Truth is complicated

When, as so often happens, people say that truth should be simple, this is due to indolence and a dislike of having to wrestle with many concepts; but the greatest truths can be apprehended only when the spiritual faculties are exerted to their utmost capacity. If considerable efforts are needed to describe a machine, it is surely unreasonable to demand that the greatest truths should also be the simplest! Truth is inevitably complicated, and the most strenuous efforts must be made if it is desired to acquire some understanding of the truths relating to the Events of Palestine. Nobody should lend himself to the objection that the facts are unduly complicated; they are complicated because here we have to do with the greatest of all happenings in the evolution of the Earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Five – Basel, September 19, 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on January 16, 2015

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What is intellectually proved should not be regarded as of real value or efficacy in life

Everywhere today we see parties being formed for one object or another. People nowadays have no discernment, nor do they desire to have it where party opinions and party programs are concerned. With intellectual ingenuity, proof can be furnished in support of the most radically opposing theories. Very clever arguments can be used to prove the soundness of Leninism – but the same applies to directly contrary principles and also to what lies between the two extremes. An excellent case can be made out for every party program: but the one who establishes the validity of the opposite program is equally right.

The intellectualism prevailing among people today is not capable of demonstrating the inner potentialities and values of anything. It can furnish proofs; but what is intellectually proved should not be regarded as of real value or efficacy in life. People oppose one another in parties because the soundness of every party opinion – at any rate the main party opinions – can be proved with equal justification. Our intellect remains at the surface layer of understanding and does not penetrate to the deeper layer where the truth actually lies. This, too, must be fundamentally and thoroughly understood.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three -Bern – 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on May 16, 2014

Illogical thinking is extraordinarily widespread

There is an extraordinary amount of wrong thinking in our day. One can suffer the pains of martyrdom from the terribly illogical life of the world. Anyone who has acquired a certain clairvoyance does not simply feel that one thing is correct and another incorrect, but he suffers actual pain when confronted by illogical thinking, and a sense of well-being in connection with clear, transparent thinking. This signifies that he has acquired a feeling for such things, and this enables him to make decisions. And this brings far truer differentiations when one has actually reached this stage. It gives a far truer discrimination between truth and untruth. This seems incredible, but it is true. When something erroneous is said in the presence of a clairvoyant person, the pain which rises in him shows him that this is illogical, erroneous. Illogical thinking is extraordinarily widespread; at no time has illogical thinking been so widespread as precisely in our time, in spite of the fact that people pride themselves so much on their logical thinking.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on March 9, 2015

Heretics, Fools and Dreamers

Nowadays heretics are not dealt with the way they used to be. They no longer end up being burned at the stake, but are looked at instead as fools and dreamers whose words are only the product of a capricious imagination. They are ridiculed, and from their high court of scientific judgement they are told that what they have to say cannot be harmonised with genuine science. But the people who do all this are not aware that true, genuine science is precisely what demands this truth.

And now we can cite hundreds and hundreds of such truths that would show us how spiritual science can illuminate life by showing there is an immortal core in human beings that passes through death into the spiritual worlds; when it has fulfilled its mission there it returns to physical existence to gather new experiences that are then carried up through death into spiritual worlds.

We would see how the bonds established from one person to another, from soul to soul in all areas of life, those attractions of the heart that pass from soul to soul and from which there is otherwise no explanation, can be explained by the fact that they were formed through relationships in former lives. We would also see that the inner spiritual bonds we form today also do not come to an end when death moves over the face of our earthly existence. Instead, what moves from soul to soul as a bond of life is as immortal as the human soul itself; it continues to live with the soul as the latter passes through the spiritual world, and it will come to life  again in other future earthly relationships and new incarnations. It is only a question of evolution until people will remember their earlier earthly experiences and what they lived through in former earth lives and conditions of existence.

Source(German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 272 – Faust, der strebende Mensch – Strasbourg , 2 January 1910 (page 19-20)

This English translation has been copied from the book: GA 272 – Anthroposophy in the Light of Goethe’s Faust – Writings and lectures from mid 1880s to 1916

Previously posted on January 1, 2016

A different world-conception

The materialistic world-conception may not be true, but for all that it contains an inner truth. Of this inner truth it can be said: What the materialistic world-conception describes regarding man would become actual fact if this world-conception were to gain the day. And it lies with men by means of a different world-conception, to prevent this materialism from being victorious.

The matter is not so simple as to enable it to be said that the materialistic world-conception is false; the point is that it lies in the hands of men to gain the victory over it through deeds, not through feeble thoughts of refutation. The more men there are who open their eyes to the spiritual world, the more there will be who realise that the fulfilment of materialism can be frustrated and the greater will be the possibility of frustrating it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 254 – Significant Facts Pertaining to the Spiritual Life of the Middle of the XIXth Century: Lecture III – Dornach, 7th November 1915

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond