Spiritual science, a necessity for mankind

As you know, my dear friends, the more thoroughly we absorb what spiritual science can give the more does it flow into our feeling, into our willing, and into those forces which we need in order to meet the manifold events and circumstances of life. And we know, too, that this spiritual science, which we can now learn by reason of the inpourings that are coming at this very time from higher worlds, is to a certain extent a necessity for mankind. Within a comparatively short time man would inevitably lose all confidence in life, all inner calm, all that peace of mind which is so necessary to life, if the message to which we give the name of Anthroposophy or spiritual science were not able to come to mankind precisely in our time.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 134 – THE WORLD OF THE SENSES AND THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT – Lecture I – Hannover, 27 December 1911



About insanity and disharmony in thinking, feeling and willing

There are three soul forces in human beings: thinking, feeling and willing. These three forces are bound up with the physical organization. Certain thoughts and feelings will call up certain acts of will. The human organism must function correctly if the three soul forces are to act in harmony. If the connection between them has broken down due to illness, then there is no longer consistency between thinking, feeling and willing. If an organ connected with the will is impaired, the human being will be unable to translate his thoughts into impulses of will; he is weak as far as action is concerned. Although a person is well able to think, he cannot decide on action. Another disturbance may be that someone is unable to link thoughts and feelings correctly; this human cannot bring his feelings into harmony with the thoughts behind them. Basically that is the cause of insanity.

In the normally constituted human being of today, thinking, feeling and willing are in harmony. This is right at certain stages of evolution. However, it must be born in mind that as far as a person is concerned, this harmony is established unconsciously. If a person is to be initiated, if he or she is to become capable of higher perception, then thinking, feeling and willing must be severed from one another. The organs connected with feeling and will must undergo division. Consequently, even if it cannot be proved anatomically, the organism of an initiate is different from that of a non-initiate. Because the contact between thinking, feeling and willing is severed, the initiate can see someone suffering without his feelings being roused; he can stand aside and coldly observe. The reason is that nothing must occur in the initiate unconsciously. An individual is compassionate out of his own free will, not because of some external compulsion. He becomes separated into human beings of feeling, a person of will and a thinking person; above these three is the ruler, the newfound individual, bringing them into harmony from a higher consciousness. Here too a death process, a destructive process must intervene; should this occur without a higher consciousness being attained, insanity would set in. Insanity is in fact a condition in which the three soul members have separated without being ruled by a higher consciousness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge – Lecture III – The Origin of Suffering – Berlin, 8th November 1906

Translated by Rita Stebbing


Previously posted on 23 October 2018

This instrument of murder for the real development of human forces

We must strongly develop the forces that can be developed in a child’s soul, so that later on he can harvest the fruits of his childhood learning. Today he looks back and feels what his childhood was and cannot gather anything from it because nothing was developed there. Our educational principles must be fundamentally changed if we want to do the right thing for children. Above everything we must listen very carefully to much that at present is highly praised and considered especially wholesome.

So, it is necessary that, without undue strain and exertion but through an economy of educational effort, children acquire concentration. This can be achieved, in the way modern man needs it, only by abolishing what is so greatly favored today, namely, the cursed curriculum of the schools; this instrument of murder for the real development of human forces. Just consider what it means: From 7 to 8 A.M. arithmetic, from 8 to 9 grammar, from 9 to 10 geography, from 10 to 11 history. Everything that has moved through the soul from 7 to 8 is extinguished from 8 to 9, and so on.

Now here it is necessary to get down to the bottom of things. We must no longer think that subjects exist in order to be taught as subjects. On the contrary, we must have clearly in mind that in children from the seventh to fourteenth year, thinking, feeling, and willing have to be developed in the right way. Geography, arithmetic, everything must be employed so that these faculties can be properly developed.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – Education as a Social Problem: Lecture II: The Social Structure in Ancient Greece and Rome – Dornach, August 10, 1919


Preparation / Knowledge / Exercise / Powers of the soul

Let it be remembered, that in the physical world whatever we do in thinking, feeling and willing in order to have some knowledge of that world or to do something for it — all this serves only as preparation for knowledge of the higher worlds. 

Whatever we may think about something belonging to the physical world, no matter how astutely, gives us no knowledge of the higher worlds. Through thinking our soul is merely prepared, merely trained in such a way that it gradually becomes capable of penetrating into the spiritual worlds. 

And the same applies to willing and feeling in connection with things of the physical world. In order to be doubly clear, let me say this. A learned researcher, through his scientific methods, gets to know something belonging to the external world. When he has investigated it he is wont to say: I know this and that belonging to the external world. This kind of investigation, this kind of thinking, does not help him in the very least to penetrate into the spiritual world. 

His thinking and investigation are of significance only because they exercise the powers of his soul. The effect, as far as penetration into the spiritual worlds is concerned, is that through this thinking and investigation the soul becomes more capable of living its own life, of activating its own forces. The activities that are normally carried out in the physical world are of use for spiritual-scientific investigation only as an education of a man’s own soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 156 – Occult Reading and Occult Hearing –  LECTURE I: The Human Being and his Relationship to the World – Dornach, 3rd October 1914

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond



The human being is simply inwardly paralyzed in his moral development, when he is given moral commandments too early: ‘you should, you should not! -You’re allowed to do this, you are not allowed to do that! ‘ – when he is taught moral concepts in an abstract manner. The child must experience what is right and wrong, through the guiding of the teacher or educator. To that end, however the connecting principle must be that the teacher works upon the child in such a way that it longs for the good, loves the good and despises what is not good. 

To teach morality, we must work in such a way that we do not prohibit the immoral and demand the moral, but we must evoke in the child between the change of teeth and puberty the feeling, not the will impulses, for what is good and what is bad. We must inwardly identify with what is moral. We must develop love, sympathy for the good, before it is developed further as a command in our willing. What must become morality in the willing, must first grow out of what is pleasant or repulsive for the life of feeling.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 304a – Anthroposophische Menschenkunde und Pädagogik – The Hague, November 19, 1923 (page 139-140)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on December 5, 2017