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

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Nothing can be reached by discussion with the opponent

There are still many Anthroposophists who think that something may be reached by direct discussion with the opponent. Nothing can do us more harm than success in setting forth our truths in the form of discussion; for people do not hate us because we say something that is not true, but because we say the truth. And the more we succeed in proving that we say the truth, the more they will hate us.
Of course this cannot prevent us from stating the truth. But it can prevent us from being so naïve as to think that it is possible to progress by discussion. Only positive work enables us to progress; truth should be represented as strongly as possible, so as to attract as many predestined souls as possible, for these are far more numerous in the present time than is generally assumed. These souls will find the spiritual nourishment needed for the time when no destructive, but constructive work will have to be done, if human development is to follow an ascending, not a descending curve.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 221 – Knowledge Pervaded with the Experience of Love – Dornach, February 18, 1923

Translated by Sabine H. Seiler

Everything in life bears consequences

Everything in life bears consequences. If a person makes a mistake or tells a lie, even if he is not aware of it with his ordinary consciousness, then it is still present in the subconscious, where it works as a destructive force, not only for the individual concerned but also for the development of the whole of mankind. Similarly, if a person binds him or herself to the forces of truth, it works as a life-giving power for all of humanity and the development of the world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 127 – Die Mission der neuen Geistesoffenbarung – Heidenheim, November 30, 1911 (page 238)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on July 13, 2016

Truth lies not in the middle

Man cannot achieve progress by keeping as it were to the middle line, although there are many who realise the uselessness of adopting a one-sided standpoint. Admittedly, we come across idealists, materialists and other ‘-ists’ who swear by their own standpoint, but truly great individuals such as Goethe do no such thing. They try to grasp material conditions by means of material thinking. When men of less eminence imagine that they have understood this, they say: truth lies in the middle, between two different standpoints.

But that would be the same as if someone in practical life wanted to sit between two chairs! The truth cannot be found by a one-sided adoption of this or that standpoint but by applying the modes of knowledge appropriate either for materialism or idealism, The world does not progress by undeviating adherence to a middle course: a middle course is appropriate when the opposing sides are also present and are recognised as forces.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 141 – Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture 7 – Berlin, 14th January 1913

Translated by E. H. Goddard & D. S. Osmond

It is very frequently pleaded that ‘Truth must be very simple’

If one wished to understand the mechanical action of a watch, one would have to bear in mind the connection of the wheels, etc. Yet it is supposed that one can talk of man’s highest being without the requisite trouble being taken to gain knowledge of man’s nature. It is very frequently pleaded that ‘Truth must be very simple’ — and the accusation is made against Spiritual Science that it is very complicated.

Man longs to acquire in five minutes — or in less time — what is necessary for the knowledge of his highest being; whereas he is by nature a complicated being, his greatness in the universe is due to that very fact, and we must overcome the tendency to indolence in respect of knowledge if we really wish to penetrate to the human entity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 2: A Contribution to our Knowledge of the Human Being – Berlin, 29th January 1918

Translated by Harry Collison