How can Anthroposophy prove what it claims?

Often the question is put: how can anthroposophy prove what it claims? People ask for proof because the usual way to prove facts is not available for Anthroposophy. Therefore, some people dispute the scientific validity thereof; they do not take into consideration the following – I can explain these things only approximately, but they apply in the most accurate, exact way -: the person who needs proof, thus shows that what must be proven, is not sense-perceptible. We need proof whenever we have no perception. Should I need evidence that there was a man in this room yesterday, it will only be because I did not see the man myself.

Thus, it is with everything, concerning the historical development of humanity, we always need the evidence as well. When people still had an instinctive knowledge, they had a natural inner experience of what they called the Divine Being, did not need proof. The evidence for the existence of God only started to be required when during the development of humanity this spiritual perception was lost. The evidence is only needed where understanding is not available.

The Anthroposophical method, however, prepares the human soul to discover the spiritual. When it is described – that is the peculiarity about Anthroposophy-, it can be explained with healthy common sense and understood in the way a non-artist can recognise a work of art, although he cannot create it. One can therefore not object to the fact that only the seer can investigate Anthroposophy. For even if another person cannot examine it, it can be understood by anyone, who wants to use his healthy common sense without bias.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 82 – Damit der Mensch ganz Mensch werde – The Hague, 12 April 1922 (page 200-202)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on 1 november 2018

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Humanity claims mostly that which he lacks

At present we live past one another, and due to the influence of modern education we have not acquired the ability to understand our fellow human beings, we lack the aptitude to know with a kind of clairvoyant empathy – as used to be present in many of the older cultures – what lives in the human soul. We demand a lot from life, but we live past one another.

We claim mostly that which we lack the most and the loud cry for socialism proclaims to ears that can listen in an unbiased way, that we have become unsocial people, that we do not understand each other, that we are unable to form a social society.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 79 – Die Wirklichkeit der höheren Welten – Kristiania (Oslo) December 2, 1921 (page 180-181)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on 24 October 2018

Understanding must take the place of criticism

For the development of the soul it is necessary that one acquire a certain definite manner of judging one’s fellowmen. It is difficult to attain an uncritical attitude, but understanding must take the place of criticism. It suppresses the advancement of the soul if you confront your fellowman immediately with your own opinion. We must hear the other out first, and this listening is an extraordinarily effective means for the development of the soul eyes. Anybody who reaches a higher level in this direction owes it to having learned to abstain from criticizing and judging everybody and everything.

How can we look understandingly into somebody’s being? We should not condemn but understand the criminal’s personality, understand the criminal and the saint equally well. Empathy for each and everyone is required and this is what is meant with higher, occult “listening.” Thus, if a person brings himself with strict self-control to the point of not evaluating his fellowman, or the rest of the world for that matter, according to his personal judgment, opinion and prejudice and instead lets both work on him in silence, he has the chance to gain occult powers. Every moment during which a person becomes determined to refrain from thinking an evil thought about his fellowman is a moment gained.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 53 – The Inner Development of Man – Berlin, 15th December 1904

Translated by Maria St. Goar

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Previously posted on August 22, 2018

Wisdom

When man needs wisdom in order to understand things, that is, when he extracts wisdom from them, it shows that wisdom exists in the things themselves. For however much the human being might try to understand the things by means of ideas filled with wisdom, he would be unable to extract any wisdom from them were it not already embodied in the things themselves. Anyone who wishes by means of wisdom to comprehend things that, as he thinks, have not first received wisdom, may also imagine that he can take water out of a glass into which none has previously been poured.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – IV. The Evolution of the Cosmos and Man

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

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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