We will not reach our goal with beautiful slogans

It is true that there are often wonderful ground principles mentioned regarding pedagogy. For example, it is rightly said: Yes, in education there are such principles as “one should not cram things into the children from outside; one should let that what one wants them to acquire come out of their own talents and capabilities.” Very true, an excellent basic rule – but abstract and theoretical. And thus we see that by far the majority of our practical life is based on abstractions, is born out of theoretical programs. Because what one really needs in order to be able to draw forth from the individuality that which the child needs to develop, is true knowledge of the human being. Human insight which enters into the depths of the being of man. However such knowledge the science available to modern civilization, despite her great triumphs, does not have.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 51)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on 30 september 2018

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Without the ability to perceive super sensibly, it is not possible to have insight into the being of man

What does one really gain through this spiritual science as I now sketched in broad outline? Above all one gains true knowledge of the human being. Without the ability to perceive super sensibly, it is not possible to have genuine insight into the being of man. [….] And a true pedagogical art, a true art of education can only be born out of true human knowledge.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 49-50)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on 29 September 2018

A new understanding of man must be found

Through a deepening of social life a new understanding of man must be found, and must permeate human development.

Instead of having eyes only for the man of flesh, apprehending him in a naturalistic way, devoid of the spirit, we must reach the stage of a spirit-filled social organism, wherein the activity of the gods in other men can be recognised.

But we shall not attain to this unless we do something about it. One thing we can do is to strive to deepen our own life of soul. There are many paths to that. I will mention only one, a meditative path. 

From various points of view, and with various aims, we can cast a backward glance over our own lives. We can ask ourselves: How has this life of mine unfolded since childhood? But we can do this also in a special way. Instead of bringing before our gaze what we ourselves have enjoyed or experienced, we can turn out attention to the persons who have figured in our lives as parents, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers and so on, and we can summon before our soul the inner nature of each of these persons, in place of our own. After a time we shall find ourselves reflecting how little we really owe to ourselves, and how much to all that has flowed into us from others. If we honestly build up this kind of self-scrutiny into an inner picture, we shall arrive at quite a new relationship to the outer world. From such a backward survey we retain certain feelings and impressions. And these are like fertile seeds planted in us — seeds for the growth of a true knowledge of man. Whoever undertakes again and again this inward contemplation, so that he recognises the contribution which other persons, perhaps long dead or far distant, have made to his own life, then when he meets another man, and establishes a personal relationship with him, an imagination of the other man’s true being will rise before him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – INNER ASPECT OF THE SOCIAL QUESTION: Lecture I – Zurich, 4 February 1919

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New senses / New phenomena

Nobody has true knowledge of the visible world unless he knows something also of two other worlds.

The three worlds are:

The physical world, the scene of human life.

The astral world or the world of soul.

The devachanic world or world of spirit.

These three worlds are not spatially separate. We are surrounded by the things of the physical world which we perceive with our ordinary senses: but the astral world is in this same space; we live in the other two worlds, the astral and devachanic worlds, at the same time as we live in the physical world. The three worlds are wherever we ourselves are, only we do not yet see the two higher worlds — just as a blind man does not see the physical world. But when the “senses of the soul” are opened, the new world, with its new characteristics and new beings, emerges. In proportion as a man acquires new senses, so are new phenomena revealed to him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE TWO: THE THREE WORLDS – Stuttgart, 23rd August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on August 19, 2019

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