has no wish to do what would please many people, that is, to bring primitive conditions back to humanity-ancient Indian wisdom, for example. It is nonsense when people harp on that. Anthroposophy, on the other hand, sets value on a return to the spirit, but a return to the spirit precisely in full possession of the intellect, with the intellect fully alive. It is important, gentlemen, and must be borne strictly in mind, that we have nothing at all against the intellect; rather, the point is that we have to go forward with it. Originally human beings had spirit without intellect; then the spirit gradually fell away and the intellect increased. Now, by means of the intellect, we have to regain the spirit. Culture is obliged to take this course.

If it does not do so — well, gentlemen, people are always saying that the World War was unlike anything ever experienced before, and it is indeed a fact that men have never before so viciously torn one another to pieces. But if men refuse to take the course of returning to the spirit and bringing their intellect with them, then still greater wars will come upon us, wars that will become more and more savage. Men will really destroy one another as the two rats did that, shut up together in a cage, gnawed at each other till there was nothing left of them but two tails. That is putting it rather brutally, but in fact mankind is on the way to total extermination. It is very important to know this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 354 – The Evolution of the Earth and Man and The Influence of the Stars: Lecture VIII – Dornach, 6th August 1924

Translated by Gladys Hahn

Previously posted on May 17, 2017

Greater wars will come

We have to come back to the spirit by way of the intellect. And that, you see, is the task of anthroposophy. It has no wish to do what would please many people, that is, to bring primitive conditions back to humanity-ancient Indian wisdom, for example. It is nonsense when people harp on that. Anthroposophy, on the other hand, sets value on a return to the spirit, but a return to the spirit precisely in full possession of the intellect, with the intellect fully alive. It is important, gentlemen, and must be borne strictly in mind, that we have nothing at all against the intellect; rather, the point is that we have to go forward with it. Originally human beings had spirit without intellect; then the spirit gradually fell away and the intellect increased. Now, by means of the intellect, we have to regain the spirit. Culture is obliged to take this course.

If it does not do so — well, gentlemen, people are always saying that the World War was unlike anything ever experienced before, and it is indeed a fact that men have never before so viciously torn one another to pieces. But if men refuse to take the course of returning to the spirit and bringing their intellect with them, then still greater wars will come upon us, wars that will become more and more savage. Men will really destroy one another as the two rats did that, shut up together in a cage, gnawed at each other till there was nothing left of them but two tails. That is putting it rather brutally, but in fact mankind is on the way to total extermination. It is very important to know this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 354 – The Evolution of the Earth and Man and The Influence of the Stars: Lecture VIII – Dornach, 6th August 1924

Translated by Gladys Hahn

Previously posted on May 17, 2017

Absurd

If we were now able to develop as strong a consciousness of what happens to us during sleep as, under certain circumstances, men of bye-gone times could do, we should never think of doubting the existence of the spirit. We should then be able to remember not only subconsciously, but in full consciousness, what we encounter during our sleep. If a man were to experience in full consciousness what he passes through in sleep, it would be just as absurd for him to deny the existence of spirit as it would be for a waking man to deny the fact that there were tables and chairs. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 5 – The human soul and the universe – Berlin, 6th March 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 20, 2016

Not the words, but the spirit behind them

In our present materialistic age, one can be a downright materialist, another a downright spiritualist. People belonging to either current can present their beliefs in a similarly convincing manner. The question, however, is not so much about the words one uses to declare his conviction. The question is: what is the spirit that really lies behind the words? What matters is not the literal content of words, but the spirit at their origin. Words alone are only good for those who are satisfied with concepts, not reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, 1 February 1920 (page 139)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 8, 2016