Anthroposophy has still to put up with being proclaimed thoroughly dense and stupid and a dreadful superstition by popular official science — which one could perhaps call “antisophy.” 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man: Lecture III – Berlin, 15th February 1908


Previously posted on May 19, 2018


Highly developed and, at the same time, colosally stupid

Through the perverse conditions of our modern culture we have reached the point where a man in his special subject can be a most highly developed being and, at the same time, colosally stupid where the great problems of man kind are concerned, understanding absolutely nothing about them. 

We have in our midst nowadays this curious phenomenon — that someone who has only passed through the primary school, and perhaps has not done this very satisfactorily, and has been dragged rather than brought up, has more sensible things to say about general human conditions than the man who has passed through higher education and excels in his own sphere. 

Today we must fight this phenomenon if we have any idea of sending into the depths those impulses which alone can bring improvement, impulses which do not lead merely to the superficial measures sought by those unwilling to take the path demanded by reality if anything is to happen. Naturally today we have let the evil go so far that we no longer have the personalities fit to build the foundations for a college of the kind, and are in the terrible situation of possessing no teachers for general human culture. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 192 – Social Basis For Primary and Secondary Education: Lecture III: Social Basis For Primary and Secondary Education – Stuttgart, 1 June, 1919


The single bee is stupid. The beehive as a whole is exceedingly wise.

It is very important to study a beehive. The single bee is stupid; it has instincts, but it is stupid by itself. The beehive as a whole, however, is exceedingly wise. Quite recently a very interesting discussion took place with workmen at the Goetheanum to whom, in normal times, I give two lectures a week. We had been speaking of bees and a very interesting question was put. People who keep bees know quite well that when a beekeeper who is loved by the inhabitants of the hive falls ill, or dies, the whole bee population falls into disorder. This actually happens. 

One of the workmen who has the typically modern way of thinking said that surely a bee cannot see such a thing, it cannot possibly have any picture of the beekeeper. How, then, can such a feeling of interconnection arise? He also brought forward the point that a beekeeper looks after the hive one year but the next year there is quite a different population in the hive; even the queen bee is another insect and all the bees in the hive are young bees. How, therefore, can there be this feeling of interconnection? 

I answered in the following way: It is well-known that in certain periods all the substances in the human organism are changed. Suppose we make the acquaintance of someone who goes to America and comes back after ten years. The person who comes back is really quite different from the one who went away ten years ago. All the substances in his organism have been exchanged for others. Things are exactly the same as in the beehive, where the bees have changed but the feeling of the interconnection between the hive and the beekeeper remains. This feeling of interconnection is due to the fact that there is tremendous wisdom in the beehive. The hive is not merely a cluster of single bees; the hive has an individual soul, a real soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 316 – Course for Young Doctors: Lecture I – Dornach, January 2, 1924

Translated by Gerald Karnow

Previously posted on July 10, 2018


Being intelligent and at the same time immoral will be impossible in the future

Whereas it is still entirely possible today that a person may be very able intellectually but be immoral, we are approaching a time when it will be impossible for anyone to be at the same time intellectually shrewd and immoral. It will be impossible for mental shrewdness and immorality to go hand in hand.

This is to be understood in the following way. Those who have kept themselves apart, and have opposed the course of evolution, will be the ones who will then battle together, all against all. Even those who develop today the highest intelligence, if they do not develop further during the succeeding epochs in feeling and morality, will gain nothing from their cleverness. The highest intelligence is, indeed, developed in our epoch. It has reached its climax. But a man who has developed intelligence today and who neglects the possibilities of further evolution, will destroy himself by his own intelligence. 

This will then be like an inner fire consuming him, devouring him, making him so small and feeble that he will become stupid and be able to achieve nothing — a fire that will annihilate him in the epoch wherein the moral impulses will have reached their climax. Whereas a person can be very dangerous today by means of his immoral shrewdness, he will then be without power to harm. 

Instead of this power, the soul will then possess in ever increasing measure moral powers — indeed, moral powers such as a modern man cannot in the least conceive. The highest power and morality are needed to receive the Christ Impulse into ourselves so that it becomes power and life in us.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity – JESHU BEN PANDIRA WHO PREPARED THE WAY FOR AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHRIST IMPULSE – Lecture 1 – Leipzig, 4th November 1911

I must say that I understand Kant, because otherwise others may say that I am stupid

Today there is still a peculiar worship of all that has been printed. The only reason I have been able to read Kant, was that his books have been edited by the “Universalbibliothek”  –  because otherwise, I would never have been able to  afford his books; but the books were cheap, despite the fact that they are so thick– and since then, the devil is actually loose around Kant, because nowadays everyone is able to read him. That is, they read the first page, but they do not understand what they read. They think: ”I must pretend to understand Kant because otherwise, people will say that I am stupid.”

Then they hear that Kant is “the Emperor of literary Germany”; and they think: ”By golly, now we know what’s going on, that means we are also clever, intelligent people! –” Most of them admit to themselves: ” Yes, I must give the impression that I understand Kant, because people will say that I am stupid when I do not understand Kant”. In reality, people do not understand him. Only, they do not want to admit it; they say to themselves: ”I must understand Kant, because he is very clever. I understand something very intelligent, if I understand Kant! In this way, I make a good impression on people.”

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 14, 1924 (page 244-245)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 1, 2018