To find everything in the world comprehensible merely indicates superficiality

A man who finds everything comprehensible may, of course, see no need to know anything of more deeply lying causes. But to find everything in the world comprehensible is a sign of illusion and merely indicates superficiality. In point of fact the vast majority of things in the world are incomprehensible to the ordinary consciousness. To be able to stand in wonder before so much that is incomprehensible in everyday life — that is really the beginning of a true striving for knowledge.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – Karmic Relationships, Volume II: Lecture V – Dornach, 27th April 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

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Previously posted on April 18, 2018

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There is nothing that can fill us with such wonder and delight as to observe a little child

It is only when we have the right conception of man’s life as a connected whole that we come to realise how different from each other the various ages are. The child is a very different being before shedding its first teeth from what it becomes afterwards. Of course, you must not interpret this in crudely formed judgments, but if we are capable of making finer distinctions in life, we can observe that the child is quite different before and after the change of teeth.

Before the change of teeth we can still see quite clearly at work the effects of the child’s habits of life before birth or conception, in its pre-earthly existence in the spiritual world. The body of the child acts almost as though it were spirit, for the spirit which has descended from the spiritual world is still fully active in a child in the first seven years of its life. You will say: A fine sort of spirit! It has become quite boisterous; for the child is rampageous, awkward and incompetent. Is all this to be attributed to the spirit belonging to his pre-earthly life? Well, my dear friends, suppose all you clever and well-brought-up people were suddenly condemned to remain always in a room having a temperature of 144° Fahrenheit? You couldn’t do it! It is even harder for the spirit of the child, which has descended from the spiritual worlds, to accustom itself to earthly conditions. The spirit, suddenly transported into a completely different world, with the new experience of having a body to carry about, acts as we see the child act. Yet if you know how to observe and note how each day, each week, each month, the indefinite features of the face become more definite, the awkward movements become less clumsy and the child gradually accustoms himself to his surroundings, then you will realise that it is the spirit from the pre-earthly world which is endeavouring to make the child’s body gradually more like itself. We shall understand why the child is as he is, if we observe him in this way, and we shall also understand that it is the descended spirit which is acting as we see it within the child’s body.

Therefore for one who is initiated into the mysteries of the spirit there is nothing that can fill him with such wonder and delight as to observe a little child. In so doing one learns not of the earth, but of heaven; and this not only in the so-called “good children.” In their case, as a rule, the bodies have already become heavy, even in infancy. The spirit cannot properly take hold of the body; such children are quiet; they do not scream and rush about, they sit still and make no noise. The spirit is not active within them, because their bodies offer such resistance. It is very often the case that the bodies of the so-called good children offer resistance to the spirit.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – The Kingdom of Childhood: Lecture 1 – Torquay, 12th August 1924

Translated by Helen Fox

Previously posted on November 8, 2016

There is nothing that can fill us with such wonder and delight as to observe a little child

It is only when we have the right conception of man’s life as a connected whole that we come to realise how different from each other the various ages are. The child is a very different being before shedding its first teeth from what it becomes afterwards. Of course, you must not interpret this in crudely formed judgments, but if we are capable of making finer distinctions in life, we can observe that the child is quite different before and after the change of teeth.

Before the change of teeth we can still see quite clearly at work the effects of the child’s habits of life before birth or conception, in its pre-earthly existence in the spiritual world. The body of the child acts almost as though it were spirit, for the spirit which has descended from the spiritual world is still fully active in a child in the first seven years of its life. You will say: A fine sort of spirit! It has become quite boisterous; for the child is rampageous, awkward and incompetent. Is all this to be attributed to the spirit belonging to his pre-earthly life? Well, my dear friends, suppose all you clever and well-brought-up people were suddenly condemned to remain always in a room having a temperature of 144° Fahrenheit? You couldn’t do it! It is even harder for the spirit of the child, which has descended from the spiritual worlds, to accustom itself to earthly conditions. The spirit, suddenly transported into a completely different world, with the new experience of having a body to carry about, acts as we see the child act. Yet if you know how to observe and note how each day, each week, each month, the indefinite features of the face become more definite, the awkward movements become less clumsy and the child gradually accustoms himself to his surroundings, then you will realise that it is the spirit from the pre-earthly world which is endeavouring to make the child’s body gradually more like itself. We shall understand why the child is as he is, if we observe him in this way, and we shall also understand that it is the descended spirit which is acting as we see it within the child’s body.

Therefore for one who is initiated into the mysteries of the spirit there is nothing that can fill him with such wonder and delight as to observe a little child. In so doing one learns not of the earth, but of heaven; and this not only in the so-called “good children.” In their case, as a rule, the bodies have already become heavy, even in infancy. The spirit cannot properly take hold of the body; such children are quiet; they do not scream and rush about, they sit still and make no noise. The spirit is not active within them, because their bodies offer such resistance. It is very often the case that the bodies of the so-called good children offer resistance to the spirit.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 311 – The Kingdom of Childhood: Lecture 1 – Torquay, 12th August 1924

Translated by Helen Fox

The physical world is the expression of wisdom incarnate, divine wisdom

Think of the marvelous structure of the femur, of the bone which bears the whole body. Its construction is such that the maximum amount of strength is produced with the minimum amount of substance. No engineer could create such a wonder-structure. In comparison with the physical body, the astral body – the seat of passions and desires – is rudimentary and crude.

The physical world is the expression of wisdom incarnate, divine wisdom.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology Lecture IV: Involution and Evolution  – Paris, 28 May 1906

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 Previously posted on 19 September 2013