Attitude of Soul and Supersensible Knowledge

In one region of the soul every human being has a natural aptitude which in all other areas it would need considerable effort to gain supersensible knowledge about. And this one area is when a loving relationship is entered into between human beings. People must learn to develop this skill in relation to other contacts and approach them in a similar loving way with understanding and instinctive interest and a genuine desire to get to know their inner being better. In the instances that we approach other human beings with inner participation, with deep understanding, with true interest, in those instances we become, if I may put it this way, clairvoyant in everyday life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 072 – Freiheit, Unsterblichkeit, Soziales Leben – Bern, 11 December 1918 (page 394)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on June 4, 2018

Moral cold & warmth

In our souls we actually possess the predisposition to human love, and to that warmth which understands the other man. In the solid components of our organism, however, we bear moral cold. This is the force which, from the spiritual worlds, welds, as it were, our physical organism together. Thus we bear in ourselves the impulse of hatred. This it is which, from the spiritual world, brings about the circulation of the blood. And whereas we may perhaps go through the world with a very loving soul, with a soul which thirsts for human understanding, we must nevertheless be aware that below in the unconsciousness, there where the soul streams down, sends its impulses down into the bodily nature, for the very purpose that we may be clothed in a body — coldness has its seat. 

Though I shall always speak just of coldness, what I mean is moral coldness, though this can certainly pass over into physical coldness, traversing the warmth-ether on its way. There below, in the unconsciousness within us, moral coldness and hatred are entrenched, and it is easy for man to bring into his soul what is present in his body, so that his soul can, as it were, be infected with the lack of human understanding. This is, however, the result of moral coldness and human hatred. Because this is so, man must gradually cultivate in himself moral warmth, that is to say human understanding and love, for these must vanquish what comes from the bodily nature.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 230 – MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD – Lecture XII – Dornach, 11 November 1923

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Nothing is worse than not to try to gain an understanding of every kind of human feeling and human sensation and human life  

Really nothing is worse during this esoteric progress than not to try to gain an understanding of every kind of human feeling and human sensation and human life. Of course, this does not postulate the principle — this must be emphasised again and again — that we should pass over all the wrong that is done in the world without criticism, for that would be an injustice towards the world; but it postulates something else; whereas before esoteric development we may have felt a certain pleasure in finding fault with some human failing, this pleasure in finding fault with other people entirely ceases in the course of esoteric development. 

Who does not know in external life people who like to deliver very pertinent criticisms of other people’s faults? Not that the pertinence of judgment over human faults has to cease, not that under all circumstances, such an act as was committed, let us say, by Erasmus of Rotterdam when he wrote his book, The Praise of Folly, should be condoned; no, it may be quite justifiable to be stern against the wrongs done in the world; but in the case of one who undergoes an esoteric development every word of blame he utters or sets in motion pains him, and prepares more and more pain for him.

And the sorrow at being obliged to find fault is something which can also act as a barometer of the esoteric development. The more we are still able to feel pleasure when we are obliged to find fault or when we find the world ludicrous, the less we are really ready to progress; and we must gradually gain a sort of feeling that there is, developing more and more within us, a life which makes us see these follies and errors in the world with eyes, of which one is critical, and the other filled with tears, one dry and the other wet.

Source: GA 145 – The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man – Lecture V – The Hague, 24th March 1913

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on February 20, 2018

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ERASMUS (1466-1536)

Feeling and intellect

Someone who thinks in a materialistic way easily believes one can only arrive at understanding through abstract concepts. It takes great effort  for him to come to the insight that the other soul faculties are just as necessary to understand the world, as is the intellect. It is not just meant metaphorically when it is said that one can understand just as well with the feelings, the heart or with a sense of becoming aware of something – as it were sensing it – as with the intellect. Intellectual understanding is only one means to understand the things of this world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Die Erziehung des Kindes vom Gesichtspunkte der Geisteswissenschaft – 1907 (page 334)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 17, 2015

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Unjustified accusation of the Anthroposophical worldview

To render the Anthroposophical world view understandable, it is always accused of having its ideas and results as based on research by people who first need to be schooled for it, therefore results of Anthroposophical research can’t be verified from the outset by anyone and that nevertheless these observations are presented to unprepared people.

Yet this accusation, however justified it seems, belongs to the most unjustified ones that can be made against the Anthroposophical Movement, because it doesn’t stipulate that every single person is to be immediately directed towards becoming a researcher in a supersensible area, but it deals with their research results being presented in such a way that every other individual can prove it for themselves, simply with ordinary human understanding and ordinary healthy logic. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 81 – Impulse for Renewal: Lecture IV: Anthroposophy and Pedagogy – Berlin, 8 March 1922

Translated by Hanna von Maltitz

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