For the truly practical person it is not important what the contents of the thoughts are, but the activity they bring about

It is not the theories that have significance, but the habits of thought. For the truly practical person it is not important what the contents of the thoughts are, but the activity they bring about. That is what it is all about. It does not matter whether someone is an idealist, but what is important in life is that one’s thoughts are fruitful, that they stimulate life and bring progress. It must be kept in mind that Spiritual Science does not want to have any part in one or the other dogma or belief system. It is of no importance that someone has many spiritual theories, but that these ideas are fruitful when applied to life. When someone declares that they are not materialistic and believe in the force of life, even in the spirit, but at the same time treats the human being like a gigantic test tube when considering nutritional matters, his worldview cannot bear fruit. Spiritual Science can only bring adequate answers to concrete questions when it is able to penetrate the details – and it is indeed able to shed light on nutritional as well as health issues.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, 17 December 1908 (p. 172-173)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Previously  posted on September 13, 2018


Thoughts as real as deeds

The materialist believes that he hurts a man when he throws a stone at him, on the other hand he believes that a hate thought he cherishes towards his fellow man, does not hurt. But who really knows the world, knows that much, much stronger effects are caused by a hatred thought than ever can be caused by a thrown stone.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – The Theosophy of the Rosicrusian – Munich, May 30, 1907


Previously posted on April 21, 2014

Fertile thoughts

It is not a matter of theories, but of the ways of thinking. The true practitioner is not concerned about anybody’s thoughts, but about the effects of the thoughts. That is the point. It does not matter so much whether one is an idealist or not, but it is significant for life that one has fertile thoughts which are active in such a way that life prospers and progresses. It is important to bear in mind that spiritual science, even in this direction, has nothing to do with dogma or any belief.

Anyone may espouse the most spiritual theories. It is not this which is important, but rather the fact that these thoughts are fertile if he introduces them in life. If one says that he is not a materialist, that he believes in the vital force, even in the spirit, but proceeds in the question of nutrition always as if the human being is a retort, his worldview cannot become fertile. Spiritual science has something to say about these concrete questions only if it itself is able to illuminate the details, and it is able to do so concerning the issues of nutrition and of health.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Issues of Nutrition in the Light of Spiritual Science – Berlin, 17th December 1908


Painting by David Newbatt

Thoughts and health  

Correct ideas have a healing effect on man, and wrong ideas make him sick. One can find a wrong idea behind every disease, if one traces it back. Mankind in general is responsible for this and not individuals. Interest also has a destructive effect when people run from one sensation to the other and always want to be amused. That makes people sick. It’s also a hindrance to progress to have a personal interest in higher knowledge. Men become scleroticized thereby.

A man must not become indifferent to his surroundings. He must retain his feeling and sympathy for his surroundings. Some say that sympathy can also come from egotism. That may be the case. Many kinds of sympathy only arise because one doesn’t want to see other people suffer. That’s even a good thing. It’s better for a man to help someone out of egotistical sympathy than not to help him at all. But we must learn to develop a sympathy that stands above egoism, that helps neighbors because it’s one’s duty to help them.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lesson – Berlin, 15th May, 1908


Previously posted on May 21, 2018

An inner push is needed

An inner push is needed, as it were, so that modern man may set out along this spiritual path. And this inner push — recently I spoke of it as a real awakening — is a development which many people prefer to avoid. The opposition of modern people to Anthroposophy is really due to the fact that they have not experienced this push, this jerk, within their soul. It is uncomfortable to experience it. For it casts us, as it were, into the vortex of cosmic development. People would much rather remain quiet, with their rigid sharply outlined thoughts that only turn to lifeless thing which are not on the defensive, when the world is to be grasped, whereas everything that is alive defends itself, moves and tries to slip out of our thoughts, when we try to grasp it with lifeless concepts. Modern people do not like this. They feel it. They cloak it in all manner of other things and become quite furious when they hear that a certain direction, coming from many different spheres of life, calls for an entirely different way of grasping the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 121 – KNOWLEDGE PERVADED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF LOVE – Dornach, February 18, 1923

Translated by Sabine H. Seiler