One must look at it from all sides

The world cannot be rightly considered from the one-sided standpoint of one single conception, one single mode of thought; the world discloses itself only to someone who knows that one must look at it from all sides. 

Just as the sun — if we go by the Copernican conception of the universe — passes through the signs of the Zodiac in order to illuminate the earth from twelve different points, so we must not adopt one standpoint, the standpoint of Idealism, or Sensationalism, or Phenomenalism, or any other conception of the world with a name of this kind; we must be in a position to go all round the world and accustom ourselves to the twelve different standpoints from which it can be contemplated. In terms of thought, all twelve standpoints are fully justifiable. 

For a thinker who can penetrate into the nature of thought, there is not one single conception of the world, but twelve that can be equally justified — so far justified as to permit of equally good reasons being thought out for each of them. There are twelve such justified conceptions of the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 151 – Human and Cosmic Thought – Berlin, January 21, 2014

Translation revised by Charles Davy / With an Introduction by Nick Thomas

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Each of the 12 can have a different conception of the world and fully justify it

Just reading is not enough

This book (Theosophy) cannot be read in the customary manner of the present day. In certain respects every page, and even many sentences, will have to be worked out by the reader. This has been aimed at intentionally because only in this way can the book become to the reader what it ought to be. The one who merely reads it through will not have read it at all. Its truths must be experienced, lived. Only in this sense has spiritual science any value.

The book cannot be judged from the standpoint of science if the point of view adopted in forming such a judgment is not gained from the book itself. If the critic will adopt this point of view, he will certainly see that the presentation of the facts given in this book will in no way conflict with truly scientific methods. The author is satisfied that he has taken care not to come into conflict with his own scientific scrupulousness even by a single word.

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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Whoever still heeds his own opinion, cannot come to truth

Whoever will experience the true character of cosmic mysteries must stand entirely on the standpoint from which he says: Whoever still heeds his own opinion, cannot come to Truth. That is indeed the peculiar [eigenartige] nature of anthroposophical truth that the observer may have no opinion of his own, no preference for this or the other theory, that he may not love this or the other view more than any other because of his own especial individual qualities. 

As long as he stands on this standpoint, it is impossible for the true secrets of the world to reveal themselves to him. He must pursue knowledge quite individually, but his individuality must develop so far, that it no longer has anything personal, i.e., anything of his own peculiar sympathies and antipathies. This must be taken strictly and earnestly. Whoever still has any preference for these or the other ideas and views, whoever can incline to this or the other because of his education or temperament, will never recognise objective truth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The Ego: Lecture One – Munich, December 4, 1909

Translated by Gilbert Church

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Without effort it is impossible to attain a true knowledge

Without effort it is impossible to attain a true knowledge of the things which must gradually be made clear to the world through spiritual science. Today there are undoubtedly many people who argue: — “Why should we learn so many things through spiritual science? Must we become schoolboys again? Feelings or experiences seem to be the most important thing in it.” Indeed, feeling is precisely what should be taken into consideration — but, first of all, the right kind of feeling must be acquired.

The same thing applies to everything. A painter also would find it far more pleasant if there were no need for him to learn the elements of his art, and so forth, and if he were not obliged to paint his final picture slowly and gradually on the canvas. It would be far more pleasant if he could just breathe on the canvas, and so produce his finished picture! The peculiar thing in the world today is this — that, the more we reach the soul-spiritual sphere, the more people fail to understand that a mere breathing on the canvas does not suffice! In the case of music, few people will admit that a man who has learnt nothing at all can be a composer; this is quite obvious to them. They will also admit this in the case of painting — although less strictly than in the case of music — and in the case of poetry they will admit still less that study and training is necessary. This is why there are so many modern poets. No age has been so unpoetical as our present age, in spite of its many poets! Poets need not learn much — they are simply expected to write (although this has nothing to do with poetry) — at least orthographically; it suffices if they are able to express their thoughts intelligibly.

And less still is expected from philosophers. For it is taken for granted that anyone may express his opinion concerning all kinds of things which belong to a conception of the world, or life-conception. Everybody has his own point of view. Again and again we find that careful study, entailing the application of all means available to an inner activity, in order to investigate and know at least something of the world, counts for nothing in the present day. Instead, it is taken for granted that the standpoint of one who has toiled and worked in order, to venture to say at least a few things concerning the secrets of the universe is equivalent to the standpoint of one who has simply made up his mind to have an opinion!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousness – Munich, 25th February 1912

Opinions

It is taken for granted that anyone may express his opinion concerning all kinds of things which belong to a conception of the world, or life-conception. Everybody has his own point of view. Again and again we find that careful study, entailing the application of all means available to an inner activity, in order to investigate and know at least something of the world, counts for nothing in the present day. Instead, it is taken for granted that the standpoint of one who has toiled and worked in order, to venture to say at least a few things concerning the secrets of the universe is equivalent to the standpoint of one who has simply made up his mind to have an opinion!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousnessMunich, February 25, 1912

Previously posted on January 7, 2014

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