Visible World / Invisible World

Just as there could be no life in the ordinary sense of the word without death, so can there be no true knowledge of the visible world without insight into the supersensible. All knowledge of what is visible must plunge again and again into the invisible in order to evolve. Thus it is evident that the science of the supersensible alone makes the life of revealed knowledge possible. It never weakens life when it appears in its true form. When, having been left to itself, life becomes weak and sickly, supersensible knowledge strengthens it and makes it, ever and again, fresh and healthy.

Source:Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – III. Sleep and Death

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

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Schools must again teach people something of value

Schools must again teach people something of value. Today, much importance is placed on learning the skills required for making machines. Nothing can be said against this from the standpoint of spiritual science because it is quite worthwhile. 

But the skills needed to cope among human beings are neglected. An abstract social science, ignorant of man’s needs, was invented and this is taught instead. Above all, one must study man as we have done here, but unhappily what I told you is not taught. Look back on your own school days! Where is something like this taught today? That is what our age lacks. Teaching men the things they learn today is about as good for them as feeding them rocks instead of bread. Maybe the stomach of a goose can take rocks but that of a human being cannot! To do so would ruin the digestive system, and when you teach men what is being taught today, you actually ruin their heads. 

You know that the arm becomes weak if it is unused, and the head also becomes weak if it is not used in the right way. While the head was developing in the mother, it received forces from the stars. If it is told nothing about them, if it entertains no thoughts of them, it grows weak, just as muscles do when they are not exercised. If the child learns nothing of the real world, it remains weak. 

The worst thing about conditions today is that people have weak heads and do not understand anything about one another. They separate themselves according to social standing and do not speak to those of other classes. This is like training a man to become an athlete while neglecting his biceps. If, in educating men, I leave their heads weak, they will not know the very thing that matters most. This is how things stand.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness: II: Illnesses Occurring in the Different Periods of Life – Dornach, October 24, 1922

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If ever your soul is weak

If ever your soul is weak, if ever you believe that the goals of earth-existence are beyond your reach, think of man’s divine origin and become aware of those forces within you which are also the forces of supreme Love. Become inwardly conscious of the forces which give you confidence and certainty in all your works, through all your life, now and in all ages of time to come.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – The Festivals and Their Meaning: III: The Birth of the Sun-Spirit as the Spirit of the Earth: THE THIRTEEN HOLY NIGHTSHanover, 26th December, 1911

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Strong and well-developed, or crippled and weak

When we have laid down our physical body and gone through the gate of death, then there is no longer anything to prevent our soul and spirit from assuming the physiognomy we have acquired from the ethical quality of our experience. There in the spiritual world we, as soul and spirit, are strong and well-developed, or crippled and weak. Then, later on, comes the time for us to resume a physical body; and in forming it we build, from within, our own destiny. For we may, on the one hand, be able, having brought from an earlier life a harmonious soul-and-spirit nature, to form the new body in perfect order and proportion, so that we can employ it in good and useful activity; or, coming into incarnation, as it were, as a moral cripple, we may find ourselves able only to form and guide the new body in a clumsy and awkward fashion, from embryo up to adult age.

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE: A WAY OF LIFE – The Hague, November 16, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on May 9, 2017

The cultivation of the will

The cultivation of the will depends upon repetition and conscious repetition. This must be taken into consideration. And so it is not enough to say in the abstract that the will must be educated. For then people will believe that if they have good ideas themselves for the development of the will and apply them to the child by some clever methods, they will contribute something to the cultivation of the will. But in reality this is of no use whatever. Those who are exhorted to be good become only weak nervous men. Those become inwardly strong to whom it is said in childhood: “You do this today and you do that, and both of you do the same tomorrow and the day after.” [And they do it merely on authority because they see that one in the school must command.] Thus to assign to the child some kind of work for each day that he can do every day, sometimes even the whole year through, has a great effect upon the development of the will.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 25th August 1919

Translated by Daphne Harwood & Helen Fox

Previously posted on June 14, 2015