A great change in thinking and perception is essential in the near future

If we are to participate in the great change in thinking and perception that is essential in the near future if civilisation is to progress and not fall into decline, it is incumbent upon us to develop, in the first place, a sense for what in ordinary circumstances is beyond our grasp and the understanding of which requires insight into the deeper relationships of existence. 

A man who finds everything comprehensible may, of course, see no need to know anything of more deeply lying causes. But to find everything in the world comprehensible is a sign of illusion and merely indicates superficiality. In point of fact the vast majority of things in the world are incomprehensible to the ordinary consciousness. To be able to stand in wonder before so much that is incomprehensible in everyday life — that is really the beginning of a true striving for knowledge.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS II – Lecture V – Dornach, 27 April 1924

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Duality

Everywhere in life we find duality: light and shade, positive and negative, male and female, left and right, right and wrong, good and evil. Duality is deeply rooted in the nature of all existence, and he who wants to understand nature, must be aware of this duality and always have it clearly in mind. Only when we perceive this duality in our own life, can we come to understand the world. The pupil must make it his duty to think in terms of these dualities. He should never have one aspect only in mind but he should always be aware of both sides when thinking. […] 

Only when one imposes on oneself the inner duty never to think in terms of a single aspect only, but to think always in terms of duality, can one come to know the full truth. When humanity learns to think in dualities, thinking will be factually correct and in accordance with reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 89 – Bewußtsein – Leben – Form – Berlin, April 3, 1905 (page 291)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted  on July 7, 2018

About fasting and food 

A man wouldn’t be able to generate productive thoughts if he ate too much and too often, because his forces would be used in digestion, and there wouldn’t be any left for thinking. Schiller, Shakespeare and many other writers lived on very little food. The mind is never so clear as after long fasting. The greatest saints lived on fruit, bread and water, and no miracles were ever done on a full stomach.

When a man works on himself he harmonizes his temperaments, but until then a melancholic pupil should eat fruit, so that its sun forces permeate the solidifying and rigidifying element in melancholics. Phlegmatics shouldn’t eat black roots because they would only increase his inner love of ease. Whereas a sanguine would benefit by eating root vegetables. One could almost say: A sanguine must be fettered to his physical body by food, otherwise he might fly away. The ego is predominant in cholerics, so they should avoid hot spices and stimulating food.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – ESOTERIC LESSONS 1: Number 56 – Unknown place and date

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Do not think too much

The first ground rule for the study of man is that one does not have to think too much. That will seem strange at first, but you will soon understand what I mean. By thinking about something a man does obviously not learn particularly much about anything. If he only broods on what he saw, he will as a rule not make much sense of it.

Thus If one wants to learn about the world, one should not expect too much from thinking; It is not so important to think about something. When one needs to consider the facts, one must of course do that. But one must not consider this to be the main purpose. It does not bring any knowledge to brood on things afterwards. One has to look at other things, compare them and find the coherences. The more one looks for the coherences, the more one becomes aware of nature. Those who only think about nature find nothing more there than what they already knew.

If someone is a materialist, then he also talks about nature in a materialistic way, because that is how he stands in the world. He discovers nothing new. If someone talks about nature in an idealistic way, he does that because he already is an idealist. One can always find that by thinking, people find only what they already knew beforehand. Proper thinking arises only when one is led by the facts.


Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Über Gesundheit und Krankheit – Dornach, January 10, 1923 (page 237)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

 Previously posted on February 23, 2018

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Connection of freedom with pure thinking and moral impulses

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking”. […] When we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – The Threshold in Nature and in Man – Basle, February 1, 1921

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on December 23, 2019

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