Without the ability to perceive super sensibly, it is not possible to have insight into the being of man

What does one really gain through this spiritual science as I now sketched in broad outline? Above all one gains true knowledge of the human being. Without the ability to perceive super sensibly, it is not possible to have genuine insight into the being of man. [….] And a true pedagogical art, a true art of education can only be born out of true human knowledge.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 49-50)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on October 5, 2016


Spiritual Science and Charlatanism

It is apparent that blind faith as well as the crassest superstition is quite widespread. Therefore there are hardly two matters more connected with one another than spiritual science and charlatanism. If one is unable to distinguish the one from the other, if one accepts an authority in blind faith, as is so often the case these days when the expertise of another is accepted forthright, then one actually promotes the kind of quackery that is so often associated with spiritual science. This is rightly criticised by people in search of genuine truth. It is understandable that someone who is not in the position to distinguish between the quack and the true spiritual authority objects that it is all charlatanism.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 62 – Ergebnisse der Geistesforschung – Berlin, October 31, 1912 (p. 34)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on September 11, 2016

Health-giving thoughts

Thought possesses healing power. […] Someone who understands these things may say to you that certain thoughts give health, and the person who hears this may at a certain time be affected by this or that illness. Indeed, my dear friends, the fact that we cannot at present be relieved of all illnesses by the mere power of thought is due to an ancient heritage. But are you able to say what illnesses would have overtaken you if you had not possessed the thoughts? Could you say that your life would have been passed in its present degree of health if you had not possessed these thoughts? In the case of a person who has applied himself to spiritual science guided by Anthroposophy and who dies at the age of 45 years, can you prove that, without these thoughts, he would not have died at 42 or 40 years of age? Human beings tend always to think from the wrong direction when they deal with these thoughts. They direct their attention to what cannot be bestowed upon them, by reason of their karma, but do not pay attention to what is bestowed upon them by reason of their karma. But if, in spite of everything contradictory in the external physical world, you direct your look with the power of inner confidence which you have gained through intimate familiarity with the thoughts of spiritual science, you then come to feel the healing power, a healing power which penetrates even into the physical body, refreshing, rejuvenating — the third element, which the Christ as the Healer brings with his never ceasing revelations into the human soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 187 – The Birth of Christ in the Human Soul – Basel, December 22, 1918

Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker

The real spirit

When do we speak legitimately of the spirit? When do we speak truly of the spirit? We speak truly of the spirit, we are justified in speaking of the spirit, only when we mean the spirit as creator of the material. The worst kind of talk about the spirit — even though this talk is often looked upon today as very beautiful — is that which treats the spirit as though it dwelt in Utopia, as if this spirit should not be touched at all by the material. No; when we speak of the spirit, we must mean the spirit that has the power to plunge down directly into the material. And when we speak of spiritual science, this must he conceived not only as merely rising above nature, but as being at the same time valid natural science. When we speak of the spirit, we must mean the spirit with which the human being can so unite himself as to enable this spirit, through man’s mediation, to weave itself even into the social life. A spirit of which one speaks only in the drawing room, which one would like to please by goodness and brotherly love, but a spirit that has no intention of immersing itself in our everyday life — such a spirit is not the true spirit, but a human abstraction; and worship of such a spirit is not worship of the real spirit, but is precisely the final emanation of materialism.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth: Lecture I: The Dualism in the Life of the Present Time – Dornach, December 12, 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

Previously posted on February 10, 2015

Kant was right, and so is Spiritual Science

In the past years, when one brought forward the spiritual-scientific world-conception in this or in that place and certain people thought that they had to assert their own views in the face of the spiritual-scientific world-conception, one could frequently hear the following argument: Kant has already proved by his philosophy that there are limitations to man’s knowledge; human knowledge cannot reach the spheres which the spiritual-scientific world-conception tries to reach. Then they bring forward certain interesting things showing how Kant is supposed to have proved that human knowledge cannot reach the spiritual world. If spiritual science was upheld in spite of all, then they came along and said: This person rejects everything that has been proved by Kant! Of course, this more or less implied: What a foolish person he must be, for he rejects strictly proved facts!

But this is not the case: The spiritual scientist does not deny that Kant is absolutely right, for it is evident that he demonstrated this clearly. But my dear friends, suppose that someone had stated that the plant consists of minute cells, at a time when the microscope had not yet been invented, but that these cells could not be found because human eyes are unable to see them. It might have been proved that the cells do not exist and this would have been quite correct, for the constitution of the human eye does not permit us to penetrate into the plant’s organism to the extent of seeing these tiniest cells. The proof would be absolutely correct and it could not be overthrown. Yet in the course of human development the microscope was discovered as an aid to the human eye, so that in spite of the strictest proof to the contrary, people were able to recognise the existence of these tiniest cells.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Subconscious Forces – Vienna, 9th May 1915