The eye for the perception of the spiritual world must be acquired on earth through active spiritual knowledge

As the physical eye must be acquired in the pre-earthly life, so must the eye, for the perception of the spiritual world, be acquired here on earth through spiritual science, active spiritual knowledge. I do not mean through clairvoyance — that is an individual affair — but through the understanding, with healthy intelligence, of what is discovered by clairvoyant research. It is simply untrue to say that one must see into the spiritual world oneself in order to believe what the clairvoyants see. It is not so. […] We need only be prepared to think the thing out, and feel it through and through. It is this recognition by healthy human understanding, of what is given out of the spiritual world — it is not the clairvoyance, but the activity of knowledge — which provides us with spiritual eyes after death. The clairvoyant has to acquire this spiritual eye just the same as other men. For what we gain by Imaginative Cognition, what we perceive in seership, falls away and vanishes after a few days. It only does not do so if we bring it down to the standpoint of ordinary understanding, and in that case we are obliged to understand it in the very same way in which it is understood by those to whom we communicate it. In effect, clairvoyance as such is not the essential task of man on earth. Clairvoyance must only be there in order that the supersensible truths may be found. But the task of man on earth is to understand the supersensible truths with ordinary, healthy human understanding.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – Spiritual Relationships in the Human Organism – Stuttgart, 9th December 1922

Translated by George and Mary Adams

Previously posted on June 25, 2015

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A boundless absurdity

Some people are so greatly influenced by theories built up on the basis of exact scientific experience that they cannot do otherwise than regard the contents of a book like this as a boundless absurdity. The exponent of supersensible truths is able to view such a fact entirely free from any illusions. People will certainly be prone to demand that he give irrefutable proofs for what he states, but they do not realize that in so doing they are the victims of a misconception. They demand, although unconsciously, not the proofs lying within the things themselves, but those that they personally are willing to recognize or are in a condition to recognize.

The author of this book is sure that any person, taking his stand on the basis of the science of the present day, will find that it contains nothing that he will be unable to accept. He knows that all the requirements of modern science can be complied with, and for this very reason the method adopted here of presenting the facts of the supersensible world supplies its own justification. In fact, the way in which true modern science approaches and deals with a subject is precisely the one that is in full harmony with this presentation. Anyone who thinks thus will feel moved by many a discussion in a way described by Goethe’s deeply true saying, “A false teaching does not offer any opening to refutation because it rests upon the conviction that the false is true.”

Argument is fruitless with those who allow only such proofs to weigh with them as fit in with their own way of thinking. Those who know the true nature of what is called “proving” a matter see clearly that the human soul finds truth through other means than by argument. It is with these thoughts in mind that the author offers this book for publication.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – 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.

Previously posted on March 16, 2015

The eye for the perception of the spiritual world must be acquired on earth through active spiritual knowledge

As the physical eye must be acquired in the pre-earthly life, so must the eye, for the perception of the spiritual world, be acquired here on earth through spiritual science, active spiritual knowledge. I do not mean through clairvoyance — that is an individual affair — but through the understanding, with healthy intelligence, of what is discovered by clairvoyant research. It is simply untrue to say that one must see into the spiritual world oneself in order to believe what the clairvoyants see. It is not so. […]

We need only be prepared to think the thing out, and feel it through and through. It is this recognition by healthy human understanding, of what is given out of the spiritual world — it is not the clairvoyance, but the activity of knowledge — which provides us with spiritual eyes after death. The clairvoyant has to acquire this spiritual eye just the same as other men. For what we gain by Imaginative Cognition, what we perceive in seership, falls away and vanishes after a few days. It only does not do so if we bring it down to the standpoint of ordinary understanding, and in that case we are obliged to understand it in the very same way in which it is understood by those to whom we communicate it. In effect, clairvoyance as such is not the essential task of man on earth. Clairvoyance must only be there in order that the supersensible truths may be found. But the task of man on earth is to understand the supersensible truths with ordinary, healthy human understanding.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – Spiritual Relationships in the Human Organism – Stuttgart, 9th December 1922

Translated by George and Mary Adams

Previously posted on March 29, 2014

quote-for-every-step-in-spiritual-perception-three-steps-are-to-be-taken-in-moral-development-rudolf-steiner-140-29-30

A boundless absurdity

Some people are so greatly influenced by theories built up on the basis of exact scientific experience that they cannot do otherwise than regard the contents of a book like this as a boundless absurdity. The exponent of supersensible truths is able to view such a fact entirely free from any illusions. People will certainly be prone to demand that he give irrefutable proofs for what he states, but they do not realize that in so doing they are the victims of a misconception. They demand, although unconsciously, not the proofs lying within the things themselves, but those that they personally are willing to recognize or are in a condition to recognize.

The author of this book is sure that any person, taking his stand on the basis of the science of the present day, will find that it contains nothing that he will be unable to accept. He knows that all the requirements of modern science can be complied with, and for this very reason the method adopted here of presenting the facts of the supersensible world supplies its own justification. In fact, the way in which true modern science approaches and deals with a subject is precisely the one that is in full harmony with this presentation.

Anyone who thinks thus will feel moved by many a discussion in a way described by Goethe’s deeply true saying, “A false teaching does not offer any opening to refutation because it rests upon the conviction that the false is true.” Argument is fruitless with those who allow only such proofs to weigh with them as fit in with their own way of thinking. Those who know the true nature of what is called “proving” a matter see clearly that the human soul finds truth through other means than by argument. It is with these thoughts in mind that the author offers this book for publication.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – 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.