About sports, games and self-education

In a way, playing remains an important educational factor for the whole life. Of course, I do not mean the card game here, because all games that are directed to the intellect claim the personal of the human being that is bound mostly to the instrument of the brain. Even if much favourable is said about chess, it can never be a factor of self-education because it depends on that which is bound mostly to the instrument of the brain that has to infer. If the human being is active with gymnastics where he has to set his muscles in motion in such a way that he can infer nothing at all that he does not strain his intellect, but directly develops with the activities and not with intellectual understanding, then we deal with a self-pedagogic play.

From it, we directly gain an important principle of any self-education. This is that the human being who has to educate himself by the education of his intellect and in particular by the education of his will depends on the care of the contact and interrelation with the outside world. The human will can be educated not by inner intellectual training, but it strengthened, so that the human being has a firm hold inside if he maintains the will while the own will and the outside world interact.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 61 – Human History: Lecture XIV: The Self-Education of the Human Being – Berlin, March 14, 1912

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Our opinions do not depend at all on whether to us something is proved logically

So many people take care if they have seen into a worldview so that they are convinced of it to convincing also other people. They believe that it is a very creditable endeavour if they say, because I understand it so clearly, nevertheless, I should be able to convince everybody. However, this is naive. Our opinions do not depend at all on whether to us something is proved logically. This is possible in the fewest cases.

Since the opinions and convictions are formed from quite different subsoil of his soul — from his will nature, from his mood and feeling nature, so that someone can understand your logical discussions, your astute conclusions very well. Nevertheless, he does not at all accept them because that what a human being believes and what he confesses does not flow from his logic and his understanding, but from the whole personality, that is from those members, where the will, where the mood arise. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 60 – Predisposition, Talent and Education of the Human Being – Berlin, 12 January 1911

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Thought without will & will without thought

Just as the magnet has North and South poles, just as light and darkness are present in the world, so there are two poles in man’s life of soul. These two poles become evident when we observe a person placed in two contrasting situations. Suppose we are watching someone who is entirely absorbed in the contemplation of some strikingly beautiful and impressive natural phenomenon. We see how still he is standing, moving neither hand nor foot, never turning his eyes away from the spectacle presented to him, and we are aware that inwardly he is picturing his environment. That is one situation.

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Another is the following: a man is walking along the street and feels that someone has insulted him. Without thinking, he is roused to anger and gives vent to it by striking the person who insulted him. We are there witnessing a manifestation of forces springing from anger, a manifestation of impulses of will, and it is easy to imagine that if the action had been preceded by thought no blow need have been struck. 

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We have now pictured two contrasting situations: in the one there is only ideation, a process in the life of thought from which all conscious will is absent; in the other there is no thought, no ideation, and immediate expression is given to an impulse of will. Here we have examples of the two extremes of human behaviour. The first pole is complete surrender to contemplation, to thought, in which the will has no part; the second pole is the impelling force of will without thought. These facts are revealed simply by observation of external life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – The Etherisation of the Blood – Basle, October 1, 1911 

Translated by Arnold Freeman & D.S. Osmond

The life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways

We are only separated from the so-called dead through the fact that we are not in a position to perceive with our ordinary consciousness how the forces of the dead, the life of the dead, the actions of the dead, play into our own life. These forces, these actions of the dead, continually permeate the life of our feeling and the life of our will. Therefore we can live with the dead. And it is indeed important to realize at the present time that the task of Anthroposophy is to develop this consciousness — that we are in touch with the souls of the dead.

The earth will not continue to evolve in the direction of the welfare of humanity unless humanity develops this living feeling of being together with the dead. For the life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 179 – Historical Necessity and Freewill: Lecture 3: Our Life with the Dead – Dornach, December 10, 1917

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Previously posted on March 24, 2018

Our value to the world

When we refer to the will, we are dealing with that which makes us of value to the world, which so places us in the world that we not only live a life of knowledge and a life of feeling within ourselves, but are able to re-act upon the world. What a human being wills, and what flows from his will into his actions, constitutes his value to the world. 

Thus we may say that in referring to the realm of will we are dealing with that element which shows that man is a part of the world and it is our inner life which thus flows out into the world and forms part of it. Whether they are the emotions and passions of criminal natures hostile to social life that flow into the will and thence become part of the world to the world’s detriment, or whether they are the high, pure ideals which the idealist draws down from his contact with the spiritual ordering of the world and allows to flow into his actions, allows to flow perhaps only into his words which act upon human beings, stimulating them or revealing the worth of man — in either case we are always dealing with what lies in the realm of will, with what gives to man his value. 

So that all the wealth which man can really possess as a soul-being, is expressed, when we mention these four realms: Perceptions, Thought, Feeling and Will.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 153 – The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture 1 – Vienna, 9th April, 1914

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